Friday, 16 November 2012

Surrey - The Seven Sisters - Pirbright Pain

The Seven Sisters... words of terror to anyone that knows them. And it, Pirbright.

Pain, suffering but physical perfection
Typical. Such a word conveys goodness, light, safety. No. Pirbright. It's a deception. At the time of walking, no RUNNING over them many many times, not only I but more or less everyone felt like dying. 7 hills. Why are they given a female personification? The pain in your chest and legs was like nothing I had ever felt. I was only 20, if I did it now, I would die a horrible death.
Physical fitness is wonderful, the sensation of accomplishment it creates is unrivaled. Never I have felt such joy and exultation at achieving physical perfection. The pain and suffering was worth it.

At the time instructors and trainers behaved like animals; you felt like they hated you and hated weakness. It was about power and humiliation, to make you appear soft and insignificant. Only when you crossed the finishing line did you understand the trainers were for you, on your side; they wanted you to succeed and win. At the time it was absolute chaos - the noise and scream were ceaseless. I was fortunate that in my own pain I could tolerate it because I have practiced before I journeyed here. By the time of Pirbright and the Seven Sisters, I was fitter than I had been. Running then over those hellish hills, I passed the occasional body writhing on the ground in pain - there was a moment during the first attempt when I wanted to give up, I hated it. I saw someone crying in pain; they looked ridiculous in their suffering. I forces myself that I wouldn't demean myself and pride was more powerful than pain. I went on and completed it. The end result was even more pride at the achievement and those that had fail were pushed to an even greater extreme to achieve what I and others had.

There are no platitudes spared; the instructors were merciless. They had to be. Not everyone is self-motivated. Some are more equal than others.
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Friday, 9 November 2012

Astonishing Experiences

Hard Labour for 3 months
It wasn't me - but the choice was an inevitable one. I resigned myself to the fact that I deserved my fate and if this was it, then so be it.
It made me a tougher and more resilient individual and by God I needed to be. The first few weeks were an utter nightmare - in all truth, I started to question why I was there and why I decided to do this. I expect many do question their motives for joining this insane institution.
I really wanted to go back to the peaceful life and my books but I knew deep down that I would stagnate back home, and nothing much would happen. People and friends had moved on so why go back home?
I accepted where I was and decided to remain there. I did for more than 3 years.
But to my surprise, once I got through the initial months of training and was posted to my regiment 8 months later, life became good and full of surprises.
The first 3 months were atrocious - whatever hard labour must have been like in Victorian times, I was in it. 3 months hard labour. My offence? Ignorance. After that, I left the prison and got, amazingly, weekends off for the first time in what felt like years.
I found myself on nights out in Soho, Bracknell, Camberley, places I thought I'd never visit. I then ended up driving across the Yorkshire Moors for 2 months. At the time I hated it and loathed myself but in hindsight the first 8 months were an utter peak and trough of astonishing experiences. Had I known then what I know now 20 years later I would have savoured every moment...

Monday, 15 October 2012

On a Train to an Uncertain Future

To Pirbright
I was in a train,
Going to a very uncertain future.
Outside I could see the rain,
In a land that looked stranger.
All the peculiar thoughts in my head,
Amounted to a great deal of dread.
Looking around at the other faces,
I realised we must all be nutcases.
I ask myself why I’ve chosen this fate.
What’ll be gained from this confusion?
All I can do is learn and tolerate,
The lonely and naive path I’ve chosen.
I’ve never really travelled away from my county,
But I felt my adventure could rival Dante.
I stepped from the train and into strange country,
Knowing I was about to loose my liberty with the wave of a hand…
August 1994
What had I done? Well, being trapped in the recession I was in at that time, jumping on that train to what felt like oblivion, it all seemed like the right thing to do. What else was there? Back home friends had gone or moved away or grown ever distant. There were no jobs, no prospects, no education. Only fags, boardgames, books, mulled wine and nothing much else.
I remember vividly waiting on the platform full of of feeling of trepidation that I was not as fearful as I should have been of the unknown. I was very ignorant of anything outside my own sphere.

Friends Come and Go

Falling in love can be like droplets of rain falling to the earth, especially when you are young. At least it was for me; I never knew what I wanted exactly but loved the feeling of immersion in another person's life, enveloping your own inside theirs so the two became interchangeable.

It's 1994 still and I'm surrounded by uncertainty across the globe. A lot happened in Europe in this period and I often felt I was outside of it when I should have been inside it. As usual finding consolation in wine and books.

Falling in love made the boredam of life and being on the outside go away, it gave reading books a sort of meaningless equation - books were not the means to an end. Literature simply delayed the inevitable destruction of oneself.

We were all growing distant, each of us trying to struggle in our way through the vagaries of experience, and some were better than it than others. Finding a lover, someone to share more depth and intimacy with sort of produced an intense feeling of calmness.

The only problem was when that calmness came crashing down to be replaced with its oposite on the spectrum - deep anger and loss - life felt pointless. That's the wonderful feeling of being young, one can pick oneself up so easily.

When relationships end you understand just how much you love a person, and whether or not it's worth fighting for. On this ocassion it was not, despite my feeling of loss and isolation.

It spurned me ever onwards to find that escape route away from the boredam and stagnation.

Thursday, 11 October 2012


It happened and things changed. Don't they always?

You look around you and so many things appear clear but when you delve further you notice the elements in each object or person. Everything is subjective and pays tribute to our interpretations, without which nothing would exist.

Whether you are depressed or joyful, you sometimes get a moment of self-realisation. An epiphany. Why didn't I think of that before?

It's been a long time coming but I'm back. Joy caused it, not depression.

I had an epiphany - a self realisation moment that it was time again to engage.

A lot had changed but I going back again to revisit the past and catch up with the future.

I love semiotics. I love literature even more. What is love? Do we have love juice like link juice that we can share? Can you give too much love, so that you die?

Back then I had no idea the vehicle I'm using now would begin to shape my life as much as it has.

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