March 02, 2007

Sun Worship

I read this BBC article today.

Basically in Peru they have discovered these two thousand year old structures which span the rising and falling of the sun and the towers allowed people to view the sun near the solstices. So pretty indicative of a solar cult.

And I thought to myself. Why not?

People always tell me I lack faith and should look to religion to deal with my spiritual bankruptcy. But I have always struggled with the concept of believing in God as I feel there is insufficient proof.

But everyone can see the sun and knows it exists so worshipping the sun makes perfect sense. At worst I get a good tan. At best my sacrifices pay off and the sun shines on me in a figurative as well as a literal sense.

So I am busy assembling a sun cult. Recruiting priestesses as we speak. Naturally I am the High Priest.


January 07, 2007

Apocolypta

Watched the Mel Gibson film the other day. Beautiful visuals and really felt you were watching in on life unfolding. Was unremarkable and a bit too gruesome for my tastes and was basically just a long long long manhunt. The Mayans like the Aztecs had a civilisation built on superstition and involving huge amounts of human sacrifice and were constantly at war. The movie was full of wanton cruelty and I lost count of the number of people who were slaughtered….that is the thing that upsets me about humans. I can be selfish but I would never intentionally hurt someone (emotionally or physically) let alone kill them unless it was in self defence or defending family, friends or a loved one.

The rise and fall of civilisations fascinates me and a historian I forget made the astute comment that civilisations destroy themselves from within before they can be destroyed from without. This was a backdrop to the film and naturally they blamed the Gods and sought to appease him with human sacrifice.

But plenty of themes…..

Human greed…..a rather charming creation myth was told along the lines of man was made with a hole in him, a hole he fills by wanting and taking and he will continue to take until the world has no more to give.

Family…........divorce wasn’t really an issue in the film, although lots of husbands were killed off so plenty of single parent families. But a theme was certainly devotion to family and how desire to protect and look after your family can give you superhuman strength.

Superstition…..superstition is a really really dangerous thing but a sort of safety net people use to deal with the frightening fact we know so little about the world and there is so much random chance. It is also an instrument of control in the same way that religion can be used for this purpose.

Disappointingly the historical accuracy was terrible. I think Mel got the Aztecs and the Mayans mixed up. The Mayan civilisation ended a good five hundred years before the Spanish arrived. They also were not anywhere near as bloodthirsty as the Aztecs.


January 04, 2007

St Elmo's Fire review

I watched the best film tonight. St Elmo’s Fire. It is billed as “A Group of Friends just out of college struggle with adulthood. Their main problem is they are all self-centred and obnoxious”. Most of them are also in love with unattainable people and clinging to their college days when they clearly defined roles (the Frat boy, the party girl etc).

Basically they are all part of the “Me generation” and only care about instant gratification and personal advancement; loose in morals. It is hard to feel much sympathy for them but at the same time you are left thinking perhaps it isn’t their own fault they turned out that way, perhaps it is a fault of society.

You see all the cliched problems: drug addiction, unrequited love, debt, the pressure to succeed, promiscuity, and just a lack of moral fibre which are just as relevant today as then.

The question the film asks is are these problems indeed real or just St elmo’s fire….a natural part of growing up and something we all deal with.

I won’t ruin the plot too much! But I will outline some of the characters:

Billy is the frat boy who cannot hold down a job and is a bad father and husband and is only good at playing the saxophone and getting girls into bed.

Wendy is the least selfish character and devotes her life to helping people but harbours a crush on Billy.

Kirby is a sensitive and slightly unstable guy who develops an obsession with a pretty older nurse and is probably the most lovable stalker there is.

Jules is a slutty party girl who sleeps with her married boss to support her drug habit.

Alec is an yuppie wannabe politician who is desperate to get married to his girlfriend but has no intention of giving up his womanising.

Leslie is Alec’s girlfriend who is reluctant to marry Alec.

Kevin is a depressed writer who is secretely in love with Leslie.

Basically they all have their own trials and tribulations and some of them grow up and others do not. The subplots eventually collide leading to a grand finale. All the while they remain friends but eventually drift apart.

Some nice quotes

“They thought they could be friends forever but forever does not last”

“There are several quintessential moments in a man’s life: losing his virginity, getting married, becoming a father, and having the right girl smile at you.”

“You know what love is? Love is an illusion created by lawyer types like yourself to perpetuate another illusion called marriage to create the reality of divorce and then the illusionary need for divorce lawyers.”

“It’s St. Elmo’s Fire. Electric flashes of light that appear in dark skies out of nowhere. Sailors would guide entire journeys by it, but the joke was on them… there was no fire. There wasn’t even a St. Elmo. They made it up. They made it up because they thought they needed it to keep them going when times got tough, just like you’re making up all of this. We’re all going through this. It’s our time at the edge.”

The basic point is that none of these kids really have any problems other than those they create for themselve


January 02, 2007

My New Years Resolutions

1) Get back into the habit of doing regular exercise…....cos it gives me a buzz and gives me more energy and makes me a nicer person to be around. The problem is I can only be bothered to work out in summertime as half the fun of being in shape is flaunting your body.

2) Do some volunteer work…...this is hard because I want to a) make a difference and b) help people who actually deserve to be helped. I have this elitist view that the vast majority of poor people are poor because they are lazy and have a sense of entitlement that they deserve everything on a plate. I might do some sort of mentoring in inner cities or something. I figure young people are at a vulnerable age where they can so easily fall off the tracks and rather than concentrate on education get caught up in drinking, underage sex, drugs and crime.

3) Take up a new hobby. Most of my hobbies are quite solitary so I should really take up a hobby that will help me meet some more people my own age as at the moment my social life centres around a few friends from university and a drinking buddy. Unfortunately Im convinced most people my own age just socialise in bars and clubs so if I went to some sort of class or society it would be just full of old people. Need to find something that would be full of young people that I would enjoy doing as well!

4) Limit my coffee drinking…..I suffer from insomnia and it probably has something to do with excessive caffeine intake. I get into a vicious circle. I have insomnia so don’ get much sleep. So im exhausted in the morning. so i need coffee to keep me from falling asleep in class (and im the teacher so that won’t do) but that keeps me awake at night. Not to mention how expensive getting a coffee in London is these days!

5) Do some independent travel…...while I have all these dreams of going to tropical islands, living on a ranch etc I generally am too lazy to organise anything and opt instead for the family holiday which involves staying in nice hotels in civilised countries. But this year Im determined to actually go somewhere!


January 01, 2007

My first rave

While I claim to be a man of the world, truth is I have had a fairly sheltered youth. Ive never been offered drugs, never done drugs, never really ventured outside of the nicer parts of London, never been mugged, never been beaten up, never got into a fight, never been in jail, and never drunk till Ive passed out.

So naturally I ended up at a rave entirely by accident. I was with a friend and the London parties were hideously expensive to get into. So he says “I know a guy who knows of a party at a reggae bar in North London”. I think “Hmm. I do like a bit of Marley” so go along with it.

The moment we get off the tube I realise I am in a really really deprived area. The people milling around the streets have either a look of intense suffering on their face or just look cold and hard. I make the mistake of looking at a guy and he starts saying “What you looking at cuz?” and gets a bit of an attitude. I placate him and say “Nothing. Im just waiting for a friend and bored. Im not looking for any trouble”. He started swearing at me trying to rile me. I just take it. He tries to push me around a bit but I just restrain him. Eventually he gets bored and says “can i have a pound to get some wings”. I give it to him and his hunger gets the better of him and he disappears into the night.

My friend’s friend shows up. He is a skinhead with a short stocky build and a goatee. But he seems nice enough and claims to be a student nurse. We make our way to this club.

It turns out to be a deserted warehouse and there is an assortment of freaks queueing up. Girls with skinheads, white men with dreadlocks, piercings all over, multicoloured hair, people who look like famine victims….I feel very out of place wearing smart jeans, a Kenneth Cole white shirt and a wool coat. I think I was something of a novelty and people kept staring at me. Well at first. After a while people were too stoned to notice.

I had a walk around and surveyed the “scene”. The music was very odd and left me feeling most bemused. Im informed it is called trance. Unfortunately I think you need to be stoned or mentally ill to appreciate it.

We went upstairs where people were “dancing”. There was no rhythm so I just copied everyone else and felt faintly ridiculous. I flailed my hands around as if I was having an epilectic fit and let my eyes glaze over and kept my mouth open and let my tongue hang out.

I saw these rooms where people were snorting cocaine and injecting themselves with needles.

I did acquire a hippy admirer. This girl with blue and green hair, bald patches, lots of piercings and little discernible body fat launched herself at me and said “Happy New Year” flung her arms around me and attempted to kiss me. I dodged the kiss and gave her my cheek. I tried to get away but she followed me around. Eventually I just said to her “Look it would never work. When we go on our honeymoon youd just set off the metal detector at the airport”.

I got bored very quickly once the novelty wore off and also felt really tired. So I sulked in the corner and ate chewitts until my friend was ready to go.


December 31, 2006

Obituary to James Brown

I loved James Brown. Not in a homo-erotic sense. But loved his music, his style, his personality, the man just made me feel good.

He just had so much energy and it was infectious. Hell, my middle name is Indolence, but when James Brown comes on the radio even I start shuffling my feet and writhing my body with a manic intensityand work myself up a cold sweat.

Of course he was a bad man and did quite a lot of time in jail, did drugs, was abusive, drove too fast, apparentently beat his wife and lots of other stuff I probably do not know about. But some of the most talented people are often hopelessly flawed but regardless of what you want to say about them as people you just have to admire their talent and all the pleasure it has brought people.

Obviously his music was amazing but I also LOVE his lyrics. Stuff like:

“Ow! You’re too much.
You’re the end.
You’re so hip, baby.
You know just where it’s at.
You’re beautiful, mama.
Most of all, you’re honest.
There’s no doubt you’re out of sight.”

In these lines Brown communicates the “wow” feeling you get when you meet a girl that is all that. To this day “out of sight” is the highest compliment I can give a girl.

“I’m ready to get up and do my thing
I wanta get into it, man, you know….
Like a, like a sex machine, man, “

These immortal lines need no explanation. Enlightened doctors prescribe James Brown’s “Get Up I Feel like Being a Sex Machine” as an inexpensive and altogether more potent alternative to Viagra. After all James Brown continued to exude raw sexuality well into his 70s.

“Wo! I feel nice, like sugar and spice
I feel nice, like sugar and spice
So nice, so nice, I got you

When I hold you in my arms
I know that I can do no wrong
and when I hold you in my arms
My love won’t do you no harm”

And finally these lyrics from “I Feel Good”

The best thing about Brown is his songs are uplifting and to Brown love and infatuation and lust were little more than really really good feelings and people often lose sight of that and intellectualise them too much getting too soppy and romantic. You get caught up in wondering where things are going, what it means, whether love will last, and all that crap. But you just gotta enjoy the moment and that good feeling and Brown gets that.

But even Brown could tug at the heartstrings with the pleading Please Please Please

“Please, please, please, please me (You don’t have to go)
Baby please, baby please, please me (You don’t have to go)
Baby please, baby please don’t go (You don’t have to go)
Don’t go, I said baby, don’t baby
I love you so (You don’t have to go) “

Im not very good at begging but that is ok because with girls I let Brown do my begging for me. Of course if I could sing with the same feverish intensity as Brown (not to mention in tune) then id have more success. But im working on it!

A less well known example is found in Try Me>

Oh I need you (I need you)
Oh i need you (I need you)
Oh oh walk with me (walk with me)
Talk with me (talk with me)
I want you to stop my heart from crying
Walk with me (walk with me)
Talk with me (talk with me)
And your love stops my heart from dying
Oh I need you (I need you hoo hoo)

Once again Brown is on top form. Notice how powerful the use of repetition is, as is the powerful images of Brown’s heart crying and dying. The girl’s love is sustenance to Brown’s heart and this is why he needs her. While a beautiful thought it is also terrifying how dependent Brown is on this girl. And I guess this is the dark side of love.

And finally a personal favourite:

“Bewildered, lost in a dream
In the love I need why did we part
Bewildered, has love, has love died dear
Wishing your heart could feel
What’s in my heart
Must I have sleepless night
And endless days
Oh love why did you keep my soul
Without a spark I’m in the dark
Bewilderdd, I need your, I need your I need your guiding hand
I’ll never, no I’ll never understand
How you can love me, how you can love me
How you can love me, how you can love me
How you can love me and leave me Bewildered, bewidered “

This is just so bloody poetic I cannot get over how good it is. The song is even better.

Finally on a lighter note

“I don’t care ha about your past
I just want ho our love to last dee
I don’t care darlin’ about your faults huh
I just want to satisfy your pulse

Oh

When you kiss me
When you mess me
Hold my hand
Make me understand

I break out – in a cold sweat”

Just wow!


Wet and Wild

I am kinda weird in that my favourite weather is dark, wet, windy and bitterly cold. I guess I enjoy braving the elements as well as the amazing feeling when you return to destination and can strip off your wet clothes and take a warm bath and cuddle up next to the fire and feed the mighty appetite you have worked up.

The thing is we are pampered too much and used to soft living. We have lost the element of life that shaped and defined our ancestors: survival. But when I am out in a storm something stirs in my blood and I feel alive.


December 27, 2006

Instant Rapport with the working classes

From an early age my mother tried to indoctrinate me with the idea that society is stratified by class. For simplicity she adopted the old “U” and “non-U” distinction. But generally resorted just to saying something or someone was “plebby” or “common”. For a long while I believe that I was somehow superior to “common people” just because I had a public school education, had professional parents and spoke reasonably well.

But then I became a teenager and began to question everything I had been taught and learnt to think for myself. I had lengthy conversations with the cleaner, the painter and the builders that used to come round to my house and struck up friendships. I even briefly dated the daughter of one of our cleaners. Most of all I became a humanist and believed that all these notions of class just created boundaries between people and that we had to break down these boundaries and judge people not on their class, their race, their manners but the content of their soul. But to my great disappointment it was a two-way thing. While I no longer dismissed working class people as being “common” or beneath me, they continued to dismiss me as “posh” or “stuck up”.

I realised then that the only way to fulfill my dream of acceptance amongst the hoi polloi was to become a chameleon and immerse myself into their lifestyle and learn to blend in.

I started off with that most working class of pursuits: manual labour. No-one would employ me as I did not have any work experience. I was shattered but did not give up. My indulgent parents ordered some bricks for me to play with. So I hung around in the garden in the scorching summer sun with no top and a baggy pair of jeans and built a wall. Naturally I punctuated it with endless cups of sugary tea and strung the work out so it took me a whole summer to build the wall.
I asked a few of my female friends to walk up and down my garden so I could whistle at them and make rude comments and call them “luv”.
I even developed a passable Cockney accent.

At the same time I really got into weights and developed that most working class of bodily ornaments: muscles. I even got a fake tattoo.

The next stage was to go to a pub. A proper pub. I sat down and ordered a beer. I was careful not to order a foreign import. Instead I ordered several Worthingtons which sounded very English, salt of the earth and all that. I knocked several back to the admiration of the other drinkers. “Tough day at work, mate” one of them commented. I said “Yeah, they think we are slaves or something. Nearly broke my back lifting all those bricks”. They sympathised. Encouraged I went on “They think they are better than us just because they are richer. But we got something they will never take away from us: pride and self respect”. They nodded in appreciation then said “Hey, you see those birds over there, a bit alright aren’t they?” I rose to the occasion and said “Yeah a nice bit of T and A. That bird there looks well up for it! Wouldn’t mind her as me missus”. I go over to her and say “Alright luv. You are well fit”. She replies “F**k off”. I go over to my new friends and say “she’s a lesbian”. They nod understandingly.

Worth noting are some subtle verbal techniques designed to gain rapport:

Firstly the all purpose use of the word “mate”. Instant rapport.

Secondly in this case class divisions work in your favour. Make it clear it is them against us and you are in!

Thirdly objectify women. Working class people have not been exposed to the feminist movement and do not realise that leering is bad manners and it is not appropriate to compliment a woman’s breasts. Most of all they are not women but birds. Overfamiliarity is to be encouraged and when you meet a girl for the first time it is essential to call her “luv” to ensure she realises you are of solid working class stock.

Addendum:

Do not be scared to discuss feelings. Only last week a builder asked my mother if he could get off work early as he had an appointment with his therapist. My mother later commented “Whatever happened to the days when the working classes simply drowned their sorrows with beer? No wonder they overcharge.”


Fanmail

Out of all the Christmas presents I got the most amusing was a “rap” from a female fan.

“You know he’s down with OPP,
And loves hittin’ that ethnic booty.
Goes by the name of Count Roger,
He got those blue eyes and that soft blond hair.
Facts and stats are his game,
All the other homies are in comparison tame.
His government’s Matt but kids call him Teach,
He’s playin’ this world like life at the beach.
Got this mistress who his ma hates,
But that don’t stop him from makin’ those dates.
Also got him a Down Ass Bitch,
Who writes him lil’ raps kinda like this!”

Obviously it contains a lot of poetic license but it amused me so I thought Id share it with my readers.


December 22, 2006

Shop till you drop

I HATE shopping but unfortunately sometimes I get dragged to shops invariably by female friends. I dunno why, it is not like I suggest it and it is not as if I am their boyfriend so hardly my duty. But then I am invariably flattered they agree to be seen in public with me, especially in shops where by dragging a few paces behind and looking bored out of my mind I am sure people mistake me as their boyfriend. The things I do for female company!

My kind of shopping is internet shopping or that rare “all in one store” shop where you can be in and out within half an hour.

I do not understand the female obsession with shopping. It seems a very painful experience, trying on endless clothes until you find something that fits, waiting in queues, and fighting with other girls over sale items. Obviously the aim of the whole exercise is to look good compared to other girls in the hope of attracting men. But girls do not seem to understand that guys care very little about what they wear provided it is as revealing as possible.

My female friends constantly complain that I dress like a slob wearing T shirt and jeans. I try and defend myself saying Im going for the “too cool to care” look. But it falls flat. A few weeks ago I got talked into going clothes shopping with a friend. Unfortunately I am a sucker for flattery and my friend was going on about how I have a great body and she’s seen all these clothes Id look great in.

So I go along with it and infuriate her by rejecting every single pair of clothes she recommends and sulking when she insists I try yet ANOTHER pair of trousers. She then made this kinda hippy comment about you needing to believe in the clothes you are wearing. I forget but basically it let me off the hook.


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