University students get 3 months off in the summer and 3 months off in the winter. University students without jobs get bored in summer and winter. University students from abroad go home in the summer.

A man of thrift and his ordeal : Night in a coach, a day in London , another night in a coach.

Glasgow coach : Socially competent lad from Ohio – speaks with everyone, unaware of formal British travel etiquette ; Hard seats have a decided inherent potential to inflame one’s buttocks , neck and back; Cute ginger girl disassociated from previous sentence.

London : A flurry, burly, bustle, can’t think! There’s no room to breathe -think of eternity and perfect triangles – but for lush overpopulated benchless parks ; Bulging , greyly shriveled , wizened bags under eyes of city despair – quiet despair; ‘Guv’nor! ‘; No opportunities to transcend the shortsighted stuffed ear finite world of Heraclitian flux; Sublime spinach-mushroom-chicken sandwich and a devillish coffee tonic at ‘no1. coffee’ in Camden town.

And camden town is in reality a vain tardy lady of slatern hipness.

Dover- Calais : Low grumble from truculent belly of car-brimming Ferry ship , it massages my back trembling recumbent against a ‘no-entry ‘ door – opaque insolent silver doorknob nudges the top of my nodding head ; Girl on other side of ship keeps peering over – blond and cute , I wistful (again!) . Passengers crawl like frantic reptiles over dead-end circular deck paths ; their shoes thump on tawdry Casino carpets – like their lives on another sea.

Holland : Nightime – quavering industrial lights over water in Rotterdam, a pristine world of beautiful foulness ; Dark icy concrete slabs of glass-paned nullified existence .

Understatement : This country scores decidedly low on natural splendor compared to Scotland and England ( Including cheese and beer) . I’d say a more apt comparison would be a capitalist’s fart – a tumid stinky one.

First impressions redeemed and dispelled by heart-rending sunset over hazy fields rushing by – now sat in a sleek modish train – reflected on world weary eyes. Dutch cows are a lot better than those muffy white blathering things of sweet Caledonia; I smell the briny sea and am welcomed by the lonely morning song of a drifting gull ; big husky freighter trundling by off towards a fiery orange horizon.

Can’t wait to get back to Britain.

‘In the theatre the people who eat sweets do so most when the actors are poor’ Aristotle – NE (Oxf. ed. , Trs. D.ross)

Nietzsche

His growls.

 

The revenge against the spirit and other ulterior motives of morality. – Morality – where do you suppose that it finds its most dangerous and insidious advocates? … There is a human being who has turned out badly , who does not have spirit enough to be able to enjoy it and just enough education to know this; bored , weary , a self-despiser; wealthy through inheritance , he is deprived even of the last comfort, ‘the blessings of work ‘ , self-forgetfulness in ‘daily labour ‘. Such a person who is basically ashamed of his existence – perhaps he also harbours a few small vices – and on the other hand cannot keep himself from becoming more spoiled and touchy as a result of reading books he has no right to or through more spiritual company than he can digest : such a thoroughly poisoned human being – for spirit becomes poison, education becomes poison; ownership become poison, loneliness becomes poison in persons who have turned out badly in this way- eventually ends up in a state of habitual revenge , the will to revenge … – What do you think he finds necessary , absolutely necessary , to give himself in his own eyes the appearance of superiority over more spiritual people and to obtain the pleasure of an accomplished revenge at least in his own imagination? Always morality; you can bet on that . Always big moral words . Always the boom-boom of justice , wisdom , holiness , virtue . Always the stoicism of gesture ( how well Stoicism conceals what one lacks! ) Always the cloak of prudent silence , of affability , of mildness , and whatever other idealistic cloaks may be called under which incurable self-despisers , as well as the incurably vain , go about .

(Nietzsche , The Gay Science , Cambridge Texts , pp.223/224)

A day in Glasgow ( and unabashed punctuation failure)

Oh the city! Where men from the country come and stare ; Stare dumbstruck is what they do . The enormity – overwhelming crushing enormity of it all – a roiling swamp of rabid endeavor . The illimitable streets loom ahead , the formidable buildings impose themselves aloft , you are smothered shaped and manipulated not by time but by the overbearing presence of humanity. Humanity : the sublime illusion of human domination over nature. Where nature, that mysterious power that propels us into existence and that inexorably stills us, is a shadow trampled to the ground ,seeping in and retreating to the tiny rifts and ruptures in walls and sidewalks. Nature reduced to a wistful drooping park in which sad families gather to sit under an ancient tree or on bird-shit-spattered benches , convoke for a brief respite from all the turbulence and mental violence ( a place where all happens for no apparent reason) . The illusion of conquest so innocently harbored by men , so beautiful and manifest in the city, its evidence seated in every cobble , tenebrous alleyway and miserable throbbing aspect of the city. The illusion without which we could not live as we do , without which we lose ourselves . The miracle of society, of a people huddled together in one vast harmonious place – a people looking outward more than inward. The country where a person is subdued and self- absorbed ; the city where person ( if part of it) is raised to a tremendous height and all introvert becomes extrovert.

An endless torrential river of people floats by , you are inundated with curiosity, a potent swelling desire to know , feel and see all that is… is….. is – not has been! You want to discover who these mad laughing people are and what they think ; whether they know. You don’t avert your eyes , timidly mind your own business ; in the city you are emboldened to open up and leap from the abyss of your soul. You bluntly meet a gaze and bathe for an interminable two seconds in passing till connection is finally lost . With a gutsy beer in hand, on terraces along volitional streets, there’s the sick urge to sit down in front of a stranger and start blathering away , the unbearable allurement of generating incessant talk about nothing and everything ! To cast away and renounce all books and the activity of reading ; to be alive without the words of past age and sage; to be within the masses, to not shrink into a tiny little speck , an insignificant particle in the country, but to grow and spread and exist presently with your fellows.

The city where you can overhear a conversation about rhyme in poetry, where paintings take on a whole other meaning , brim with lustre , no reek of the impotent superficiality of modern man here . Newspapers , the emblematic product of cities , of everlasting affairs, a running commentary on happening , a constant outpouring of disgust , petty joy and foolish anxiety . The city as the place of Art , where it prospers and becomes dignified ; the strength of human expression unbridled ; a tender muscularity evinced in debates of merit, beauty and decadence in small high-street cafes steaming , quivering , in that glorious haze of cultural perfume . The streets endowed with an evolving and intensely overt fashion, where men in suits and women in dresses don’t look frail and ridiculous , but almost formidable and believable. Where Jazz music is at home .

Jazz music! … the lyrical tones of a city .In the country it tires ,wearies and rankles; Charlie Parker’s saxophone bedecked with mute fat clotted earth and deafening dead soil ! Yet in the city it lives , shudders , bristles and thunders brusquely into the depths of your soul , synchronizes to the waking beat of the city: its quiet mornings, cindering afternoons and unbelievable nights. Yes! It marks the delicate brilliance of sunlight on rooftops and the raving roaring flux of traffic of all kinds. No burning thoughts about death , mortality, no time to realize the extraordinary pull to the grave , all thought profoundly assembled in the immortal self-renewing rolling life-line of the city, a perennial appearance of dazzling figures , flashes of ideas centered on now and the elusive future , forgetting that threatening sense of our imminent end , the weakness of our timely lot and the creeping of something dark under ground , its green grasping roots ripping apart the foundations of mankind…………of mankind.

It was thick and velvet , warmly hot , stiflingly droll . The heat seemed to seethe my innards as I crossed the road . A mournful fan whirred in someone’s window and I had no job . Summer… it was summer . People seep out of town leaving trailing ghoulishly in their wake a void of foggy loneliness and insufferable conscience. You walk the streets unavailingly in search of a recognizable face, a friendly greeting . The emptiness of the season , the coy breeze blowing up sad cast-away candy wrappers —  embracing the purplish ozone drenched darkness of the night. Too calm to be excited.

Larry

His patently surly temperament had earned him a reputation among his colleagues. He would turn up at work every morning , enter the office ogling down at the blue carpet and churlishly rummage his scrawny beard whenever a co-worker greeted him. The nacreous reflection of his shades sent out an unequivocal signal that his world was not to be invaded by the work environment platitudes of his desk-neighbors. His superior had tried to persuade him to leave the sun-glasses at home but successive attempts yielded all but an unresponsive blank stare.

Name : Larry – Larry
Rank : Filing cabinet operator
Aged : I forgot

At night he would open his window and look out at the gibbous moon wondering what the heck all this cindering madness meant. His youth had been nondescript, his adult life his youth. High-heels rang through the stolid frozen air of his barren glacial street, a fecund imagination liquefying alternating pictures of this sonic passer-by , a peroxide whore or his waif of a sister . A cup of coffee on his desk already tepid, a faint remaining whisper of its heat rising to a silly screaming star hanging luminous, pointless , above the atmosphere .He takes a sip and relaxes . Still and heavy is the night, impenetrable the perpetual longing, a man on his own, of his own.

 

The conversation

I rely on public transport to return to my home , hence I’m liable to overhear a conversation or two.

This time I chose a rather comfortable seat smack-bam in the middle of the well but wanly-lit bus and took out my copy of Whitman’s leaves of grass. The texture of the seats surrounding me in systematic rows exuded a serene verdant lustre. It didn’t take long to lose myself in the exalted peregrinations of the poet. At some point a group of three entered the bus. A pudgy boy of around 17 , a pretty woman of 20 and an elderly grandma-like figure with a very stately , slightly imposing , haircut. They were relatively quiet initially , so much so that I could only discern an occasional word above the music that played in my ears.

The discussion got louder and more heated, it took on the shape of a debate and I instinctively piqued my ears to see what all the fuss was about. It turned out to be a discussion regarding the contentious topic of religion. Particularly and mostly between the young man and the imperious looking lady. The former had a strong atheistic streak and ranted off a list of at times poorly argued and mainly semantical (taking the bible and prayers in their literal sense) objections while the lady nodded and replied with her resolute and uninspired bits about Jesus .

He spoke in a grating and condescending tone, which became higher-pitched and excitable when felt he was getting onto something . All this time with an almost mean-spirited contemptuous grin on his face.  I spotted  a hint of my younger vengeful self in him . She kept her answers short, incisive and rather non-descript but at least with an air of dignity. Her mouth kept settling in a very tight and prim pattern after every answer and she held her chin tucked back slightly .It made her look like someone who has weathered a lot of flack about her beliefs . I felt sorry for her and I knew the boy wasn’t getting anywhere. As regards to the unwavering replies of the lady, I suspect that as you get older the urge to belong somewhere and believe in something fixed becomes paramount.

The conversation took a different turn when the man on the opposite side of the bus began to join in on the debate and stated that he is of Muslim descent and of an Islamic disposition . This carried the conversation away from its bubbling clash and cast it in a more amicable light. Mainly the differences between Christianity and Islam were spoken of now. Eventually the , by now listless, boy disembarked with a proud I-know-better grin on his face. The man and the woman continued half-heartedly to fill up the rudderless void the boy left , but rather quickly all talk atrophied into a tacit equilibrium of shared but contrasting opinions of faith .

Past and future.

 

Leaving home mid-summer. Never in my life have I moved to another place, now I am moving abroad. Flying off from the old paternal nest. I gave away books , sold most of my dvd collection and have been saving up cash  . The last couple of weeks have been vagarious and a little disquieting. Enervating even. More and more in the last couple of years I’ve come to realize that I don’t belong here , and possibly not anywhere. A strong detachment to my immediate surroundings seeping through  varicolored shades of indifference.

Yesterday night I went out drinking with an old friend and his circle . I don’t usually get out and about much , this must’ve been the first time in a year. Mostly , I spend my evenings  recumbent in a chair huddled up with a book. Not that night. It was warm , very warm , swarms of people phasing in and out of my view , unfamiliar faces never to be seen again crossing and converging in a wavering mirage of human flesh. Twinkling lights in the trees, Loud music, dancing, screams , unintelligible insults and half-sincere compliments . A 21st century stupor of clashing sexes , opposites , monkeys in a cage . An overwhelming bustle, energy, spirit and blur of activity.

On the square a band wrapped up its rip-roaring set and people started to disperse into the nooks and crannies , leaving in their wake a field of crumpled plastic cups , broken glass and all the items heedlessly thrown down by people at such events. We headed into a bar and soon came to hear the news about the  demise of Michael Jackson.  A combination of childhood memories and uncertainty about what I was doing here and where I’m heading  welled up . Sour-cheap nostalgia mixed with pretentious angst culminated in an alcohol tinted wistfulness, the plastic wasteland a fitting backdrop .  I can’t remember much more. The next morning I had to leave early for my last day at  teaching college . Taking leave of the teachers, the college buddies , another two year slice of my life deigned to perpetually reside in vague recollection .

Work Work Work.

Here I am back, rosy-cheeked and healthily secreting perspiration. I spent three afternoons of this week hard at work trying to deliver the mail at the right doors . I’m a mailman. Some minor nibbles that did not congeal the last couple of toilsome days were the rain and the clients. Before I start carping about these irreparable tooth-aches, I’d like to digress and say that this job so far has been the most pleasing and fulfilling job I have ever tried my hands at in this shortish lifetime of mine (20 odd years). The primary reason for my ‘critical’ acclaim are the large lapses of expendable time at my disposal while at the job which allows me to listen to all the podcasts I want. This has proven to be both a veritable source of education and entertainment. This job therefore is a sheer delight, well almost…..

Now , the minor downside of this job has to be the incessantly changeable and unrelenting inclement weather conditions to which you are invariably subjected to when out and about in full exposure . Sleeting ,diagonal rain and cold piercing bursts of winds make for a less than comfortable work experience. Even the best podcast can’t warm up the ancillaries ( My blue fingers ) and castigated limbs (Wet hairy Hobit feet) to mitigate this situation. One other quibble I have is that sometimes you will be accosted by people. Clients who are often not at all affable and even inclined to a rather unfriendly countenance. Especially when you make a human mistake and ‘paradoxically’ put the wrong mail in the wrong mailbox. What’s so vexing is that some people get seriously whiny and downright abrasive when you commit this ‘unforgivably’ heinous crime.

Just the other day , A woman called out to me from the other side of the street as I was sorting out the next batch from my bicycle bags and as I came up to her she gave me a stern expression .While handing over the wrongly delivered mail she told me about an unfortunate occurrence which happened about 10 years ago. She accidentally opened up a wrongly delivered letter ( Same number, opposite street) and this has permanently ruined her relationship with the neighbor in question who apparently is still angry at her, to this day. FOR OPENING A LETTER, TEN FUCKING YEARS AGO . I can’t believe it. Another example of what buggers me off is when a cretin starts screaming through the mail slit in the door {Shrill voice}“ Postman! Postman! Here , Here , Come here” while I’m suavely sliding in envelopes 20 yards removed from this source of unwanted clamour.

Enough about work for today!