Friday, December 20, 2002

[Morning after Christmas party] Mmm... funny how the bits of blood you pick out of your nose after a night's drinking look just like the bacon bits from Pizza Hut… I'm sincerely hoping that isn't just me. Also strange chipping your teeth (think it was on a bottle or something) and then finding yourself cutting your tongue on the newly sharpened dentine… Also strange walking down the street in a lighthouse jacket and dirty skipper's cap to cries of "hello sailor" and "mein Kapitan"… and the twisted vagaries of space filling

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

That's what I call the architect of me downfall. Tim. Not as in my stepdad, though you can read something freudian into that if you want; you have a right to your opinion and I have a right to use your teeth as toecaps. No I mean Total Intestinal Maelstrom. These last two days I've been fountaining from both ends thanks to a Fillet o' Fish meal I picked up one stormy night from Maccy D's.

Now to help all you bowel-obsessives out there get your fix for the day, I'm going to hand you over to Professer S.R. Esser Sr. from the Pulmonary, Rectal and Oral Facility. He's going to explain to you what you should and shouldn't do when your guts are mankier than Long John's long-johns.

"Thenk you. Es en expert in disorders of the gut, colon end pencreatic trect, Eh thought Eh'd begin by simply giving you eh childish list of things you should end shouldn't eat when you're vomiting through your nuhse (Dan's note: actually just did that - neat party trick - well if your idea of a trick is clearing everyone out as quick as possible):
From best to worst... chicken soup, plen rice, BLT beguette, Egg-fred rice. Eh feel Eh've covered ull the food groups there. Enyone fency en enemeh?"

That concludes tonite's lecture. Eh thenk yuh.

Saturday, November 30, 2002

"Moood of blind destruction tonight. Anger popping on surface like lead bubbles. Wise to stay away tonight – I’m going to do stupig things if I left to myself, if let to get properly drunbk…"

[An evening spent drinking and dancing, with itchy knuckles. A morning spent in the company of Steps, S-Club and idolising Robbie Williams]
I wish.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Hey brain.

Three things there were,
Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh
brought before a sham god or king
(after the magi had been a-hawking)
and they fetched a very fine price:
eternal insurance was on their dice

For those who know less than they ought
a bottle I'm drinking of finest port
if you think, for alcohol it's a touch late
insight that provides of my mental state
Three more things I present
Of times past, thoughts long spent

Frankincense. Last night and this morning Bath was shrouded in fog like frosted glass. Every light glimmered as if through a new medium, my love for neon was renewed, and the thick gray curtains engloved every sound. I sat in my apartment after all were long asleep, and started thinking about where I was going, and my niggling fears. Very mobile is the fog, it seeps into every part of me.

Gold: all that glitters is not. Looking at the cult of celebrity again (which I promised to do, sometime long ago) I came upon Celebrity Big Brother, the tribute to our moden heroes and heroines. In olden times the hero was king for a year, at least ceremonially, during which time was treated with due respect and deference before the end of his arc Then he would be sent to join his god. The method for this is surprisingly humiliating: he might be defeated in a chariot race by his rival, sacrificed on an altar, or be cuckolded by his wife, the high priestess. Nowadays our modern heroes are retired to public humiliation, crushed by the expectation of their failure, and this program is the culmination of this, the recreation of the endless cycle. This half of the show kills careers: the normal Big Bro generates them, so they'll never run out. A great program idea, being eternally self-maintaining.

Myrrh is hardest to write about. I was profoundly disturbed tonight when I picked up an old dictionary of mine for a browse (I was eating linguini, scotch salmon, and bored) and found it was one given when I left junior school. It had been signed by many people who I don't remember, and three times by my first girlfriend. I remember nothing of that time, and only a little of her. Now this could turn into a sad lament for lost love, but there's another time for that. What I'm worried about, o mio, o mio, is that I realise now my memory is kaput. Shot. gone. I remember nothing of two days ago, let alone ten years ago. It's like I don't really live here. Facts I remember clear as day, or at least can make up clear as mist: 1989 Berlin wall. Spinoza was a lens-polisher. As demand decreases, so does price. But friends of ten years ago? What I had for lunch yesterday? Nothing, nada. The little deaths of ideas and people happen constantly in my head, drawing the big one nearer. Myrrh. We all know what it means.

Remind me sometime to tell you about memory-palaces. They're worthy of anyone's attention.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Nice to see that the BBC is at least professing to make an effort at the public service ethos it's supposed to uphold. The great Britons series, while confirming the hideous mental shallows of a great part of the nation, also indicated that the media have not suceeded in erasing all culture from our minds. If you think about it, the current TV and tabloid output probably simplifies things for the average person, as when you talk to them they have much more of a grasp of complex issues, or are much more capable of grasping these issues than the papers would indicate; there's a reminiscence of Socrates and the slave-boy . This has worried me, that the media who cliam to be supplying 'what the people want' are in fact dictating to them what they want, something a true broadsheet should never do: a true review should state 'if you want x, then this supplies nn% of x.' A tabloid (and increasingly a broadsheet) dictates, you want/believe x, then get thee y.

And so the Great Britons series, began with the public, and asked "what it is that you like? We've never bothered finding out before. :$" This is why I was so surpised because it began with a few dumkopf decisions like Michael Crawford and John Peel, but mainly focussed on actual great britons, that those educated in specialist fields would themselves point towards as great. Myself I have trouble pointing towards a great briton, as firstly my greats, apart from shakespeare, cromwell and john lilburne are all foreigners - nietszche, proust, flann o'brien, spinoza. But I was pleasantly surprised by the people's intelligent choices, and cynically satisfied by the plethora of media whores filling up the screen, professing love of actual heroes out of our time (apart from little lost Alan Davies, and his John Lennon, who I felt sorry for, and Rosie Boycott who I would gladly see impaled on the o'ergrown stake of her manipulative ego.)

I do somewhat suspect Isembard Kingdom Brunel was chosen only for his name though...

Friday, November 22, 2002

Become the thing you hate you will, hmm. It's been a long time since I wrote but there's a certain comfort in that statement. The black and white mythos of Star Wars can dandle you on a white-plastic knee and tell you such things, but the fact is we oscillate between so many things from day to day, that to point to us at any one point is to point at the hated and the loved in glorious union. Or at least some of it. The horrible stultified Lucas stuff seems to indicate that change is bad, very bad, and only the lucky, or blessed will come through it.

Now I'm no shining example of a progressive chap - though I profess it with all my might, my petty mind captured by the baublous idea of liberalism, I flee from challenge more than the next man - yet I have an ideal I'd like to reach, and many I'd like to avoid, and I see their development and retardance in myself every day. Whether it be toryism, that persistent patch of clear skin amidst Cromwell's glorious warts, or arrogance, the scourge of the shy man, they all pop up in the copure of a day. Even my blessed, carefully cultivated, dull calm gets roused into mild insanity daily by the most trivial things... this is the thing of which character is made, of the constant unwilling undevelopment of man under random circumstance's whim. And for this reason, for this rejection of the black and white, I embrace it. I long to be (unconsciously for a change) the ignorant, non-thinker, non-writer that my slow mind lets me be when sleep is missing from my stock, the lard-arsed tory twat, or the arrogant social monster, back-slapping and grimly gleaming my eyes at folks, a steel grin rivetted on my face... and every day I'm all of these things, to proud chagrin.

{above is gibberised plastic. Or plasticised gibberish. whichever, avoid it.}

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

They say a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. Thankfully I don’t know who ‘they’ are, so I guess I’m relatively safe. This week I have been mostly involved in skulduggery, piracy and random acts of violence. Which is all fine and above board for a games journo (which I’m starting to claim I am, a little prematurely perhaps.) Past this though lies my other behaviour this week, something that can only be classed as politicking… ahem… sorry, I appear to have a bad taste in my mouth… job arriving that I must apply for, yet want other job, that could also be in the pipeline… and I have been playing up to all factions. It seems to be totally reprehensible, yet also the natural self-preservation thing to do.

Damn. I left this on my desktop for two days while I was out at a training course. And I happen to know that people have been on my computer. Shit. I also happen to know that I left the job I hope to apply for open on the desktop as well. Ah well, they had to find out somehow.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

Strange it is, hmmm. Tonight for the first time in months with the aid of friends I overcame my fear of clubs, those dens of sedition, and went dancing. And in dancing I seem to have been invited to apply for a job I have a good chance of getting, if I swot up on my games and subbing over the next couple of weeks. It terrifies me, but I have to apply. Though another friend is trying to arrange for me to get a job on his mag (implicitly) I feel if I reject this job, I won't get any other. Yet it commits me to staying in production, something of a poisoned chalice that. Yet it's a games mag. Perhaps I should just wait and see, but waiting gets you nowhere, and in rejecting this the portcullis falls to all other routes with same mag. Freakin hate the word but proactive I must be. Inner tedium seeps out like water under door.

Also have been leaked secret that cannot be spread, yet relevant and pertinent to my situation. Demand internal is to use to my advantage, result internal (once qualms/morals added in) is secrecy.

Welcome to petty politics. Abandon all hope ye who enter here.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

There's a nice thing. My walk to work (sounds like a 1930s soviet/1940s UK slogan - Walk to Work! - accompanied by picture of Stakhanovite male striding into picture) is becoming a theme of these posts. One of my two routes takes me across a pedestrian iron bridge that's almost as wide as it's long. Under the bridge flows the Avon. Now I was wondering at and through bath late last night, after the fireworks finished (though in my *crazy* life they never really stop - tch!), and I looked down at t' rain on t' river. It had a thick foam floating on it, presumably churned up from the weir upriver, and the rain was attacking it, making endlessly pockmarks on the rivers face, surrounded by islands of yellow scum. And I just looked at it, and stopped and stood there for ten minutes watching it. Something gets me about decay and decrepitude, rusted iron, and hollowed buildings, and, it seems, floating scum.
It was just one of those Amélie moments: Daniel aime la pluie sur des fleuves, le néon sur le macadam noir, le sentir des racines sous pied (Daniel likes rain on rivers, neon on black tarmac, the feel of roots underfoot.) Somthing holy, even for a heathen like me.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Blog, blog, blog.

It is an odd position to be finding yourself in, when your back's no longer to the wall, and yet the day job is still meant to be in a state of panic. That said I'm utterly exhausted now, and yet its bonfire night. I should be wandering around in undknown muddy darkness with people I don't know watching bits of cordite produce light in the sky above. It's the bonfires that get me - fuck the twinkly fairy lights they chuck up - I want to be in wellies, knee deep in a field, eating some diseased bowel product of a long-dead animal (sausages) watching a fire the size of a house, and probably containing enough wildlife to maintain a petting zoo, incinerate the faces of the prats who press too close.

That's the meaning of bonfire night to me - warm, broad, fiery alienation.

Monday, November 04, 2002

One frickin piece of freelance keeps coming back to haunt me. Didn't have time to do it properly, and now every few seconds I get flashbacks to it. Such a hideous piece of work, the game and the copy I was forced to write. S'called Far West, and I plead that friendly bombs come and rescind it's creators' right to life. It got worse as I played it, and then even worse when I realised it wasn't an awful game, just dull. Gack.

Friday, November 01, 2002

Terror of a day now graying out behind me. I frickin hate getting things quite that wrong - reminds me of university days, and my lackadaisical attitude back then. Not that I'm any better now, but it's lazy with self-knowledge this time around.
Oh I'm knacker'd again. Everything feels like I'm swimming through fog, my memory fails me every other second, I find myself lost thoughtless just standing or sitting. Another late night of mind-blocking work - an excellent way to stop all the thoughts that rush in when work everyday, the million things I ab-so-lutely have to do before I can sleep that night, none of which ever get done. I meant to learn to drive, to dance to sing. Well drive anyway, but it's never gonna get done. Can't remember where this was going now. Bollix.

Thursday, October 31, 2002

I promised a mate I'd put this in, despite its mediocrity...

You are talking to Russian Theatregoer
Russian Theatregoer says:
update your blog you bastard!
Chalk on Glass =_= says:
doh. will do when I get a mo'
Russian Theatregoer says:
you're severely inconveniencing me. I've got no-one to live my life through…
Chalk on Glass =_= says:
agh, I remember now - the last one I wrote got lost on monday when it crashed..
Russian Theatregoer says:
talking of life just saw someone getting mown down on St Giles
Chalk on Glass =_= says:
really. shit. dead? (Living your life through another's death - very Cronenberg)
you are joking aren't you?
Russian Theatregoer says:
probably not. she was whimpering 'I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die' which suggests that she was gonna live. seriously!
Chalk on Glass =_= says:
shit. Did you help?!? Or did you piss on her twitching body.... to sterilise the wounds, y'know...
Russian Theatregoer says:
the paramedics had just got there before me. I would have given her mouth to mouth
Russian Theatregoer says:
but she was a minger [not that it's ever stopped me in the past]
Chalk on Glass =_= says:
but the paras held you back did they, until they'd finished...
Russian Theatregoer says:
yeah, then I fucked her as rigor mortis set in
Russian Theatregoer says:
how are you anyway?
Chalk on Glass =_= says:
'I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die'
Chalk on Glass =_= says:
No my back's completely fucked, and I've got a fuckload of freelance for tomorrow, and my mum's coming to stay tonight... bad mix.
Russian Theatregoer says:
my back is always fukced!
Chalk on Glass =_= says:
really? that would be to do with the brown bags oddbins sells, right?
Russian Theatregoer says:
Chalk on Glass =_= says:
erm... brown bags tend to contain whiskey.
Chalk on Glass =_= says:
Whiskey means tramping
Chalk on Glass =_= says:
Tramping means lying on sleeping rough
Russian Theatregoer says:
Chalk on Glass =_= says:
Sleeping rough = park bench
Chalk on Glass =_= says:
Park bench = modern stylish living
Chalk on Glass =_= says:
modern stylish living = hypochondria
Russian Theatregoer says:
hypochondria=terminal illness
Chalk on Glass =_= says:
'I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die'

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Signs of a bad hangover (no. 195 in a continuing series of alcoholic diasters) : Dinner consisting of canned tuna in brine and mushy peas - mixed. With Guinness as an apertif. Eesh.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Sci-fi idea - future world where everything filtered to end user - houses filter visitors, phone calls filter/alter conversations based on preferences (that become implicit as you grow up in world) - siftware - great theme to bring up standard epistemological question - end panglossian society protected from outside world - crux of course is it's not - real world - assume anyway. future shock in it perhaps...
Pure moments of embarassment §16,970
Sat at desk, with dictionary of quotations open in front of me at completely inappropriate section for computer magazine, with web page open on computer "how to make lysergic acid in the home", and big chunky headphones on spewing out the bonzo dog doodah band's "we are normal and we want our freedom." Interrupted in this by respectable, up and coming young editor who quietly asks me if I'd like to do some freelance... My ruddy cheeks could have turned the seas incarnadine...

Monday, October 21, 2002

I feel... someone should nail me to the wall to keep me up... sleep, and this is just a timewaste. Must sleep. Must work - why not both. Never been happier, perhaps. I'm feeeling pure now, committed, should I be? Yoda moment.

Rough rain rolls down glass
trapped inside, warm but alone
no out, strange grey wall

Mmm..;.. rabbits. It's 9:44, I went to bed at 2,
and I've been up for 3 something hours. Great
birthday - we missed your presence (and your
presents :P) Crustily gorgeous beer festival,
typically redeeming curry, and drinks in the
puce tower of my home. There's nice.

yours, laughing in the inferno,


Thursday, October 17, 2002

Begorrah, the day has come, my will be done, on earth you’ve placed this heathen.

Excuse the religious-associative text, but I’ve finally been embarrassed into writing again. I was trying to avoid it I guess, just subsume my mental processes into a round of drink, games and a little of the other. But I keep finding myself having thoughts I don’t want to lose (like anybody but me cares if they go) and scribbling them down on the backs of envelopes, grabbing fliers off students, buying magazines and inscrawling them. As it is, my little origami memes end up piled on my desk or just tipped away. I’m losing so much.

So, brothers and sisters, the theme for today’s sermon, spread the lard, is ‘classification: or the fitting of an new personality into an established stereotype. How and why it’s another pet hate oh mio, o’ mine.’

Actually I can’t be arsed. It’s my birthday in two days, I’m building myself a computer nad I have far too much to do this lunchtime to finagle with such tchotkes.

So summary instead: Internal of person initially = tabula rasa + predispositions – Leibniz described as veins in marble. Perception of others of external appearance and mistakes builds personality: forms initial personality. Alternative structures for bringing up in mean people don’t fit stereotype personality wise in certain situations – every time I move to new place, people try and force me into something I don’t feel I should be restricted to. Damn this ain’t no summary – Brian bring down the curtain.
Oooh… comic plot – which I hearby copyright, pending offers. Bunch of Philosopher superheroes (Y'know the lens-polishers - Spinoza, Leibniz, Descartes, John Dee and his weapon salve, that Rabbi and his golem) fighting templars and the less philosophically rigourous throughout C17th – plot based loosely on Candide – but starts with Pangloss skinned, being tortured in flame-ridden environment, before chin being grabbed, and far too toothy mouth leering close, saying "still think this is the best of all possble worlds, Dr Pangloss?" Next page cut to mouth similarly positioned breathing on lens, vaguely pob-esque... thoughts?
Signs of a bad huangover (too much saki) (no. 194 in a continuing series of alcoholic diasters) : Putting instant coffee in my filter coffee. Eesh.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Every day I hurry on the way to my perceived work past what Les Routiers (Levenshulme's premier chip gourmand) shurely must call 'Bath's finest eating establishment'; McDonald's. And every night I stroll back past, and think "I could really do with soaking my heart in a big hunk of fat." This, despite what I've read in the papers, despite the hearsay, despite the book I read of the massed factories mulching up meat and potatoes and the quality of those goods, and the total amorality of the original desperate entrepeneurs.

Further it is also the fact that every morning I shudder as I pass the bins where the food is thrown every five minutes. The smell diffusing from these great steaming red and yellow tubs is the same uric dampness that you find on a tramp on the way out: slow death. It reminds the passerby that every chip, every glob of extralipid mayo, is a few more seconds off the dead end of you, the bits of collapsing bowels and kidneys that we all want to miss really. No-one wants to die: some people prefer it to a slow degeneration: but if we have to die (and we do, whatever you think comes after) then we all want to go cleanly.

What we mean by clean varies considerably. Some think it literally. Some think quick and painless. Popstars addled by antidepressants and t' cult o' celebrity think it means young. Businessmen doubtless think it is with their misdemeanours undiscovered. Academics think the same, but relish the thought of a posthumous discovery of their personality (á la john major and his political life). The religious think it is whatever fits in with their arbitrary (but society-supporting) moral code, be it not having chewed bacon rind or having used someone else to bloody their hands. Your mother thinks it's with clean knickers on.

However you opine, on one thing everyone but Elvis agrees: we don't want to be burgered to death.

Next time: how this relates to Plato's concept of 'akrasia' (incontinence)
too many thoughts, not enough sleep. Article title "How can you be pregnant and stylish?" in the increasingly small c conservative Guardian - how can you be so fatuous yet run the country's media, and be the progenitor of the next generation of that bubbleheaded capital elite? Drives me to tears, I tell ya.

Friday, September 27, 2002

This morning I woke up deaf. Rolled over and found it was just one ear, but worrying all the same.Tried multiple methods for loosening of said wax. (bath, finger, toilet paper.) Nothing fixed. Walking to work, I found myself in a ghostly bliss, everything chilled and foglike. Spent much time this afternoon waiting in one of those great new walk-in centres, until a nurse could look in my ear

"you've got wax" she said

"I know" I said

irritated by the failure of her diagnosis, she tells me to "spend 20 minutes lying down a day with an ear full of olive oil.

I snort and leave.
and get to the kerb opposite the pharmacy
and stop
and think
and squint
and go in.
And the pharmacist sells me a very expensive bottle of olive oil and a dropper with a fixed smirk on his wide face.

So I have spent the afternoon sat in my office with olive oil dribblin' out of my left ear. I feel like I've been had and my ear keeps bubbling.

O well. at least I can have a nice salad when I get home. And I know just the place to get the dressing from...

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Nepotism. Profligate disease or the most productive system yet found for the regulation of society? Ask a member of our ruling elite and you may suprisingly find the latter. A few bitter old sods, like yours truly, may claim the former but we can be dismissed out of hand for being failings of the system, ingrates unwilling or unable to work with other people who recognise their qualities...

I remember when I was but a small child I thought the patron-client system of Rome, whilst an efficient method for social progression and interaction, was totally unsuited to the administration of the Empire. But then I thought of the need for the patrons to have clients they could be proud of, ones who would reflect well on them. Only the best clients would do, surely? The ones best suited for the positions on offer?

And my thoughts circled back on themselves. The best clients for what exactly? Administration of the nation, requistioning of military supplies, the running of the law courts maybe? Well, thought my puppy self, these are interesting tasks, but side servings to the main meal: the progression through the ranks. Friends dragging each other from success to success, the division of labour between the two of them producing more success than could ever be achieved alone. I'm talking about factionalising now, the formation of self-serving cliques with nothing in common but the recognition of a desire to suceed in the face of other factionalisers. The happy honest individual could stand no chance against this will to power.

So, I thought, this happy system could only lead to the sidelining of any persons with talents which did not tend to their self-success, and therefore to a less-efective government, and decline and fall: but, thinks I, this system happily did die with byzantium, in fact was conducive to the fall of that golden empire.

Then I get to my university and see through shlock-grimed eyes people advancing through a democratic system, not by the merit of their excellent minds so throughly suited to solving thorny problems (if that were the case Wilde's saying about a 2:2 being the only respectable Oxford degree would have long fallen out of use), but by the shmooze. That is, no matter how repugnant your views, and no matter how imbecilic your character, you can 'get by' as long as you 'get on'.

I looked back at my vapid memory of the history I'd read; back at Pericles, Charles I and his Buckingham, to our friends Pashmina and Mohair; and I realised, fool that I was, that that sickening system that kept one man ahead of another on the merit of his place in the gene pool and doubtless slowed progress by generations, had been extant through those long centuries and all our talk of advancement had been with it as a caveat: mankind burdened by a sack of smiling sloth...

Churchill is ruthlessly overquoted as saying something like "Democracy is the best of a whole lot of bad systems." I wonder if that glutinous aristocrat also thought the same about the roundel of nepotism that is a modern political party: who you know and how readily you can smile, over what you know. (I'll talk about the reptilian nature of local politics another time, as there's only so much acid I can spit, vitriol I can swallow in one night. Age is making me an anarchist.) I wonder if he chewed on his fat stogie and said to himself sat in his bath of a lunchtime (whilst gentle war carried on without him):

"Hrmmph, yeerss, a bad system put me where I am, a man suited to the rant stuck in the position of ultimate power over 40 million people... but what better system can I see? Who chooses, who rules, in a meritocracy? Skill... there's a word. One man may call me a great orator... another may label me an old windbag... are they both right? If they are a choice has to be made, and why not... what was it called..? Amoral Familism? At least I can be sure my son isn't bloody awful..."

And the back of his hand would splash at his rubber duck pensively, his cigar would droop towards his silver-haired flaccid gut, he would carry on playing with his boats. And we are left with that, from our great war leader. Because there is no certainty about how good anyone is at something in most consumer-insensitive fields (like politics, accountancy or law) but yet a decision has to be made, why not this method of choosing which seems to eliminate the worst by social pressure and select for skills which might be useful, if not essential for the job.

What are those skills selected for by patronage/nepotism? Is there really a cororally between them and good powers of administration. These answers, I'll leave up to you...

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

The reason my writings for the last few days have hardly been prolific is a vague sense of misery that's been hanging over me. Whether it's from the ending of work on this month's magazine or the slow solitude I'm developing as I settle too far into my role here and stop doing the things a young man should (again I live my life in anticipation of becoming a better man) I'm not sure.

What's certain is that I've had a little bogle settle onto the depression of my gut and poke jack frost fingers into me. Another option for his presence could be my current poor relations with my flatmates: they're hyper-sensitive types and I, known for my bluntness in all things, am not used to handling people with kid gloves, other than to maintain a shallow silence.

So no drooling wisdom falls from my lips tonight, no attempts to pass myself off as the tenth muse (my sex precludes that hopefully.) Just a little introspection, a little Elvisneer at my own imperfection, and little hoping that this, this ridiculous bout of depression, that it will soon end.

Monday, September 16, 2002

My ideal of the perfect person then. And my ideal of what I can achieve. I'm sure Aristotle says something about this in the Nichomachean Ethics, something about there being two best lives that should be lived, that which is the ture best life, only livable by gods, and the bst life for a man. Or that could have been my interpretation of Plato. Or my reading of someone else's thoughts on Aristotle's ambiguity. It doesn't matter, what matters is that he (whoever) thought that the godly life of contemplation of the divine was not for man, because to get near to this man needed to spend time in politics, and on food and drink, and amidst society.

My ideal is not that like that, it's not so clear-cut, more selectively harvested. My ideal person could be a great dictator, could be a tramp in the street, but the defining feature is not of physical success, but of breadth of knowledge. Enough ideas packed into one head to make a renaissance man from this clay, a man who will balk at no task, even if others are better suited. Not brilliant at anything, but good at most things. Not superbly bright, nor superbly likeable, but above all committed to truth and accurate knowledge.

This image needs refining, but my filters are bugged up with sweat, welled up from the office's tight grip. Having tired of diving under looms for the day (which I do in the hope that one day someone will recognise my braining-avoidance skills, and let me be the one throwing other naîfs into the mill) I find myself unable even to play this little game for very long.
Strange, got up this morning, after a 90-minute lie-in, readily got dressed cos was already late for work, and found myself thinking about shoes. Smelt my shoes I’d been wearing all weekend and, let’s say they didn’t smell of victory. Or napalm. More of damp crematoria. So, methinks, I’ll just wear me classy waking boots instead. I run upstairs softly besocked, and find my boots in the stair of disrepair I’d left them on Saturday morning, smeared with leather repair formula the laces lying like drowned worms.
So I force my feet into the dank corpses I’d worn all weekend, and hurry Lowry-stooped from the house.
Now I’m just thinking to myself, "I’ve got to get some new shoes, variance is next to godliness, money is no longer a concern", and as I cross the road the doctor’s door opens and a block of leather emerges. The rest of the leg follows, as if obliged, and an old man, with a gigeresque remedial shoe, starts stumping down the street. I’m just gawping at the mental coincidence, when a father emerges from his car just in front of me, carrying his child, and she’s shouting out, ‘daddy, my other shoe, daddy my other shoe!"

I'll stick with me boots I think.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

"If travel is searching and hope is what's been found, I'm not stopping. I'm going hunting."

Those are the stied lyrics from a bjork song, but they express my mood at the moment quite well. For an Oxbridge Cnut, I'm strangely unconcerned about wealth, and as for success
"Art not without ambition, but without
The illness should attend it"

Of course, my ego still cringes at being judged for being less than I am, so my current trawl through comics troubles me. I am a reader, a hunter of knowledge: like all mankind I have an ideal, ill-defined, doubtless contradictory, of who I want to be. (I also have an ideal of who the perfect person is, but thankfully I'm excluded for contending for that role. I'll talk of that another time.)

And comics give me two problems. First, normally they give easy answers, monochrome morals are their field of expertise, puritanically idealist they romp through the carefully constructed artifices of the liberal mind, throwing to one side or another.

Already I feel my mental weakness growing, the need to buck authority (which I've never needed before, seeming to have a knack in that particular field. Amazing what a loose tongue, no dress sense and touch of sociopathy can do for your anarchist credentials) flourishing in the environs so arid of common sense. I am a pluralist, and this commitment to good and bad, doesn't fit. My only commitment is to diversity of moral opinion, which comics ultimately cannot adhere to, because there's no sticking ground to plant your banner, because their users need rigidity and solidity of opinion to support them, make them think they're living those right lives again.

Secondly, there's social connotations to comics, which do seem to fit the people who read them. Strange-looking, curiously angry introverted young men. I saw a cluster of them at the comic shop, and they reminded nothing more glibly than junkies needing their fix of irreality to get through the day. They were waiting for their delivery, the shaven headed stickman, the inappropriately besuited, bespectacled youth, and the grizzled veteran of many an inconclusive inkgod battle. Put simply, I don't want to be that sort of person, the propped man, stuck on Dali's crutch.

I know I have to choose. I remember Sartre in the Age of Reason says as much, when Mattieu, the lifelong philosopher who refused to choose finds himself stuck in a dull limbo created by that choice not to choose. We have one life to live, and refusing to choose is refusing to live. I will not go with the flow, slide with the tide. An Oxbridge Cnut I am, I shall try to hold back the tide no more, let the sea rush in, decorate the void.

Still I feel pain at the choice. It was difficult enough choosing this job, this aim over any other, the restriction of myself slashing at my ideal of who I could be, but to choose a personality, readjust my mindset which has been bulked up against the day of choosing, grown fat on ideas in the hope that I will be a better person, a less lazy person, one halycon day.

Maybe for another day will be saved my explication of why, and who I want to be but more urgent concerns are intruding, food and the like, and while I'm sure you'll appreciate my reaching out, you'll also appreciate the cessation of that reach. Till tomorrow then.

A thing you might note about my diatribes is is that I am totally motivated by ideas: the real world (as you'd call it) seems to intrude little: that's cos I too am to some extent an idealist: but not in the normal sense, in the sense that I believe the imeediate objects of our perception are so carefully refined by our automatic processes, and filtered through the rest of our biological structure, that what is left from the outside is indistinct and ultimately indeterminate.

It's just an opinion though.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

I remember that Rouseeau used to drone on about the great library in Alexandria, y'know the world's ultimate repository of knowledge, lost for millenia: just another one of those great creations of mankind that are meant to be floating around somewhere.

Anyway his version of the story was that when the turks or the ottomans or whoever invaded egypt and captured the city, the great general, let's call him Pashmina, messaged his boss, the Sultan, asking what to do with the library, it being the end of all ends, magnificent jewel of orient, etc. The sultan (let's call him Mohair - this story needs a little life), Mohair says, has this library got anything more than the Koran in it? And has it got anything less than the Koran in it?

"Of course" Pashmina goes, "yes, of course it does: It's gotta have one or the other, basic logic innit, me ol' cocka sparra." (Sorry about the cockney accent but in my experience most pashminas are seen in the east end)

'Ah' says Mohair

"Ah?" says Pashmina "guv?" (continuity of character - that's what I admire in a two-thousand year-old turk. Oh, and a respect for personal space.)

"Well, if the library contains anything beyond the Koran, it must be burnt as blasphemous" says Mohair,

"I think I can see where this is going" says Pashmina "do you mind if I pop to the loo while you finish the story?"

"Not at all. And if it contains anything less than the koran..."

"ah...yes..?", says Pash's voice, echoing slightly from his position in the porcelain tabernacle

"...there's no point keeping it: waste is a sin, and paper makes a good fire."

"right." Pasmina says, as he emerges from the land of ablutions, tugging tight his drawstring pants "you weren't one of those kids who used to use magnifying glasses on crickets were you?"

"Off with your head" says Sultan Mohair

"You can't chop off my head! I'm merely an illustrative tool used by a 21st century layabout to represent the thought processes of a seventeenth century philosophe" Sez Pashmina, fading back into the ether...

The point is, Rousseau said, this is all academic, the sultan was completely wrong, the library should have been preserved for future generations, it belongs in a museum, etc.

But Rousseau said also said that if they'd been talking about the bible, the sultan would have been spot on.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that this is my blog. It's meant to hold all my thoughts, feelings, etc. (though at this rate I may have to build an extension). Values are malleable, they're individual, and you and I have gotta accept that there's no right and wrong in them. I just hope that accepting that, you also manage to enjoy my exegesis a little more than most.

Oh by the way: