Sunday, 23 August 2009
"Why, William, on that old grey stone,
Thus for the length of half a day,
Why William, sit you thus alone,
And dream your time away?"
William Wordsworth 1798
That's what we were doing, not quite in the Lake District but trapped in the towns, suffocating and choking from the degredation and loss, dreaming was part of the survival; and our literary pretentions were part of that dreaming. It was our escape to reach Windemere and Coniston before the Spring's end and reach it we did, in a clapped out car, carrying a tent with holes, and pitched it exactly where we wanted. It was some small fortune to be so lucky for a change.
The air was fresh and minds were cleansed - sounds odd to say that now but it was true, in spite of the amount of cigarettes smoked and beer drank. But everybody knew that our paths may not cross again and indeed they didn't. All that was important was the literature and the symbols around us, the signs in the trees and rivers, the postures and expressions of the campers and locals in the pubs. All the signs gave us were more questions.
Up! Up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you'll grow double:
Up! Up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?
William Wordsworth 1798
It is a dull and endless strife thinking of the return but the feeling of release while climbing the hills was unique and not felt again for a long time. It was probably the sense of freedom, leaving that well trodden path to Trough of Bowland at the weekends... this was different and the company was important. And what was very funny was inadvertantly seeing and meeting symbols you recognised that moved in the same circles and spoke with humour. That surely can't be matched again? The Tables had turned and what was left were the summer weeks to enjoy by the metaphorical fire, drinking mulled wine and cherry brandy, smoking in the garden and thinking of those simple pleasures lost, and a fear rose up in our breasts that the change would be calamitous.
Sunday, 16 August 2009
Named after a house belonging to one Robert Baker, a tailor famous for selling Piccadills, a collar for suits.
But used for Capital Punishment centuries ago although we didn't know it when we sat there smoking cigarettes after our jaunts down Shaftesbury Av. The abbreviation DM is connected with a club at the bottom of the street called the LimeLight, probably not there anymore. It was neon green like the famous TDK ad board. This jaunt was long in the planning and how we got there with virtually no money was an odd achievement for Giro-jockies.
He felt lost and silly.
The underground was full of staring faces.
Did he have wanker written on his forehead?
Or better still ‘here is a provincial lad’.
He felt in that moment, weak and exposed.
His lack of education and life was evident,
In his composure and witless conversation.
So what did he have, sat there, desperate
In Picadilly Circus?
Looking round at happy middle class students,
They seemed to enjoy life and pleasure.
He understood only isolation and suffering.
But still had hope.
Saturday, 15 August 2009
There was a time when this kind of thing, cameraderie,
was frowned upon by working class types. But the one in the middle was no exception - I was soon to join him anyway. It was the early 90's and John Major's recession was a blight on all our futures. To take the Queen's shilling was an escape from the drudgery of going round in circles and bumping into ex-cons and druggies. The only thing keeping us sane were nights by the metaphorical fire with a brew and a book. However, the problem was that this literary life was at odds with the one outside and the two clashed often with friendships being the sacrifice. But in the end those friendsships proved to be superficial anyway. The literary moments were a break from a harsher side of a life of meaninglessness and in hindsite were an absolute tonic.
Talking candidly - I feel I must in this instance -
there wasn't much else to life. There had been a morass in indulgence and violent ignorANCE. Some might recount the hedonism of Madchester and the Hacienda but I was too poor to go that far. Trough of Bowland in an old clapped out Ford Cortina was the limit, breathing in the toxic fumes of the otherside of hedonistic life (hence the semiotic nature of this blog). Have you ever tried a bucket? Not the spade version. I hated it. The first time I tried it I felt guilty and horrid. There's more to life. There's music and emotion and feeling sorry for yourself. That DM music was the escape - it happened because young people think they will live forever and have the power to shape the world. You think you will fall in love and have the world's largest orgasm and be romantic at the same time. That's what the music provoked; it saved the mind from going mad.