Paternal Dan?

Spent yesterday looking after this monster, my niece Imogen. It’s my first time doing this kind of thing. I knew I’d take time to get used to her and her to me but we got on well enough, playing the piano together, throwing balls across the room and reading books. Feeding time was cute too.

Imogen is just over 1 year old, so she cant really walk or talk yet, but she is cute and a real smiler, putting me at ease. Bath time was cool, she loves water and her face lights up when she laughs.

I got to say that to my surprise, I enjoyed it all.

The Ground Beneath Her Feet Part Two

In every generation there are a few souls, call them lucky or cursed who are simply born not belonging, who come into the world semi-detached, if you like, without strong affiliation to family or location or nation or race. But those who value stability, who fear transience, uncertainty, change, have erected a powerful system of stigmas and taboos against rootlessness, that disruptive, anti-social force, so that we mostly conform, we pretend to be motivated by loyalties an solidarities we do not really feel, we hide our secret identities, beneath the false skins of those identities which bear the belongers’ seal of approval, But the truth leaks out in our dreams; alone in our beds (because we are all alone at night, even if we do not sleep by ourselves), we soar, we fly, we flee. And in the waking dreams our societies permit, in our myths, our arts, our songs, we celebrate the non-belongers, the different ones, the outlaws, the freaks. What we forbid ourselves, we pay good money to watch, in a playhouse or movie theatre, or to read about between the secret covers of a book. Our libraries, our palaces of entertainment tell the truth. The tramp, the assassin,, the rebel, the thief, the mutant, the outcast, the delinquent, the devil, the sinner, the traveller, the gangster, the runner, the mask: if we didn’t recognise in them our least-fulfilled needs, we would not invent them over and over again, in every place, in every language, in every time.

No sooner did we have ships, than we rushed to sea, sailing across unknown oceans in paper boats. No sooner did we have cars, than we hit the road. Now we send mechanical photographers into orbit, or on one-way journeys to the stars and we weep at the wonders they transmit; we are humbled by the mighty images of the far-off galaxies standing like cloud pillars in the sky, and we give names to alien rocks, as if they were our pets. We hunger for warp space, for the outlying rim of time. And this is the species that kids itself it likes to stay at home, to bind itself with – what are they called again? – ties.

Salman Rushdie p.73

Off to London

Off to London for a week or so to catch up with some mates. Liz is in from Japan, Anna is back from her travels, George for a drink, hopefully to see Kenny, Jane after about 2 years and of course I’ll be staying with my good buddy Steve.

Decided to shave off the beard but when the police see a slightly rounded guy wearing the Brazilian Doctor’s Socrates shirt, let’s hope they don’t pump five bullets into me. I’ll leave a message if they do. You can only hope anyway, though maybe it’s a pre-World Cup tactic. Keep’em out of Europe and maybe we’ll win.

The Ground Beneath her Feet

Such were the factors that detached him from the ordinary ties of family life. The ties that strangle us, which we call love. Because of the loosening of these ties he became, with all the attendant pain of such becoming, free.

But love is what we want, not freedom. Who then is the unluckier man? The beloved, who is given his heart’s desire and must for ever after fear its loss, or the free man, with his unlooked-for-liberty, naked and alone between the captive armies of the earth.

You only see the whole picture when you step out of the frame.

Salman Rushdie

No! Don’t do it man..

Nathan reminded me of this story from a few years back concerning someone we worked with on a temp job. We’ll call him Ken, shall we?

It was a nothing job, call centre stuff. You sign up promising to be there for life when you are already planning your get-away, weeks before you start. The crowd who worked there were the usual mix of students, bumbling nice married guys and women and still-at-homers. During the usual useless initiation process, one guy slightly stood out. Tall with a woolly hat (not very professional I thought) and dark goatee, he listened to some thrash music and played war games I guessed. He told us all about his girlfriend and her two kids and the problems with the old husband. Heart on his sleeve kind-a-guy. Interesting stuff, in an easily forgettable way.

I left that place after getting the money and moved on. 18 months or so later and I am taking a shower listening to the radio. Just the local stuff, nothing memorable. It’s Love Night. Callers request songs for their girlfriends in the simple way that simple humans do. “I’m sorry for hitting you yesterday, love.” That kind of thing.

Then on came a new caller explaining “how sorry he was, how he felt terrible, wanted to make it up to his girlfriend and her kids.” I lit up. I knew that voice. I knew what he was wearing, what he did in his spare time, what he looked like. But Ken went on and on, pouring his heart out to a DJ, grateful for a time-filler and an audience of Sunday drinkers, slumped in their chairs, dreading the morning.

I clawed at the tiles, “Shut up man, just shut up, don’t, no, don’t, don’t do it man. Don’t do it.”

Home, Sweet home

Being back in the town you grew up in is,…….a terrible thing. You know, on the plane back, that things haven’t changed and the same feeling will be there. I didn’t like it when I was a kid either.

Here, in summer, the town centre is full of women pushing babies, hair-tied back tight, smoking a fag. Men walking down the road bare chested, not bear-chested and the obligatory tattoo on the forearm of a scorpion or some unrelated animal. The post office is stocked full the most useless stuff, maps of Antwerp, CDs by The Three Degrees, the One and Only Jack Jones and Jose Felicano (who?) and the Sonic Figher toy, a toy so crap I would expect my 5 year old lad (when I have one) to pack my bag and throw me out. The toys were crap even for my generation. The queue there, is full of people who talk to you and then ask for money.

As I stroked past the Jesus Bus, I wondered why all young guys have only two hair cuts but eyebrow piercings? But the last straw was on the bus back home.

A: Bought a lottery ticket
B: Oh yeah? What numbers did you choose?

Dan’s mind: Who cares? It’s a lottery for f##k’s sake. F##K OFF.

Home ? Lovin’ it.

You know crazy?

This guy knows crazy. He is crazy. He’s ghostrider, a Swedish biker who makes videos of himself of riding around through traffic at incredible speeds, swerving trucks and cars at speeds of up to 350km/h. He just toys with the police. Watch