Well fancy seeing you here...

Hello and welcome to the rambling rollercoaster of useless ponderings, strung together in what the internet calls a "blog," and the voices call a waste of everyone elses time.

Please check your sanity at the door (along with your dignity, logic, principles, good taste and prejudices against daftness.)

"I am here to seduce you into a love of life; to help you to become a little more poetic; to help you die to the mundane and to the ordinary so that the extraordinary explodes in your life." -Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Sabretooth-Fairy Tigger

I was watching Alan Carr's stand-up DVD today, and he did a bit about giving food parcels for the school Harvest Festival. Our school did that - every year Nan would raid the back of the cupboard for tins and packets that had gone so far past their use-by dates that they'd become antiques. I would say, that - as a general rule - something's not going to be edible if you find it under a ration book.

If we tried to raise this point, however, we'd be told that: "they're not so finnicky in Africa, you know," before being chastised for not really knowing what true hunger is. She was right - we didn't know what 'true hunger' was. We had a pretty good idea about food poisoning though, after an incident with some Campbells' chicken soup that had been dead so long it had reincarnated twice in the can.

There was something on the news a couple of years ago about a couple who ate a tin of chicken that had been given to them in their wedding hamper fifty years earlier. It made the national news. It just made us start checking tins when she wasn't looking. When my grandfather used to come in from work at night, he and I would stand in the kitchen, going through the stuff we could chuck away while Nan was asleep so that we weren't poisoned the next day. Like the other couple, my Nan and Grandad were also married for fifty years. I reckon it was luck. Surviving three meals a day of gastronomic Russian roulette is a miracle.

Harvest Festival was an odd school tradition. It wasn't learning about the changing seasons that I found to be a curious business, (or the talks by farmers who would come and show us pictures of their favourite cows - which was always a bit odd,) but the instruction to donate surplus food. Some of the parcels would be sent to Africa, and the rest was delivered to elderly people within the local community. I was often chosen for the job because I was polite and innocent looking. Once, myself and the other Harvest-Helper (a boy from my class by the name of Luke,) had to deliver one of the boxes to my next-door-neighbour, Mrs Budd. It was strange, visiting the house next to mine in the middle of a school day, with one of my teachers. Mrs Budd was a funny old thing - complained that the rain was coming from our garden and causing moss to build up outside her house. We live on a damned hill - the water didn't originate in our garden. It's not like we're the source of a spring - and it certainly doesn't rain in just our garden! (Though one of the weirdest things I've ever seen was when it was raining on one side of the road, and dry on the other. I must just have been on the edge of a cloud, but it was very odd!!)

I should have crossed over to walk on the dry side of the street that day, really - but I was too surprised to be practical. It's quite a surreal memory to have - standing in the rain, looking across at the dry. It's always the other way around isn't it? Everything I do is a bit backwards though. I've got a T-Shirt I designed somewhere, with a slogan that reads: "I think my brain is in upside-down, because I always think inside-out." I wanted to write it on the t-shirt as a mirror image to accentuate the overall jumbled befuddlement, but no one could read it then, and they just thought I'd made a mistake like that idiot who carved HIV into his chest with a razor in the mirror, and then went in for the photo-shoot with VIH scratched into his bleeding torso. I was trying to be ironic - he was trying to be controversial. We both failed, but I take solace in the assurance that he ended up looking like more of a prat. I could take the T-Shirt off; he had to stay in that skin. I can't recall which celebrity that anecdote regards, but I think it was an eighties thing. Probably, around the time when there was the big awareness campaign. Even I remember the TV ads with the tombstones in the mist. They didn't just raise awareness of HIV/AIDS: they demonised it. The shock-tactic was necessary at the time, though. A large number of people, particularly (but not solely) a generation of young gay men, have been wiped out by it. So terribly sad seeing clips of Kenny Everett and Freddie Mercury now. All that talent: destroyed by a disease.

I watch shows of theirs, and wonder what they would have achieved, had they lived. Not just them - but people like John Lennon too. If Mark Chapman hadn't been such a good shot, would Yoko Ono still be annoying the life out of us, or would John have got sick of her and found someone less irritating to write songs about. (Obviously I wonder if he would ever have achieved the idealistic views he proposed in 'Imagine' too, but mostly I wonder if we'd still be limbered with Yoko.) Jeff Buckley is someone else who died before his talent was ever fully explored. He wrote some amazing songs - and his reworking of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" is one of my favourites. Would we have seen more tracks like 'Grace' and 'Mojo Pin' if he'd not decided to go swimming in steel-capped boots? (Which is a damned stupid thing to do - because if it was his intention to kill himself, then it's a rather awkward method to have chosen. If he was planning on going back to finish his album as people expected, then he would have had to squelch back up to the house with a sort of damp, drippy indignity. I suppose the very fact that he entered the water wearing steel-capped boots at all suggests, he didn't really think it through.)

You'd never see that happen around here. In recent years Southsea has received better status from the Clean Beaches Association - but when I was younger, if you went in the sea wearing any sort of shoes, then they would have melted in all the chemicals before you'd got in past your ankles. I lost a shoe in the sea there once. I was with Dad; we'd gone down to Southsea for the day - and after a few hours at a fun park called Pirate Pete's, and then tiring ourselves out playing in the arcade on the Pier, we went for a walk along the beach. Descriptively, "a stumble along the stones" is more accurate than "a walk along the beach." I had on a pair of those moulded-jelly sandals, and one came off in the water. I thought I'd have to walk home with only one shoe on because the seafront shops were closed, but we walked for a little longer, and found it washed up on the beach a few yards ahead.

I'm not surprised they washed up again - they were ridiculous shoes. Neptune was right to refuse them. If real-life were the Little Mermaid, then there'd be some sort of undersea lost-property department: full of humanities odds and ends - everyday objects appearing exotic out of context, like those horse-trough footballs the other day.

Everything looks unusual if it is somewhere it's not supposed to be. It would be like seeing a tiger in the Antarctic. They wouldn't blend in, and they'd soon realise they looked daft. Though I imagine they'd be a bit like some friends of mine, in as much as it would be in advisable to tell them they look daft, unless you want your head bitten off. Better to let them discover it themselves, in their own time. I don't think there's ever an occasion where it would be sensible to inform a tiger that its appearance is bizarre. Even if the Tiger looked like Alan Carr - you wouldn't dare say anything. (…If there was a tiger that looked like Alan Carr, then I don't think you'd need to point it out.) I think most people would notice that, and even the tiger must have some sort of inkling.

The think most anomalous thing I could ever see, would be a buck-toothed tiger - in the Antarctic - sitting on the rainy-side of an iceberg wearing Alan Carr's glasses, and eating a tin of pre-war Alphabetti Spaghetti. That would be very weird - and I don't think anyone would ever believe me.

No comments: