Where there's a Willesden there's a way

Sunday, November 30, 2003

It's amazing how no-one sits opposite you on the train when you're shuffling a deck of tarot cards. I'm now the proud owner of one, and they're very beautiful, although i don't want to get hung up on the fact that they all say ?usgames. Very nice of angella to give me those. I like her idea that it's all about interpreting the images.

To be fair- if my evening was a dream, i'd probably spend the whole week interpreting it.

I want spirituality...and I want it NOW!

There's an atonal moaning coming from behind me in three directions, and a small child drinks one of those plastic tubes which can only be consumed loudly and slowly as i'm violently rocked from side to side. So far, my quest for advent spiritual renewal is off to a bad start.

The plan was fairly straightforward, after a tedious day spent cleaning the flat i'd go to the refreshingly unsanctimonious st james's in picadilly and get some much needed peace, sadly lacking in a town where chronic alcoholism and football seem omnipresent. It was never going to be that simple, but hopefully eschewing a seat next to birmingham's most irritating children for standing next to silverlink's smelliest (but mercifully peaceful) baby will help.

They say you get more assertive in counselling training. I'm looking for some peace, and i don't feel like being messed about.

The state we're in

Take a deep breath. Remember that deep down it's a beautiful world. Imagine the divinity of creation, the millions of evolutionary leaps and cosmic chances that brought us to live on this blue marble.

Then read this

Paramedics called to the store found VanLester unconscious on top of a DVD player, surrounded by shoppers seemingly oblivious to her, Mark O'Keefe, a spokesman for EVAC Ambulance, told Associated Press.
"I told them, 'Stop stepping on my sister! She's on the ground!'"

Now imagine being trampled to death by a group of shoppers, in a mad rush for cut-price technology. The warm sun and blue sky obliterated forever by the machine-stitched designer shoes of overweight consumers in a desperate scramble to save money. Relentless blows raining down on your face and neck as people stamp on you like a doormat because it's on sale.

I'm sorry, that was maybe a bit much for a Saturday night. Now repeat after me.
"we live in a beautiful world
yeah we do yeah we do"

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Who knows, maybe that's because, like most westerners, i fear my wild and impulsive side. Or maybe that, like it or not, i'm english. But on a night like this, there's no harm in letting myself off the leash a bit. The problem is, when we let ourselves get a little primal, who says we'll want to go back?

Well, it's 11.30, and the train home reeks of pot. The way it should be, on saturday night the rules are on hold. I think the same applies to me to. Firstly i sort of fancy a joint, but tonight i feel more in touch with this other side of me, when i'm much more assertive and just that little bit argumentative. A friend of mine gets quite annoyed with me when i'm just that bit too passive, but to be honest That's because i hold back a lot.

That was a nice way of spending a few hours, doing a very low budget shop in town. I've got some ethical chocolate and an appointment for new contact lenses. I think the man in specsavers took pity on me when i explained how i mistook a fast food restaurant for a bus. Probably not a great sign.

Bad feeling about this one

You may remember I was over the moon and way past the asteroid belts about Hangingday's new venture, the London News Review. I faithfully signed up, gave them my fiver, and got the members only issue zero and the promise of a discount against my subscription.

Problem is- where is it?

The site currenly says:
"The London News Review is a new news and entertainment magazine, published fortnightly from Autumn 2003. "

There's only 2 days left of Autumn! Any other magazine (ie closer) could get away with this one, but TFT know how cynical their readers our and what high expectations they've got. So come on Paul Carr- less columns in Media Guardian, more news on LNR.

You're not Pudsey! There's too many spots on your eyepatch and the arms are all wrong

Bit of a strange moment over here at North Watford Towers. On a bit of a shopping spree last night, and I picked up Asda's cheapest kitchen rolls- they feature teddy bears, alphabet bricks, that sort of thing. But when I got home Brother complained that I'd bought Children in Need kitchen towels.

The problem is, looking closely, the package does not mention Children in Need in any way. And looking closely, it looks a hell of a lot like Pudsey, but it's not quite.

They wouldn't rip off Pudsey would they?

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

...no position to deal with it. And when i'm happy i seem to pretend the experience never happened, and i suspect i've been doing this for years. I have a poster that says 'living in denial of the world's problems is perhaps the only way to have fun anymore'. I disagree. We've all had bad experiences (this isn't about self pity), but the only way to be healthy about these things is to learn to fit them in with everything else and get on.)I didn't say it would be easy though.

Although i'm stuck in traffic and reflecting on a saddening experience, i'm actually in a pretty good state of mind. Something i've learnt from this course is the importance of reflecting on sad moments in life when in a good frame of mind, rather then waiting until i'm emotionally low, which can only cloud my judgement.)I tried an experiment along those lines a few weeks ago, and feel really good about how i thought about what that brought up. I'd only thought about that experience when sad and in...

Regular readers (if i have any) will have noticed that I haven't mentioned counselling training for a while. The original plan was to keep my course journal on the web, but it became clear around week 2 that it was going to bring up various things about me and others that wouldn't belong on the web.) Overall though it's been quite a nice shared experience, even if i do worry sometimes that We're slipping into the realms of an unguide group therapy session.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

I woke up this morning with a strange feeling that having a proper job was stifling my creativity and that i no longer had anything interesting to say. And That's a hell of a paranoia to shake on a gloomy tuesday.)Did however meet a very interesting doctor, and i feel slightly less brain dead now.)Which can only mean 2 things. Time to do some experimental vegetarian cooking and write gloomy christmas songs. Fun!

At the risk of sounding deliberately contrarian, perhaps predictably so, christmas definitely started later this year. Watford's lights went up mid november, as opposed to halloween last year. Boring observation i know, but it's that sort of day. Who says capitalism's blind to ordinary people?

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Sometimes you see acts of selflessness which restore your faith in humanity. Was on the met line with brother, stuck on a bridge when he saw a man with spikey hair go out the emergency doors and stop between the carriages. As he stood on the slippery footplate in the rain, brother realised that he was taking that moment to relieve himself. On to the live tracks. In the rain. Grinning. Wearing a top saying 'i am a cunt'.

Although i wasn't watching, for fear of seeing thousands of volts reduce his willy to an overcooked cocktail sausage, i had to admire his attempts to remove himself from society, or at least the gene pool.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

To the (much-hyped) dream

In my dream i went to see my dentist, the same one i've been with for 20 years. He sat me down on a sofa and showed me some slides of his holiday, which is what he'd invited me over for. Two blonde, gliggling nurses brought me a coffee and said she'd give me an injection in 10 minutes. As she touched me on the arm, i knew she was discreetly giving me a painless injection. My arm went numb, and i stayed on the sofa. Later she did the same to my leg. I was shown through to the surgery and lay down in the chair, and an older, harsher nurse gave me an injection.

It felt nice and warm as the drugs spread though my body, and i began to feel sleepy. The older nurse told me not to fight it, but i realised i'd been tricked, and asked the dentist what he was doing. He said four of my teeth had got a lot worse (passed to level 2 was what he said) and when i asked him what he was going to do, he didn't know yet. I fought to stay awake, and told him i didn't trust him now as he'd tried to trick me, and I wasn't go to fall asleep. He let me lie there until i didn't have to fight the drowsiness, and then i went home.

That morning Brother had moved house, and he'd bought a new flat on the corner of Mum's street. As part of the deal, he'd moved all my stuff whilst I was out, and had promised to set it all out for me too. We each had two unique keys, and when I got there, I open up the panel with the intercom on it by inserting my key. There was a smaller Yale Lock on the panel behind that, and I opened that to reveal an orange wheel, which I turned to open the door. When I got in the new flat had a distinctly 70s feel to it, with a brown carpet and brown curved kitchen counter in the centre of a large open plan living area. I lay down on the sofa and fell asleep.

Anyone want to tell me what that one means?

Nice new cafe's opened up in cassiobury park. Cha cha, very chilled out sort of place. I got a hefty dose of bright lights and rugby fans celebrating with some public disorder, so it's nice to be somewhere peaceful where i can recount my dream. While sports fans and the people of georgia battle it out, i can stay in my little bubble.

I think the bright lights in the town centre helped, slightly marred by the fact that everyone seems to have become a rugby fan, and is out celebrating, drinking and fighting. Policemen were going around in packs of 7, and I actually had to call 999 after witnessing a particularly ugly scuffle. Although I needed to be in the town centre, I needed to be out of it almost as quickly.

I think i'm in danger of the winter blues if this weather keeps up. After making plans to be creative last night, i ended up hibernating at 10, going to bed after eating mince pies. I slept for 12 hours straight as if i'd had my energy sucked away. I was even tired in my dreams. Heading into town now, i need some bright lights.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Things i want to do tonight:)1. Make a decent smoothie.)2. Learn to play 'foolish games' and 'shower your love' on the guitar.)Acquire pencils paper and charcoal and attempt to make my spontaneously devised drawing style into something that lasts more than 10 minutes.)If i get a boat, every night should be like that.

I always said i wanted to be remembered for my art.)I'm practising my favourite artform, drawing on windows. If you look at it like that, the number 7 goes from a drab old bus to a blank canvas. )Today's theme was the weather, and i covered the bus in big suns looking down on a winter world through layers of cloud.)Now i know how ice sculptors feel, as we're coming up to bushey and They've nearly all melted away. But like the sun, my patterns will return.)I think that creativity talk did some good.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Find love in the smallest things

Whilst I was trying to get into work this morning, I was in a haze of anxiety and frustration, having missed my bus and been left running half an hour late on the very day I'd find out if still had a job.

As I sat at the bus stop, trying hard to read my paper, Old Lady on the Bus came up to me, having clearly missed it too. She was reading the timetable behind me, and I was half-interestedly answering her, not really there at all. Then she said to me "I must be a nuisance. I've been no good at numbers since I had me stroke."

I couldn't let that one pass, and told her she wasn't a nuisance and helped her work out what time the bus wouldn't come. She told me about a giant teddy bear she was going to give to a fellow passenger, and then told me a joke. Something along the lines of:
"A little boy said he wanted a watch for Christmas. So they let him."

She had a well-worn little joke book she fished about for in the bottom of her shopping trolley, and started telling me more. Like "How do elephants make love under water? They take down their trunks." None of them my kind of jokes, but I laughed at first good-humouredly, and another passenger I've got chatting to lately sat down next to me, and we listened to her tell jokes.

And I realised I was actually happy. And I also realised that if I can be happy late for work in the rain under a concrete bus shelter, I could be happy anywhere.

And as it happens, today worked out for the best.

Maybe it's proof that i take emotional cues from others, but now i'm quite happy. The more i talk about this the better it seems for me, especially what my manager said about professional development.I'd go out and celebrate, but i have 40p until tomorrow. I may have a job, but i'm still poor.

When i do get paid, my team are definitely getting some nice cakes.

Got the job!

So after putting myself through all that yesterday, i had nothing to worry about. I think that tells me a little about myself.

Still, yesterday was an important journey, and something i was meant to experience in order to appreciate today. I'm sure I'll start feeling happy soon. Have to celebrate getting my first ever job!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

I'm glad i've been keeping this Blog today, as it's been the kind of day worth recording, and the snapshots of how i felt at different times will help me make sense of it.I remember too feeling tired on my way through green park, and the surge of excitement as i heard the whistles and then the chants. I remember a feeling of certainty around 5 that i hadn't got the job. And feeling that i wanted my counselling lesson to end.

Now i just feel tired, and determined to get home.

One of those days which overall has just been a bit much to take in. I'm on my way home now, but it seems like a long time since i left. Today i've had an interview which may have lost me the best job i've had, a lovely lunch with a friend i haven't seen for years, a long walk through london, a doze under the yellow sun at the tate, a protest and possibly the most depressing lesson in my life. Not to mention the book shopping, the museums i browsed, people i met and coffees i drank.

In a jazz cafe

I did just pay £2 for a glass of coke that came out of a bottle, but that doesn't matter. It's this place that counts. )I'm in a little jazz Bar in county hall. They're playing a tape now, but last time i was here there was an old lady playing the piano in the corner.)It was april, and we were here to say goodbye to someone who was going away for a long time. By the sound of his last email he's having a great time, which is what i wanted.)I'm just not sure what i've been doing for the past 7 months.

I'm hoping coming back here will help, and give me some idea of what's happened since. The view from this window hasn't changed, and neither have the prices. As for me, a degree was something i could get, counselling an idea, and borehamwood was just a place name.)It's true life moves, and i wouldn't want it any other way. But i have to take time out to count it, before even more slips past. )What's happened since is not what i imagined, but it's mine.


Hard to tell how that one went. It all happened so quickly.I got thrown as well by my phone, which didn't let such a minor thing as being switched off stop it from making a noise. The very same function that got me up on time also put me off. But i answered all the questions fairly well and got some nods, especially when referring to working under pressure. Ability to prioritise, check, filing systems check, equal ops, check. Communicate effectively, not so sure about how i answered that one. The alarm going off didn't help.

Apart from that i kept relatively calm and got all the keyword nods. And they laughed at my passport photo.I'll find out today or tomorrow. In the meantime i have a day off and a travelcard. Heading into london to see a friend & a demo.

Certainly the most times that i've posted in one day, partly because i've nothing else to do.

I'm outside the office now, not even a blizzard could keep me from going inside. I feel a little calmer now i'm here, but still a little paranoid. At least i'm on home ground now.

There goes my alarm. Time to go in.

Made it on to the bus!

Now i know i'm going to make it on time, it's good to take the time to work out my answers to the basic questions:
Why do you want this job, what do you see your role. I haven't prepared answers, i know i always seen insincere when i do that.

On some level i feel like i have to justify everything i've done in the last 5 months, and i suppose i should.
Strangely, when i was interviewed for a more senior post i wasn't worried at all. Partly because i still had this job. But if i don't get this, i could end up back with some meaningless temp work, with no guarantee i'd ever get into social work again.
On the bright side, just passed the biggest pile of dung i've ever seen. It was actually taller than a man, still steaming slightly.

At least i'm within walking distance of the office now. And i can finally say interview without stuttering.

I'll get my friendly bus driver to check my appearance then get some breakfast.


Out of bed on time...check.
Look good...um

I think it's testimony to how rarely i dress up that i just feel awkward and clumsy wearing this stuff. It didn't help that i had to run for this bus.
Still, i'm on it, just need to catch a seven now. I do this every morning, but today it's different.

Interview at 10.10. 100 minutes to go.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

And all I wanted was garlic bread and wine

On the shopping list for Bush's state visit:
- One minigun
- Diplomatic immunity

Back at the flat now.

Coughing Man sat behind me, so I couldn't update about him. But here's the latest, and it was worth waiting for.

He didn't cough once!

I've been taking that bus for 5 months now, and he's coughed everytime. Heavily.

I'm actually quite happy for him, but now it's gone, what am I going to call him?

Still on the bus...)In the office we were considering setting up a sweepstake for the first christmas ring tone, when and what. Ok, i was and the others nodded in that tone they reserve for challenging clients in a quiet phase.)Just heard my first one anyway. Rudolph the red nosed reindeer.) I was convinced it would be slade.

My interview tomorrow does give me an afternoon to waste with a travelcard. I went to a talk on creativity last night, and 5 minutes in i remembered that I hadn't done photography in years. My cheapo digital camera is great for snapshots, but for actual Photography it's a little disappointing.)A pleasant option would be to head over to Mum's and check out that drawer full of dad's old cameras. Then i could get a roll of black and white film and put it through its paces at the alternative state procession.

They've been authorised to shoot to kill though, so i'm a little cautious.

...Who's never had a permanent job. This is also the first time I've cared enough about a job to want to stick around, so I'm just a little nervous)Anyway, fretting about an interview is probably not the 'killer app' for wap. Live updates on Coughing Man however...

As promised, doafw has now gone mobile, using a handy and hopefully cheap wap interface.
Been a day of scary kharma. Just for once i actually got in an argument with a colleague. I wondered if i'd done the right thing, and fate's answer was a resounding 'no!')To be fair, it's the first time i've done something like that at work, and probably the last too. Hopefully i can just attribute it to nerves about my interview.)It's a strange idea to be interviewed for a job i'm already doing, especially for...

Monday, November 17, 2003

I've done that thing again haven't I? It's so easy to fall into negativity and from that begin to rant, and it's put me out of kilter for the rest of the day.

Again, this is why I'm not allowed to read the Observer

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Making the world safe for fatuous arguments

Good to see David Aaronovitch boldly knocking down some straw men again.

Much as I appreciate his point that I wasn't out there protesting at the visit of Nicolae Ceausescu in 1978 but will be out on Thursday to unwelcome Bush- true, it is easier to say "Yanks go home" than "Romanian Dictator go home", but it's also a lot harder to join a demonstration when you haven't been born yet. Ditto I wasn't splashing red paint after the Halabja massacre, but that's because I was 11 and couldn't even spell "Kurdistan".

Aaronovitch goes on to say
"The slogan 'Yanks Go Home' has always had more potency than, say, 'Romanian murderer go home'. And the danger has always been the same - that the protesters might get the thing they asked for. "
Yes, that's it. My banner won't say "War-mongering unelected corrupt right-winger go home", but "Yanks go home". Can't this man see that I feel the same way about Americans as people of all countries (this one included), but happen to oppose selfishness and killing whoever's doing it.

A similar argument was wheeled out about global justice campaigners by Peter Hain
"It is impossible to stop satellite television, the internet and telecommunications. It is impossible to ban air travel or pop culture; impossible to ban the mobility of capital. The question, therefore, is not whether it can be stopped or abolished. Globalisation is a fact of life "
If he'd taken the time out to look, he would have seen banners saying "People before profits", "Stop Esso" and "Our world is not for sale." I must have missed the banners saying "Stop the internet". But as new labour shows, it's much easier to dismiss an argument if you misrepresent what your opponent is saying.

Anyway, back to our friend in the Observer. I'm tantalisingly close to agreeing with him
" I want Bush to stop tolerating the nastystans of Central Asia, to tell Ariel where to get off, to treat allies with more respect, to dump the hubristic neo-cons, to sign up to Kyoto, to reverse 'he who is not with me is against me' to 'he who is not against me is with me'. I would like acknowledgment of the mistakes and crimes of the past. I would quite like Bush to become Wesley Clark. "
But then he blows it again
But our enemy is not America.

There are probably a few people out there who just fundamentally oppose anything to do with America. But to argue that all those who are coming to wave banners at Bush and tell him to go home are anti-American is just stupid. David, the reasons to why you want him to change are the things I don't like about him. Plus his shredding of international law. But to say I'm out there because I want America to just disappear does not do justice to either of us.

To read the Observer can be a challenge. I can't even bring myself to look at Julie Burchill.

OK, this is why I stopped reading the newspapers, isn't it?

As I have just done Brother down for the alarm clock thingy, I feel I should point out that he did cook the best veggie lasagne last night. Alright, so he got the recipe from a friend of his who is rumoured to be the best veggie cook in the south east, but that doesn't take away from the achievement.

Doesn't look so good congealed in the plug hole though.

Sunday morning call

Ever since that Oasis song, I've always been acutely aware of the curious detachment of Sunday mornings. It doesn't help that I slept right through it this morning.

I lapsed back into my unable to sleep phase last night, and as I'm sure I've said before when I can't sleep I eventually end up paranoid and impatient. What was probably just some rustling leaves in the wind became fire-raising kids, and the creak the walls make as they slowly move into place became the ceiling starting to fall in. Round about 3 I finally dropped off, except Brother (and I'm not blaming him), left his alarm on to catch the rugby, and watched the match with the alarm still going. Consequently, I went back to sleep (fatal mistake) and woke up around 12:30!

I've got a blister that resembles a third toe, and I definitely did uncharitable things to my tendons yesterday scrambling across canal locks and up the sides of bomb craters. It was the third time I crossed the canal via the lock that I made the mistake of looking down, and realised it was at least a ten foot drop to the solid looking sluice gate below. So I clung on for dear life and got to the other side as quickly as I safely could, only to realise there was no towpath on the other side, so had to come back again, acutely aware that that was a very silly way to die.

I've written off this morning, and I'm just going to do some chores before heading down to the new Cha Cha Cafe, a vegan outfit who have just taken over the cafe in Cassiobury Park. Could be fun!

Of course, Cassiobury Park is two miles away, and walking to the kitchen seems a bit of an effort.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Looking for Lila

Went for a lovely walk, I must say, and you'll all be relieved to know I came back, despite falling at various points into a bomb crater and nearly into the Grand Union Canal.

Great navigators of the past devoted years and even their lives to discovering the Great North Passage, the mythical corridor which allowed boats to travel from the West Coast of the Americas to Europe without the treacherous journey around the Southern tip. My quest to find the West Passage was a little less ambitious; looking for a way to reach the canal without a hair-raising 45 minutes of scrambling up motorway embankments and disused airfields.

So, armed with my atlas, some food and water and a torch (only two hours to nightfall), I set off through the back streets, and was crossing the canal within half an hour. I carried on past the canal to find it's amazing what's less than a mile from my house; an old mill (now very attractive flats), a large exclusive golf course (there's even a road tunnel to make sure they don't have to interact with us commoners). Tired of flying golf balls and the lack of a footway, I jumped off the road into Lee's Wood, straight into one of the old WW2 bomb craters I remember falling into as a kid. I spent at least 45 minutes crossing the wood, avoiding trails and rabbits and watching the leaves fall. Finally I came out further down the canal, and walked to Rickmansworth, where it was just getting dark.

As previously written, I've got this thing about that particular stretch of canal. It's really peaceful, and even more beautiful in Autumn than Summer. Life out there just has a different pace, and you feel closer to nature and far away from the intrusive 21st century. Although it was dark, something persuaded me to cross some fields to get to the other bank of the canal where the houseboats are, and I've decided that's where I want to live. There's a farm with a car park and some buildings, and then just a dirt track bounded by fences on one side and a big old field on the other. Through the fences I could see the houseboats and the plots of land that come with them. People build all sorts of structures along there- I imagine I could build a kitchen and bathroom on one side, a little terrace with a hanging seat and maybe a vegetable plot in the middle. I'll call it Lila, after Robert Piersig's boat.

Well, it's something to aim for. It'll take as long to get one of those as it'll take for me to be able to afford one. All in, I walked at least 6 miles, and I'm sleepy.

Maybe it's time to get working on that screenplay again.

To the enchanted forest...

I seem to remember there's a really big wood down the lane, and I have this overwhelming urge to put on a woolly jumper and go crunch some leaves.

Let's hope this is a little more successful then my last North Watford country walk, which resulted in me ending up in the middle of nowhere with no money. I'd set out on a mission to find a magic meadow, and sure enough, I ended up in a huge yellow oilseed field, with a large crop circle in the middle.

It can be amazing what's on your doorstep. Let's hope I actually make it back this time...

Friday, November 14, 2003

Like, well, you know

Hmm, Britney Spears on Graham Norton. There's like something about the way she speaks, you know, and it's like, really catching. After listening to her for a while, there's no doubt it's a bit catching, you know.

Which is why is was great to hear Graham say "Now Britney, you're like this big star, and like..."

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Since I've been having these dreams, I haven't felt right when I'm awake. My head feels heavy and unresponsive, and there's something I can't quite define missing from the energy around me.

In my dreams it's there, and if I can close my eyes and listen to the silence for long enough I can almost feel it. I'd been sceptical for so long, but there really is a force that we are all missing, that for some reason was taken away from all of us, but sometimes, without trying, the path of our lives can just come close enough to that place that we can glimpse it. It's a force that can almost be described as possession, because when we are in the grips of it we don't feel that we are in control, and that everything seems to just happen.

But that is us being ourselves. At times like this we exist completely within the minute, and we lack the forethought and processing which usually keeps us in what seems like control. We've let ourselves be governed by convention, thoughts and a heavy weight we call self. It is only when we free ourselves we are really truly in control.

Which as it turns out is exactly what I've been trying to do.

Weird moments in the mind

It's been very strange over the past few days, as I'm sure I'm showing signs of being psychic. It's just little things- I was walking around the outside of the civic centre, and just had an image of the woman who caught the bus with me this morning (who bizarrely works in the same building). And of course, as I got to the door, she was there.

Earlier on the phone rang at work, and the name of one of my colleagues was on screen (I was typing up a document with a load of people's names on it) and it seemed to flash. Sure enough, it was her.

I started singing The Thrill's "Big Sur" quietly to myself - the bit that goes "Hey hey you're the monkeys...". At which point a guy in the next team said to another colleague "Have you seen my monkey?" I thought it was a teddy bear, personally, and yes, he does say that to all the girls (including Sassy Nurse, but that's another story).

I had a dream last night that I was on a bus full of people, and there was a television at the front showing the film. I found I could alter the image by concentrating really hard on it, and seemed to drown out everyone else's attempts to interfere with it. At first I made the screen turn white, but with practice I could project images on to it. But I started to try and flash my own image onto the screen subliminally, in the hope of influencing the thoughts of my fellow passengers.

I think someone is trying to tell me something. I'd always had a feeling I might be psychic.


Rather bizarre moment on the bus the other day. I was waiting for the bus, minding my own business and not trying to make irrelevant observations. But I found my attention drawn to a man at the bus stop, who could be described as "Middle-aged with a cough." A really really awful cough, it must be said, his breath condensing like unconvincing smoke signals in the cold air.

Finally the bus arrived, and we got on. He sat in front of me, looked out of the window, and coughed all the way into town.

Coughing Man got on at his usual stop, and for the first time I heard him speak. They knew each other really well, and chatted all the way to my stop.

Do they go to the same club or something? Obviously, my mind started to wander...

Who are you?

Wow, quite surprised to find there's ten people a day reading this. It's probably just Mr Fusion hitting refresh, but there *might* be someone I don't know reading this.

OK, bored. And maybe I've never met you before, you're from LA and you've got a beach house you're not using. Either way, let me know will you?

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Suitcases and questions

Brother's out tonight, so the evening's mine to not watch TV, make some coffee and sit back in my own world for a whole evening. And hopefully make some sense of what's been going on lately.

On Sunday I was on my way to Angella's party (should be pronounced AnGEL-a) and had to change at Harrow and Wealdstone. As I waited for the doors to open, I noticed a guy on the platform, who didn't look that much older than me, but had long black hair and a long black beard with a battered green jacket. He was dragging a large old suitcase and a grey kitbag, and I stood to one side to not get in his way. I thought I hadn't left him enough space, as he shouted 'Can I get on this train?', and although I'd started to walk off, I looked back and he shouted 'Can someone please HELP ME?'. The next ten seconds happened very quickly, as I ran over to block the doors to stop them closing, and grabbed his big suitcase to bring it onto the train. It was totally empty, and he was still struggling with the bag so I went over to help.
"Cheers mate."
"That's alright, let's give this a yank shall we?"
I tugged the bag and pulled that onto the train too, and I don't know if he thought I was judging him, but he said
"I'm a doctor you know"
I didn't say anything, but put the bag down for him and asked him if it was alright.
"Yeah, I'm alright mate, thanks for all your help."
I'd looked up to look him in the eye as I shook his hand, and said 'that's alright mate' but my eye was drawn by the nasty looking cut above his eye. The doors began to close, and I jumped off after telling him to take care.

On a superficial level it was a fairly ordinary incident- people have helped me loads of times when I've had an armful of bags, but given time to reflect it was an incident that raised so many questions- why the empty suitcase? what happened to his head? what was his story? Why did everyone else ignore him? Why did he suddenly say he was a doctor?

On a deeper level too, do incidents like that happen because of chance, or is there some plan behind it. If you believe everything happens for a reason, then why did that happen? Is it, as I'm often told, that we're being tested from above to see if we'll help, and if so, what would have been different if I'd ignored him. What about the times someone's asked me for money, or the time or some other help and I haven't helped? Did I fail some kind of test that time, and would life be different had I passed them?

Taking the determinist thinking further, what if each and every day of our lives is an allegory, full of hidden symbolism and tests. Like one of those highly allegorical stories where the meaning slowly creeps up on you months after you've read it. Except life can't be lived like that- you only get so long for reflection and no chance to run through that again to see if you missed anything, otherwise there's no way you can actually live to begin with. But it raises the question, what did I miss?

And every so often you get the feeling it could be a biggie. But the best opportunities in life don't tend to advertise themselves, and if they did we wouldn't appreciate them as much. But sometimes there isn't a cut and dried explanation, only a handful of theories and a mess of contradictions. And again, that creeping feeling you missed something, or failed somehow.

But it pays not to overthink these things. Just as you can never leave your heart behind, so too do the vital parts of your life return. You just have to concentrate on living it.

Mad Scientist destroys Oxfordshire!

Well not really, but I wasn't expecting Mr Fusion to make it into the headlines this soon in his lives.

BBC News report on Mr Fusion's group and their work, so many congratulations to them!

Monday, November 10, 2003

Hail to the...BANG!

Well, my plans to go harass the thief-in-chief on his state visit to London have been thrown into jeopardy a little. Dubya's people have asked that London be virtually sealed off, in case legitimate protestors in some way provide cover for terrorists to attack. Anyone who's read the Patriot Act will not be hugely surprised by this- you can do virtually anything using terrorism as a cover.

Article in Evening Standard has me worried though. The Met Police Commissioner has vowed that the right to peaceful protest (and that's all we're planning) will be respected, but Bush's entourage may have other plans. It's this last paragraph that has me worried though:
But the Met and the US Secret Service have reportedly agreed "rules of engagement" allowing Bush bodyguards to shoot anyone they believe is clearly threatening the life of the President.

Anyone else see the friendly fire documentary last night?

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Bedtime story

I have to recommend this. Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven was tonight's bedtime story.

OK, so I had to read it out loud, it's the only way to appreciate the rhythm. Try it. It's more fun if you read to someone else though.

...in case it helps, Potsdammer Place was the main square in Berlin, which found itself in dead zone when the wall ran either side of it. I'd been on a site months ago with pictures from the eighties of the area around it, followed by contemporary pictures of the same places, and been quietly fascinated by the whole thing.

I have a dream. I don't know what it is.

Angela made me a dreamcatcher last solstice, and it's been fairly active lately. I'm beginning to think I should record some of these.

Perhaps the strangest one was set in Rickmansworth, where I was eating lunch, as I did everyday with my social workers (this is in the dream, in reality I ate alone). In the dream we were sitting around a quiet road at the brow of a hill, benches around the road. But that day something made me climb the hill, and at the top the road opened out into a broad court, framed on two sides by a large round building. In the centre were fountains, and around them a series of orange trees bearing fruit. Somehow they'd been grown into the shape of galloping horses, and in the branches were green parrots and butterflies with huge wingspans.

It was a hot day, and I felt calmed and cooled, but a giant butterfly flew past, and it creeped me out for a minute.

The other bizarre one (and there's been a few slightly less bizarre ones) concerned Angela holding a party in Berlin (although she held one in London today). I remembered she was staying at 26 Potsdamer Place, where she had a really nice flat. I'd been there a few weeks before hand, experiencing Berlin's innovative transport network. There were tramlines overground, with chairs that travelled along them which would carry you to your destination. Underground, there was a kind of mini-metro system just for tourists, in which you got into a box (about coffin sized, but twice as wide) with a creaky lid that didn't quite close, and you'd be carried away to your hotel, tourist site or other destination. At one point though, you travelled along the mainstream network, and had the surreal image of a station full of commuters shooting past through the gap in the lid.

On the way to Angela's party, everyone was travelling in a tram. No-one really cared where it was going to except me and one other guy, and we were struggling to get to grips with an arcane punched card system (I used an attached sharp bit to punch in 26 Potsdammer Place, but it didn't work). The bus had come to a halt, the lights were off, the party started at 7:30, and no-one seemed to care, still enjoying themselves.

Eventually, at this other guy's suggestion, I picked up the radio and boomed in my best Englishman Abroad voice the tram number (again, 26), and a real cockney voice answered with 'Where d'ya wanna go gov?'. I told him the address, and instantly the lights came on and we continued moving, getting to Potsdammer Place for 19:27.

So I'm throwing my dreams open to you all. Answers on a postcard please.


Coming home last night I glanced up at the moon. There was just a tiny sliver of it in the sky, and it just looked like a smudge. People just travelled home and didn't look up, but I was transfixed.

I try and spend as much time as I can looking at the sky. It's a reminder that there's more to existance than the confined space around us, and on nights like that a reminder too that we're part of a solar system, throwing up quirks like that. At the same time the Sun began to bombard us with huge streams of magnetic gas, and I felt reassured. I suppose it's because I fear consistency, and worry when things are still for too long that they won't move again. So seeing that even the most fixed and predictable things in our lives are subject to surprising occurences put me at my ease; even if we fossilise, the universe around us won't, just yet.

It pains me when people don't take the time out to appreciate a good sunset. October's the best month for sunsets, with the red autumn sky at its most beautiful when we need it most, after spending hours in fixed, sealed offices. I doubt anything man can produce can even start to match the subtle beauty of an autumn sunset. It almost feels like a free show from God, unhurried and beautiful for anyone who chooses to appreciate it at the close of the day.

We've allowed ourselves to become too detached from the natural world around us, but we're as much a part of it as any other animal. It's not a coincidence that we plan our lives around the moon- one quarter of a lunar cycle is one week. The menstrual cycle corresponds almost exactly with this too- even our daily circadian rhythm isn't that closely matched to the natural environment. But there are still effects. The amount of people sectioned peaks at the full moon, and let's not forget Ramadam and Eid are timed entirely around this too.

I like observations like that. They remind me that no matter how much time we spend indoors and try and close ourselves off, we can't escape our origins.

Next it's time to start howling. Anyone care to join me?

Argh! No!

Disaster struck on the 18:15 to Euston. I was minding my own business, slightly annoyed at the couple engaging in drunken swearing and fumbling in the presence of myself, some old women and a kid, who really shouldn't hear language like that. But I managed to avoid any conversation with them, until we pulled in to Euston ("It's not fucking Euston!", "Yes it is fucking Euston, I fucking know London I do!"). I walked up to the doors, checked we were on a platform side and pressed the button to open the doors.

And waited. It was starting to attract attention.
("Fucking hell mate. They've fucking locked us in they 'ave")
And waited. I pressed the button a few more times.

At which point the doors behind us were opened by a guard, who said ('Can't get out that way mate.')
So everyone had a good laugh at my expense. On the way out Loud Drunk Man said, "I'd hate to be that guy who tried opening the wrong set of doors. Well embarassing."

I tried to laugh it off. "Yes, let's just pretend that didn't happen, shall we."

He laughed and walked off. But his parting shot was
"Got your number, 118!"


Saturday, November 08, 2003

"Video diaries deceased of the princess Diana heat such rumors now further on..."

Oh, now this is good.

German website detailing the allegations re Charles. Somehow made all the more exciting by the Google translation and the adverts for men's underwear.

Friday, November 07, 2003

I've decided to be truer to myself.

Whenever I come out with an off the cuff comment which sounds like it was dreamt up by Bob Hope before he went to that great script meeting in the sky, I'm going to follow it up with a convincingly Bob Hope-esque catchphrase. Like "I'm tellin' ya!"

Example: FW's big night out was cancelled because most of his colleagues are civilised and married, and don't like to stay out late at night. FW comes out with "Weddings have gotta be tiring. Married people spend decades sleeping them off."

Which only sounds right when followed by a cheesy half-grin and some sort of catch phrase.

I'm tellin' ya.

Again, this bugs me...

Yep, 'Stan' is on VH1 again. And everytime it comes it pisses me off. Sorry, that should be it ****** me ***.

The first moment it starts to go wrong is:
"I ain't mad. I just think it's ........ up you don't answer fans."

Fair enough, you might think. No swearing on this channel. Even at 11. Then it goes on.
"He always used to cheat on my mum and ........ her."

Beat her? Any good reason why they can't play that bit. Maybe because it's unpleasant, and they think it might disturb their viewers.

It goes on
"Sometimes I even ...... myself to see how much it .........."
Um, cut myself? Bleeds? Is self-harm now too unpleasant to make it into the mainstream media. God, no wonder it's the hidden epidemic. But that's really not the point.

Censorship is just another service the media provide for us, like news. Just as war footage somehow conveniently omits the charred corpses and dead British soldiers, VH1 has decided that it won't just take the swearing and sex from the song, they'll omit anything they think might be shocking.

Here's a newsflash- Stan is the story of an obsessive fan who kills himself and his girlfriend because his idol won't write back. Never mind individual lines- the whole song is disturbing. And that's the point. And if VH1 has decreed that its fans won't be exposed to disturbing imagery, well here's an idea, don't bother showing 'Stan', or anything else which is upsetting but makes a point about life which, lets face it, is often quite disturbing.

Why not just stick to something safe, leave the upsetting stuff for the grown ups, and show more music from Sting and Grease?

Dammit, they just have.

Introducing Smooth 'B'

Well, I suppose I should let you into a secret; the blog was someone else's idea. His name's Smooth 'B', and within 30 seconds of getting an email suggesting I start one I was writing. And I've struggled to stop since.

Still, he has the best parties.

Smooth 'B' (finally got a blog name) has introduced me to Friendster. Sort of like Napster, except with friends.

Ah, just got that.

Got to buy fireworks!

After this weekend the Post Office is going to be flogging off its surplus stock of fireworks. And Rat Boys will be converging on my back garden to set them off. Which means I have to buy some.

My theory is that the more tickets responsible people like me and Brother buy- the fewer there'll be for Watford Rat Boys to misuse. Fewer for them to stick up exhaust pipes and electricity substations.

Just think: I get to make the world a safer place. By setting off explosions. Yay.

I call it the Bush Argument.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Paul Dickenson. David Coleman. Why?

A few years back I powered up my OnDigital box and decided to watch me some tennis. I was flicking through the BBC Wimbledon service which had video feeds of other matches. I started watching one, and for once when watching sport, I felt soothed and mildly interested what had changed?

Then I realised the BBCi feed didn't have a commentator. TV commentators occupy a precarious position, as the viewer is more than capable of seeing what is actually happening on the screen, so they're forced to rely on occasional observations and lengthy discussion with studio experts. So why do we have them?

Are we actually saying that the sporting action is not enough for people, that they need a continuous conversation to give them entertained? Few people watch sport by themselves; couldn't they reach similar (and equally informed conclusions) talking amongst themselves, or do TV companies just feel they *have* to be the centre of attention? Or is this just a needless tradition we picked up from radio, and now people are so used to not having to think about what they're seeing, they actually now need a commentator to spoonfeed them observations which aren't exactly rocket science.

A whole edifice has been built on this need- every sporting event has an associated series of personalities, studios and graphics. For every minute of football, there will be at least a minute of build up or post-match analysis in that slow, barked voice people in suits on television seem to reserve solely for sports fans.

The embodiment of this is Superstars; a sports programme which is almost continuous analysis/buildup, with just a few seconds of actual sporting action. It's essentially a group of amateurs taking part in sporting events- like some mates having a kickaround in the park (in La Manga). But add in a commentator and some slow motion replays and, hey presto, an instant sporting event.

Maybe I don't have a problem with sport- just the continuous yapping of a commentator telling me things I either don't want to know, or can see with my own eyes so don't need to be told.

I've never seen a sporting event on TV since without a commentator. Coincidently, I haven't watched one since.

OK, so this is because it's Wednesday, and Brother is watching Superstars, when between the commentator (called Paul Dickenson, apparently), Johnny Vaughan- both people who have made a living out of never shutting up- the token female presenter and that annoying little jingle, never shuts up. Continuous talk and analysis, the occasional vaguely sporting themed moment. I hate it.

On a bender

I really thought I was going crazy yesterday. I was running around the office, along the train, dodging traffic on the Finchley Road and playing the mobile phone game pretending I was a secret agent.

Of course, at 7 (leaving a certain franchised coffee shop) I realised I'd had six cups of coffee (2 of which were huge), which could explain a few things. The previous week I'd experienced a caffeine crash on the way into College, and pretty much dozed through the whole lesson. This time I went a little too far the other way.

Still, when I'm hyper I'm quite funny. I was getting a lift to the station with some classmates, including an Israeli and a South African. They asked me about the fireworks, and I was thrilled- I've never told the story of Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot to someone (who hadn't heard it) before. And quite a few things I said made a little too much sense. Such as the fact that we burn Guy Fawkes each year (to slight gasps of astonishment) despite the fact that he wasn't burnt at all. Merely hung, drawn and quartered.

Israeli Girl asked me when our independence day is. I had to explain we don't have one- the rest of the world celebrates getting independence from us.

Then I went home and ran round in circles until about 2am, when I collapsed.

Haunted by a smell...

Without sounding madder than I have been this week, I keep on catching a smell I'm never going to forget. It's Tree Of Life Aphrodisia Incense, the first incense I ever bought from the little hippy shop in Harrow St Anne's centre. I used to burn it all the time when revising for my stats- it never seemed like an aphrodisiac, more a really nice greeny-yellow smell that always chilled me out (and annoyed everyone else in the house). Then one day I changed to a different brand and never thought about it again.

But every couple of months, I suddenly catch that smell again. It's at the least expected times; walking down a busy road, out in a field, at work. And i've scoured every new age shop within 20 miles, and I can't find it for sale anywhere. I found Tree of Life Ylang-Ylang and Strawberry, but it's just not aphrodisia. I feel a bit of my past is waiting for me if only I could find it, and the smell awakens so many memories, I just imagine finding a whole stick would be like being transported to the past for just a few minutes.

So if anyone's got any leads, let me know. Because it's a time I'm not going to get back otherwise.

Games you can play...

Well, thanks to BBC online, I'm now bluejacking.

The idea's fairly straightforward- turn on the Bluetooth option on your phone, make a contact with a message, and then try sending it! In practice, it's more tricky- you have to get the timing just right during the ten second sweep for other phones- if you do get a contact, you have to go where the person might be (trickier if you're in a big crowd, or a train doing 30 mph), and all whilst appearing completely innocuous. You can sweep buses, trains, pubs and traffic jams, and send progressively weirder messages.

I got a captive contact on the train coming home- it must have been someone within 10 m of me, and I sent them three messages, including instructions on how to send one back.

Oo, and I got my next door neighbour on the way in. OK, so I admit it's a bit sad. But it's fun and it's free.

Full time job and part time course, and I still have too much free time. Scary.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Leaping back into the 20th Century

Sadly, we're not moving into the mobile era just yet...Blogger doesn't do that service any more. On the bright side, I can get suspicious looking emails that definitely aren't viruses on the bus now...

And, I've now figured out how to put an email address on to the page. So now *ten people* a day can send me abuse. Yay.

Monday, November 03, 2003

There's certain things that my brother hates to hear whilst I'm cooking. Things such as 'Do you know what would be really cool?', 'slight change in plan' or 'arrghhh!' But the worst thing, he's decided, is the following song:

You're my favourite fungi
You taste good in stir-fries, salads and ice-creams
I never got to know you
But now I'm making up for lost time...."

Although I can safely say, the mushroom impulse resisted, my fajitas were fantastic!

How's it going to end?

OK, so I haven't watched it in years, but it's the last ever episode of Brookside tomorrow night. The big question is, how are they going to wrap it up? The thing is, Sunset Beach deliberately went crazy at the end, as it had nothing to lose, and was always known for its flatly unbelievably storylines. So why not do the same with Brookside? Here's a few possibles?

1) Barry and Terry finally make it up, and stop fighting.

2) Ron finally goes postal (apologies if this has happened before)

3) Deadly virus (ditto)

4) Two words: meteorite strike.

5) Jimmy Corkhill is the only man on earth who can save us from a deadly meteorite strike. Armed only with his knowledge of car engines and ten pounds of smack, Jimmy boards an experimental space shuttle in order to place a nuclear bomb on the meteor, just in time to save the Earth. However, Jimmy screws it up, like everything else, and we all die.

6) Something works out well for someone. And a character gets to live happily ever after in Brookside Close.

The Super Soaraway Scum

You've got to hand it to the Sun this morning. Frank: I nearly died.

Frank Bruno tells his heartwarming story of his struggle with depression only to the caring sharing Sun (and Trevor MacDonald), just days after being released from a 28 day section under the Mental Health Act.

Anyone remember the Sun a month ago? In case they've erased it from history:

You have to admit, that takes guts...

...argh, must resist urge to add mushrooms...

Nice news from Amazon, for a change.

We're writing to let you know that we've initiated a transfer to your
bank account for the following amount:


Funds should appear in your account in approximately six to ten working
Excuse my ignorance please, but given that electrical signals come close to the speed of light, and that someone with too much time on the other side of the world could be reading this in a minute's time, how exactly does it take six to ten working (one to two weeks) for this amount to show up? And who's been keeping hold of it since that aspiring physicist (poor fool) paid the money out of his account two weeks ago?

Come to think about it, why does my rent do the same thing when I transfer it to Brother's account. And yet the London Stock Exchange can pull it off in seconds.

On the bright side, that's another Physics book I've successfully got shot of. Which means I can start to make space for all the new ones I've acquired this weekend. Have to admit, there was a certain Tarot theme missing from the shelves up until now.

Now where was I?

I would say one of those days, but really more like one of those weekends, you could spend a long time trying to make sense of. At various points I seem to

- Paid £4 for a fruit smoothie
- Attended a Celtic saints service at St John's Piccadilly (more about that later, I suspect)
- Contacted a spirit
- Grown a beard (for now, but it's coming off in the morning)
- Got rained on, and dried off, at least 5 times.
- Not come home.
- Come into work looking worse than usual
- Been mocked by one client, and well, not exactly threatened, by another.
- Lost my mind, and found it again. (see previous postings)

The problem is, I don't seem to have slept properly for at least three days. So it could be that the weekend wasn't hard to understand at all, but I just lack the capacity to make any sense out of events.

The real test of this is the Fajita Test. Can I make decent Fajitas in my sleep?

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Someone would tell me, right?

I used to work in a social work office in a day centre, and I remember one of my social workers had a rather worrying paranoia. She asked me once:

'Well, how do I know I'm really a social worker? What if I'm just convinced I'm a social worker, and that's why they've put me in this day centre? How do I know this office isn't just a special treatment room?'

What can you say to that one? My response was 'Don't worry, of course you're a social worker. And I'm your secretary. Um.'

We had a saying over there too, which was 'It's never too early in the morning for an existential crisis.' And it's certainly true that you get some fairly unusual people working as health professionals.

But that leads me to my scary thought: whenever I tell people about that at work, they laugh, and then grimace. We all have that problem- how would we actually know? I've always accepted that I'm slightly manic and prone to the occasional delusion, but I'm certainly not the only one.

The best test you can do if you're a bit like that is to ask- am I going mad? If the answer's 'possibly' then you're ok for now. One of the major tests in a mental health act assessment is that of insight, so if you're a bit mad and you answer 'no', the odds are you've lost it.

The problem is, there's such a stigma to being a bit, well, waiting for a message from the mothership. But it's really not that bad, most of the happiest people I know are slightly deluded, and it often seems the only way to have fun any more. Which is why I tend to surround myself with fellow crazies, and convince them that they just don't need to pretend any more!

As Seal said 'We ain't never going to survive/unless/we get a little crazy.' So if you're mad, be mad, but be happy.

Another good test to see if you've lost it is to say 'I'm going home'. If the person/people you're with nod and say 'See ya', you're OK. If they respond with 'Now John, we have discussed this, and we agreed it's not really a good idea right now', you've probably lost it.

Just so you know...

Where's the sense in that?

Travelling out of Uxbridge late Friday night, I started earwigging into my fellow passengers' conversations, and I have to admit I found it quite touching. This poor girl was justifying springing her ex-boyfriend with a declaration of undying love. If you were that boyfriend you'd probably feel extremely touched, or extremely scared. From past experience, my money's on scared, but obviously it wasn't her friend's job to tell her that.

She said:
"You know, it's like that Jewel song. You know, if I don't say it, um, I'd still feel that way, and... you know, where's the sense in that?"

Bless her. Although past experience has taught me that you should never try and justify your actions through song lyrics. For example, demanding 'give me just a smile and make it snappy' never really goes down well. And I've struggled to justify that yes, although the roof was indeed on fire, I didn't really need no water, and I felt the best course of action was to let the motherfucker burn...

Sad but true

Yes folks, in the most exciting development since I realised this page was getting 5 hits a day (!) DOAFW is going mobile.

Or rather, I've worked out that if I send blogger some money (although for a company that presumably wants to make money, they have failed to make this process at all clear on their webpage) I can update the blog by email. And I've finally fixed my phone so I can send and receive emails too. Which means as long as I'm sober/lucid enough to reach my phone, I can blog. Which means you'll probably get lots of short postings typed in by thumb at uneven times of the day, and a better insight into the real me. Great.

Although if last night's anything to go by, there's going to be more posts that read:

'The night's black, and the football manager seems to have dulled the stars.

I think I'm going to be here forever. I hate cars."

If I do get sectioned, do I get to bring my mobile?

Haven't done that for a while

I couldn't get to sleep last night. I go through an amazing process through a sleepless night, from irritation, desperation, paranoia, delusion, desperation and talking to myself. It probably doesn't help that I've mostly lounged around the flat this weekend, and natural sunlight doesn't quite seem able to make the journey from window to chair.

It is, however, amazing how quickly I lose it if I can't get to sleep. But it's nice, if a surprise, to be back in the land of the living.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

It's not the destination

Strange thought occurred to me, some time between leaving a party in hayes at 10:45 and arriving home 2 hours later. I was walking home, a two mile journey through the remnants of the party in Watford High Street, with huge blisters and that strange feeling you get when your thoughts just drift off into nowhere. Or overtired, as most people call it. So for a time I just gave up thinking, and walked around in that strange zen state that I find somewhere between being awake and asleep. And my feet just seemed to know where they lived and how to get there.

Sometimes when you reach that place, if you listen hard enough you can sinething speak to you. Maybe it's a spirit, or maybe it's your true self, when not clouded by all the thoughts and memes you cloud it with. And for the second time in one day I just let it speak, with no other aim than to hear it. Somehow the real purpose of my journey (to get in from the rain, to get to bed) didn't matter anymore.

I learnt a lot of things from the journey. Most importantly, I learnt that this time of year, when I'm going to spend so much time walking around in the dark, a vital part of my happiness is going to be how I approach these journeys. If I concentrate on just reaching my destination, I'm going to hate everything that slows me down. Desire to frustration and unhappiness in 2000 simple steps. But if I come to love the journey, and treat it as an end in itself, leaving myself open to thoughts and peace in the noisiest places and coldest winds, I might just stand a chance of enjoying this Winter.

And I made it, and slept for 12 hours.

The Horror!

Well, that was Hallowe'en. And God it was scary.

It was inhuman, fatal and coming to your town. Yes, I dressed up as George Bush (mask, bag marked toxic, nuclear missile). Which got me some weird looks walking down Watford High Street.

I think I might have been a little too cynical though. You know how when a party just isn't your kind of thing. Still, it was worth it all for the look I gave someone at the party when I got asked to take part in the apple bobbing. I could have spent ages practising that one and never got it right.

And if all else failed, I could have just gone nuclear. You wouldn't want to invite ole dubya to your party, would you?