|"when are you gonna come down / when are you going to land?" |
- lyrics from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John
I've had a glorious 12 month honeymoon period in the UK. Central heating, warm trains, badly varnished doors, strange voices that all sound the same, freedom, fairness, bamboozling requests as a barista, getting my yoga classes off the ground, existential and exquisite chats with a plethora of taxi drivers, diamond friendships, being metaphorical about eating again - pizza as a vegan cus I worked in an Italian restaurant and wanted to live that myth for a while. Train travel generally, magical. I don't think I ever took a train in Spain; a car is preferable and the roads never end, the traffic in rural parts only exists in the imagined future. Mhm the showers in the houses I live in are heaven, a shower and its glory will never cease to amaze me. And I will resist understanding engineering (if that's what allows this magic to flow above my head) so I can always see it as magic.
"Goodbye yellow brick road....you can't plant me in your penthouse, I'm going back to my plough"
And STUFF...stuff, everywhere. You can have organic wholefoods loveliness from delightful places, or you can eat trash from packets that you probably can't recycle, depending on which Council takes your waste. It teaches one not to be so binary. You can have it all. Heaven yeah. The delightful mammothian skeleton of St Pancras with everyone going everywhere (but where? how can it be...) and whirring around the City, everyone occupying their own mythology about what they believe to be true, the values they hold. And, as Harari points out, unlike primates, there are thousands of us constantly sharing a space with so few incidents, relatively speaking. There we all go - up escalators, on bouncy castles, chatting incessantly to people who mostly hang up, defeated young girls with disheveled makeup propped up and sobbing or shouting at a friend cus Mr Right Now said something disagreable. Mind-boggling.
And later this year - a return to academia, where everyone imagines very seriously that putting ideas in order, dissecting them, then continuing to dissect them and the argument skeleton in which they exist to re-arrange and re-see...will somehow continue to be read or heard by someone who also wishes to study the same, and continue it all, tearing it all down, and re-building...ad nauseum without the nausea. Ad infinitum. Jesus freaks, out on the street. And for a moment, at least, in the academic sense, it will all make sense.
There are still people who believe in God which I marvel at. Mostly because I've always had an internal device that, if something gets popular, it computes as repulsive. Or at the least suspicious. I call it discernment. No-one was vegan or sugar-free when I was. And I think I liked that. The struggle made me build muscle and be a northern working class bastard fighting the forces. Now everyone is virtually vegan so gosh-darn-it I will eat burgers and hotdogs, and teach 'em a thing or two. It's just that there's getting less unpopular stuff to do. Less forces to fight.
I left the UK to find more folk interested in living off the land somehow and at least trying to be more literal. But then when after a dozen or so engaged me about it, I felt the device activate and immediately lost my passion. And I didn't trust them. I become a lawyer. Devil's advocate and argue against myself. Or maybe rather, another constellation glows - a pattern, being fleshed out by words. A pattern means that what we are saying, thinking, in that flow has impressed itself enough so that we can use it in a formula in a higher order of REASON! Hmm. Thank God I found academia.
"I should have stayed on the farm..."
GRAMMAR is a great word. I remember just being so happy when I discovered a band that uses it in their name. It's the original "paradigm". Now we can't move for paradigms; if someone wants strawberry rather than raspberry jam on their croissant at a Pumpkin when their train is late, it's asserted as a paradigm shift. I let them off cus words are usually insufficient, right? It's a paradigm shift in the making. Emojis, anyone. You'd be pressed to not find a paradigm shift. There goes one right now.
Anyway 12 months on, Englishness is starting to grate on me. Not in a spectacularly obtrusive way but just in that way that started to tinkle the chimes in a previous life which brought to mind to go Elsewhere. When we go elsewhere, we don't think of churros, or palm trees, or cheese baguettes, or alien registration plates - although they feature in the imagination - but we just want something...else. Like those idiots we all know (you might be one) who are sold cus something it's "different". Well, it's different in't it someone might say and then proceed to forage for their purse and buy it. We like different things cus they are not what we have. Like the lovely negating squiggle in philosophical arguments. I want ~(that). Could be anything. A raffle. We all love a raffle. Except we win what we could have bought online for half the price. Or we actually gave it away last week in a charity shop. Because it's something different.
I'm sorry, could I just put the Reservation sign there?...as my friend and I leave the table. Sorry. Whoops. It's a thing in ASDA. I love Whoops. As a low-earner, a poor student (see my funding page) my innards are illuminated by a Whoops! sticker. It's unmistakeably English cus it's inherently sorry. I'm sorry could I just - sorry - get passed. Sorry. This is NOT a thing in Spain so I have to not be dense and literal and accept that fact, and smile graciously. But it irritates. It's detritus from colonial I just invaded your land and called it my own and probably everyone's dead so what I am saying I am saying to my alive people. Sorry about that. Thanks.
My Honeymoon hasn't come crashing down (as long as I refuse Smooth FM and its 6 songs) but it is evolving into intolerance of things. Is this adulthood?? 12 months is giving me patterns, rising like cream on the milk of life. Sorry. And the pattern that is apparent now is that I need to be inoculated into something else. Oh shit, something different! I'm a dead man. OK, once again - with feeling.
I am slowly reaching through the detritus of difference, botany Masters being mastered ....with a skeletal ~(vegan) hand to be a Treasurer of a veg coop, write for a corporate governance website and start spreading 2 year rotted manure on my home garden. I also just found a permaculture place a stone's throw from Canterbury (ish) so I want him to want me on his place in the New Year and show me why pigs don't sweat and why they deter foxes away and why soil is just the best yay. Because being around that world, as much as I am not that world, I'm more of it than being in a bright lecture theatre room or a bright aisle metal trolley Whoops! or central heated call centre world filled with Celebrations and smelling of diabetes and despair. Or, just boredom, that rots one like cowardice.
"and I think it's gonna be a long long time"
-Rocket Man, Elton John
Count the headlights on the highway..you had a busy day today. So I could invent a new business, or App, or strip for my Instagram and snog a trans person, or vote Brex-in too late, or I could learn Python or continue to invent a CV on LinkedIn and pretend to be employable or sing in a densely populated mall with just my toes or Google how to make a million..but I'm defeated just summoning these superficial frivolities. Which is why I will do none of these things and just stick to what I know about chickens, and feeding soil, and reading well-written books, hoping to be as articulate on at least one paper, learn how to regenerate landscapes with David Liu (please God), keep reducing packaging (sorry), flossing my teeth...and seeing patterns. And watching Elton John on YouTube. And wondering why I have always been fascinated by olde Hollywoode glamour. And keep wondering... as I improve the soil that people might remember not just in 20, 50, 80 years but is actually fun and needs doing. Right now.