For the first time in my life I missed a flight. I’ve been close before, had my name read out over the public address system but never actually missed a flight. Never thought I would. Well, I did today.
Billy Connelly once said that his wife thought a pint was the size of a door. In his drinking days he would call over his shoulder “just going out for a pint” and come back plastered. last night I went out for a pint, just to catch the second half of the football, before returning and packing. while in Hollywoods, I started chatting to Sean, an American with a liberal streak but a profound knowledge of boxing. He grew up in a boxing family, met many famous fighters and has cinecam footage of himself on Muhammad Ali’s shoulders from 1978. That is class.
So we talked boxing and martial arts and mixed martial arts fighting. His enthusiasm matched mine and he told me many inside stories from the fight game. one beer led to another and then it was 4 in the morning. I was in a club and chatting to an English guy while Sean danced. I woke up at 8.45AM just in time to miss my flight. Genius Dan. I dunno what happened to Sean, probably still dancing. Meanwhile I’m at the airport, awaiting the next flight today, about to get some sleep. I’ll keep you informed of my dreams.
I don’t know why this has lingered or created this funny feeling but it has. I walked into Hollywoods last night, a bar on the main strip, a bar I go to watch football in, desperately trying to see the screen over the throngs of Irish millers. Last night Todd and I were confronted by reeves and silence. The bar was felt empty, eerie, devoid of a vibe. Below the reeves lay the picture of Barry, the bar owner, a balding, smiling Barry. I know Barry.
I enquired what happened and a young barman told me Barry had been killed in a “violent car crash in Thailand.” I felt a little numb, a little lost. The man I regularly asked to look for a Premier league game was gone. Who was I going to ask now was my first thoughtless thought. I asked how old Barry was? 44. 44. That’s it.
Maybe it’s because I’m going to Thailand next week. Maybe it’s the bar for which I hold little affection but go regularly, a reflection of my own sadness. Or I think its the suddenness. I’ll get over it. I always do. But I’m starting to think that’s a problem. I don’t care enough. In my life, I’ve travelled extensively, met liberally, and left casually. I remember all my friends but when over 100,000 people die per day, affecting many more, maybe I should remember them more. Or even give them a call. Sure we’re busy and the world goes on, but someday it won’t.
The US and the UK were “raining bombs and hell-fire on innocent Iraqis, purportedly in the name of democracy. We are now being coerced to accept and believe that a new political-cum-religious doctrine has arisen, namely that there is but one political God, George W Bush, and Tony Blair is his prophet,” Mr Mugabe said to scattered applause at the UN headquarters.
It’s a bit odd when you find yourself agreeing with the political analysis of a man who muzzles the press, rigged elections, crippled the economy by encouraging land seizures, presided over and ignored the rising population of HIV cases, brutalised his people, all the while maintaining a bank account full of gold in one of the world’s most desperate countries. Still, stranger things have happened…I think
The raining season, much hyped, came and went without really arriving here. I expected monsoons, typhoons, lashings of rain falling from space, slamming into my head with Thor’s fist.
Koreans are fully prepared for the rain. Huge golf umbrellas, fit for a Godzilla, rise up at the first grey cloud, threatening to take my eye, forcing a despairing, desperate lunge to the side to avoid laceration. For as we know, Koreans don’t really think about other people too much. It’s thoroughly pissed me off this summer. What type of summer lasts a few weeks, followed by four weeks letdown rain and then autumn?
Alas but when last week, it rained unexpectedly, picture the scene; umbrellaless wide-eyed, petrified girls or dumb-struck men scampering across streets, grasping for any cover as the first specks of ants tears tiptoed from the heavens. I felt like thanking the big man but he doesn’t exist. I thanked my dentist Mike Gregory instead for I had a smile a very large lizard would be proud of.
I’m on the subway, standing near the door, reading Joyce. Next to me is an old man, well-dressed, snakeskin shoes, preparing to disembark. Next to him is a young guy, casual, cheap trainers reaching out, reading the paper. As the train grinds to a slumber and the doors prostate, in a flash, the old man raises his right foot and slams it down towards the toes of the young guy. But the guy proved too quick and jacked his foot back. He was expecting it. He knew that his foot was vulnerable and suitable for punishment. Why? For slightly, every so slightly, being in the way of the old man, for not showing the due respect, for seeming to forget his Confucian heritage which has hamstrung women and young people alike for generations to the advantages of old men. The old man walked away from the train muttering, a generation spurned. The young man continued reading his paper and I stared at my exposed feet and sandals, relieved and slightly taken aback.