Saturday, March 29, 2008


I'm off to Andalucia tonight. Thanks to the clocks going forward, looks like I'm not going to sleep at all tonight as the bus to the airport effectively leaves at 2.15am. Packing a bag and taking off always leaves me in a queer state of excitement, nerves and restlessness, liberated at leaving everything behind. It feels bit like breaking up with someone - in between all the grimness, I see this chink of light opening where the world is again - big and exhilarating.

Andalucia is the place of lovers and break-ups, leavings and beginnings, loss. I first went to Andalucia five years ago with my then long-term lover; on the following trip I walked its streets alone, trying to get over him. On the next trip I broke up with someone just hours before I left for a plane to Almeria, and then fell in love inside a bullring in that same city.

I've rattled precariously up mountains in a bus, someone else's head on my shoulder, fallen cars strewn below me on the way. I've felt the sun on my skin for the first time after a long winter and got drunk on honeyrum in Granada. I've smoked way too much wacky-baccy in a yurt in the middle of the desert. I've let myself be driven home by a pissed madman blaring out Smoke On The Water at ear-piercing volume on the stereo. I've watched mock cowboy shoot-outs on dodgy film sets. And I've been inspired to write, following Lorca's footsteps like a besotted idiot in and out of Granada. I've made it my myth, kept it close, tried to chuck it out, but it’s always crept back inside.

Now, I'm going back, and sharing it with someone else.

I've been thinking about my friend David today. I try not to think about him most of the time. I usually only do so when I see someone pass me on the street that looks like him, and I freeze, feeling a little bit of him back alive again. Then I realise it isn't.

I got flashbacks today to the funeral - images in quick succession - flowers being tied into the wicker coffin, his wobbling father, too many brave words and something crushed in every person in that room who knew him. There were pictures on the Buddhist Centre wall - pictures of a life I never knew - him with his girlfriend, with his baby, dressed up in make-up and a bandana (he was never that frivolous when we were friends), the intimacy of his new world and all the new relatives who loved him, who never knew him as I knew him. And I never knew him as they did. I'm crushed, whenever I think of him.

It's wonderful to be leaving things behind, if only for a couple of weeks. I want to be able to look at my life from over the other side of the water. Get some perspective, get my head straight. I’ll write in my notebook, and maybe even post. We’ll see.

Friday, March 21, 2008


I got soaked coming home on my bike today. I was tired, grumpy and cold, and I didn't want freezing rain seeping into my clothes and brain. But when I finally stopped fighting it and pulled onto the final stretch of pathway by my road, it was bliss.

It can have a humbling effect, rain, washing away all the rotten muck, inside and out. It leaves you soggy and humbled, wide-eyed, eyelashes dripping on the ground. I feel like I lose about twenty-five years from my face when the rain’s coming down on me, and I’m left squishing in my shoes, smiling to myself.

It feels appropriate that tonight the rain is pouring down, covering the streets, clogging up the pavements. It’s sliding off the sides of houses, tapping on windowpanes. But even rainwater isn’t pure anymore.

Where is purity to be found these days, in myself, in this world? When life and the world gets so complicated, when there’s so much inside everyone struggling to live and be heard and assert itself; hating and loving, trying and failing, willing itself into existence and back out again, giving and taking. Where is the fresh clean water, the air flowing through?

What is purity anyway? Is it even a thing in itself? Pure good, pure evil, pure anger, pure as the driven snow, as the best cocaine. Something without blemish or taint, uncracked, incorruptible.

I guess I think purity’s wherever there's love and kindness. Love and kindness are beautiful, humbling. Every time I come across them, I'm stopped in my tracks.

It’s no coincidence I’m wondering about these things on Good Friday. I’ve heard the story of Jesus’ crucifixion many times during my life (mainly as a child), but I can’t picture the weather at the time. It probably was stormy and the sky went black when he died. But I can’t believe that at some point it didn’t rain. It must have rained after he died. To wash all that pain away, to purify such terribleness.

It is finished. That’s what he said just before he died. It is finished. It never was.

I’ve been listening to this old Timmy Thomas song a lot in the last couple of days. Back in the Acid House days of the late 1980s, it was one of those ‘end of the night’ songs that truly reminded me of that pure urge that was there inside me in the first place, that made me want the drugs, the dancing, the ecstasy... the skewed religion of it all. It feels appropriate somehow to share it tonight. Happy Easter.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Evening All

I'm just back from work, The Libertines full blast on the stereo. Sometimes ear-bleedingly loud music is the only antidote to being nice and accommodating to annoying customers all day. It's either that or go and brick a few windows. Now that's a pleasing thought - Charlie and I in full Clockwork Orange mode, bouncing bricks out of his car window at unsuspecting people in their living rooms, eating their tea. One can but dream.

To be honest, today at work hasn't been all that bad. It's just that the necessity of replacing my real personality with some kind of Smooth FM version of myself has kind of got to me. Today, I just didn't want to have to give a shit. I didn't want to have to pretend to give a shit either.

For a while now, I've come to take note whenever The Libertines lurch back into my life. Their return usually indicates a chaotic and unhinged part of myself screaming for attention. Perhaps it's partly my way of dealing with a relatively clean and healthy lifestyle, free from drugs, excessive drinking and promiscuous sex. And the flatness that sometimes brings.

Sometimes it feels like a 'healthy' lifestyle isn't always that healthy for me. It can chop off the top and the bottom ends of my experience, leaving me with only the middle. That middle bit is a great place for getting things done in, for living a productive, grounded, conscious life etc. But without those top and bottom edges getting a look in, I know I'm fucked. I become just a chunk of myself, and everything goes a bit middle of the road. Life starts sounding a bit like a Razorlight song. And that's bad.

I've done all the meditation and the counselling; I've danced it out and I've talked it through, I've drawn pictures and befriended my animus. And it's never changed a thing. I still feel the same way I always did. Because certain forces won't be made rational, they don't ever let themselves be understood.

So here's what I know tonight, for what it's worth. You must obey the Gods. If you don't, they get angry. Then your life caves in. Also, if you can't always live your life close to the flame, or even in it - at least don't let it go out. Because once that's fizzled, whoever you are, you're fucked.

I’ve nothing else to write tonight, really. I'm just going to go think about what I just said, listen to music; maybe sleep.