Category Archives: Reflection

It’s one of the finest things we do…

Write about our lives, because not only do we reveal our minds through revelations our thoughts provide us—

But it gives us an incentive to be honest…

cass twig air up hangingIt’s almost impossible not to consider the value of thoughts with the fairly steady flow of them; their rudimentary worth, relevance to our lives and the importance to the people who have them. It’s easy to see how distorted a thought can become when left to constant re-examination and how faceless victim/culprit dichotomies are given grounding by a name or a hover-card. If the last few weeks has demonstrated anything, it’s how something as simple as a pen-stroke can release the burden and stresses they invariably cause. I’ve had glimpses into how fears, confessions, pains and crises can be put right by words creating deeds by changing little parts of the world. And I shouldn’t be surprised: we write about things and repeat ourselves about things that have meaning to us.

It keeps me humble…

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The Iron Wall…

581453_10151211969251041_233961945_nNatural Grafitti—

Whitstable…

“Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make someone smile while they’re having a piss.”

Banksy, Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall

I’ve been dragging myself around for the best part of thirty minutes and there’s still no sign of my: if it wasn’t for this I’d be in bed… I don’t even know what this is, or if there is one. I am actually stuck in Minority Report…

So I can’t think of a better time to use an informal Italian salutation––

398333_10150764249786041_1681142892_n Than owning a day three illness and being in no mood to rock the grumpy… I’ve tried to string something together with words and what have you but’ve utterly failed; I’ve three separate paragraphs on the go going no-where–– so I’m not going to try for much longer. I don’t do ill very well; it’s a rare occurrence and I’ve never got the hang of it too well. I’ll just have to finish the post this should’ve been another time.

I think shitfuckbollocks says it all really!

Ciao…

Image: Part of a set I took in Rome between 0200 & 0700, empty…

By all means, you’re welcome to eat any way you see fit; I’ll just use the spoon…

Neither electricity nor pomposity is the silent servant; it is manners—

Recalled with the assistance of Conrad, The Wine Wanker

nouvelle_cuisine_cartoonThere are people who mean what they think, then say what they mean; and some are just mean and don’t think, then say whatever they damn-well please.

I am not renown for being pompous. It is however a useful tool to have in your armoury, particularly when it needs to be pointed out in others. As a communication method, it is practically impossible to take seriously, thereby lending its itself perfectly to other more declarative forms of expression. But under no circumstances would I advise for, the pompous rhetorical question: that would be in shockingly poor taste. Especially when it involves food.

When used for bringing volume to one’s airs in a manner more supercilious than enlightening however, I find the very register of immediate comic effect. It can sound so aloof and so lofty that I’d have little trouble receiving the positions of cannibals, revolutionaries, reactionaries, nuisance-callers, even vegans owing to the very towering nature of their argument. This is something I fail to see as bad thing, because in the end gravity always wins.

It’s actually a style I like to frequent from time to time, as it puts me in mind of a more civilised time and affords me the use of a lexicon that would otherwise look out of place and silly. Add to that an inwardly facing superiority, whereby rendering only myself as little foolish and it makes the business of remembering things a somewhat pleasant jolly. So with that throw-back in mind, I’d like to cast back some twenty years to Rheims, the world’s champagne capitol.

Rheims was hosting a week long, sister-city ceremony with the Germans, Austrians and Italians and of course the Britainnians for sporting events, drama, frivolity, art and food, with the intention to bring together the very best of our national and cultural identities and celebrating our differences. The Maastrict treaty was in its infancy, so it was a all a bit of a to-do.

Anyway, I had been selected for Canterbury’s cricket team and we had been selected to travel with the rugby squad— a term I use lightly: not before nor since have I ever witnessed beer-swilling quite like it in a bus, nor the heckling; as not a single lady escaped the collective cheers of Nicole Papa along the route, as our burly continent appropriated the same side of the bus to suck the windows. The driver was certainly nonplussed, harvesting fears, as some of us were, that we might at any moment capsize; fears, in no way allied by my impression that rugby was supposed to be a game played by gentleman. My dad however, was just praying they didn’t burst into the chicken song.

Upon arrival, we checked in to our hotels then made our way to the town-centre to be entertained by a gathering of troupes from our respective homelands. It was magnificent, the costumes, mediaeval weaponry, assorted acrobatics, the costumes and colour. It was pageantry at it’s very finest, all meticulously choreographed and splendid— until we found the British.

For all of the rich and vibrant history we boast, our contribution to this culturally dynamic affair, was Morris dancing: a side of black-faced, befeathered men and women in boiler-suits trying to brain each other with big sticks and bells. I cringed. There wasn’t a canon or spadroon in sight, just Morris dancing— and not even the type I mind least. Not only did it have an improvised feel to it, but when the mascot attempted to juggle with one ball, he dropped it.

To describe it as as a bit of a let down would be gross, but with the banquet at the mayor’s residence to look forward to, not to mention the cricket, the gala and evening laser-show— there was plenty potential to wipe the disappointment bare and salvage the experience. That was the hope anyway. Actual hope, and then the dinner happened…

You’ll have to imagine the dining hall for yourselves: hundreds of years old, a vast ceiling laden with gold leaf and quite the most exquisite carpentry. The tables were round and we were seated randomly for the most part— I found space for our group so we could dine as one and alighted with genuine excitement. It just so happened we ended up sharing a table with the chairman of one of the Arts Committees— no doubt the chap responsible for the fiasco earlier; and it wasn’t long before all the hopes and joy began to seep away.

If you’ll permit me, I must impress upon you how noisy his style was. He spoke loudly, his word choices thunderous. I think without labouring the point, you’ll know the type: he wanted to be in charge of the dinner table; in fact, left to his own devices, I’m sure he would’ve eaten our meals for us too. Unfortunately for us, he made it so we could hear everything he said, and the next table and quite possibly the table next to that.

I have mellowed a lot since then in a number of ways— I have become more tolerant of things others may say to me, about me or even near me— now whether or not these things are in the best of intentions or otherwise, what I do object to, now, just as I did then, is having manners thrust upon me. I deplore rudeness you see: it takes the same amount of time and effort to be pleasant as it does to be a dick; it never ceases to amaze me why certain fellows would choose the latter?

So, long before even the starters had been served, it had been impossible— quite impossible to ignore all the chat about etiquette. It was etiquette this and etiquette that and etiquette, etiquette, etiquette. To be fair to him, I had considered he may have been overcome by the splendour, but as long as he kept himself to himself. I may have been young, but I certainly knew not to eat from the inside out.

Suffice to say, I was taking an ever increasing dislike to him and his nose. When they are decidedly upturned, endearing yourself to another is quite the gift, and nostril-hair is the last thing you want to be thinking about before tucking into a posh meal. So when this chap leaned over, obviously mistaking us for riff-raff and reminded us exactly where we were and not to forget our etiquette, I turned to him and smiled and with as rounded and precise a smile as I’ve ever made, and told him ‘bollocks!’.

Then proceeded to eat my entire meal with a spoon..

Etiquette means behaving yourself a little better than is absolutely essential

True story…

Image: Royston Cartoons

On Procrastination…

Mrs B once said, when asked what she’d like to read—

I am still about procrastination … but that could be that I am procrastinating on finding another topic!

Needless to say that was in 2004…

548125_10151091945136041_908074081_nStarting is always the hardest part, or is that beginning? Starting begets beginnings I suppose. If only I could get as far as that. Sometimes it’s just too hard.

I had an idea at first— for the beginning, but abandoned it. It wasn’t bad, in fact I quite liked it— the thought of it I mean, but the start is always a thought too many and a beginning too few and I always get the feeling I’ve been overtaken by the thought of having to do more than simply think it. And then I consider it. That’s the best part. What would it’d be without having done it? I pore, and I always convince my self to sleep on it.

This is where all the best things aren’t done. I sometimes pretend to sleep, just to see what doesn’t happen— and I’m mystified when I realise I’m not doing it. I don’t want to you see. Because the way I see it, there’s no point in avoiding something if you cannot sleep; and then sleeping to forget it when you’re only going to wake up with a hint of something you’d neglected to put there. And then it’ll bother you ’til you remember it— because you’d have to. And sometimes it’s just too hard.

It’s like getting back to the beginning again; right where I was going to be when I started it yesterday. Only I couldn’t remember what I wanted to say. It’s not that I was trying too hard; it’s just I recalled the killer word: The ‘E’ word. There should have been two of them in ‘demon’— at least it sounds that way to me. Perhaps they couldn’t’ve been bothered much either that day— and lacked the killer word too.

It was right after that cuppa I’d made after the comfy mock-snooze on the pea-green beanbag I’d been engaged in, that it suddenly dawned on me that I’d forgotten something else. This pleased me a great deal. Had it’ve been lingering— even ever so slightly, I may have been a little miffed; but it had gone. The fact that I could, even started to displease me after a while— but the longer the displease, the weaker the ‘effort’ it required and it killed too little a time— time I never really had anything put aside for anyway. To plan too far ahead in my eyes is to get ahead of one’s self— especially around the eyes, and it’s preferable to hide from these things rather than encourage one’s self to do anything about it. A day doing nothing, is sweeter than a day wondering anything. And a day wondering anywhere is an even greater waste.

They say of some, that they take, ‘one step forward and two steps back’ and I say ‘twaddle!’ Primarily because I like the way the ‘d’s’ sound and feel on the tip of the tongue when you’re overly deliberate with the ‘-le’; and secondly, because anyone worth salt would simply stand still, sit down or remain and just be— exactly where they were. Let’s not split peanuts over the minimum effort debacle, when you can eat the whole nut with none what-so-ever, and still pip the nincompoop by a nose. If only you could be bothered…

If I could only get passed the first bit I’d be fine.

Where was I?

I’ll finish it tomorrow…

Image: something I designed for my classroom

Reflecting on laziness, Hungarian commanders, an author’s middle name & a one armed man…

Those familiar, would know Montmorency:

And those not, should be; a dog born with more than his fair share of original sin…

527026_10151214972026041_54942606_nI was a familiar stranger once in a city of few lights past the open fridges in Electrical Appliance Retail, which glowed as cigarettes do in darkened rooms. These are reflections which inevitably lead to what I describe as: Klapka moments.

I was a student at the time— a status which allowed a certain degree of latitude with tardiness, which is all well and good since my time spend horizontal was more circumferential than to a certain degree. Sometimes it overlapped and sometimes it crossed; sometimes into a whole new day and sometimes I didn’t have to move a single muscle. This was speculative posturing, tailor-made for study, especially in front of the television: it was all about the visual learning experience.

I remember discussing the prospects of sharing such moments— a moment shared is a moment halved after all— and a bonus surely, since the other half could clearly be made up elsewhere. The idea however was dismissed as foolish— in fact the very notion was rejected so effortlessly; done so with nothing but an unimpressed twitch: I’ve seen shuffles and glances last longer. Unperturbed, I proudly informed her— the effortless shuffler— that I could sit for days without moving, but again, was greeted with another sideways look that this-time almost breached the perpendicular.

It was a subtlety that was again to be misplaced, although this time only everso briefly. I can only describe it as a moment of empathic clumsiness on my part. I made the mistake of offering to ‘lend a hand’ to a man who was struggling to retrieve a dropped wallet. It was a comment that wouldn’t have been quite so Caligulan had the man— on closer inspection, been in possession of both his arms. I don’t blame him for the stern expression he imparted, but its implying wish to take from me, that what he was sadly lacking was unmistakable. Personally, I don’t blame him.

It wasn’t an intentional blaze of cruelty— I actually felt for the chap despite feeling amused by my own lack of tact…

It was wonderfully surreal accompaniment: a side platter:

A salad bar on a day of free pizza…

I can’t decide sometimes, whether or not my mother thinks she’s living in a sitcom…

The secret to humour is surprise.

Aristotle

27977_450287781040_191932_nA moot point perhaps, but oblivious in this case to the signifiers that make the ‘everyday’ flow seamlessly from one interaction to the other; if they weren’t, you’d find yourself hopping madly all day. Whatever it may be, obvious, deliberate, debatable, moot? A couple of years ago my mother discovered a reservoir of previously untapped ‘ridiculous’. It’d become, after a fractious few years— a pleasure spending time with her, if not for the first time— but the first time in a long time. She’d seemed to be a little more understanding and accepting of my foibles, and I of them, which makes all the difference in the world. It helps relieve a little of the ‘complicated’. The fact that my mother’d discovered comedy and was making me snort on a regular basis was merely a bonus.

But this is irrelevant, a long-winded introduction and steady build up leading to a crescendo of noise— which is not entirely bunkum as it happens. It’s a story involving balloons…

My nephew loves balloons, especially the kind that when released, fly around exulting a harrowing scream, flitter then drop excitedly with one good spasm before expiring. Louis and I had been synchronising the take-offs of them all morning, much to the delight of the little man and thought what a wonderful idea it would be to release even more. Amz was on her laptop, but my mother was hands-free…

So Louis and I filled some balloons, gave them to her and instructed her that under no circumstances was she to release them. Even now, I feel as though I should’ve added something.

Anyway, Louis and I expended what little breath we had left into the remaining balloons and poised at the ready. The scene was to be spectacular; six whirling tubes of shrill screech, dancing unpredictably towards an enthusiastic death-knell. However, I failed to entertain the one element of unpredictability.

‘Ready,’ I said, ‘on one . Three… two… one… release…release…release!’

Louis and I had a successful launches. But my mother held firm. Even upon the final release! Even though the room was filled with the sound of screaming babies Even though the launch command had become a desperate, personal plea for her to relinquish her grip…

‘Why the bloody hell didn’t you launch? We’ve just done this ten times … at what point did you not think I was talking to you?’ A reasonable question in the circumstances I thought.

‘Because,’ she said, ‘you told me that under no circumstances was I to release them.’

Once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be recalled…

Horace

Not unlike those sodding balloons!