Tamarite III

Last Friday I got a call just as I was getting out of the shower. I picked up and heard a depressing voice asking me if I wanted to go to a ‘party’, I asked “who’s this?” and then when I got the answer I hung up at the first opportunity. The next day I went to the beach with my family in Tarragona and at about eight o’clock I checked my phone and found I had received seven missed calls from a blacklisted number. But being unsatisfied with the seven failed attempts to make a connection, the caller came up with a master plan. They decided to withhold their number and proceeded to phone me another ten times, ending with a Whatsapp video call, thrown in there just for luck. It just shows you have to be careful with these things. You never know what might be lurking behind the other mobile phone.

A few days later something new came up on my UAV scanner. My madre has got the number of an English girl called Emily for me, also an Au Pair in Tamarite. Again I had no idea what she was going to be like, but I thought it was unlikely from the way she spoke that she wanted to capture me, lock me in her bedroom, tie me to the bed and when I try to escape- stick a large piece of wood between my feet and break off each foot one by one with a giant metal hammer so I have to stay there for the rest of my life as her property.

I met up with her in a lovely little bar in Tamarite next to the road. Now Emily was very attractive and quite normal. Always smiling. Small, but perfectly proportioned, with smooth auburn hair like in the old L’Oreal adverts, always clad in swanky, confident garms, decorated in flowers and revealing plenty but not too much. She was from Derbyshire so she had one of those unaccountably northern accents.

One of the first things I asked her was if she went out at university and she says Oh my God yeah I love going out! Eyes alight, like it was her thing. I asked where she went, dreaming that she might say Stealth or the Brickworks or somewhere. She said she went to a place called Cheesy Joe’s every week and it was her favourite place to go, ever. She then said “when it comes to music I like everything really.” I’ve come to realise that in life hundreds will say something like this to you. But what you should interpret from it every time is that they don’t like any music at all.

She was talking about this Cheesy Joe’s rave again now- ‘The music is really cheesy, but I don’t care about the music when I go out.’ Now if I’d have had any sense I’d have shot her there and then.

But nowadays a voice tells me to have a bit more empathy for other people. Don’t return to your eighteen year old self again, ready to launch nuclear warfare on people who listen to Kanye West and explode at the thought of reality T.V. You have to play these hands though, it’s in the genes to. I mean, the situation was bad but it wasn’t quite 7/2 off. I thought, maybe I’ll shark a two pair on the river.

At some point she asks me if I’m watching Love Island. I say no, I’m not. A revolutionary thought dawns upon me- why can’t I just pretend to be a different person? Everybody’s doing it. Surely the Casanovas of the world, the ladies men, the Byrons, the Ben Frylls are all simply masters of shape-shifting. To become truly popular in this way is to sacrifice one’s true personality. It is to be a specialist in obscuring it, moulding it and expressing it in only the right and suitable ways. I mean the only other alternative is that they’re as soulless and unspectacular as the people they’re seducing, which isn’t the case. They’re all very handsome men, which surely helps, I think looks are somehow directly connected to personality. Over the years one heavily influences the other until there is some kind of sexy/ugly equilibrium going on. When talking about Socrates, Nietzsche said in Twilight Of the Idols, ‘Monstrum in fronte, monstrum in animo,’ meaning – monster in face, monster in soul. The inverse is quite possibly true also, but It’s a very complicated idea and it doesn’t really stand up to rigid scrutiny. There a lot of good looking morons around. I was speaking to one now.

All this reminds me of a conversation I had with the kid yesterday, walking through a beautiful little town in the Pyrenees. I said, “I hate it when I see beautiful women.”

“Why?”
“Because I know I’ll never speak to (or was it have sex with?) them.”

“Oh Jim, do not worry. You will speak to them, one day. You have to be confident. You need to be strong, handsome, intelligent, funny,” then he paused, and turned at me, crossing his hands over, “you have none of these things but it is OK! Because you can be confident. All you need is confidence and you will get the woman.”

Back to the hot date- ‘But I did used to watch Geordie Shore and think it was really good.’

‘Oh really? I never watched that,’ damn.

After taking a life time to choose what to eat– being so captivated by one another– we eventually order a pizza each. The lady brings it in no time. As soon as the Pizza is in front of her the phone comes straight out and that Pizza is on Instagram. This is a modern phenomena that I couldn’t disagree with more. What even is that? Hey, look at what I’ve got, look at my life, look at the average quality pizza I’ve spent a small amount of money on.

Who looks at that photo online and thinks, ‘oh that pizza looks good, I’m glad I saw that’? I mean, why does it merit broadcasting it, you didn’t even make it yourself. If you were to make something truly interesting, colourful and creative, like a piece of brown toast with hummus, beetroot, black eyed beans, spring onions and tomatoes, dusted in black pepper, I might be impressed. But nobody cares about your stupid fucking pizza. Probably not even you, either. There couldn’t be a more obvious display of how the internet and technology is completely stopping people from thinking for themselves and how simple people can get sucked in to completely meaningless, dehumanising trends.

Emily says to the waitress before she can wheel back off into the bar ‘puedo tomar un poco de salsa de tomate por favor.’ She speaks pretty good Spanish, It’s obviously a turn on. Probably not as much as French, but still. Regarding my thoughts on the Spanish language, I will have a lot to say about that in another blog, probably Tamarite DCXXXVI. Keep your eyes peeled.

We’ve soon had those pizzas and we’re onto some super strong Fanta and vodkas. In Spain they serve it in a really wide, tall glass. They chuck in a few massive rocks then fill it up to about halfway full of the desired spirit, filling the rest with the mixer, but not Lemonade because they don’t sell that so if you ever feel like a nice refreshing glass of vodka lemonade or a shandy when you’re in Spain you’re fucked.

Emily says she fancies some sweets after the meal so we pay the cuenta then we go off to the candy shop. We pick up a massive bag of all the right sweets, she got loads of weird shit, I just got all the red liquorice I could find. Her family are drinking in a nearby bar, she asks me if I want to join, maybe just to avoid being rude. I say yes anyway- the genes at it again.

She tells me how to offer the hijos some sweets in Spanish and says she’ll be really impressed if I can offer them to them, and the hijos even more so. We turn up and they’re a really loud, chirpy Spanish family on the bevs. I introduce myself and sit next to Emily and the kids. I’ve already forgotten how to offer the sweets.

The family are all tremendously warm and welcoming, or at least I think they are. The trouble is, they don’t speak a word of the Queen’s. Emily does a bit of translating, but not very well. The conversation is at Ent speed. I go over to the other side of the table to chat to the others, see if I can get anything interesting out of them. I soon discovered that they too speak next to no English and we’ve got absolutely nothing to talk about.

The father, Qique was his name, is offering me a taste of all kinds of drinks. Red wine, some kind of coffee liqueur. It’s all nice. I feel like a cigarette so I get out my gear, a couple of the men of the family pass it around and look at it in disgust, before lighting up their straights. Qique from across the other side of the table says something I can only guess is, you don’t wanna smoke that, then pulls me out a cigar and says ‘Puros para hombres!’ He seems very passionate so I accept one wholeheartedly. It doesn’t taste great but it’s probably all right for a cigar.

A deck of cards is on the table. It’s like a normal deck with four suits only the numbers go up to twelve or something ridiculous, no royals or aces. Oh yeah and also the suits are absolutely farcical, one is a fancy jar with red and blue stripes, one is a yellow star, one is swords/daggers, and another appears to be some kind of vegetable. Who ever came up with these was clearly on some serious micrograms. I look at a card in my hand, and it’s a number ten with a picture of a squire in a bright blue courtier’s outfit complete with red tights and a silly green and red hat. In his right hand he is casually gripping a hideous green vegetable the length of his entire upper body.

Emily reveals that Qique is half-Catalan so I ask her to ask him what he thinks about the forthcoming independence referendum. It fascinates me that the regions in Spain are so divisive, some of them with enough hubris to desire to sever themselves entirely from the Spanish state and presumably conquer Europe singlehandedly. The Catalans speak their own language and presumably would rather drown in a vat of Estrella or allow their cities to sink into the Mediterranean than call them Spanish. Anyway, it turns out he isn’t really Catalan, he is from Aragon, which is where Tamarite is and he doesn’t much care for the idea of independence. He gets onto Brexit and he starts talking quite passionately about something. The translator is struggling to keep up with it all, and then all of a sudden I feel a swift palm to the side of my face. Then she says to Qique ‘you asked me to hit him right?’ It turns out he didn’t ask her to do that at all. She apologised.

Without any sincerity whatsoever, every now and then she blurts out ‘you’re so funny’. She says it when I’m not being funny as well, which is of course only on very rare occasions. Two mojitos appear on the table and Emily picks the mint leaves out of hers using straws as chop sticks, and puts them into mine. The phone soon comes out again and before I know it I can see myself on her phone screen with a pair of dog ears and I’m listening to my voice in chipmunk-mode. Of course she finds this hilarious and sends it to all of her friends. I take a glance at her Snapchat news feed and recoil in terror. There must have been about one hundred stories on there, all of them appearing to depict the same insufferably dull moments of the same insufferably dull night out. What’s worse is, she clicks through them all without even bothering to watch beyond a second of each. As LordoftheSnapchat this disgusts me, as a platform that has so much creative potential is being so blatantly misused and indeed abused.

Anyway the night had to draw to a close at some point. I’d behaved remarkably well throughout, so I was quite satisfied. Feeling tolerant like a new age Christ, all tolerant, all loving, all understanding, I walked Emily to her apartment and I left her with a hug and a nice pair of kisses, one on each of her cheeks.

When I got home I noticed streams of blood pouring from two gaping holes in each wrist. I had sacrificed myself for the greater good of humanity. I went back to my tomb, to be resurrected the following day and be loved and remembered by all of humanity for all of time.

Tamarite II

Things are very different here. The kids are not the same. For example, they aren’t at each other’s throats all the time. I asked one from my family yesterday if he disliked any of the other kids from Tamarite and he responded with ‘no’. When I was a kid, everyone hated each other. Everyone was falling out all the time. Who slagged who off on MSN? Bullying left right and centre. He’s shit at football, she’s fat, he’s gay. I spent a lot of energy on hating other kids, and many spent a lot of energy hating me. Hatred of the completely irrational, childish sort. Everyone in Tamarite seems to get on perfectly well.

I could guess at the reasons for this. Tamarite is a small town,nestled between two rocky hills, isolated from nearby civilisation. It is by no means tiny, I would say it was about the size of my own village, Barrow Upon Soar. Tamarite has a population of about four thousand, Barrow nearly six. I got here on the Monday, met quite a few kids on the second day playing racket sports, Uno, swimming, Pokemon hunting etc. And I found that even the next day I was bumping into the same kids, sometimes twice. Everybody knows everybody. With the frequency of seeing each other so high, people become like some kind of extended family- naturally it makes sense to have amicable relationships with your next door neighbours.

But also, I think the kids are just brought up with decent values.

The sun helps. In Tamarite there is a swimming pool, right next to the football stadium. When it gets to twelve o’clock, you flip on your slip slops, jump on your obscure brand Spanish mountain bike, you’re out of the door and the world is yours.

When you walk in there is a bar, the tables have the word San Miguel strewn across them in that classy green and red font that exudes class. Then you go through an arch made of hedge onto the lawn, and you are by the swimming pools. Take your towel to your preferred patch, lay it down next to your cerveza, and you are free to bask to your heart’s content. In the evening, the pool is surrounded by families who perpetually seem like this experience is novel to them, spellbound in summer mirth. It really is quite idyllic. People passing slices of watermelon around, reading books in the shade of the trees, playing racket sports, men, women and children alike sliding in and out of the water like otters. If Bethan happens to be by the side of the pool you can just swim underwater for that part it’s fine. What’s not to be happy about?

Back to the kids. I used to find kids really annoying, I used to question parents for their obsession with them, their dependence on having them. But I think it was the parents whom I rejected. I rejected the deluded, middle class English parent, infinitely proud of their child– their child over all others– places astronomical expectations upon them only for them to inevitably achieve nothing but a life of mediocrity and banality, a paltry echo of their parents dull lives. Here the kids are all really quite cute, happy creatures. Like Kangaroos their mothers carry these miniature versions of themselves smiling in their front pouches everywhere they go.

Considering that they speak a different language, one might expect all manner of verbal abuse to be going on in my presence. Now I can’t say I have any idea what they’re talking about when I’m there, I know they ridicule me because I wear sports socks. But that’s nothing. It’s certainly not ‘oi fuck off clean shirt’. What I love about the kids as well, is the can-do attitude. None of this ‘I’m tired’, ‘I’ve not got any money’, ‘what if a rock falls on my head?’ bollocks. The attitude is, let’s find something to do and do it.

There’s a rock in Tamarite, it looks like it’s been placed on top of a much larger rock, and sits on top of it like a hat. A steep granite lump which if you climbed, you could see everything. You could look down upon God’s creation in its entirety and smile. I was there the other day and I weighed it up and thought, I can’t climb that. I wouldn’t be able to get down. It’s too steep. My legs are too big. I’m too clumsy. I’d end up being that English bloke taking up one paragraph on the right hand side of the Metro. I asked my fourteen year old kid if people had climbed it, and he said, yes, as a matter of fact, he had climbed it once.

“One day I was there with a friend, and I say shall we climb this? And he say no we can’t climb this. I say why can’t we climb this? And then we climbed this.”

I love stories like that.

He also told me about how the other day he was at his friend’s house, who has a swimming pool full of stagnant, muddy water, which had accommodated a plethora of frogs and snakes. He was saying they were all swimming in it. I asked him why? He said ‘because it was funny’.

Tamarite I

I told my Madre that I was going to meet a girl in the town centre. She asked, ‘oh how do you know girl?’ I said Tinder, ‘What is Tinder? Is it like Facebook?’

‘Yes it’s like Facebook.’

I didn’t look too much into the girl. She was British, which is why I wanted to meet her, hoping for a nice fluent conversation (none of the Spanish chicks around would match with me). I would equally have met up with a British lad if there was one around, possibly with far greater enthusiasm. She was eighteen, which is five years my junior, an age disparity which I am oftentimes prone to forgetting. She was not the finest looking, but appeared like she made an effort with the feminine things like makeup and hair etc. From her pictures she looked very pleasant, happy, full of life. Almost every message she sent she used the 😀 face, so I assumed even if she was lacking in the brains department at least she would be entertaining. This certainly wasn’t a date, however. More a casual surveillance of what’s on the radar.

I was walking down past the rocky roads and the Favela like buildings towards the chick. The streets were punctuated by groups of old ladies on deckchairs, sat together on the pavements. I had only seen elderly women sit like this in Requiem For A Dream. They always seem in fine spirits. I say Hola! When I walk past which never fails to make them giggle.

I walked past a chick on the other side of the road who was quite beautiful, she was also using her phone so I was confident it was her, and I intermittently looked over at her until she had gone past so as to indicate it was me. It wasn’t her.

I wished it was.

So the chick calls. Bethan is her name. She asks me where I am and I say I don’t really know, but I will know soon as I’m near the centre, which was where we planned to meet. Then she starts getting a bit stressed, ‘Oh so I’ve been going in the wrong direction this whole time, HAVE I?’.

I say ‘don’t get stressed, everything is going to be okay.’ She’s a bit northern. I explain in very simple terms that I know where I’m going, I just haven’t got there yet, but she insists on staying on the phone to talk through it all. I hear sighs through the phone. I tell her I’m near the tower. She says, what tower? The massive one in the middle, that comes up when you search Tamarite on Google Images. She says, oh my God I don’t know any tower and I imagine a :/ face.

You’ve been here for two months already girl get a fucking grip.

She mentions walking past some Jesus statue, and I make a couple of jokes about how I love Jesus and Jesus loves us too. There’s a bit of silence on the line, and she says, ‘are you a Christian or something?’.

‘No Bethan, no I’m not.’ What kind of idiot calls their kid Bethan?

I’m in the centre of Tamarite in no time, where the shops and bars are immaculately split up by two parallel lines of trees. There are kids around of all ages, jumping around and playing. My own kids go out at ten every night, and come back at twelve. This is seen as normal, as the little town is a proud community and safe place, radiating with joy.

They took me a bit by surprise in their brightly coloured t-shirts, flocked round a monument of some sort. One who was perched on the steps said ‘Hello Jim.’In Spanish the Js are pronounced like Hys. So this would be pronounced ‘Hello Hyim!’. I took a long look to see if my kid was there, fortunately he was not. I then saw Bethan, standing on the other side of the road, on her mobile phone. It was unmistakably her. I wandered over and as I got closer I slowly began to make out what I was dealing with.

She was of course fat and stumpy, and on getting closer I was instantly reminded of a dumpling. I went in to hug her and found that her head was in line with my belly button. We went over to the nearest bar. I went inside to get a drink, and she stayed outside. I looked at her and made a drinking gesture through the window. And she eventually clambered in and said, ‘it’s Spain, they come to you you know.’ I stayed at the bar, getting myself a San Miguel and her a cloudy shandy. I’m not a fan of that pay monthly contract bollocks, pay as you go all the way.

‘You don’t mind smoking do you? It’s just I smoke, all the time.’ She got the fags straight out, and in a few moments, it was confirmed that she was a glumbucket, of the highest order. The way she talked about everything was like a moan.

I don’t get paid enough. My dad doesn’t speak to me anymore. He cheated on my mum. Not a single one of my friends wished me a happy birthday the other day. Nothing ever works out for me. Yeah, yeah get over it.

I knew this was nothing but a pointless exercise, not even a training exercise, more like being caught in a traffic jam on the M25. But still I had enough energy to rage against the dying of the light, having a glass of Estrella sitting in front of me. I found it hard to listen to what she was saying lest it depress me into a Toblerone binge to Scotland in my bare feet.

Her hair was dip dyed and slung back across the top of her head, above a red forehead which was faintly glistening with a border of sweat. The rest of her head blended into the neck, leaving no obvious distinction of which was which. She was wearing these awful glasses that were very large, with thick black frames. If they were practical glasses it would have been preposterous, if they were fashionable, it would have been even worse. I say this as a guy who’s conquered the whole geek-chic look, with the braces and everything. I don’t even pretend those things are practical.

Bethan smoked her third cigarette, and told me about some party she went to in a neighbouring city. ‘It was alright, not the best. I got my purse stolen, when I was really drunk and passed out. Which was really bad because I needed it and it had money in it. Just my luck.’

‘So tell me about this party then.’

‘It went on until eight in the morning.’

‘Were they all on drugs?’

‘I don’t think so I think some of them do weed, but I don’t mind them doing weed because it doesn’t do that much. It’s the other drugs that I mind. They put them in your drink you know.’

I bet they do. ‘What other drugs?’

‘I don’t know what they’re called, I don’t know drugs, I don’t like drugs. My friends don’t do them either. They get offered them but they just say no.’

‘Oh right.’

‘I haven’t been to many parties even in England because I’m only eighteen.’

‘Old enough to go bungee jumping.’

A slight creaking , the gentle escaping of air, the subtle flutter of light objects. Background noise. I didn’t make much of it. Her eyes kept disappearing behind me as I spoke, then returning momentarily, then disappearing again. With each change of focus I think, ‘ she’s not going to do it again surely.’ Then eventually I expect it to happen with a tiresome indifference. She really can’t help herself with this. What’s even going on behind me? She clearly wasn’t listening to a word I was saying. Perhaps something even more captivating than me was taking place behind there. Finally I gave in and turned round to see that the bar woman was was moving a number of cardboard boxes into the restaurant.

A couple of kids turn up, a lad and a girl. He’s broken his voice, and has a beard, which is more than I have, but he’s still a junior. The girl says ‘I think I know what this is going to be about!’ Before the kids even say anything, Bethan draws two fags out of the box, then holds them out behind her, facing the other way. The kid takes one of them, says in Spanish he doesn’t need the other one. She wields the remaining one like a magic wand. ‘Oh take it, I insist!’ he takes it, and hands it to his girlfriend. ‘It just saves him coming back to bother me later, you see.’

I ask her why she does that, and she just says they all get fags off her whenever they see her. She then says, if she doesn’t hand them over, they don’t go away. No, they don’t go away, because you hand them over, you absolute specimen, you despicable splodge, you unbalanced little flump, you base!

Oh no. I see a woman walking towards us down the road, and as she gets closer I realise it’s Madre, with one of the kids. Oh dear. She then introduces herself to Bethan, and they have a small dialogue in Spanish until Madre says something a bit more complex that Bethan inevitably doesn’t understand. The kid says ‘I want to go now’ and Madre whisks him away.  

She then talks more about the bad things that had happened at home, how much she doesn’t get on with her Dad and how he can’t keep off the bevs. I feel so violated, the 😀 faces were all a lure to reel me in. So too were the photos, which weren’t that good but at least she appeared happy and not abnormal. I’m not being shallow about it, I just don’t like being conned. It’s not morally okay to do that. Girls are so successful in the art of deception with things like this, they can make themselves appear skinny in photos, appear reasonably good looking in some even when in reality they are ugly. I on the other hand, struggle to put a profile together that makes me look as good as I feel I do look, it being hard to find a photo that doesn’t make me look like creepy goblin. Besides, it’s 2017, who even takes photos anymore?

This was dragging along now like a colossal trailer full of broken fridges, with four flat tyres, being towed by a 1960s Reliant Robin. I’d only been there thirty minutes. I had finished my cerveza and I wasn’t getting another one. I told her I had to go to the bathroom then I was going to go, as I had to get up at eight in the morning. I got back and another little kid– looked about fourteen years old– was stood by the table, talking to the glum-faced town fag-dispenser. He introduced himself to me as Pedro. He lingered around quite awkwardly, until he finally asked for a fag, got one, and then ran off back to his friends.

‘You do realise he’s about fourteen.’

‘Yeah I know. I don’t care.’

I give it to her straight- ‘It’s not acceptable to give cigarettes to children,’

‘Well I’m going home in 8 weeks anyway.’

?

Being the Jacob Rees-Mogg that I am, I waited for her to finish her cigarette, before darting off into the backstreets with my earphones in, hoping something like this would never happen again.

The Jack Walk

I find real catharsis in taking dogs on walks. This is because dogs effectively live to be walked. It’s all they ever want to do. From the moment you take a dog out of the house, it seems to explode with happiness, wagging its tongue, panting uncontrollably and immersing itself in every aspect of the journey.  For this reason the dog walker feels like she is doing a good deed, and can see the results plainly in front of her in the form of an utterly contented beast. It isn’t like walking a human, where you have to maintain some kind of conversation, in fact, you’re perfectly free to stick your music in and forget they’re even there if you would like. Furthermore it provides an excuse to switch off the television, put the laptop away, get out of that door, get in and amongst the fields and the trees and experience Barrow Upon Soar’s rich tapestry of nature.

I got an opportunity to take my mother’s friend’s Jack Russells out yesterday and it turned out to be anything but cathartic. They weren’t her Jacks, they were her friend’s, who was out gallivanting on holiday in some sultry corner of the globe, presumably indulging freely in a bacchanalia of drugs, alcohol and sex. There were two dogs, one of them vivacious and young, the other one slow and whacked out like a family teddy bear out of the attic. I grabbed my stylish digital-camo sunnies, stuck the dogs on the lead and took them over to Millennium Park- a very pleasant recreational area near where I live, complete with a giant sun-dial to make telling time that little bit more convenient.

The walk was going perfectly well and to my satisfaction there were no rival dog walkers around to cause me any trouble. I was told by the owner that I could take the leads off the slow and whacked out Jack if I so wished- there would be no hazards there. I flirted with the idea for a while, at first thinking it too outrageous to go through with, but the dogs were so timid and well behaved and the concept of a lead is so authoritarian to me that I soon succumbed, and released both dogs from their tyrannical leashes.

At first the younger Jack scouted ahead, just within my range of vision. The older creature hung way back, moving at a slow pace. All of a sudden I had to turn my attention towards multiple directions at once as the dogs scattered all over the place. I was doing okay however, I could call the dog at the front and it would turn back and slow up for a few moments. The back dog was of course, no threat whatsoever and would be more likely to collapse at any given moment than cause me any grief.

Or so I thought. In a few moments the elderly Jack overtook me and began to chase its younger more athletic companion. I took a moment to laugh at the way in which it moved, its back legs moving at once, in a hopping motion, its front legs pedalling like a Loony Tunes character fleeing from the baddie. As we–the unseemly and incompetent convoy–kept moving through the field, I noticed a bench to my left and thought, ‘all right, let’s take a breather, maybe the dogs will run about a bit and play. Get it out of their system- so to speak’. The kid Jack wasn’t having it however and was motivated only by distance. The geriatric was still slowly making ground in second place. With a sigh I rose from my seat and began my pursuit.

Then in the blink of an eye I saw something I could scarcely have imagined previously. The decrepit beast burst into a pace akin to light speed and in a flash was out in front. I thought ‘well that’s very impressive Old Jack, but you won’t last long at that rate. Schoolboy error.’ But there was no looking back. He was out of here. Showing no signs of deceleration. Into hyper space.

The bat shit crazy incontinent old fiend soon overtook the kid dog, whom it was also fair to say was well and truly going places himself and in a matter of seconds, they were out of Millennium Park gates. In one moment it hit me that the walk had taken on a wholly different dynamic whereby I was not the walker but the walked.

I felt like a bad supply teacher. Moreover, Old Jack had well and truly conned me, all the while dreaming of escape, lulling me into a false sense of security at the beginning of the walk, playing the codger, then jetting off at the opportune moment. Had it been waiting all of its life for this chance? Was this its best hope for true freedom?

They ran straight out into the right hand side of the road; the oncoming side. A Chelsea tractor was forced to come to an abrupt halt to avoid running over the things. The driver honked his horn and waited for the dog to go round him before again pelting off ahead (at the cost of the biosphere). Fortunately for me, Young Jack was never really taking any of this seriously. This was no life and death situation for him, it was all just a funny joke, he was now content to amble along in second. Following his friend but by no means gunning to fly head first into the jaws of death alongside him. Meanwhile at the back I was tagging along, occasionally switching from brisk walking to bursts of half-hearted jogging, shouting the dog’s name every few seconds. Though it had once listened, it was not listening now. To my left a gardener was pruning his hedge, and looked up to see what was happening. I half expected him to moan at me for having lost control of my pets but he took pity on me and smiled before returning to his secateurs. I paused to think about how I must have looked, jogging, distressed, carrying two dogless leads, my cheeks bulging like hamster cheeks following my recent jaw surgery, and wearing my suave digi-shades, and a T-Shirt that said X-tra large Condoms, great sex, great protection.

I could barely make out the dogs any more, all I could see were furry balls floating over the roundabout. One after the other with a ten second interval. After a few more car horns the balls got to the top of my estate. I took it upon myself to catch up this time and used my massive pistons to propel me like lightning. At this point I was half-expecting to find a writhing dog corpse at every roundabout.

As I ambled on no such corpses were found. To my delight, Young Jack was soon within my grasp. I lassoed the beast and gained control of it once again. Old Jack however was last seen cackling and smiling to himself as he sprinted towards the horizon to his lifelong awaited freedom.

Fate

To believe in fate or that dull mantra ‘everything happens for a reason’ is to forgo all rational thinking and succumb to popular delusion. You might as well believe in witchcraft for all the sense that’s in it.

You get people who comment on things like crossing on the stairs, smashing a mirror or walking under a ladder. These are meaningless platitudes, mostly benign. But when people subscribe to fate, that’s when I want to intervene. When something bad happens and somebody puts an arm round your shoulder and says ‘it’s okay, everything happens for a reason,’ – the truth is that there is no reason, and you’d be exceptionally foolish to think that if things then suddenly got a lot better for you, it would be some form of justice. If that happened, you got lucky. We are not the solitary authors of our successes and failures. Rather we are slaves to chance.

Now, I’ve always been a determinist. I think that for the entire Universe, there is one specific set of events which will happen and does happen. The concepts of past, present and future are created by humans and have no real scientific place, they are effectively just words, used merely for convenience. There is surely no reason to suggest that all three of them cannot be combined together, and this can be understood as ‘the way it goes’.

So in a way, yes, we are fated to live the life that we will live. Free will does not exist. We cannot have perceivably acted differently in the past, because if we did so, we would not have been us. We would have been something quite different. In a moment of decision making, we are influenced by the thoughts we have at the time (which we are not in control of), which in turn are influenced by the events of our past (which we are not in control of), chemical reactions in the brain (which we are not in control of) and environmental factors, i.e what’s going on around you at the time (which we are not in control of). We are always at the mercy of these factors, and we should not encourage people to believe that some strange supernatural force is constantly watching their back, looking to do you a favour, or if you’re a negative thinker, to bury you in the dust.

 

 

Unemployment

Being unemployed is no walk in the park. I mean, you can go for a walk in the park if you want, you’ve got plenty of time on your hands, but you’re much more likely to lie in bed, alternating between checking emails, falling asleep, and watching the news. I’ve been rolling slowly down the hill for a while now, and I’m starting to get used to it, but the funny thing is, all this time, I’ve desperately wanted to have a job, but I just haven’t managed to land one.

My day consists of getting up at about 9/10, reading, exercising, eating, looking for jobs, watching TV, videos and listening to music, looking for jobs, eating, and reading. Excluding the looking for jobs bit, these are actually my favourite things to do. So I often thoroughly enjoy the day, it’s just a relaxing 24 hours in which I am my own boss, on my own devices, and with a license to devour as much good media and literature as I like. So why is it that I crave so desperately a 40 hour, 5 day a week contract in which I am most likely going to be forced to do something I wouldn’t choose to do in my free time, like baking or assembling cabinets?

Money.

My brain couldn’t be more grateful for what I’m doing right now, I’m sharp as a diamond.

But my wallet has got a hole in it the size of a planetary crater and it’s crying out for help.

I’l be sorted soon and it will be like I was never unemployed in the first place. And when I do get a job, I’m gonna be so rich. I can’t wait.

Cobwebs and Blancmange

I had invited myself to stay over at a girl’s apartment. I don’t know why. She was a girl I used to like at school. I couldn’t remember spending the night there, I just remember when I got into her bed I saw that all around it was surrounded by cobwebs, little spiders and flies. On arrival there was a little show for me actually; a blue and red insect was enveloped in a little web that went upwards at the foot of the bed like a tube. It looked like a ghostly pitcher plant. Before I could take the time to mourn the insecticide, I noticed it start to sway and shake, and I was waiting for the wily arachnid to appear and engulf it at any moment, you know the way they do- get all on top of it, paralyse it with a bit of venom, wrap it up and then suck up the insides. But there was no spider, and the ladybird just waggled and waggled its way out then bust out of the web and flew off, increasing in size as it did so. I watched as it flew out of the door. It may have been missing a few legs, but at least it was free. It would have been all right now. Maybe.

I had dreaded staying in that little single bed, surrounded with cobwebs. I thought, I’m going to ask her, ‘does all this not bother you at all?’. Then I must have gone to bed at some point, I don’t remember. I woke up and entered the kitchen to discover it was painted yellow. Her partner was there. I knew she had a new partner, but I didn’t know it was a chick. Funny how people just turn into lesbians sometimes. I just went along with it.

I approached the yellow cupboard to make myself some breakfast, with my towel wrapped around my waist. For some reason the only thing I noticed in the cupboard was a shot glass of yellow and pink blancmange, which I grabbed immediately, with a small bottle of milk.

Is that even how you make blancmange?

Is blancmange even particularly suitable for breakfast?

I felt pretty comfortable, like I could just stick one of those Jonas Rathsman mixes on, Elements, and then just dance around the kitchen while I did my thing to some nice, funky, colourful techno.

I thought I’d say good morning, and ask ‘are we all right?’

Her response- ‘You do realise I play rugby for Oxford?’

It was a killer that one was. I broke into awkward laughter, ‘why would you say that?!’

She didn’t know how to answer. I noticed she was quite an attractive blonde girl. However, all was not well- she had been indoctrinated, she was wearing a dark blue hoodie that was probably one of those ‘University’ brands, or a leaver’s hoodie from one of those private schools that make their students feel like a million dollars purely because their parents are stuck up enough to send them there. She was one of those who wasn’t up to her own life, she was defeated by herself at every turn. Life is like a video game, and some people simply aren’t good enough, so they only get so far, and get killed on the same level, by the same monster, over and over and over again. It must be so demoralising, but they carry on trying.

She definitely had a horse.

‘I just wanted to make that clear.’

This one hated me, absolutely hated me. She must have told her everything about me. This one probably had very good reason to be skeptical about me, but contemplating rugby tackling me was extreme. I realised my blancmange was only slightly increasing in thickness with the milk I added, so I kept adding more and achieving the same awful results.

‘All right to jump in the shower after I’ve made breakfast?’

‘Another shower?’

‘No,’ said the unfamiliar lesbian.

‘No worries.’

‘You used my towel yesterday didn’t you?’ asked the girl whom I used to be so fond of those many years ago.

‘Yeah,’

‘I bet it stinks now!’

I thought to myself- ‘why would it stink if I used it to dry myself after showering?’

They kept quarrelling with each other about things. I could only hear murmurs and groans.  I didn’t listen, but then she spoke to me.

‘Stay in my bed last night did you?’ she snapped.

‘Yeah I assumed it would be okay?’

‘Well it’s not,’ I remember that stare. I tried not to look back, lest I turn to stone.

‘So how do you make blancmange, does it just set eventually or does it go in the microwave or…?’

‘I’m fed up of this,’ the Oxford lesbian stormed off, grabbing the keys to one of those Fiats that all girls of about that age seem to drive. She looked distressed, but deep down you could tell that she relished making a scene. It was probably her greatest form of self expression.

The remaining one then groaned from the kitchen table, all stressed and in her pyjamas. She had a series of application forms in front of her and you could tell she didn’t understand what any of them meant. She’d have been better off tearing them to pieces. She ended up sweeping them off the table onto the empty chair opposite, then started groaning again.

‘Do you ever think about getting a life?’

‘Well that was awfully abrupt of you.’

‘Well, do you?’

‘Isn’t it a bit early in the morning for questions like that?’

I looked down at what I was doing in shock. I left the shot glass on the side by the fridge, and had since acquired a butter tub full of more blancmange, and was adding beetroot to one side. It turned into a beet coloured mess, but I was persevering. It was frightening.

She was getting animated now. She was clearing undergoing an identity crisis. I wish I knew who I was sometimes too.

‘I cleaned up your room for you. There were cobwebs everywhere, and spiders corpses and God knows what.’

‘I don’t care!’

I paused for a brief period, sighing at what I had created on the work surface. The horror. The unprecedented purple and yellow horror. I sighed.

Everything was so yellow, so horribly yellow all of a sudden. The walls, the floor, the ceiling. 

‘You really have transformed into a very miserable and nasty person haven’t you?’

 

The Rise of Intellechno

We’ve all been to stomp nights, where the music sounds like gravel. It goes like this…

 

Stomp, Stomp, Stomp, STOMP

Stomp, Stomp, Stomp, STOMP

 

or perhaps the very similar but ever so slightly different…

 

STOMP, Stomp, Stomp, Stomp

STOMP, Stomp, Stomp, Stomp

 

then maybe the chorus comes in and another emphasised STOMP takes you all by surprise…

 

STOMP, stomp, STOMP, Stomp…

‘Oof.’

‘Woahh, isn’t this guy clever.’

‘Yes, he is, yes.’

 

So again, it’s the same track, but slightly different. And when you get that something slightly different your response is to be relieved, or even, in extreme cases, become so deluded as to think that what you’re listening to is progressive. ‘See what that guy did there’. Listen to me now children, it’s not progressive. It’s not even techno. It’s just banging. Literal banging.

The fact is, it just isn’t intelligent enough is it? To make a combination of stomps and put them in a slightly different order then repeat them over and over again, and then for the next song, to slightly alter the stomp sequence, and then continue this for the rest of the set.  Oh Christ. I went to see Sidney Charles, Sante, and Syrossian 32B at Rainbow and heard the most cacophonous, rugged, most unintelligent, banging ever to be produced by the speakers of Man. And regarding the people who were stood about- Oh colossal hordes of the vilest simpletons! I bet they couldn’t even point to the UK on a map, let alone the Ukraine! The crowd they were attracting were shouting things like ‘oi, oi, oi!’ and playing with an inflatable hammer. We are the most intellectual species the planet has ever been home to, and it’s about time we started acting like it.

So thank God for Artists like Tale Of Us, Mind Against, Recondite, Fur Coat, Scuba, Locked Groove,  Solomun, SevenDoors, Stephan Bodzin, Adana Twins, Clarian, Eagles and Butterflies, DJ Tennis (and many more) for coming up with a new genre altogether, known colloquially as ‘intellechno’, a kind of techno designed for the most intellectual of techno fans, like me, my friend from uni, Ben (Fryll) and Shen.

So last Saturday night I grabbed my encyclopedia and my scientific calculator and went to see Tale Of Us at the Black Box, and have never been quite so intellectually stimulated as I was by the quality of that techno, the variety of sounds, the minimalism, the spaced out synths, it’s no wonder that so many fans and producers of this new sub-zero cool techno eventually end up turning into professors at Ivy League institutions. The music takes you on a journey, abandoning the childish constrictions of the ‘funky’. I’m telling you now, fuck disco. The world ain’t a happy place most of the time, and life is inherently sad, which is why in order to consolidate for this, we need an injection of a few sad particles, like a vaccine. We come to terms with the melancholy, and thus, we are uplifted. This is our way of becoming immune to sadness. Music has tremendous healing capabilities, it’s cathartic, like Greek tragedy. Just ask Aristotle, he loves melodic tech.

So yeah, fuck disco. Life for me isn’t disco with its smothering sense of ‘joy’, it’s slowness and its ‘musical instruments’.

Nor is life hip hop, I can’t relate to your disgusting anti-shakespearean use of language, your gang-based lies, your bragging about your car, or your trainers. Yes I can imagine Brooklyn can be a very inhospitable environment, but why do you think I’m interested? I don’t care. Turn it off please Dean, there’s a good lad.

Grime is initially enticing, because I admire the audacity of any genre that prides itself off it’s filthiness, where its artists spend all day slagging off each other’s mums and spitting at one another, it’s a nice extended metaphor, very amusing, but let’s not get carried away, that isn’t us either. Do you wear those jeans? When you think of a battle, do you think Pro Green or Gladiator? Yeah that’s what I thought. Anyway…

Chart music is for impressionable children and confused adults.

House isn’t a thing.

Garage is cheaper than chip shop chips, purchased with discount.

Jazz is something that happened many, many years ago and is currently in the process of fossilisation, with very few people caring.

Metal is for people who are mentally ill or feral.

All of these genres have produced some utterly incredible music, fantastic art work, clever lyrics and some fiery beats, but that’s in the past now. I’m not done with it, I’ll go back there every now and again, but not often, because the last thing I want to do is live in the past. It’s time to move on. It’s time to progress. It’s time to develop. It’s time to change the record. Those people who change the track at parties, demanding to play something they know from the past, they want shooting on the spot. That would show them. Regressive hunks of flesh, wandering about, desperately seeking the AUX cable, too dumb to realise that they’re massively interfering with our intellectual development. Who even invites these people?

I just want to listen to some nice, hygienic, melodic, intense intellectual music, and that’s exactly what I am doing, back at the flat, hanging up the washing, in the shower, when I’m out and about, whilst praying, at the rave itself, wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, it’s paradise. Find a proper mix from any of the intellectual artists listed above, and listen to the stuff they play. There is not one sound to it is not beautiful, not one note which is superfluous, not one key that does not resonate inside the throbbing intellectual human brain.

You go to see any of these intellectual artists and you realise that this stuff is it (needless to say, I had the best time of my entire life on Saturday, plaudits also deservedly attributed to ShenChop and the Black Box for being devastating, as usual).

Music has to generate intensity, it is intensity which makes music captivating, distinctive, and it is intensity that drives crowds absolutely bat-shit-crazy with euphoria. And you know when that kind of euphoria happens, it’s like a Revelation. Like God has popped in to the building to say hello to his Creation. And he saw that is was proper techno.

This doesn’t happen a lot, and it’s difficult to describe to people who weren’t there or haven’t witnessed such a spectacle before, they’ll tell you they’ve seen it before whilst watching Kerri Chandler or Richy Ahmed, or in Church on a Sunday and you just have to sigh and then go home and bang your head up against the toaster until you stop caring as much.

I’ve seen it first hand and I know what it’s like.

It’s like this.

 

‘We’re going outside!’

 

 

 

 

5 Exciting Alternatives To Pokemon GO

Pokemon GO isn’t for everyone. Yes- in our youths we may have immersed ourselves in the wonderfully diverse and intricate world of pocket monsters, swapping cards on the playground and sitting on the sofa playing on our Game Boys all day. But 15 years later, we know that walking around in zombie mode, smartphone in hand, playing on a highly infantile Black Mirror-esque application isn’t the only way to enjoy exploring the real world. Here are a series of alternative suggestions for you if you feel like you’re missing out.

  1. Set up a series of large metal traps with gaping razor sharp jaws in built up areas, such as shopping centres and car parks- Potential catches can be anything from pigeons, rats or even citizens who could potentially be playing Pokemon Go themselves. If like myself and unlike American people, you enjoy irony, then the potential rewards here speak for themselves.

    bull-ring

    The Bullring is one of the most coveted areas for creature trapping in the whole of the Midlands.

  2. Buy a package of tranquillising blow-darts off the deep web and go hunting- Go to the woods and shoot a series of woodland creatures, take them home, and put them in a small cage. When they wake up, watch them all fight to the death, then choose to train the winner. It will most likely be the badger, a species of animal which can quickly be taught moves such as Cut, Dig, and Bite (as a move Bite can be particularly effective, as the badger bite, whilst being extremely strong, will also infect the opponent with tuberculosis, leading to imminent consumption and death). Badgers are also known to provide great companionship and with a decent one you would laugh your way through any real life equivalent of the Pokemon League. (FACT: There are so many Pokemon based on badgers, you have no idea).

    typhlosion_variants_by_drzombiefox-d8pu5t0

    Just have a look at this. They’ve even got a honey badger variant. But let’s not allow ourselves to get carried away here – LordoftheReeves.com would like to take this opportunity to make readers aware that we do NOT in any way endorse making the trip to Africa, Southeast Asia or the Indian subcontinent to tranquillise a honey badger because it would FUCK you up if you did. Those things are volatile killing machines and would tear you to pieces in a matter of seconds and with no provocation. Whether they can be cultivated and trained by humans is yet to be discovered, but personally, as a moderately sane human being, I sure as hell wouldn’t want to find out.

  3. Collect bottle tops- Collectors often report that this can be a deeply rewarding, often spiritual practice. Make sure that every top is of a different design, and that there are no duplicates copies in your collection. As you would expect, collecting involves visiting a lot of drinking establishments, and therefore consuming a lot of alcohol, which might ultimately distract you from the fact that we are living in the age of the apocalypse and we’re all doomed, which is perhaps the reason why people have become dependant upon these God-awful apps in the first place. And if you’re teetotal, you can always encourage friends or family whom you don’t particularly care about to discover the joys of alcoholism, and then get them to collect the tops for you in exchange for liquid rewards.

    bottle-cap-floor

    While all the idiots are staring at their iPhones and accidentally stumbling upon rotting corpses in the bottom of quarries in Massachusetts, you can be creating a vibrant mosaic to decorate the floor of your sauna.

  4. Put your smartphone in the microwave just to see what happens.

    phone-in-microwave-e1461940810741

    Could be fun?

  5. Read a book.

webcam-toy-photo56

 

White shores and beyond- the perpetual anti-climax

Nothing is ever as good as you hope it will be. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but after experiencing a lot of life, one has to accept that everything eagerly anticipated, on occurrence, is ultimately destined to be a disappointment. This is the attitude that many of my friends now take, they expect failure, and therefore make lifestyle decisions in favour of the familiar, the comfortable, the easy. They think they’re being clever, in limiting disappointment, choosing the reliable old damage-limitation approach. You must protect yourself from the perpetual anti-climax at all costs!

Conservatism.

This is a stance I’ve desperately tried to avoid taking all of my life. And for reasons that I still consider to be entirely valid. Having this position of scepticism is bad for a number of reasons I can think of, because

  1. It precludes being adventurous, achieving high goals, doing interesting things, taking risks. It makes life boring.
  2. Life itself would be not worth living unless it is something that can potentially continually improve with time.
  3. It’s arguably a highly cowardly perspective, as it is a form of giving up in the face of adversity.
  4. There is simply far too much to be lost, and so little to be gained. Every day is a thousand failed opportunities. Understanding the extent of these missed opportunities would be agony to our minds if only we knew what we have missed due to our habitual laziness, cowardice, stubbornness, arrogance and ignorance.

I’ve been an idealist, a romantic, a panglossian fool. I’ve written the scripts in my brain and then the play never happens, or if it does happen it’s a twisted, dull simulacrum of what I intended, and all of a sudden I’m starkly reminded that I’m not a character in a 19th century Russian novel or a TV series (that probably doesn’t even exist anyway but I still wholeheartedly believe in my chimerical brain I will probably write, star in and recreate in my actual life). I finally  decide to speak to the girl in my seminar who seems nice, handsome, dresses cool, appears to have a personality, and she answers my questions as briefly and abruptly as possible, gradually quickens her walking pace and says “Dave, is that you?” then takes the first opportunity she can to escape out of the nearest fire exit.

Another instance of disappointing reality vs Utopian dreams (and the former resoundingly crushing the latter into a thousand pieces)- last weekend one of my friends’ vast, lovely house was vacant and available for a gathering, which I allowed myself to be optimistic about for weeks. Ooh yes! We can get the decks, put them on the vast expanse of work surface in the kitchen and my little friend who knows how to DJ, the only person who listens to the same music as me, can plug in his USB stick of meticulously curated IDM tracks (yes, intelligent dance music is actually a genre [and overshadows the deceptive and meaningless blanket term ‘techno’ which is no good to any of us]) and we can all take the right drugs and all dance together and all really get down to someone like Joris Voorn or Solomon and everyone will smile together and it will conjure ‘one of those moments’ – the moments we constantly seek.

The night before this was going to take place, in a drunken state I sent a long and grotesquely mawkish text to all of my friends who were coming, emphasising the importance of the occasion. It encouraged attendants to honour the occasion, treating it as if it was a proper rave with an emphasis on dancing and loads of other things I can no longer remember, as I deleted it from my phone as soon as I got the chance. And deservedly, the next day I was under heavy scrutiny, at risk of being righteously lambasted by anyone and at any second. The execution was despicable, but behind the horribleness, was hope.

What eventually transpired was a complete disaster, descending into mindless techno- warfare and nothingness. My mate with the USBs decided he ‘couldn’t be bothered to DJ’ and was nowhere to be seen, preferring to dissolve into a bag of coke for the evening. A couple of my friends played some nice stuff but truth be told, it was never what I hoped for. In a flurry of contempt I ran over to the cutlery draw and withdrew two of the largest knives I could find and threatened to stab him if he continued to play music.

Following this we were scattered across the house, no one knew where anyone was, there was a couple or a threesome in the dark corners of every bedroom. There was no certainty, and no unity. Many lost interest in the night altogether, some whom had travelled from far and wide to attend, and decided to leave early, preferring the comfort of their own beds. The rest of us continued to do what we were doing. It was a good night. But nowhere near good enough.  And it’s not like that’s anything new. And that’s why it’s so sad. Sooner or later, we will have lost faith altogether. Imprisoned, destined to re-enact the same dissatisfying, mechanical routine over and over again. Disappointment after disappointment. When I suggested we should perhaps invite other people to parties like this another one of my wiser friends put it well the other night when he said, ‘we can’t even socialise with each other, let alone with other people’.

I could chuck this experience in with about 5 holidays and about 3 festivals, about 3 friendships and my University experience, all of which I felt this same tedious level of dissatisfaction having finished. I’ve learned from these miscalculations. Other than a few fragmented memories of ‘happiness’ and momentary triumphs, these are mostly valuable as learning curves for me. Stark reminders not to get carried away by the rhetoric of the hedonists. Cook from Skins is not and never will be a real person. Drugs, aren’t what they purport to be. It turns out that all this idealism is is a desperation to escape, to escape one’s own life and become somebody else. And when you realise that that’s exactly what you’re going for,  you’ll realise how bollocks all of this truly is. The question still remains, should we want more or should we want to be happy with less? Is there a middle ground? We’re lost, even if we don’t realise it.

I don’t know if any of this applies to you, your life might be joy after joy as your Facebook profile suggests, with those photos of you smiling like a crocodile in your graduation robes, or standing by some idyllic beach clutching your partner’s waist like you’re indestructible, or sitting in some swanky bar with a colourful cocktail in your hand with an umbrella sticking out of it, experiencing wonder after wonder, you might be loving every single chapter of your life more and more as it unfolds. And if so, congratulations! But I fear that the reality for most people, is more akin to my anonymous character who wanders across the Island of disused electrical appliances, alone and lost, constantly telling himself that ‘it will happen’, when he knows full well, deep down that it won’t. But he hopes nonetheless, clinging to the slightest possibility that it might. If not, he’d be off to B + Q for an extension lead (toaster, bath, post-it note, biro, goodbye).

We, the hopeful are no different from the devout in that we delude ourselves with the improbable. Without doing so, life would be intolerable. But what if even this is a delusion? I should stop over thinking it and realise life is fantastic if we just sit back chill the fuck out, and enjoy the finer things. Like listening to Kiasmos or reading Larkin, taking the piss out of a horrible friend, watching Peep Show, walking through the woods, eating a delicious bowl of cereal with raisins in it, standing in the away end at football matches, taking the dog for a nice walk, playing heads and volleys (according to the proper rules) or just that massively liberating sweaty feeling after a workout when you’ve got a slimy back and soaking wet hair and the endorphins are swimming around in your brain and you’re free because you don’t have to exercise anymore for the entire day! These things will always be there and then, and then…

And then the  grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.

What? Gandalf? See what?

White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

Well, that isn’t so bad.

No. No, it isn’t.