Saturday, August 30, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
He was beaten and killed because of his colour and heritage.
His life ended brutally by English men. I am so ashamed.
The pain of his parents can have no comparison.
Far away and helpless - their lad murdered in pointless, blind, foreign hate.
The sadness of this is sickly and still soaking in.
It makes you ask big questions of society and humanity.
And it makes you realise answers are not enough.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Catch one on a camber and you were done for.
Put your foot down and they would have it off at the ankle.
But we zipped passed with luck our friend and skill our scrawny servant. And down we sped.
Then there were stumps, where rats of unusual size had gnawed down trees and masked what was left in mud and leaves to make it impossible to see and deathly to collide with.
And our front wheels wobbled through with dexterity while back wheels popped as each caught their points under our weight. But they did not puncture.
We saw some reptiles who had come up on the flat - how silly.
So we rode hard at them and used their bodies to launch ourselves high. Lift the front, jump as the back hits and fly. I'm a boy again. I'm a boy.
Mid air and helpless we realised the forest's trick - our landing also mined with more roots and stumps - shaped like sinister faces it seemed - although it was over in a flash as we peddled on once more victorious.
Then splash, then yuck, then swooping turns so fast and true perhaps nothing could stop you. Then scrape and Weww, as a peddle caught a passing tree. Then steady there fella, you don't bounce like you used to. Then bravado again as single track widened and the mud drained and the camber was left behind with the hungry creatures and there is only you and the wind and the woosh of it all.
A clearing. A skid and survivors' smiles all around.
Scratches and stings bring not pain, but memory and pride, and a feeling I can only think is to be alive.
I ran chest first into James’ head.
James has a normal head but it’s on top of a large body and it was all leaning towards me at the time. The body and head came off better and he got the ball too.
A mean man would have enjoyed the experience. A satisfactory tackle and completely fair upending of the opponent; a legal winding. Good stuff. Stuff you.
He isn’t, so I can’t complain; which is annoying because I’d like to.
It feels as if someone is sitting on my ribs with no plans to move. I hope they don’t snore.
The pain. Oh my.
You should have seen this guy.
He was massive you know, a brute.
And he stopped me shoot, to boot.
Left me dented where I lie.
(Then helped me up).
You don’t realise it until it happens but sooner or later, if you want to be heard on matters that interest you, you really will have to join a committee.
It will go something like this:
Initially the formality will strike you dumb and scared.
You will wonder what is happening and more importantly why it is happening so slowly.
Soon you will like it, because when you speak everyone listens.. mainly.
Then you will start to talk more and realise why things move slowly.
A little further along and you’ll be completely at the system’s mercy… promising involuntarily to fulfil more tasks than one could complete, even if bereft of friends, family, job or pets. This will mean you have more to say at the meetings. This means people will shut up and listen to you for longer.
This will feel unbelievable good. Better than life or sex by a very long way.
(The rest happens over around 50 years.)
Then you will become secretary. The hapless slave to the Chairman.
Then you will become chairman. The all powerful dictator.
Then you will become treasurer. The more all powerful banker.
Then you will become president. The responsibiltyless figurehead who does not go to meetings but has been doing it so long he/she (mostly he) expects anyone he meets to shut up and listen to him when he’s talking. You will be hated.
Then you will die.
Tonight I joined a new one without any idea I was doing it.
I have no idea how to escape.
I promised to help.
I’m in a lot of trouble.
Ben and Becky, after their first disagreement over timekeeping with the lad, had a boy called Harry who will be a Houdini with a hockey stick… mark my words.
A few days later Britain beat Pakistan at the same sport in the Olympics. It’s fate I tell you.
They then lost to Holland… but only by one.
All the same, and his future sporting career aside, the boy has a glint no less mischievous than you’d expect from two such fine and life-loving parents.
And, my word, I’m an uncle.
Harry would not hurry.
Harry said to wait.
Fun and adventure was out there
‘Mum, wait up, don’t dilate.’
‘I’m having my moment.
‘My time on the way.
‘That second just before
‘When you can’t want for more
‘And all that’s good and for sure still awaits.’
There is nothing like earning a view.
It’s something you know as a cyclist or walker, or runner or someone whose car broke down half way up but carried on anyway. It’s repayment for your efforts.
Drive up and you think, Blimey, that is lovely, isn’t it.
Walk up and you think, Blimey, that was worth it, that’s all mine.
Mum and I went and earned a view the other day.
I couldn’t have children, but the Lord blessed me with four Grayhounds said the wild-eyed, round faced lady in pink, on our way back down.
They’re not Whippets then, I said.
Don’t be afraid, it’s only barking because it’s blind and can’t see you. They’re such lovely dogs. Thank the Lord.
What can you say to that?
Have a nice walk.
You shouldn’t get a Whippet because you’re too busy and it’s cruel and you’re probably like your father, and they’re a lot of responsibility for a long time you know and you might be one of those owners who lets their dog jump up because they think everyone likes dogs and I don’t at all, that’s the thing that really annoys me about dogs and owners, and what if the girl of your dreams doesn’t like dogs.
That’s karma I said as we laughed after turning a corner to find three more Greyhounds and a terrier which jumped on mum and put paw marks on her new M&S.
Are they Whippets?
DON’T DO THAT YOU NAUGHTY DOG no, Whippets are smaller.
There were a lot of big Whippets about.
What a wrong song
It says gentleman please, that’s time
It says, sir, how did you get in?.. for you it was time in 1999
Your clubbing days are over
You’ve had a hefty innings
(Please don’t come back, we’ve told the doormen)
A man of your age – it really isn’t fitting.
Tonight the sea had an audience and it was keen to show off.
We arrived and were lost for comparisons at its hues and beauty.
When it’s like this one must stare. One mustn’t blink. One really shouldn’t move in case it gets stage fright.
If you break your gaze you will look back and it will be gone.
So I didn’t.
No camera could have recorded this.. least of all the one on my phone. But I took a picture or two all the same.
In return skaters silently slalommed the elderly who were let down by faulty reactions in expressing their crossness. The dusk swallowed them quickly anyhow, so it did not matter.
The bongos of Latin students made our stony shore their home and were accompanied by spontaneous song. Passing English people wrestled in their heads and asked themselves why they would never join in.
The big brass band taught the bongos a lesson and the English people were pleased of the distraction. Then the fireworks banged before we clapped and liked being English again.
And we all turned to see if the sea appreciated the efforts but its curtain had long since come down.
You wave a white flag, so it can see you coming from a distance - taking the long steady climb up its thigh.
Or you creep along its valley and peddle in pain up its crack, for the element of surprise.
But sometimes it feels you coming and farts wind to make the climb up nigh on impossible.
Then you have to walk which it likes because it tickles.
He cooks one dish a day and if you offer him five pounds he’ll probably give you some.
If you’re lucky the shop won’t be busy and you can enjoy his company too - for which he does not charge.
But you probably won’t be.
Today he wasn’t selling fish lunches. And it was still busy.
LETTER TO THE PAPER:
There was a letter in the Herald recently – complaining about the Counting House’s three-day July music festival. It wanted, seemingly, an end to ‘noise’. It wanted the government to crack down. It wanted peace. It wanted quite. In short it wanted, like a headteacher at exam time… SILENCE! This is not a letter about this particular event – smashing though it was for so many reasons – it’s about something else.
Society is diseased not by noise, but by busybodies thinking they have the right to stop it. They don’t.
They have rights, like we all do, to a reasonable amount of night-time peace and quiet. They have robust rights.
If only they knew how tough this country and this town’s licensing regulations are.
Noise of some sort; expression; fun, is very nearly mummified in red tape.
I can promise you that.
The very letter of the law, and perhaps some which aren’t actually there, are applied in Eastbourne to those pushing for bespoke or new events.
Put very simply and not too loudly, to legitimately perform, to stage, to celebrate and to have fun with other people – even just for two and a half days – requires religious dedication and still often fails.
Police, Fire, Health and Safety, Licensing… the cotton wool of our culture can be turned to glue at the whim of some senior (or well connected) soul should they see fit, quicker than the flick of an amp switch.
No. You, my friend, are protected.
What is far less protected is the right of expression, the right of dance, the right of song and the right of mutual enjoyment of these things…
It’s hindered every inch of the way, statutorily vilified and victimised – lumped clumsily into the same convenient group as antisocial behaviour and probably graffiti – although not, interestingly, as church bells, fireworks and fighter-jet engines.
However, to many, joining friends to watch an artist perform their noise is life affirming – and is a right which we must fight to protect if our culture is not to become diluted and unattached from its people.
Life is already restricted. Money is stupidly tight.
What can we do? There is only so much time for fornication. Sometimes you need to forget, to laugh and to clap your hands together involuntarily – sometimes you need to see someone perform, or do it yourself, to remind you of this unique human quality. Sometimes a little noise is a very good thing
We suspected. Susie thought she saw it but can’t be sure. And since we all wanted it to be true it might have been harder not to see it.
Like the testosterone-pumped Sargent of a front line battalion he led the charge.
Face strained with determination and, or at least he thought, the tremendous expectations of others - his team, his company. And it was close.
Just a few runs and an over in which to get.
So perhaps he did move the wicket.
Perhaps he did unfairly run me out.
And perhaps I definitely did momentarily act almost exactly like a prat.
But we lost. And really, painfully, he was better.
There’s a lot of it about - like wind, clouds, foreign students and the spaces where bank products used to be.
I liked it because I can relate.
I liked it because I was able to help.
I forgot about my own for a while.
So they helped me too.
The horrid hill outside my house resists cyclists grumpily.
When it’s had a bad week it crossly rolls wind down its incline like barrels.
It’s especially put out by riders on a Sunday around dinner time, when it prefers not to be bothered. Perhaps it’s trying to nap.
But I beat it :)
‘How are you?!’ I said, quite cheerfully.
‘Shit,’ said the tender of an empty bar.
His ex girlfriend had cleaned out his bank account.
There was no hiding his misery.
It dripped into our drinks and some of it stuck to the rim of my cocktail.
Some of it had walked upstairs and played havoc with the atmosphere near our table.
We left it behind and laughed to wash it away.
But it was in our system and later is made us argue.
We won’t go back there.