The ramblings of the last sane me
Welcome back — hope you enjoyed your brew, whatever it was. Personally, I had a mug of Alta Rica coffee and a bag of Cadbury's finest.
You may or may not know just how close we come to absolute disaster every time we decide to move from point A to point B. I mean, with every step we take we cruise along on a barely-controlled catastrophe curve. At some point in our lives we have all tripped and gone facedown towards the ground, usually with a painful impact at the end.
Talking of painful impacts, I'm listening to the television while writing this and they have just announced the death of radio DJ Tommy Vance. As a teenager I listened to Tommy every friday night when he did his aptly-named Friday Rock Show. This show was a fantastic source of new rock music to my young ears and through his choice of bands, his sense of humour and his fantastic voice I learnt a huge amount about the style of music I enjoy and more than a little about the world I was growing up in. Here's to you, Tommy, with grateful thanks.
A close friend of mine once saw a T shirt which she claims suited me and the way I was living my life at the time. The message on it was, 'Heaven won't have me and hell is afraid I'll take over'. Now, this friend of mine is a real friend. We don't talk to or see each other that often, but when we get together we enjoy the usual round of personal abuse, catching up on recent history and then putting the world right. Over the years, she has helped me out with various situations that I have got myself into and in her own particular style has given me some sound advice, or a right royal ear-bashing depending on what she felt would penetrate my thick skull better. When we were younger — I would have been sixteen — I asked her on a date and instead of just saying 'no' she said, 'I'd rather be friends,' and so that is what we became. In truth, I am indebted to her on that day for saying she would rather be my friend because it means that here we are twenty years later and we still care about one another.
Last year her dad finally lost a major battle with cancer. When he died, this world lost one of the nicest guys ever born. He was a big man with an even bigger heart who would always help other people. On the day of his funeral there were a large number of press people there. He was a photographer for newspapers and he was very good at it; he also had the charm to talk people into having their picture taken by him even if they had refused everyone else. But in the church, I started to cry, and I felt real pain. I am yet another one of the many people that Steve helped, and on that day the realisation hit me that I would no longer be able to just call him up and talk through whatever was on my mind. I still miss him now. See you later, Steve. Much later.
'Heaven won't have me.' Now, according to my above friend, this is not because I am to religion what King Herod was to childcare, but is in fact because she says that I live my life too close to the edge. Edge of what, exactly? I don't go near cliffs very often and I don't believe that there are any scorpion pits in the United Kingdom these days so it cannot be that. I do walk on pavements fairly regularly so could it be I walk too close to kerbside? But surely that means nobody can get into heaven because otherwise how would anyone cross the road?
Or is it the edge of reason that she is referring to — and how does she define reasonable behaviour? How is 'reasonable' defined? To be honest, I really do not know the answer to that one. As I have wandered through life, I have noticed that what one person considers reasonable another would find boring and another outrageous. Is it outrageous to still enjoy going to rock concerts and get involved in the fun of jumping up and down with the rest of the audience and roaring at the end of each song because it makes you feel alive and you don't want the music to end? If you feel that the answer to that is yes, then I guess that I am not behaving in a reasonable way. If you think the answer is no then I must be being reasonable. Seems reasonable to me anyway.
If I die today
Who would mourn my passing?
Who would miss me
when I am gone?
Should I care
Or find release from this pain
that I call my life.
Yet if I wake again
to face another day
will it be because I refuse
to accept my fate?
Or because I will not accept
the pain of my defeat.
And yet I am not bitter
I have lived.
In my time
I have done much to be proud of
though many claim
I should not be so.
There are those
for whom I care.
They are few indeed,
I guard them from my feelings
less I drive them from me.
But I would gladly die
to protect them
if I could,
Love is for fools
who do not know what they feel.
Fear is the key.
Fear of losing
those who matter most.
Fear of being cast out
because emotions drive you forward.
Be it to a good place
or even a bitter end.
To HATE is EASY
To ACCEPT is APATHY
To CARE is FEARSOME.
Should I stop caring?
Should I let the real me
shrivel to a pathetic snivelling core?
Or do I FIGHT
To make others see.
I am what destiny made me.
Not any DRONE.
I would like you, dear reader, to know that I used the medium of the written word to save me from the sentiments or underlying images in this writing. I am still here and have found a direction. Which, for a change, is upwards.
Nanotechnology. Science fiction dream or slowly-approaching reality? Once flying was considered fantasy, but now for a relatively small sum of money we can travel thousands of miles in mere hours. Once a computer needed to be the size of an average three-bedroom semi-detached house and could only handle one task at a time. Now we have computers which we can carry in our pockets and drive cars which have more powerful processors than the Apollo spacecraft used to land on the moon! But for all this there are vast areas of the human brain that we don't know about and can only guess at the purpose of. The author William Gibson describes a world in the none-too-distant future where computers and humans are literally joined and the people have small sockets behind their ears where they can plug different chips or interfaces in to do whatever they need. Keanu Reeves starred in a film called Johnny Mnemonic which was loosely based on the first book of the series, Neuromancer, and portrays a world where data smuggling is more lucrative than drugs or guns. Knowledge is power taken to another and more chilling level.
Big Brother is watching you.
Another excellent film is Equilibrium. In this one, the world as we know it no longer exists, there are no more wars, crime is all but eliminated, famine does not exist. Which on the face of it sounds quite wonderful until we learn that in order to achieve this social utopia we have to give up almost all of our emotions. Murder is not committed during heights of passion, beauty is not celebrated in art or music, love is a word without meaning. The hero — or antihero, depending on your point of view — is a guardian of law and order called a 'grammaton cleric' who trains constantly and is the best of his kind, until the day he misses a dose of the drug that society uses to control their emotions. This begins a chain of events which he finds ever more difficult to accept and leads to a spectacular finale. The writer of this film is a genius and it is a shame that more people have not seen it and enjoyed not just the fantastic fight sequences and special effects, but the dark and compelling story.
They say that time heals all wounds.
They say all things happen for a reason.
They say tomorrow is another day.
They say don't worry be happy.
What if the scars still hurt?
What if you can see no reason?
What if tomorrow is as bleak as today?
What if happiness is a forgotten dream?
Who are THEY?
This faceless font of wisdom.
This mindless spring of optimism.
This asexual genderless fountain of hope.
Where do they live?
Is it in a world without war?
Is it in a land where pain no longer exists?
Is it in a place where happiness is the only emotion?
How do I get to this fantastic utopia?
Can I find this nirvana of reason and joy?
Do I ride out and find it in the heart of a sunrise or at the end of a rainbow?
Can I risk the heartbreak?
The pain and the loss.
Do I hide behind this chemical shield?
These innocuous little white pills?
Do I change my mind with this prescribed drug?
Should I run from reality to hide behind this sedative wall?
This disconnected world of pharmaceutical relaxation and bliss.
Of mindless highs and sedative lows.
Do I tremble in panic and fear?
Of the relentless passage of time.
The unstoppable headlong charge into a future unknown.
Will my travelling companions be pain and fear?
Or can I look to tomorrow?
With its potential for new friends and laughter.
Could I find a new light and normal peace?
Is there a promise of hope?
While I cannot see it now in this everlasting darkness
In my dreams I hope it will come.
In my heart I know it must come.
Somebody please help it to come.
Right then, I am going to inflict one more outpouring of venom and hatred from my somewhat black repertoire and then that file is going to close.
Why do I feel so lost?
So isolated from the world?
I have a family that loves me,
even friends who love me.
Yet all I see darkness.
The dark inside of others
with whom I must interact.
Why can I not see the light,
the positive, the good.
All hail corporate policy!
All strive to achieve the holy target!
That our superiors grow wealthy
and praised for all to see.
Accursed be the one
who fights for the lesser man.
Damnation to the individual
who does not obey the plan.
My bitterness is my energy,
my anger is my strength.
My loneliness my home.
But from this chilly eyrie
I watch the world go by.
I see the fears
of those who have lost hope.
But as I watch
they grow strong and begin again.
Each day the search for happiness and joy.
But I cannot set free
For my rage is deadly.
I will not let out
The darkness that is me.
For I know not
where this trail may lead.
I cannot bear this solitude.
Though I I cherish my privacy.
I cannot bear the weight of these bottles.
Though I do enjoy their release.
Coldness grips me now.
So cold that I burn.
Be afraid of these flames you cannot see.
Anger fuels them.
Hatred fans them.
I thought that I knew love.
And yet I go on.
Because I must.
Is there any hope?
Can I still feel compassion?
Does the possibility exist
that someone somewhere cares for me?
I hate the world today.
But what of tomorrow?
What of tomorrow?