Full Flavour Behaviour!

Tuesday 3.vi.03

It occurs to me that on the fifth of next month, I will have been in Swaziland a year. It would be appropriate to take the opportunity to fire off a self-indulgent analysis of the journey I've made so far but frankly it doesn't seem necessary or relevant at this point. I have absolutely no feeling of watershed, of having arrived or of being in any way significantly more settled than when I arrived. Before you get the wrong idea, please remember that it doesn't really bother me in the slightest and I'm doing very well on it.

Yes, anyway, before I slip into pseudo-philosophical tedium again, I suppose I'd better come up with something to tell you. Yesterday I got steaming drunk after finishing a job, that I estimated would take a month, in three days. I'm not boasting about the speed of my work but admitting to the rampantly inaccurate pessimism of my time estimations. Marlin, who has now moved into the house, and I had a good thrash and as expected today was a total write-off. This is rapidly becoming my kind of week. I'm reading Milan Kundera; a book filled with poets and sensuality and the grit of real life and feverish disregard for conjunctive punctuation. Which is probably no bad thing as it sounds like a horrible disease. Perversely, I had no patience for The Picture of Dorian Gray, which I made a start on over the weekend, similar though it sounds to the above. There's only so much facile quippery that one can stand.. yes, even I.

The battery on my laptop has finally succumbed to my irregular charging habits and has developed the kind of memory span normally associated with anecdotal goldfish. You'll excuse me if I keep breaking off to disconnect the power supply; I have a vain expectation that I can somehow build its capacity back up by running it dead flat over and again. Of course, all I need is a good copy of Battery Amnesia.. but such things are in short supply for ten-year-old laptops, even on the Internet. Occasionally, I am gripped by a desire to get hold of an Inside Macintosh book and learn C or something; to write an instantly out-of-date program that only I can use appeals greatly to my - ahem - "individualitstic" sense of humour. Unfortunately for like-minded souls, it doesn't appeal to my "civilised" income requirements. After all, you can't run a laptop without electricity. Well, not for more than three minutes, anyway.

Okay, okay, sixty goldfish, wired up in series.

Projects I'd love to have the time and facilities to get on with:

1Make a Blair Witch-style camcorder movie whose only sound track is Roger Waters' The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking.
2Make a Flash movie of a scrolling anti-war poem (with hints of Valerie Solanos), while Floyd's Great Gig in the Sky plays.
3Make a photo essay of a long car trip. To Cape Town down the South coast perhaps. No Pink Floyd involved, honest. Donations towards petrol gratefully accepted.
4Get the Merc back.
5Get back into the mood for writing; ten thousand words after I rolled out the big guns, my novel has had a loading-mechanism jam.
6Find some stupendously well-paid and easy job I can do from anywhere over the wire, which will finance the above while leaving enough time for me to enjoy them properly.

I had a bit of a moment this evening; I put on the latest Garbage album (as far as I know the latest, anyway) Beautiful which, for some reason, I haven't listened to for a while. There was one track which evoked almost unbearably strong memories of Brighton. For a brief moment I was cruising down the seafront road with the heater on and the sunroof open (a trick I picked up from my Dad; as he puts it you have fresh air in your schnozz but your feet are warm), anticipating the delicious zing of temporary cold as I stepped from the car to a Shoreham Sailing Club dinner. That's one thing Swaziland doesn't have, you see, is the kind of relaxed yet incredibly regimented socialisation that relatively well-off, middle-aged couples enjoy so much in Home Counties Britain. There are fashionable people and rich people and even British people but it's all a bit colonial; almost Flashman-esque in its ludicrous "lovely weather" nonsense. I'm often reminded of a movie I saw years ago, in which a band of British expats stood around a roaring fire on Christmas Eve.. in Sydney. Women in corsets fainted and the fatter ex-military men sweated in purple-faced defiance of the heat, while they sang, "British to the core" into the stifling flames. Well, as Dr. Poo put it, "sod that!" I'd much rather drop into a snug, velvet lined bar out of a crisp March evening and sip a silky pint of Guinness before swapping over-the-top genteel outrage over the wrong sort of oil being used on the baked potatoes. Well, I don't want to harp on about it but I suddenly realised twelve months is actually a long time to go without a decent pint.

It wasn't the kind of feeling that sends you dashing for a plane and it wasn't a revelation of any kind but it was definitely a pang of longing for a certain element that's missing from my life. I suppose I have to live up to the fact that although I dig Marilyn Manson and the Beastie Boys more than Mozart or Bach, and though I wear trainers and never tuck in my shirt, that shirt always has a collar and I'm rarely actually scruffy. Okay so I go hard-drinking with tattooed lunatics - but I'm actually a lot more contented wrestling their children on the lawn while they sleep off the hangover. It would be chapter 21 of A Clockwork Orange (now I think about it I do play the ninth pretty often) but it's been a theme for a very, very long time. It's just that now I do wonder if, it being chapter 23, I shouldn't be doing something about it. I suppose that my main fear is that step one will be to get shot of all my loud rock music.. which puts Garbage in the, err, bin. You see the problem? Please forward any phone numbers of similarly bigenerational, available women.

Willingness to travel a necessity, as long as you don't mind staying put when you get here. And yes, I'll sort something out by way of running water.


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