Tuesday, September 18, 2007

in the news today

my Bongo, the replacement after the last one was trashed by the old gentlemen.....

Well, we had an accident. My back tyre blew out on Sunday evening which sent us careering down the road backwards at 70 mph....into the central reservation from which we bounced across three lanes into the hard shoulder...dogs flying around the cabin, crunching, crashing, ear splintering noise.

And then we were okay. Shaken and stirred, but happily alive.

We spent the night in the van, with some very strange dreams, and were recovered home yesterday via the vet, just to make sure - you know.

Friday, September 14, 2007

are we nearly there yet

I am generally blessed with the gravitas of a circus tumbler, but I can't seem to help myself from voicing an opinion about this....

....watching, listening to the debate (why in gods name do we insist on calling it debate, as if there were some doubt?) on ‘global warming’ with fascinated horror and I can’t help feeling that we are seeing the problem and the consequences from a uniquely distorted vantage point.

There are many good reasons why we (on the whole) would appear to be futile arbiters of our own fate:

Cigarettes, alcohol abuse, drugs and all manner of hedonistic choice oriented indulgences – which are apparent no-brainers and yet still we continue to make poor decisions, this’ll kill you if you continue, oh well never mind I’ll take my chance….should really make us despair of the probability of making wise choices concerning something as apparently intangible as the health of the planet if we can’t even make them on our own behalf.

Successive generations who have been aware of the damage that humanity has been causing to its environment have failed to pay little more than lip service to it. And let’s be very, very clear about this….this is legacy. What we leave for our children, these children that we will die for, drive to school and fight tooth and nail to drop off within 5 yards of the school gate to protect them from the bogey man and other manic, purposeless traffic…these same children we will leave a world in slightly, perhaps profoundly, worse shape than when we inherited it. They will receive, courtesy of us, new areas of the sea which once teemed with life but are now fished out, areas of levelled, arid tarmac where once fertile jungles grew, a substantially reduced ice cap – along with ice bergs in some very unusual places, changing currents in the oceans and the atmosphere and new, unpredictable weather patterns. My imagination and knowledge aren’t sufficient to do more than scratch the surface.

Have you heard of global dimming? It’s a phenomenon that is indicative of the contradiction between our knowledge and concern and our remedial action. Essentially rain tends to form around particulate matter in the atmosphere, humidity metamorphoses into droplets by the simple expedient of dust. Our ‘pollution’, at it simplest, comprises two components, gaseous and material by products. We have become very much better at reducing the physical detritus of our daily lives escaping into the atmosphere than its gaseous counterpart.

The result being that whilst we still throw unconscionable amounts of carbon monoxide to the heavens, we have vastly reduced the amount of ‘dust’.

Which is unfortunate. Air currents have taken this dust, in the past, over areas of Africa, where rain is a rare commodity and infrequent blessing, it has seeded clouds and whilst not wholly predictably provided seasonal rain – this dust has provided sufficient catalyst for airborne humidity to coalesce into infrequent, life giving rains.

Our wadis aren’t wadis any more. They don’t flood. They are just dusty ruts.

This simple expedient has actually aided and abetted global warming rather than alleviated it. Aren't we clever?

And will we, (will you?), deny the next generation of global super powers? More to the point will they deny themselves? We don’t appear to have a particularly convincing argument: “I say Mr Chinaman, I know that we have spent the past the 30 years in an orgy of manufacture and self indulgence and I do quite understand that at the time you had to do with a village bicycle with no seat and tyres – and now that it is within your grasp to have everything that I have, would you mind terribly not having a car, or a fridge, a computer or cell phone because you see you are going to finish the job of fucking up the environment that I started. I’m very sorry but I know that you will understand the need for a little self restraint, after all you’ve never had any luxuries in the past”.

I think not.

So the outcome is, in my humble opinion, inevitable, but not the outcome that is most often mooted. We won’t destroy the planet. We will not bring about the death of mother earth. What we will do is continue to alter the balance of our current continuum, we will cause changes in sea currents and trade winds with consequent and cathartic changes to the global fundamentals of climate. We can’t help it, we can’t stop ourselves.

And what will happen is that the earth will throw us off. We really should have no conceit over this, it’s like two fleas arguing over who owns the dog. We are, as most species are, here by main part accident and adaptation. We don't have a Willy Wonka gold ticket to survival. On the contrary, on the whole we are quite fragile beings, a great many of whom choose to live on boundaries, by the Oceans, or conversely, when inland, in areas which have far too little water to naturally sustain (human) life.

Climate change will hit us hard. At some point it will hit us so hard that we will cease to be, at least ‘be’ in the civilised sense that we ‘be’ now. It’s possible that a small number of us may adapt and survive….but there will be no going back. The earth will change and throw us off, shed us if you like. It will evolve and we will be left behind. Perhaps it will be the chance for some other species to dominate, or perhaps the eco system will relax back into a more dynamic society of creatures. Of course it is unfortunate that we will take many other species with us as we shuffle off this mortal coil. The changes that culminate in our demise will affect many other communities too, not least all of our domesticated animals (there's a double whammy here because the world will not only be rid of us and our noxious emissions, but also a truly spectacular amount of cow-fart) …but what the hey, too little, too late, we will sink without a trace.

So. Don’t worry about it. You will not bring about the end of the world you little weed...

It will bring about the end of you.

Monday, September 10, 2007

en vacance

Dirty old river, must you keep rolling
Flowing into the night

Amazing. The impishness of your mind, the stuff it comes up with…

People so busy,
makes me feel dizzy
Taxi light shines so bright

Cramped, stiff and huddled in the corner. And cold. My god, it was a hundred and four degrees earlier. 104 !!!

But I don't need no friends

Shoes, I need shoes…ruby slippers, I wish, I wish, I wish I were in Camden. Is there actually any loo roll in here, ironically, I mean can I use the toilet if I have to?

As long as I gaze on waterloo sunset
I am in paradise

Yes, paradise. Chocolate bars locked in the car. I have the ubiquitous bottle of wine though, and a torch, and a good book…..a beach towel, a completely redundant mobile phone, a pillow made up of rolled up t shirts and….this stupid bloody song revolving in my head.

It’s going to be a long night I think.

And why not, I am after all….on holiday.

Still, on the bright side this is by far the most salubrious, well kempt public lavatory that I have ever slept in. (Maybe by dint of the fact that they won’t allow you to sleep in the loos in the Ritz or the CafĂ© de Paris, unless of course you are very posh or terribly rich). I did once wake up in a windmill on a crazy golf course, but that was just impaired judgment.

I have had to sit and listen to numerous friends and acquaintances prattle on about the “adventure holiday” that they’re about to embark on, that they’ve described with such gusto and awe that Livingstone or Hilary would have been impressed – only to discover that they are taking an organised scuba diving course in the Red Sea. Or to Mexico to see the temples…but they will be staying in Cancun.

You see there is a real skill to this. Adventure, at least in my eyes is born of an utter disregard for basic research or forward planning. Consequently my ‘holidays’ often resemble huge, complex practical jokes that I seem to be playing on…myself.

Oregon is a dream. An ancient, rugged coastline of bays and jagged, broken rock spines, sea spray mingling with salt mists and sudden chills on a summers day. A haunted coast of lighthouses and children’s laughter and solitary red kites fluttering in pale blue late summer skies.

I will never forget falling asleep to the sound of the Ocean’s swell just 50 yards away over the sand and the salt tang smell of woodsmoke from the embers of a beach fire – or the way that the great boles of sea scraped giant redwoods lay like the bones of Leviathan scorched by the stars – or indeed walking out to the balcony, naked, to stand under the moon with a glass of wine – to feed my soul – straight through the screen door. (We don’t have them at home you see, as I was trying to explain the shattered remains to the maid the next day).

When I was a boy we’d play “if I ruled the world”. And if I ruled the world I would live in Oregon, in a boat moored to the jetty of a small working port, and I would want for nothing, no ambrosia this morning thank you.
But unfortunately some bloody idiot invented maps, and they sell them to bloody idiots to me.
People like me have no sense of scale, no sense of consequence, no common sense.

Every day I look at the world from my window
But chilly, chilly is the evening time
Waterloo sunsets fine

Maps are full of exotica, erotica, evotica to the travelling spirit, cartographic pornography... San Francisco ( I could tell you about San Francisco meets Fish, but I’m rambling enough as it is), the Sierra Nevada, Yosemite.

Did you know that there are only 5 motel rooms in the whole of Yosemite, and apparently on Labour Day weekend they fill rather quickly? Me neither.

Fortunately by now I have become accustomed to my lack of foresight, nay stupidity – such that the boot of my car resembles a fridge stocked for a party of alcoholic 5 year olds. Even in the tiny boot of this two seater rag top I managed to secrete away enough wine (that’s what the Napa valley is there for?) and chocolate biscuits to keep a small army of diabetic drunks on the move for a week.

And a toilet roll.
And now I’m vaguely comfortable. That is my arse is completely numb. It’s only 10 pm and the light of my torch is beginning to turn a vapid wee wee yellow, and I know for sure that I shan’t want to go out in the night.
I couldn’t park the car any closer than 50 yards from the tiny log cabin rest room, and I haven’t heard the grumble of a single RV for at least a half hour now. I expect they are all corralled and picnicking mightily in some snug park somewhere, hooked up to electricity and comparing sanitary cassette.

I tried to bring everything I would need in one go.

So, the usual presleep routine, check that the door is locked (rather bizarrely I have left my shoes outside the door in case, perchance a stranger should want to avail themselves of this ‘convenience’ during the night), fluff up my t shirt pillow and adjust my blanket….there, that’s nice…..a sip of wine……nighty night……

Terry meets Julie, waterloo station
Every Friday night…..