"Oratoricles and the Mental Enema"
Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "ReyRey184" journal:
[<< Previous 10 entries]
'Why Limit Your Attraction To Beauty'|
I often hear my friends express dissatisfaction with all rudimentary definitions of sexuality, believing them to be restrictive and imposing. I really empathise with this dislike of sexual labels, particularly because I have met so many well informed people who have had great difficulty and have struggled for years trying to decide which box they fit into. I prefer to leave it all open and ambiguous mainly because human beings in general are so complex and varied. There are the elements of it that I can say with great assurance..i.e I am aroused by the physical attributes of women and that I believe that the sexual, the sensual and the feelings associated with love can exist separately from each other. There is also that which is left unexplored by people. For instance, a person who is heterosexual and monogamous may be so because of a fear of self exploration, perhaps due to social/cultural/religious reasons and thus the way they identify themselves is completely different to how someone who is free spirited might do so. This raises an interesting question for me regarding just how much of our sexuality comes from our own basic personal desires. If we could strip away the layers of cultural, social, familial, religious and traditional imposition would we be able to resolve one of the central debates in ‘Queer’Theory’ - is sexual orientation natural, essential or is it merely a human construct, a bunch of labels and structures imposed by an external mainstream culture and anyone trying to rally against it or redefine it.
Perhaps in a perfect world, everyone would be Pansexual. It has the potential for aesthetic attraction, romantic love and/or sexual desire for someone irrespective of their physical sex or gender identity. Pansexuals sometimes categorise themselves as being gender-blind, believing gender and sex to be factors that are wholly insignificant and irrelevant in determining the type of person they’d be attracted to. What I love most about that last sentence is that it allows for an evolution of sexuality, one that extends beyond the physical leading to a complete reversal of how we approach the question of attraction. For a heterosexual the first question of attraction will be whether or not the individual is biologically male or female, for a pansexual it might be their political views, their sense of adventure, their desire to travel or how practical someone is. This would be a great opportunity to begin attacking the notion that there are only two true biological sexes - male and female. Some species of bird are said to have more than two sexes and some hermaphrodites embrace their ambigious gender and choose not to define as anything other than what they are.
In closing, someone once asked me if I felt glad to be heterosexual. My first thought was to say that considering the persecution of minorities in today's society then yes I was glad. But the more I thought about it, the more restrictive it seemed. In a perfect world, given the choice, I fail to see why i'd choose to restrict myself to being heterosexual. Why deny yourself the freedom.
"Serious, passioned yet without commitment but to failure it seems...My dear, end me"
Current Mood: anxious
Current Music: Showdown - E.L.O
"The biblical-historical evidence that proves Gods existence only proves the belief in God"|
* Alas Snowy Britain is no more, now all the back allies lined with burnt out mattresses, split carrier bags and stolen trolleys have no great white blanket to hide their shame. I estimate that its been over five years since I have seen such snowfall in these parts. It fell unseen as the masses slept and when they awoke they found their hilly green landscape ‘a’ changed. As the transport secretary commented ‘Britain is poor at dealing with snow’ and so many areas saw heavy snowfall resulting in the closure of schools, runways and so on. We here in Cardiff remained largely untroubled, by the next day all that remained were a few white patches on the rooftops and tiny little ramparts surrounding the cars. Only the truanting no-hoper's were interested in the white stuff by then; crunching the snow up in balls, their hands stained red with cold, their muscles warm beneath their jackets ready to let fly. I did think of gutting them like fish but even citizens arrest will get you a term behind bars these days. Often it seems that kids in their early teens and below are untouchable. Radio 4 broadcast a special on the subject, callers from all over Britain rang in to tell their stories. All told of local yob's setting fires to cars, physically and verbally abusing specific people amidst other minor offenses. What was telling was that any attempt to reprimand the hoodlums would usually result in the victim being arrested by the local police. One man caught a transgressor and made him a deal that so long as he apologised to the women he had been terrorising his parents would remain unaware of his activities. The young lad agreed and was escorted to the women’s house in the mans van. On the way there some on patrol cops stopped them and arrested the guy and charged him with kidnapping the boy. He ended up going to jail for a week and it took a year to get the mess cleared up. what’s more is that kids know their rights. They know that they only need to put on a tear-show and say they were abused or even molested and thanks to the hysteria in this country regarding child abductions, murders and pedeophillia especially, the authorities will believe them. Of course we must still look at it case by case because there are truth tellers as well as fakers.
* I believe I’ve hit upon the reason for my own tinnitus, or rather the action I can take that may lead to a reduction in the noise as opposed to the traditional recommendations that only mask it or distract you from it. Diet apparently is of prime importance and foods known to significantly aggravate and accentuate the sounds people hear include among other things, caffeine and sugar. I’m taking say 3 spoonfuls of caffeine a day and I’ve become a bit indulgent as far as concessionary, sugary foods go. It was my friend Dee that first forewarned me of this, her husband suffers from tinnitus like I do and his physician had told him of the possible effects of sugar and caffeine on the bodies auditory system. To be frank, I didn’t believe her at first but a quick look at google brings up lots of medical sites that back up her story. Therefore, I’ve been attempting to kick my bad habits, albeit gradually, by moving from coffee to tea and from tea to tea with herbal and fruit infusions that have no caffeine or unnatural ingredients.
* There is a good likelihood that I will be moving back to Swansea in the summer to live with Red, Darren and company. I shall quell any alarm amongst my readers when I say that it is not because of my longingness for the great city of Swansea that I intend to switch =) It is more a matter of missing the company of friends and more so the consumate ease with which you can socialise when living together as opposed to the minefield of problems that come with living apart. On the flipside however, one of the perks of distance is the hand written letter, whether written or received I cannot ignore its unmistakable charm. I received such a letter recently from my dearly missed friend Pete in Nottingham and a reply is already in the works.
* It is not common for me and ’S’ to attend comedy clubs but in the past few weeks we have done just that. We saw a very polished set by up and comer Natalie Haynes based around U.S detective shows and several others at the ‘Glee Club’ which runs a special on Thursday’s, a meal and performances by four touring comedians all for just shy of a tenner. Thankfully all the performers were diverse and varied in their adopted styles; There was the half English, half Italian impersonator, the story teller, the comic musician and the traditional Welsh comedian that plays dumb and does bits about social stereotypes and gender roles that sadly for him the predominantly young audience could not sympathise with. If there was sympathy to be had then it was because he continued to implore us to recognise his dilemma when we could do nothing of the sort. The fact is, the clubs youthful contingent didn’t feel themselves to be perverse, overwhelmed, embarrassed or afraid of sex shops or the people who work in them and the comedian perhaps showed the generation gap that existed when he expected us to laugh at his fear of being subjected to questioning by the store assistant or guffaw at his manly ignorance of the female anatomy. To be fair, his set wasn't a total wash, most of it was good. It was polarised by the bit just mentioned and the improvised beginning where he turned one medical specialists summation of his job description (- ’I make legs’) into the biggest laugh of the night.
* Reading the ‘Trials of Lenny Bruce’ has shown me that whilst Law can change thanks to one or several landmark cases, altering the mindset of those that enforce the law does not happen so readily. If anything, even when they do adhere to justice as in the appeal courts reversal of the guilty verdict in Lenny’s Chicago, Illinois trial, they may do so begrudgingly, in this case by providing a pitiful per curiam opinion of just 540 words, most of which could barely be called ‘legal analysis’, therefore making sure that they had the last laugh by stripping the reversal of any precedential value it might have had. The American obscenity trials of the late 50’s and early to mid 60’s targeted everything from stand up comedy to literature to theater performances. Those most likely to face prosecution were those that used coarse or foul language as part of their art. If a comedy act for example was considered to be ’obscene’ then the comedian could be tried and possibly sentenced to a term in prison. The law of the day stated that obscenity must be determined by a set of terms to gauge whether or not what an arresting officer thought was a punishable offense was really a crime to begin with. To qualify as obscene a performance must appeal to prurient interests, I,e - that it shows the individual to have a shameful and morbid interest in sex or that the individual in his performance is guilty of causing arousal in his audience. Words can not be taken as stand-alone examples of obscenity regardless of how rude they may be, they must be considered in the context of the performance as a whole and finally, a performance cannot not be deemed obscene if the topics discussed are of social importance.
Now lets take one of Lenny’s most infamous routines entitled ‘Thank You Mask Man’ and see if it fit’s the criteria for obscenity. ‘Thank You Mask Man’ features Lenny playing a number of different characters like the Lone Ranger and several other townspeople. The story goes that the villagers are angry at their would be saviour for refusing to accept gratitude and in most cases disappearing before they could even offer it.
(The full length cartoon of 'Thank You Mask Man --> 'http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CebRfSFnWGM
Dudley Do Right - ‘You that man that never waited for thank you’
Redneck - ’You’re jus too damn good for everybody’
Jewish Guy - ’What’s with that Schmuck’
Tired of the Rangers refusal to accept a thank you, the townspeople hold him up at gunpoint and force him to explain. The Ranger says that he would neither have the time nor the inclination to do good if he were to wait around for adulation. As if to prove this, later on in the bit the Ranger searching his mail box for Thank You’s is to busy to help save a townsperson in trouble. Regardless of his protests they demand he accept at least one present of his choosing.
Ranger - Alright. Give me that Indian over there!
Redneck - Tonto? … What the hell for?
Ranger - To perform an unnatural act….
Redneck - Goddamn … The masked man’s a fag!! Blaaarrghh!
Ranger - … and while your at it I’ll have that horse too!
Redneck - What for?
Ranger - … the act.
Redneck - Blaarrghh! Damn degenerate!
Now that the masked man’s views and desires are out in the open they are disgusted by him and drive him out of town. It is true that the very humour of the piece is reliant on the hypocrisy of social etiquette and the corruptive force of conventions. It is Lenny’s way of attacking the injustice he saw apparent in the culture and society of the day. I, myself see nothing in it that serves as damning evidence of an overriding preoccupation with morbid and shameful sexual practices nor can I see how any of what is said would cause someone to become horny. The coarse language is entirely justified in its context, without it, the realism behind the humour would not shine through and its impact lessened and furthermore it most certainly deals with matters of social importance. Like Bill Hicks after him, Lenny used comedy as a tool of reasoning, a way to advance public consciousness in the face of lies, fallacies and dangerous, misleading information from the powers that be.
* Dee’s been sent off to some facility that will help rehabilitate her back into the ‘world of work’ Just to mention, when I say rehabilitate, I don’t mean that she’s an ex-offender or has been a coke-junkie for 15 years =) Anyway, despite the reservations she has, she cannot afford to turn down the offer since it is a key condition of her disability pay. I, who possess such a lively imagination can’t quite fathom what they will do to her at THE FACILITY!! But I am told that she may regain some of her physical prowess if all goes well. Best wishes Dee, It’ll be cold in those surgical garments.
* Lastly I’d like to give a quick mention to a certain General Stubblebine, a former Commander in the U.S army who bruised by his country’s defeat in Vietnam tried to conceive new means of attack by which the Armed forces would once again gain the upper hand on the battlefield. The product of his brainstorming session was weird to say the least. Stubblebine wanted to develop a technique that would allow American Marines to a) walk through walls and b) make an enemy fighters heart explode by the power of thought. In the first case, he postulated that a wall, like the human body is made up of atoms and atoms contain a lot empty space in them. By harnessing the power of his mind, all he had to do was line up the atoms in his body with the space between the atoms in the wall and he would be able to pass right through it. Naturally most people in the military wouldn’t sanction such a program but there is always someone who will say ’yes’. This led to the infamous building where the men inside ’sat and stared at goats’. Stubblebine’s reasoning was that if the men could make the hearts of animals explode then they could logically do the same to humans. Predictably the experiment was a failure and in an interview for a Channel 4 documentary on the subject, Stubblebine said that his failure to walk through his office wall had been one of the great disappointments in his life.....Ace.
Well Tally-Ho then chaps.
...be seeing you
Current Mood: Justice Creel
Current Music: Mississippi John Hurt - 'Stack'O'Lee
"Sleep, The Little Death"|
~ Journal ~
I've become a frequent listener of 'Classic FM' this past week. It is the suitable choice for someone with repetunitis because the music makes no great effort to imprint itself on your consciousness. Infectious hooks, catchy choruses and all other repetitive elements are kept to a bare minimum. In truth, it’s the only way I can truly relax, safe in the knowledge that when I leave for some other pursuit, I will not be heckled by the old one.
As if I needed anymore evidence that body and mind are inextricably linked, Channel 4’s Bodyshock: ‘The Man Who Slept For 19 Years’ has provided it. It was the episodes second case that struck me more, that of a man whose personality was irrevocably altered beyond repair by a minor car crash. A common occurrence in crashes is that of the brain bouncing around inside the skull after impact. Inside the skull there is a ridge of bone connected to the forehead and covering the area directly over the eyes. As the force of the crash propels the brain forward, the frontal lobes are dragged across the ridge of bone, often tearing as a result. This along with a collision between the lobes and the front of the skull can cause significant damage. The frontal lobes are known to play a part in impulse control, judgment, language, memory, motor function, problem solving, sexual behaviour, socialisation and spontaneity and assist with planning, co-ordinating, controlling and executing behaviour. Prior to the accident the man in question had been caring, compassionate, loving, devoted, lively and good humoured. Afterwards his wife described him as “not the same man.” The narrator, perhaps a little too dramatically said that he had “lost the ability to love” but clearly it wasn’t as simple as that since his ability to experience pleasure, pain and a gauntlet of other emotions had also been largely reduced or were hardly present at all. The man himself said that he never worried about anything anymore, his connection to his wife wittled down to a vague sort of familiarity akin to that of a couch or another material possession that you’ve had for so long. To me he appeared emotionally distant, even vacant, eerily thankless and unconcerned, not unlike my Mothers ex- boyfriend now I think about it. Its cases like this and that of freak-amnesia victim Doug Bruce that show us the fragility of personality, something we consider so implacable and often spend enormous efforts of will power even lifetimes trying to change.
Just when I had thought I’d discovered all of Cardiff Markets hidden delights, the pick of the bunch presents itself in the form of a quaint little bookstall mere yards from the entrance. Over several visits I have gathered that what is in stock does not appear to alter much but with prices as low as they are and the occasional classic to be found as you survey the shelves, I am not about to complain. I was a tad reluctant to pass up ’The Belljar’ by Sylvia Plath but I sense that it will wait for me. Instead, I purchased J.P Satre’s acclaimed first novel ‘Nausea’ as well as ‘The Immoralist’ by Andre Gide, a French Author who was to become a great inspiration to Satre.
The search for a sort of intellectual honesty about who one actually is when set apart from other external influences was something the two more or less had in common, yet I find Gide's great ‘raison d’etre is more be-fitting of what I myself might advocate. His self-exploratory texts reflect a search of how to be fully oneself, without at the same time betraying one's values. He believed that this could be pushed as far as owning ones own sexual nature. Gide by nature it seems was homosexual and pederastic, and although I’ve yet to discover which end of the spectrum his pederastic desires gravitated, I still feel I must speculate as to whether or not Gide’s belief in the ability to own ones own sexual nature owes something to an conflict within himself and with the outside world regarding his sexual orientation. After all, Gide was known to be a Protestant as well as an intellectual and had been widely criticised for his defence of homosexuality.
As for ‘the Immoralist, I am yet to start it, I am to busy plundering Satre’s ‘Nausea', which I will say a little about now.
The novel’s principal player is Roquentin, a dejected researcher who is working on a book about the obscure Marquis de Rollebon. Echoes of some of Satre’s principal ideas are conducted through Roquentin’s ceaseless narrative as he sits in his hotel room, frequents the Café Mably and aimlessley traverses the streets. The text is suffused with the idea that inanimate objects and situations remain absolutely indifferent to our existence. They are resistant to whatever significance human consciousness might perceive in them. I.e The indifference of "things in themselves". Essentially the message is this; any value or meaning objects acquire owes nothing unto them themselves. It is we who imbue them with significance and meaning, so that everywhere we look we are projecting our memories, our experiences, sometimes related events onto the canvas, yet on its own it is but a canvas, behind the paint it is still white and it is forever by itself and indifferent to what you will make of it.
The title of the book confused me at first because although I could get an indication of what this ‘nausea’ was it remained largely ambiguous to me. After conducting some research, I discovered that the term is taken from Nietzsche’s ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’. Nietzsche used it in the context of the often sickening quality of existence; that no matter how much we long for something other or something altogether different, we cannot escape from the harrowing evidence of our engagement with the world. In my considered opinion however, Roquentin’s dilemma may stem from the fact that it is partly his disgust with his own projections, the evidence of his own interaction with the world that is conjuring up ’the nausea’ he feels. For example, on a trip to the local museum we find him to be jealous of the achievements and good character of Bouville’s enshrined elite and at numerous other points we see him despairing of his current life. Another theory is that Roquentin is nauseous because of the unbridled degree of freedom he feels he has. Now he knows that the world and its objects are indifferent to him, in his striving toward nothingness he will be sure to acquire yet more freedom. Running adjacent to this however, is his knowing that all actions taken only serve to alter the projection. 'Things in themselves' will always be unchanged, as they are, and that any presence of us in them is of our own making and achieving posterity, particularly posthumous posterity is also the making of others. Roquentins ever growing sense of freedom is met only by its own futility, made so by the very nature of human consciousness and his inability to transcend it.
I suspect that by now it is common knowledge that I am currently employed by Odeon Cinemas. Today I attended a compulsory fire-evacuation test, after which we were allowed to watch a film for free. Although the vote was hardly unanimous, Tony Scott’s Science fiction cop flick ‘Déjà vu’ was the clear victor.
*LONG RANT ALERT*
The premise of the movie is this. Around 500 people, mostly members of the American Navy and their wife and kids are killed in an explosion aboard a ferry. The ‘domestic terrorist’ responsible’ bears a grudge against the American Government for refusing him entry to the Army and so he contacts the films Heroine under the pretence of wanting to buy her car which is for sale only to kill the women and use her car as a means to store and load the bomb onto the ferry whilst at the same time making sure the crime could not be traced back to him. The women's body is then unceremoniously dumped into the river so as to make it look like she was just another victim of the ferry bomb. Agent Denzel then shows up, in this movie he plays Denzel Washington again only this time he works for the ATF. But as this is a Bruckheimer vehicle we all know what that means. I.e, the hero of the film, in this case Denzel, has no Boss, no work schedule, walks around with sun glasses on doing the minimum amount of work whilst getting maximum results, he gets to do everybody else's job without permission. The FBI takes a back seat. The Police take a back seat and Homeland Security lets agent Denzel run the show.
With clear nods towards both Minority Report and The Butterfly Effect The second half of the movie ditches reality, skips heaven and enters plot hole hell. In the second half, Denzel is approached by FBI agents with neat new gadgetry that records events from space in ‘Google Earth Maximus’ so that they can solve difficult crimes like the one at the heart of the movie. Then they reluctantly admit they were lying and can actually bend time and see into the past, but only up to four days ago. This says Nerd-A (Played by a Jason Shwartzman lookalike) is made possible by a complete fluke, a lucky accident caused by a science project that went awry and somehow created a wormhole. Denzel is the only one in the whole movie theatre to buy this explanation and so they all then sit around watching the soon to be dead lady calling up the would be car thief/terrorist to arrange a date to meet. Incidentally, the technology used by the team allows them to zero in on any point, go inside any house and zoom in and out so that they can watch from every conceivable vantage point. The huge flaw here is that even with a wormhole such things are implausible because there are no camera’s or recording equipment present in every single square inch of peoples homes that could provide the data for the feed and even if there were, how would they been able to tap into it from the present day?
Denzel eventually gets bored, throws a wobbler and demands they send a note to him in the past so as to warn him of the crime ahead of time. Although the Nerds assure him that it isn’t even theoretically possible to do this, they have a facility already purpose built for such an attempt. Amazingly it works but Past-Denzel slips out for Coffee and never sees it sitting there on his desk. Present-Denzel then decides that instead of firing off a few more time-altering notes, perhaps to the Heroine or the police, he should jump in the Sushi-machine himself and go ’BACK IN TIME!’ (as you do) and sort it out it himself just like he has everything else in the film. Miraculously it works! And Denzel saves the girl but not before being wounded. Now bear in mind when Denzel had done a quick stop over at Heroine’s house earlier he had seen bloody bandages and things lying around. Now Denzel has been wounded and Heroine takes him home and stitches him up, ta-da! That’s how the bandages got there. The question now is how Denzel can have had no recollection of this until he’s right there in the past experiencing it. Simple, there’s two Denzel’s. The one who did the time-leap and the one already present in the team the other is leaping into. Right?, wrong...this still does not solve the problem since before the leap, neither Denzel would have gotten shot and disposed of his bloody bandages at Heroine house. Therefore there must be three (or more) Denzel’s. The third (or other) Denzel’s are those that were also transported back into the past and ended up at the Heroine’s house to remove the bandages before failing to stop the terrorist blowing up the ferry. This only leads to further questions mind you such as why do we not see any of the other Denzel’s at the film’s close? Either way with Bruckheimer involved I didn’t expect things to make sense. Its always the same world as far as Jerry’s concerned. A world where the press and lawyers don’t exist, where the villain can get his application to the army rejected because he is not considered to be mentally fit for duty yet a rogue ATF agent can tamper and destroy high tech government equipment, kill off a few unlucky commuters in his zeal to follow the aforementioned villain and illegally commandeer an experimental top secret project to continue a case he has been banned from pursuing. If anything, it only makes me think of McBain.
CHIEF: In this office we go by the book!
*a bullet punctures the middle of the book*
McBAIN: My Book!!!
* Next time on Fox (I.e - in the second part of this post)
1) My trip to Reds
2) My impressions of Darren
4) Woolf’s ‘Mrs Dalloway’
Current Mood: Andy Votel
Current Music: Handel
Lille Travel Diary: part two|
Sunday, October 29th
Location - ‘Office De Tourisme’
As prophesised by this very journal, ‘S’ and I did indeed take the city tour today. We purchased our ‘Une Jour Libre Acces’ tickets and booked ourselves on the 11:00am coach. The vehicle itself was equipped with a set of headphones for each person and a pull-down video screen that displayed images of the key sites and their history as we passed them complete with a little running commentary. According to the tour, Lille has only been consistently French since the 1660’s and whilst its keen to retain its past through its statues, monuments to old victories and buildings whose architecture reflects the methods of the time, it is also eager to embrace the future, the creation of an impressive business sector, the conversion of many old and used buildings into museums and hotels and underground metro system are proof of that. Speaking of which, the metro here is a true modern marvel. It is fully automated, driverless, tottaly fuss free, speedy and efficient; it made me sad to think of all the hours I’ve wasted on waiting for the X6 back home.
Using the metro, we paid an abrupt and short visit to the famous Wazemmes market which is held every Sunday. Its akin to a giant open-air yard sale, whatever you want, save a new fridge perhaps you could probably get here and at a reasonable price too. The crowds however, like those on the metro are immense and one has to get used to their personal space being violated. At the exits especially, hordes of people pile in and out at the same time, they may have to resort to using traffic lights should it get any worse =).
We had been told that no visit to Lille would be complete without a visit to the ’Palais De Beaux-Arts’, its collections we were assured, are internationally recognised and second only to the Louvre in Paris. In its favour, there was no discounting the overall size and majesty of the place. A towering white stone statue of Napolean and a house sized painting of the life of Jesus opposite the gift shop were mightily impressive. I felt that eerie sensation with some of the larger statues that they could come alive and break free from their moorings at any moment. Elsewhere, the dark, practically sinister medieval exhibits and ‘L’Homme Paysage’ exposition were equally captivating and served to liven things up after room upon room of expensive paintings that focused far to heavily on Christ and naked cherubs.
Monday, October 30th
Location - ‘Furet De Nord’
Located on the ‘Grand Place’ the ‘Furet De Nord’ is a much loved institution that houses one of largest bookshops in Europe along with a hefty compliment of CD’s, DVD’s, Stationary and video games. Sadly for me all the books were written in French and therefore completely inaccessible to me. Its funny how when you’re a tourist here visiting a bookstore makes absolutely no sense. The moment you step inside you become a 3 year old all over again, made to stare dumbfounded at the cover-art unable to penetrate any deeper. Its like the learned and educated are in their own church, but their bibles, their congregation, their ministers and their God, are all incomprehensible.
After this, we were treading old ground again at the Euralille, visiting comic stores and writing out Postcards to Sarah’s relatives and our friend Redfern. Sarah plucked up the courage to really take charge today. She asked for stamps, chocolate and a raspberry and custard tart and was understood every time. I felt the pressure of being the designated speaker ebb-away slightly and a feeling of pride replace it.
Now that we have come to the end of our little excursion, what’s there to be said about our voyage back to blighty. Customs was a little daunting and the Eurostar took a little longer than expected, we then boarded the bus home and sat next to a rambunctious pair of lads whose passion for life could both raise and lower the smile of two tired out travellers. Looking back through the camera as I write this, I can see that the last photograph of the trip was a close up of the rain soaked window of our cab as it raced to London Victoria station. I remember now that I was aiming for Big Ben.
~ Fini ~
Current Mood: Mrs Dalloway
Current Music: Scott Mathews - 'eyes wider than before'
‘To get a spectacular view, you must first put yourself at risk’ (words from a cliff)|
~* Journal *~
The ‘debate’ over the veil issue shows no signs of abating. To some people it seems, Jack Straw’s comments were a conduit through which a barrage of crass, offensive and ill-informed opinions could finally come out into the open. Now, because a senior government official has spoken up then it’s open season for everyone else. As I’ve listened to other MP’s chime in and read the letters of the general public in the papers then once again it has been proven that the freedom of speech is increasingly being used as the freedom to speak like an idiot and to in-flame tensions between Muslims and other British citizens.
On a rudimentary level, we can see the practical aspects of Jack Straws argument. Yes on a factual level, conversation is part speech , part body language and part facial expression, thus the covering of the face partially impairs a key element in a conversation and may make communication more difficult, especially amongst strangers. As a stand alone point there is no problem, unfortunately Jack Straw seems oblivious to the delicate social and political climate into which his words are thrust. There are those amongst the ruling party and Muslim community that say that its acceptable for Jack Straw to ask so long as its agreed that the women being asked is perfectly within her rights to refuse any request to remove her veil. If relations between British Muslims and their fellow citizens were better then everyone might have looked at it more practically and that would have been that. Instead it has been hi-jacked by others who have turned it into a race relations issue or more specifically an attack on Muslims for what they perceive is a conscious and very public way of saying “I will not integrate” and “I wear this because it a symbol of separation and segregation”. People seem to be under the impression that whatever their thoughts on the veil are or how they feel and react to those who wear it is somehow the genuine article when really its just ignorance; Ignorance of why Muslim women wear the veil to begin with and ignorance of the fact that its right to be worn in Britain is protected by the same political and social laws that let the rest of us live freely and do they things we want to do. Muslim women are choosing to closely follow the teachings of their faith and nothing more, it is not an act that is consciously directed at being defiant towards integration anymore than someone who wears braids, a Rastafarian hat or a pair of black sunglasses, large boots and a trench coat all year round. it’s a personal statement of who they are and how they choose to live their daily lives. How anyone else sees it is up to them and consequently their problem especially when they force their fears into the mouths of others who intend no harm to anyone.
What pisses me off is that the real underlying reason the wearing of the veil is being questioned isn’t being addressed. When Jack Straw and others say they feel uncomfortable or intimidated by women who wear the full-veil then we have to ask why they’re feeling that way and I think that it’s a combination of a lack of understanding about why Muslim women wear it and an irrational fear that stems from terrorism and the association of Muslims with it. Personally, the only reasons I ever feel uneasy, intimidated and tense around people is when:-
a) They’re being irrational, uncooperative or violent
b) They’re English is poor and communication is difficult and stressful
c) They’re not listening properly
I don’t however feel any of the above purely because of the way someone is dressed and neither do I feel threatened by it, why should I? It wouldn’t be fair for me to be when I see no just cause for it, especially when I may not even know why an individual dresses like they do.
To show how downright stupid some peoples views are on the failure to integrate point, let me highlight the comments of one reader of the ‘Metro’ in particular. Essentially her point was that if foreigners are subject to strict dress codes in some Muslims countries then Muslims in Britain should be liable to the same here. Firstly Muslims in this country are NOT foreigners, they’re British Nationals just like you and me and secondly the reason Britain does not enforce strict dress codes on people is because we are a multi-cultural society that allows people the freedom to choose how they want to dress and how, law-abiding, they choose to live their lives. I mean what sort of strict dress code did she imagine anyway?…. A football shirt with union jack shorts and Wallace and Gromit socks? There are a ton of ways in which I myself choose not to tow the stereotypical British line, I’ve no interest in Rugby, I do not drink at all, I never frequent nightclubs or pubs, I hate reality television, soaps, distance my self from the rat-race as much as I can, I am not partial to marriage and never eat fast food and frankly I love that I have the freedom to do this. I agree that any person who is a part of British Society has to enter into it to a point just to be able to get around and acquire the rights, privileges and services the system offers and obey the laws there-in but beyond that it is up to you what you do, want to live alone, not speak to anybody and be a practicing calvanist? Then fine you do that.
Ultimately people are scared because their age-old conceptions of ‘Britishness’ are changing; but we need not be so quick to anger and ignorant about things, especially when it only serves to go against our idea of Britain being a tolerant, rational and respectful nation. No such advances will only further alienate the Muslim community that we’re meant to be healing a rift with.
In other news, I am now 6 years from 30 and still my passions and my dreams lie in a barely realised form somewhere upstairs. Pathetic, but then how dare one muster pity when they cannot muster the strength to apply themselves. Sarah was an absolute star however, she’d wrapped me up presents, made a card with a Daria theme and cooked me up some homemade chicken korma curry meal in celebration of me reaching another milestone. There was even a cake complete with candles. Suffice to say I was touched and a bit taken aback, I never expected her to do much. I hope I’ve repaid her a bit this week by taking on the household chores and nursing her back to health. Albeit in my own stern handed yet concerned manner. Speaking of health, I don’t want to talk of mine, I’m moving on. Another person who I’d like to extend a congratulatory handshake too right now is Dee. She was there for me in my hours of need when I really felt on the edge as I struggled with my health issues. She was right there into the night and over the phone for a few hours when I was feeling like I couldn’t take no more. I know we have our little spats and misunderstandings, but a fair deal of gratitude is yours because that was probably the only time in my life where I sought out people not for company, for attention or to vent, but because I seriously needed somebody to cling on to.
On the 3rd of October Sarah and I went to the Cardiff new theatre to watch comic man of the moment (No not David Mitchell or Robert Webb sadly) Ed Byrne loosely tie his comic-stylings around excerpts from the movie ‘Falling Down’ the everyman tale of pent-up frustration starring Michael Douglas in what must be his signature role. Byrne scoffed at tradition and began before his warm-up act, the two routinely switched over throughout the night in a welcome change of pace. They’re contrasting styles ended up complimenting one another since between them they managed to have something for everyone to laugh at. Byrne was more adept at jokes based on everyday social situations or the dissection of British Culture, where as the warm up act was more overtly political and drew a lot of his material from current affairs. I confess to not paying for my ticket but the quality on display was just about good enough to warrant me dipping my tight fist into my wallet if I’d have had to.
Since signing up to Lovefilm.com and acquiring some films from other sources I have been knee-deep in cinema. One such movie ‘The Good Girl’ starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jenniffer Anniston is billed as a dark comedy, but Anniston thinks it’s a serious-drama, as does Gyllenhaal by the end as his character goes beyond the Holden Caulfield persona he’s living out and lands smack-bang in Gabriel Dimas land (see Six Feet Under S2). Either way they’re both wrong, its more a sort of sleeper-psychological horror film as the watcher becomes more and more terrified with the calm and innocent way Anniston sins and sins whilst being completely oblivious to her transgressions. Anniston's character is completely hideous by the end. To give you a taste , because a relationship becomes inconvenient for her, she 1) almost tries to kill her lover by feeding him poison berries 2) goes to his parents and tries to get him committed... perhaps he is ill, but she totally lies about the relationship to protect herself. Besides, going to the parents, portrayed in the film as uncaring, distant and hated by their son is a total betrayal of him... 3) finally she betrays him again and he shoots himself. She could have let him leave town without telling the police where he was - sure, it would have been a little uncomfortable for her at retail rodeo, but to betray him like that? life goes on for Justine however, especially since she is able to convince her husband her baby is his when she knows full well its not because he‘s not physically capable in the first place. One could argue she was doing him a favour... but when the whole town will be suspicious of the parentage, perhaps not. What‘s more when she fears blackmail, instead of giving up the chase, telling the truth and hoping her husband forgives her, she cheats on him and Gyllenhaal with the husbands best friend and for what? She ends up back at Retail Rodeo anyway but with probably even more moral dilemmas on her hands than she can handle. I can deal with morally ambiguous characters, but Anniston’s turned out all bad and just so very selfish & base.
Another title I watched ‘Oldboy’, is the second film in the Revenge Trilogy by cult director Chan-Wook-Park. A man is imprisoned without reason for 15 years and then escapes to seek revenge and to discover why he was locked away. ‘Oldboy’ is a stylistically challenging, highly innovative piece of Korean Cinema, fans of David Fischer’s work in Fight Club will adore the cinematography. The story when stripped down is the usual fair involving some bitter personal history and the use of a girl to ensnare the leading character. The twist at the end is notable for both its impact and the difficult social questions it raises thereafter. Its this, the great cinematography and the engaging narrative that accompanies most of the scenes where Dae-Su is confined that are big things in the movies favour. But some loose and sketchy plot connections, a fantastically flawed grasp of the workings of hypnosis as well as some other grievances, stop the movie achieving a higher score for me.
I’ve still got so many to watch and write about, ‘Story of O’, ‘Nico:Icon’, ‘Grave of The Fireflies’, ‘Catch 22’, ‘Maria: Full of Grace’, ‘Mysterious Skin’, ’The Prisoner’ really it’s a bit one sided. I should be reading more instead, stupid Library, moving location all the time. I swear if I get my holiday bonus for all the days I never took off I’m going to splurge on books.
Must get ‘Up The Bracket’, stop resenting Elizabeth and write her back, see my friends in Swansea, Pick up my birthday money from home, learn French, re-trace Victors European Vacation, Rant about Politkovskaya’s shooting and learn some Dylan Songs.
Keep plugging away.
Current Mood: Lenny Bruce
Current Music: The Libertines - 'Don't Look Back Into The Sun'
"In Utopia, each to his own and no one to anyone elses" - T.More|
I got a package from Pete the other day, a short letter and a videotape was inside. Its odd how it never occured to us when receiving packages from distant friends/lovers as we did at Uni that we might one day be getting them from each other. I was dead-pleased that he positively encouraged correspondence between the two of us as its all too easy to make your peace with departure and take off with the pictures of times past than to continue shooting and make the effort to keep in touch. As with Red, i'm so happy that with a few that is still happening.
Red, Jane, Darren and myself attended Sarah's birthday bash at Lloyds bar, after which we got coerced by leafleteers into pitching up tent at this other place for all of five minutes. The cover band certainly did not play Queens of the Stone Age and Franz Ferdinand covers and the 2 minute wall of sound thrown at us in-between making for and reaching the exit severely hampered our hearing. We settled eventually for a trip to the cinema, I was glad that Jane turned out to be a cinema-fascist like myself, it made pushing my case for a serious movie all the more easier. The movie itself was 'Black Dahlia' a Hollywood adaption of Elroy's crime novel. Technically the film is sublime, the sets, the lighting, the atmosphere is all expertly crafted. However the director clearly spends far too much time pleasuring himself with the aesthetics and by the time it came for him to tie up the loose ends and remove the wool from our eyes, it was late on and so the close felt rushed and lashed together like he was running out of film but was to in love with the eye-candy from the first 3 quarters to trim it and flesh out the ending. That night, Red and Darren stayed over and we bummed around in the morning much like we did in our student days, slipping back into it was so effortless we didn't even notice how long it had been since we'd last done it. I must commend Red, Darren is wonderful, playful, respectful, calm and considered, he possess some great qualities. It was nice meeting him.
I discovered that the ill-fated guerrilla-like American activist Rachel Corrie now has her own play. She was killed in Palestine by a tank after failing to convince the Israeli Military to spare a settlement. Death has furthered her cause more than her life might of it seems, or as Nick Drake so aptly put it -“Some men of fame will never find a way, until time has flown far from their dying day” Her letters to her parents are now circling on the net. They tell of her thoughts and opinions as well as her growing fondness for the inhabitants of the settlement, who retained their spirit and humanity in the face of economic hardships and restrictions. While I admire the principals behind her actions, the courage and conviction it takes to give up a comparatively fortunate and cushy life in the states to act on her beliefs, I can’t help but feel when one is dead that your power to change things is in the hands of other people. Your own agency is over. That said, its not like she intended to get killed. She’ll live on I guess as a poster-girl for the Palestinian cause in America, and as a message of her own creation. Isn't that the best anyone can hope for in the real-world after-life. To be a message? through a song, a book, a painting, a term of office, a child…..no matter, one must be seen to be fighting to be their own message. What’s so alarming though is that they’ve now turned Rachel Corrie’s legacy into a play. It has aired in Britain to rave reviews and sure it was done with her cause in mind yet I can’t help but feel sickened by how our society has seen her life as something to be re-packaged, re-enacted on the stage, as a form of entertainment that makes one ’think’. The intellectuals choice of escapism for the week, something to ’Do’ on the weekend. *Sigh* ok, yes I as much as anyone love a documentary or a docu-film, or some other sort of historical, biographical-re-telling…I have a desire to learn after all. But is this how we react to tragedy now, by turning it into a means of escapism that although thought-provoking, is still just that. It might as well be fiction. Yesterdays tragedy is today’s entertainment. A voyeurist culture is ours.
I've given up reading Boris Pasternak’s ‘Doctor Zhivago’ and finished up 'Catfish and Mandala' instead. I was already a fair way into Zhivagho, curious to see how much of its fiction is taken from fact and if it is indeed worthy of its classic status, I plodded on. In the end I digressed and grew tired of the constant character introductions that scuppered any attempts to establish any aforementioned characters leading to a continuing lack of incentive to read on since any time the book went close to pulling you in it would jump off somewhere else. I'm going to join the Cathays Library this week, probably tommorow, I want to begin reading some Satre, since I've been rather annoyed since University that Camus was fit for study yet Satre not so much. I musn't let extracurricular reading get in the way of studies though. I must learn the history, geography and customs of Lille and master a rough understanding of the French Language if I am to make my holiday in France next month worthwhile.
Here things have been hellish, I am on medication for an ear infection, which is the least of my worries. The tinnitus rather is my biggest obstacle. It is likely that it has been brought on by the infection and will pass when my course of medication is complete. It is however, equally possible that it has come about all by itself and will remain with me, either temporarily or permenantly, its too early to tell yet. Not too early though to make me go crazy. I have cried, torn at my hair and begged not to wake up, living in absolute horror of this affliction. Its like an annoying bleeping smoke detector alarm going off and staying on constantly, the only problem is you cant fan the smoke away or take the battery out. I liken it to a claustrophobia of the self. I am to see another doctor next week to see if the medication is working, I do not give a fuck if the infection is gone, so long as the tinnitus is. It is too early to speculate yet, but if it does dissapear I will not tell you, if I say no more on the issue here-after, take it to mean that I am cured, for I do not want it mentioned, even whispered by anyone as hearing the name of the illness will only get the individual thinking of it more and thus exaccerbate the symptoms. With anxiety in the mix too I can't help but see shades of my father. My father suffers from a very debilitating nervous-anxiety disorder; whenever he visits my Mom, he will rant incessantly about his illness, how it affects him, what treatments he is on and/or is likely to be recieving in the future and so on. He can do this up to 8 hours at a time before he decides to take his leave. She says herself that she is bored to exhaustion with it but is terribly sad at the same. Every decision he makes, every thought appears now to be dictated by his illness. In effect he has become an encyclopedia of it...and it scares me, where is he?...is that him, yes we can tell the illness is harming him, but where is he, in the life, in the thoughts that we once knew him. Its like hes no longer fighting back in a way that he reclaims some of his time for himself. I can reclaim if I am occupied, but to be forced to be occupied to be bullied by fear into it makes even the most pleasurable escapes seem like prisons of their own.
Elsewhere my music has suffered thanks to the hearing impairment caused by the infection, but it is not all bad news. I have in my possession a brand new electro-acoustic guitar and a few other bits and bobs to aid my playing and recording. Lets hope the Sunday mic night is ressurected at 'The Flora' now that the students are back.
I have at last got round to seeing a few must-see movies last month. 1) 'The Assissination of Richard Nixon', a film based on the true story of failed furniture salesman Sam Byke who in the early 70's tried to hi-jack an airliner and fly it into the White House. 2) Coppola's Opus, 'The Godfather' in countless best movie polls it is rated as the greatest movie of all time. I myself, now having watched it see it as a very competent movie but hardly the best of all time. A movie about Mob wars and Gangsters no matter how good will just never ever convince me that it is the best film ever, not in a million years, its not the movie, its just that the premise to begin with isnt nearly as appealing to me as some others are.
So Cuban Missile Crisis? yip!!!, yeh?... everyones heard the title, it pops up in news stories, the papers, and television every now and then and I thought well what the hell was it about anyway!!..Hooray for Wikipedia eh? Basically, in response to America having military outposts in Europe capable of firing missiles into the U.S.S.R, the Soviet Union aligned with Castro's communist regime in Cuba and installed Nuclear missiles there to even the playing field. America protested, blockaded the Cuban coastline, the international community accused the Soviet Union of inflaming the Cold War situation, leading to eventual Soviet withdrawl from Cuba. Blah blah blah, a.n.y.w.a.y, for me the interesting part happens a few decades later in 1983. I found a link to a side-story whilst reading about the CM.Crisis. The story goes that one Stanislav Petrov was on duty at a missile detection post for the night when his computer tells him that an American rocket had been fired and was heading for the Soviet Union. Cold War tension in this period was critical and any strike by one side could have have led to a Nuclear War. With little time available, Petrov reasoned that if the U.S were seriously firing upon the U.S.S.R, they would never fire just one single missile. Petrov instead reported it as a computer error. However, minutes later, his computer tells him that there are a whole bevvy of missiles bearing down on the U.S.S.R, information which cancels out the reason he choose not to deem the original attack as legitimate. At this juncture, Petrov contacts Moscow, Moscow demands to know if the country is being attacked and whether or not it ought to respond and launch missiles of its own! Petrov for whatever reason decides to follow his gut instincts again and reports that an attack is not imminent and that the computer is just malfunctioning. It turns out that he was in-fact right, the computer was malfunctioning, it had mistakenly taken sun beams bursting forth from behind the clouds on the horizon as enemy missile fire. Thats how one man averted a potential Nuclear War. Well I thought it was an incredible story myself. He was bestowed great honours in the U.S decades after his heroics, but was denounced as careless back home for making the judgement on a gut feeling, which if wrong would have proved disastrous for the Soviets.
Anyway that's about it for now
I leave you in defiant spirit...scared to death.
Current Mood: Blake
Current Music: Djali Zwan - 'Number of the beast'
“In art, in the pursuit of truth, they are voguish; they nibble at life. Provincials” (JF, 1961)|
~* Journal *~
I divulge this from a new place, a second story flat to be precise. It’s been over two weeks now since the move and the bedding-in has been quick and painless. I gather that when it really is imperative to change and adapt, one will do so quickly and with the minimum of fuss. However, I feel disconnected from the my beloved friends both here and abroad and also disconnected from the world at large. The affordability of the Internet is questionable on my meagre wages and I suppose that I value my extensive free periods all the more, but when we see roughly what the monthly living costs are, we may still yet, have the internet at home. That said, an Internet Café is situated now five minutes away and its hours of business suit me down to the ground. The surroundings here are a pleasant microcosm of what any modern day man like myself might require. Supermarkets, Restaurants, Off-Licenses, Cash-points, Hairdressers, Cafés, Pizza Parlours; besides a local video store and the like, I am quite content with the set-up overall. There’s even a few student bars around, one hosts an Open Mic night on a Sunday.
I had the benefit of briefly sitting in on said Open mic night this past Sunday, albeit for an hour. Attendance was poor to say the least and if someone wasn’t in the know or had forgotten, the humble amount of clapping that accompanied the close of a song was an unmistakable reminder. This is all of course irrelevant as I was only interested in the music itself; which was wall to wall covers, as is typical of most performances at acoustic nights. A handful of familiar tunes by well known artists like the ‘White Stripes’ and ‘The Fugees’ were played and well by the organiser and his friend, who later sussed that I “played guitar” and asked me to agree to do a few numbers. I declined, feeling it too sudden, but I then repented and promised to make up for it next weekend.
Carrying on the theme of music, I have some solemn news to tell. My cheap yet beloved acoustic guitar, which I purchased practically on the day I came to live in Cardiff six months ago is no more. It has ceased to be, it is devoid of life, it is an ex-guitar. How quietly did I be-moan the loss of my once unified instrument that now lay in multiples on the sitting room floor, ruined by a careless knock from my own limb. *Sigh!!* It shall be replaced, soon, even if I can’t really afford it.
The recent upsurge in violent action by Animal rights campaigners has led to the closure of a lab in Cambridge and a farm that bred guinea pigs for research, the owners of the second capitulated after their Grandmothers corpse had been forcibly removed from its resting place. In light of which, there have been fresh calls for the establishment to evaluate the legitimacy of testing drugs on animals, albeit in a scientific way. How valuable are animals as a living filter that ensures that treatments that find their way on to the shelves are safe? Throughout, there’s an element of bad communication in all of it for me. The status quo seems far more concerned with these medical and scientific elements of the practise, I.e - the health of human beings over that of the animals and whether or not it’s possible to climb down when no one is peddling (to my knowledge) a serious alternative method, whilst the opposition is more pre-occupied with the ethical and metaphysical side of the debate; in so many words, animals should be given an increased if not equal status to human beings, particularly in the way of rights pertaining to torture and the rights of individual. This inability to reach each other creates an immediate, clear divide, a gap that fans the flames.
I wonder if most people build a belief system around a general gut feeling, reaction or disposition that swings more strongly toward one viewpoint or another. These feelings can be triggered by a strong family or social influence, a past event or experience to stimuli. Eventually as the individual develops, he or she magnifies these feelings by gathering supporting evidence for their opinion, feeling breeds opinion, opinion seeks knowledge, knowledge feeds feeling and so it goes, a repeating, self perpetuating circle of the three. Of course this is just a hypothesis of mine. Nevertheless it is one I do not follow. I’m more likely to perplex myself with the arguments of both sides and worry that I have no fixed opinion, only a series of theories that refine yet defeat one another. The bare bones being that I feel no great specie’ist emotions either way. Who is greater they ask, human beings? They are a more complex organism and are top of the food chain, but is this really good enough. There is on a primal level, nothing unnatural about such a statement. After all, every species is imbued with a tendency to put its own kind above that of another, the fact that humans do so yet justify it with their intellect isn’t necessarily because they have learned to transcend their ’instincts’. The human rationale may only be a vehicle for instincts which are merely disguised, not tamed. Additionally, the protestor makes a good point, why should the human have this greater status, especially one which was given to it by nothing more than its own kind (or in some cases, a higher being) In the scheme of things, if one realises just how small a single opinion is, how small a house is a lone individual for such a huge bestowment of universal legitimacy, then they might see just how difficult it is to stay so married to one inflated feeling with such stoicism and consistency. On the other hand, that might as well be the point right? Its your life, you are your universe and you must fight for its recognition and existence at all costs because it simply might be all that you will ever know and have. Anyway, I’m off on a tangent here; So sticking with the contemporary situation as it stands; if we are to believe the experts that say animal testing is the only real viable option in delivering safe medicines to the market, then one is surely left with only a few options:-
1) We continue with our present course of action,
2) Develop a more ethical alternative that is at least economically sustainable (yes its horrible to bring the ‘e’ word into this, but realistically speaking, one has to if one wants success)
3) We begin testing either on human tissue grown in the lab or humans themselves (the latter I doubt would ever gain acceptance and would quite possibly provoke more discontent than does animal testing)
4) We discontinue all kinds of drug trial and live-testing (In my opinion, no-one would even consider this unless point 2) was to be fulfilled in such a way that would make preliminary testing obsolete)
I welcome any comments that people might have regarding this issue.
ELSEWHERE THIS WEEK…
* ‘S’ and I visited Cardiff’s natural history museum together. An assistant, clearly flustered, either due to a difficulty with a previous customer or with her own predicament in having to work on a Sunday, was very rude toward me and spoiled my mood for a good quarter of the visit. Thankfully the malady passed and a good long while was spent meandering through the entire natural history of planet earth in the form of video presentations, rock and model displays, charts and graphs and poor dinosaur sound effects that pretended to mimic the various cries of the ‘terrible lizards’ Apparently, dinosaur fossils or ‘finds’ rather, are a rare occurrence in Wales, only a few fragments of teeth and bone have been discovered thus far. I put this down to the fact that Wales never really stayed out of or in the sea for very long. Stability came after the extinction of the reptiles, meaning that during the three periods that we commonly associate with the dinosaurs, Wales was only a suitable stomping/feeding ground for short periods, before it was once again reclaimed by the sea. Whatever skeletons did remain were swept away or disturbed by the sea and never got the chance to become imbedded in the rock.
* Jannete is surely the unluckiest soul I have ever come across. Since I last wrote, she has been attacked on numerous occasions by her drug-addicted neighbours who have resorted to physical intimidation in their hope to stave off her visits to the Police. Visits that they themselves precipitated by causing obscene amounts of noise pollution. The attacks have become so serious and the atmosphere so volatile that she has fled her house and gone to live with friends for the time being. The girl is a magnet for trouble and sympathy in equal measure.
* Despite the loss of the acoustic, I have continued my musical experiments with my old electric guitar. Material has been much more forthcoming since the move. It is a feeling of deja-vu since 90 percent of the demo I sent to Pete was conceived in the weeks after moving into Sarah’s family home. Having lost the facilities of said family home, I am now without some of the components required to convert the new material and transfer it onto disk. *sigh* ah well, these should not be to difficult to come by.
Next Time… Red visit’s the neighbourhood and Paul reviews the following movies:-
’What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’, ’Y Tu Mama Tambrien’ and ‘Stripes’
P.S - If anyone wishes to visit, sleep over or simply meet up then drop me a comment here
At LJ, or send an E-Mail or text to the familiar numbers and addresses.
See you around
Current Location: G. Faure
Current Music: The Jam - 'Thats entertainment'
"I can perceive the urge to self-fulfilment, suddenly, not as a raison d'etre, but a cancer'|
~* Journal *~
My current feeling of isolation is not so much a by-product of post university life, but a mixture of my job, my issues and mine and everyone else’s geographical location. Lucky then that Laura’s house is within walking distance and that she was hosting a party. Friends and strangers were all very approachable; the pill popping infantry man did scare ’S’ a little with his hard up tales of combat in Iraq and inability to fathom my humour. I got sick of feeling like I had to defend myself every time a person innocently asked me how I earned my money these days. The narrow minded ditty of “You are your job” would not lay low and so I rallied against it constantly just in case someone else thought it to be true. Then again, I think my job bothers so many people around me on some level, whether it be its deficiencies in value, earnings, status or not being representative of my full potential. ’S’ says that Jayne’s ex made a decent living working at a sixth form college whilst training to be a teacher, but like all other avenues the 'GTS' is another where competition is fierce and where a little prior experience may go a long way toward getting you accepted.
Continuing in the trend of parties, another had been scheduled for the night of the apex of the working mans efforts. I’m talking of course about pay day. Varsity’s was the location, dinner was supposed to mark the occasion, (I.e - Chrissy’s engagement) but stupidity tries and succeeds because food was off the menu for the night, heaven knows why. Alcohol was served instead along with wallet shrinking amounts of charity. ‘S’ must have bought only one drink the entire evening, yet still got more bombed than I’ve ever seen her. Charity made the drinks cheap and the drink made the laughter cheap in turn; mobile phone pictures were exchanged frantically, weak-pops and nob gags reigned supreme and filler was nearly all that was spoken. Am I just bitter to say this, or is this the price of sobriety? A bit of both maybe, but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. Work had ended only hours ago and so even the emptiest of cheer was going to make an impact.
Many fans rate this, Morrissey’s first album release after the break up of The Smiths, as his best. On its original release it outsold anything Morrissey had previously released with ’The Smiths’ and now with his current modern day resurgence it will be sure to sell even more copies. From the first track you can instantly tell the album is a Morrissey one and not a Smiths one; this is because whilst Morrissey’s one of a kind singing is one in the same, Steven Street’s musical accompaniment is not. Where as Marr could really write a melody and make you recognise a particular song by its intro, way before Morrissey had chimed in, Street simply does not have the tools artistically. What he conjures up will suffice of course, but its not the same. The version I purchased was re-mastered and had additional tracks tagged on at the end, but aside from ’The Girl Least Likely To’ they seemed little more than filler in an album that already had enough tracks to begin with.
Best Songs:- ’Everyday Is Like Sunday’, ’Suedehead’, ’I don’t Mind if You Forget Me’,
‘Dial-a-Cliché’, ’Ordinary Boys’
Stellar opener ‘The Fairest of the Seasons’ kicks off Nico’s solo career after her departure from Warhol‘s factory and ‘The Velvet Underground’. However, since the majority of the songs on the record were written for Nico by old collaborators, band mates and admirers like John Cale and Bob Dylan, its hard, musically at least to call this Nico’s first solo effort. ‘Chelsea Girl’ is considered to be a continuation of the breakthrough album ‘Peel Slowly and See’ and ‘The Marble Index’, Nico's second offering, to be a more definitive representation of both Nico the voice and Nico the artist. Still, Nico’s unique vocals are arresting enough on this release to make the songs her own. I am considering getting ‘The Marble Index’ on the strength of this record and on the strength of the mysterious women behind it.
Best Songs:- ‘These Days’, ‘The Fairest of the Seasons’, ‘Somewhere There’s a Feather’,
‘Ill Keep It With Mine’, ‘Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams’
* Went home for a check up with my ENT doctor. His replacement gave me the all clear and looked bemused when I shook his hand at the conclusion of our meeting. During the visit, I came upon a slightly scuffed copy of Pete and Mine’s ill fated rag, “Scandal Sheet’. I read it through of course. Such pleasure in these old memories as well as the pain of their passing.
* Music is coming to me in scraps at the moment. The bounty of new material that came to me in December and January looks to be receding. In a whole month I have written but one song and one or two that could be left alone, but for the fact that I can feel there is more to be uncovered. I have not played in public since the middle of March.
* Having come across Jackson Pollock, the widely acclaimed 'revolutionary' American painter a few times on my travels around the web, I thought it high time that I pay the man some proper attention. Sadly for me, the man's art was the type of extreme abstraction that leaves me feeling emotionally unscathed and entirely uninterested. Whilst I accept it to be self evident that Pollock took his work very seriously and possessed a great eye for colour, his 'coupe de grace' however was found more in the technique he pioneered rather than by 'genius'. I fail to see the vision, the difficulty or the intention in his pieces, which consequently allows the spectator literally, to take from it whatever he so chooses....the irony being that those who look upon it are more the artist than the painter is. Surely any number of people with an eye for colour could in using the same technique, produce any number of similar casual arabesques. To sum up "great art transcends, it stands apart, it is isolated. We lose ourselves in what we could never create"
* Since Red and Dan’s trip last year, the existence of the video porn shop is common knowledge, however, Cardiff's delightful sex outlet was not, until now that is. 'Passion' as its called, sells all kinds of items that are sure to enhance ones sex life, or so they say. So when ‘S’ and I do finally move into the flat on Dalton Court (please!!!!!!!!! Let it be by the end of the month for heavens sake) then any visitors that might wish to check it out can come along with us and buy lots of toys and flavoury things
...And finally before I leave, I present a little more Fowles:
"A desire is like a rotting apple - the skin rots last. It goes bad from the core, the heart outward"
Current Mood: Hank Chinaski
Current Music: Brian Jonestown Massacre - not if you were the last dandy..
"Being grateful is more to do with who you are than how your status compares with others"|
~* Journal *~
In will not be long now before I receive my passport. The difficult part is over thanks to Dan Healey at the University who kindly offered to aid me in my effort to find a legitimate candidate for signatory.. I had intended for Mario to be my signatory since Sarson’s was absent on research leave, but alas the passport office only accepts those who possess British passports. Mario, having only a German Passport was therefore not eligible. Its all quite mad really but then like many safety procedures, those set by the Passport office are not perfect. Still, it was most inconvenient to have the signatory business swallow up all our (mine and Sarah’s) time, killing off any chance we might have had to swing by the houses of some old friends.
It is well known that the perfect antidote to contemporary life is a return to a previous one. Re-visiting Swansea University was a such a thing for me. As if to fly in the face of the passage of time, It felt natural to be there, sitting in 'Impressions' again, bugging the secretary, flicking through the Waterfront…...sure lecturers are retiring and the new breed are taking their place but its much the same as it was. So similar in fact that you could fool yourself into thinking that it was still your time. At the close it was the lack of familiar faces that brought me back to the present though I’ll refrain from expressing a wish to return to all this mind you, for as Sarah tells me, I am one who is never comfortable with his here and now, whatever that may be.
Speaking of Sarah, beside the rough patch in the dying days of this week, she has been a great help to me, stoic in her attempts to pull me out of my slumps, She has a nack for knowing when to engage and offer advice and when to disengage and leave me to my lonesome. It pleases me to see her becoming more and more culturally involved as of late. Of course this occurence need not be inflated because everyone appears to have interests in these areas, but when your living with your other half, then anything you can share together, anything that will add to conversation is a sure plus. Her grip in these instances mind you, is vice-like. Trying to pull Sarah away from ‘Six Feet Under’ or ‘Another Code: two memories’ has been beyond me =)
I played a second open-mic at Buffalo’s last Sunday. The majority of the talent this time around were amateurs and as a result most performances were less polished. The atmosphere was friendly and relaxed and I also felt more that way inclined as well. I decided to take the plunge early and played second. The ideal beginning was not to spawn the ideal end though, as I was dreadful at best. Two re-starts of the first song, a faulty microphone on the third and the usual “your vocals were to low” feedback from Sarah at the end. As if this wholesome calamity was not enough, I forgot the title of my own song. ’Quiet Alarm’, there it is, maybe I’ll get it tattooed into my flesh so I won't forget. Incidentally, you can hear the song Paul forgot here -----------> http://www.purevolume.com/rey
along with a new cover song i've posted.
* Elizabeth called that same Sunday. A fine hour was spent mostly locked in conversation about university and state politics, the differing nature of social behaviour both here and across the Atlantic. She is to go to University after all to study Nursing. I can only hope that she continues to grow as much there as she has done beforehand.
* Phil’s around online a lot more these days and thankfully I am playing chess again. (Phil sucks at Chess) It brought up fond memories of thrashing Pete in a few moves in the second year. I recall that he won once, a fluke, a pithy blip in the Cosmos really.
* Uni-Laura’s party is next weekend. I can’t wait, haven’t attended a party in so long.
……….and now to close out my entry. Here are a few words from Mrs Sarah.
* The world has blown up, but we survived. We must be superhuman, lets hear you celebrate. That is why Laura has decided to host a party. Which I shall attend and enjoy. Not even pound world can stop me. Bwahahahaha.
*Sarah is a god, who shares her chocolate with everyone, and that makes up for all her bad points. I love her so much I want to stay with her for ever.
*Red has been elected PM of parties. He came first in the electoral polls after 212 members voted his “Dead-Milosevic” party best bash of the year. One leading lobbyist, a Sonia McChien had the following to say:-
“ Well everyone came as a dead Milosevic you see, and so there we were, 20 dead Milosevic’s in Reds room, which we turned into a big jail cell, drinking brew-ski’s and playing ‘Body Decompositor’ on Reds PC, it was a right old laugh”
Urrrr…of course dear, and that about does it.
~ p ~
Current Mood: Radio Astronomer
Current Music: The Zoot Sims
"Having Children is Mankind's Gods Complex"|
Well life is undeniably similar to the one I described for you last time. I fear that an element of routine has set in, albeit one of stifling comfort. Yes I am sure that I could have it all...
Snow rushed downwards diagonally past Reds window, it was March of all months. Anyway, I had been visiting along with Sarah of course. It was a sojourn of guilt and longingness long put off. It bore scant fruit as far as Lindsey went; the timing of my arrival unmistakably wretched since she was soon to be off gone, off to the gym. Nevertheless, in Swansea, friends are plentiful and it soothed me to be able to spend what little time I had with everyone, laughing, catching up, chewing up the contemporary political landscape and spitting it out again. Red gave us a pictorial account of lives we only ever are briefly a part of; A blissful sadness as all great moments of reflection and realisation are. Then it was off to the basement on the hill to see Dan, Randal and the others. Randal will soon be travelling the world again at the end of the summer. How nice.
Sarahs parents took me to see the flat today. All my earthly provisions it seems, will be catered for since the premise is surrounded by numerous shops, stores, pubs, supermarkets and cafe's, all within walking distance, touching distance even. I still can't help but feel a fraud but its enough isnt it? In fact a couple of old friends from the Ferry itself seem to be following my lead or vice versa and setting up home in Cardiff. One of these is Edwin. He and I swapped numbers and promised to keep in touch, but now that we have done so I find that our conversations hold no interest for me. Even music, something I felt certain that we would bond on, is for him a choosing of his parents and not pf his own; It is because he feels he owes them that he continues, it has become another means of making money and keeping the family happy. I felt cheated really. Cheated and deflated. I suppose he does to.
I watched 'Leaving Las Vegas' earlier. Nicolas Cage plays an alcoholic who loses the will to live and decides to drink himself to death in Las Vegas. Elizabeth Shue plays his female companion, a hooker abused by her Russian pimp, desperately searching for some real human contact. In short, both are so low and lonely that they are prepared to accept and disregard the others flaws so that they can, in the very least, have some company on the way down. Whilst some parts, especially the majority of the ending appear contrived, there is still enough here to be had in both the humour and misfortune of total reckless abandon to keep one interested.
I took the plunge and forked out for an MRS-4, a digital four track. I still have to retrieve some leads from back home and purchase some other odds and ends, a pickup, a mic, small things really and then I shall be off and running. In the meantime, any and all songs will exist as creations channelled through the mic on an MP3 player. I've succesfully managed to get them onto a CD finally with the help of a reliable file converter, something that proved to be of even further use, since it allowed me to upload some rough drafts of my songs to the web.
You can listen to them here if you dare: http://www.purevolume.com/rey
I'll chop and change and add some new ones every now and then.
I'll write some more at a later date. Heres to hoping Buffalo's will let me play tommorow as I chickened out of a few Open-Mic Nights last week. Pathetic.
See you around
Current Mood: Mike Figgis
Current Music: Beck - 'Loser'
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