I look back a year or so and I have to admit I am more than a bit embarrassed. I seem to have been revelling in my new found power to publish and be dammed (why didn’t somebody tell me), mouthing off in the most objectionable way about anything – mainly stuff I didn’t know anything about. The ‘newsy’ topical political stuff I wrote about is particularly cringe making. I feel as though I accidentally uploaded my teenage diary together with my teenage pants, it was so full of misplaced enthusiasm for myself and my stupid, stupid thoughts. So whatever happens, in my new state of greater caution and self awareness and acknowledging as one must the heart crushing sadness of the event, I will not talk about the Paris attacks – except to say – and I think I have to – if I hear one more commentator say that’s it’s nothing to do with religion I will self flagellate and crawl with bleeding thighs to the top of whatever hilly hump I can find in the dire flatness that they call the Vale of York. It has everything to do with religion. Religious belief is the safe harbour for the deluded, the desperate, the angry and the lonely. It simplifies and codifies, what to think and how to behave. It encourages tribalism and the suppression of free thought. Until a few sensible religious leaders stand up and say – ‘look actually, this is partly our fault – we are a right bunch of plonkers.” I will remain in a state of insurmountable catatonic outrage every time I turn on radio 4. That is except for hearing from the current Archbishop of Canterbury, who I gather may have lost his faith after witnessing the Paris events. Good for him! of course it makes no difference whatsoever if he has or he hasn’t it takes a truly enlightened nation (not some bloke wearing a cornflake box on his head) like the French to stand up for secularisation but if any of those killed in the stadium were my children I would curse the government and the people for being so brave. Let’s all cow tell (cow tail makes more sense but I think it’s wrong) to the hypocrisy that drives religion, that way we might survive the next ‘Take That’ gig. As @thetweetofGod says “I give up. You’re on your own. Good Luck.”
Now where was I – are yes my new found caution and self awareness.
I now have a date scheduled for my ‘stem cell harvest.’ January 19th – 3 days after my 59th birthday – I have an opera DVD Charles bought me at the ready as there are several 4 hour sessions of complete stillness and no weeing. The name of the process sounds a bit like a new healthy breakfast cereal but is not nearly as much fun as Alpen. The process involves a heavy dose of poison which for some reason encourages the stem cells to be produced. I suppose your system hits panic mode and decides that the only way forward is to make a brand new Chris as the old one has clearly had it. I believe I have to self inject – yikes! I pride myself on not being squeamish and now having bragged about this I am stuck with a bogus superhero reputation among the nurses. I predict the dismantling of my pedestal ( falling like a bronze Saddam) when it turns out that I cry and puke like a baby when forced by macho pride and nurse Richard (my favourite) to impale myself. I really don’t mind needles wielded by others but self stabbing is like making yourself sick – something I have always admired in others but have managed to avoid so far, even after food poisoning in Macao ( when in retrospect I should have followed the advice of my sadistic costume designer – you know the one who left me to burn in a hotel fire – have I shared that story?).
My return to work has been very pleasant indeed. I am very lucky to have such supportive colleagues and a supportive institution. Some of the students remember me and seemed quite pleased to see me. I must say I like them as people. I find the whole student / lecturer status game completely unecessary but if we are allowed to just get on and work on interesting stuff together without all the requirements to fit in with ill informed educational edicts from government, its a great job. Government and hierarchical management ruin everything. As I have said just one or twice before let’s hope one day they all bog off back to to Salieri’s temple of mediocrity where they belong. Long live student power. My phased return is very gradual indeed, and I am grateful for this as the driving is still a bit taxing, not mentally, just a bit knackeringust on the muscles.
I have reconsidered the opening piece for the phone box and have written something less bizarrely out of the blue than originally planned. Why I still maintain its important not to defer to your audience, leaving them in a state of complete bewilderment, as if the event is not bewildering enough, seems pretty dumb,not to say arrogant. This is such fun I cannot tell you. It’s a bit like having a full orchestra to play with after spending years with just a banjo. I just hope I don’t make a hash of it . Then again that prospect is what makes it fun.
Talking of fun I am envious (something as a rule I don’t suffer from) of a dear friend who has a new puppy and my niece who has a new flower/coffee/gift shop. I love new starts – in a way I have had to make one, no bad thing, but I don’t think I will ever stop looking forward to making another one. To be honest when we had a dog I was a terrible owner and I would not be happy about all that walkies nonsense we misguidedly think dogs need – just let them out to run around town like they do in some place in Portugal – never mind this ritualised dog work-out in stupid green wellies with a yellow safety flash jacket and a virtuous smile yuk yuk yuk. – down with ritualised anything, say us dogs. Bite all the doggie walkers, free us from our leads and long live strays!
I discovered something really cool yesterday. In the 19th century while there was the big patent battle over Bell’s electric telephone system some enterprising folk designed and built string telephone systems. Yes they really did operate on the same principle as the tin can telephone. The string was actually very taught steel wire – tight as a guitar string and held in place by bolts and spacers. There were techniques to make it go round corners and it was said it could achieve a range of 4 miles although it was usually used for short distances. Apparently strong winds would cause it to sing and rain caused it to patter and rattle. Snow and ice would stop it working all together. These inventions were around for about 10 years before the electric telephone took over. Ohhhhh to find one of those. Here is a picture