This will be me on my way to the airport (Minus the stetson hat):
Two summers ago, I went to Ibiza for my first time. Although some good times were had, some of the residual memories I have are not the best. In hindsight, it's obvious the experience merely accentuated some some underlying mental delicacies. These first world problem "issues" duly came under the microscope, brought on by the sudden on-rush of drugs, alcohol, partying, superficial hedonism, lack of sleep, and various episodes of accompanying friends behaving like dicks. It all took its toll, eventually.
Ibiza is a weird mixture of beautiful scenery and drunken debauchery. By the eighth night of my being there, I had been punched in the face by some gypsy from Belfast at seven o'clock in the morning by the beach; I'd been scammed by the "lookie-lookie" outfit who sold me some 'ecstacy pills' for 20 euro which in actual fact was just food colouring; and I visited several massive dance clubs listening to the likes of Carl Cox, Paul Kalkbrenner, Eddie Halliwell and other big DJ groups like Swedish House Mafia. At all of these events I had a great time, some more blurred than others. I made passing friendships with various English people, talking a lot of shite in the process. I also fell out with friends whose miserable and petty behaviour was bringing me down. In between the flippant moments of euphoria and great enjoyment from the music, I had pangs of inexplicable sadness, scathing self-loathing, paranoia and the like.
By the eighth night I had a break-down of sorts, walking along the streets of Ibiza crying my eyes out for absolutely no reason at all. It's ridiculous now even mentioning that. During these stupid couple of hours when I went full potato, I met two random people who noticed me crying. Me, completely off my head on drink, said that I didn't give a fuck any more and didn't care whether I died or not. (I was very serious about this at the time.) I invited to take them to an ATM machine where I said I'd clear out every penny I had and give it to them because, after all, I intended to die and wasn't going to need the money. I remember them being somewhat perplexed at first, and there was a certain sinister side to them which said "okay" and off we went to the ATM machine. I was so drunk I couldn't remember my pin which held all my money on a travel card. After this, they were trying to take me down some alley away from the crowds for God knows what, when we came across a group of girls who stopped and took me away from those people. I was sobbing a lot like a ridiculous, blubbering drunk. Thankfully those group of girls put me in a taxi straight to my hotel. Looking back now, I probably dodged a bullet there.
I haven't the faintest idea regarding the underlying factors of my psychology which brought all this crap out from the woodwork. I know it wasn't helped in any way shape or form by the over-indulgence of drink and alcohol, where it's safe to say I went a tad overboard over the course of ten days.
What I do know is the majority of all that nonsense is behind me now. Now I'm in a much better frame of mind, comfortable within myself, content in a way. I feel as if I've learned from the mistakes of the last holiday, in two years finishing my degree, devoting myself to football and channelling my energies into more positive things. I've tried to grow a certain contentment and happiness within myself by doing the best I can to change the things I have the power to change, and to ignore all the other irrelevancies. This includes superficial comparisons with other people, recognising negative attitudes and nipping them in the bud, and in the broadest, most general sense trying to find a balance in my life between mental stability and fun.
Roll on the 31st July
"Craic", Irish umbrella term defined by the Urban Dictionary as anything resembling fun or general banter.
Craic is visually represented by the people in the video below:
It is highly recommended that all human beings should try it at least once a week; it's good for the blood pressure. Engineering stalwarts need not apply, for the enjoyment of craic is not mutually complementary to things like calculations or equations. 2+2= potato.
Observe the specimens in the video above throwing peculiar shapes for no overriding purpose, and in particular utilising unusual centres of gravity in tandem with the beat.
I will say one thing. I don’t have the measuring instruments but the music in my bedroom has reached environmentally dangerous levels. Any minute now and we shall breach the sound barrier and break on through to that mythical other side. So let’s pretend I’m in a decommissioned Concorde plane and the terrorists are in the cargo section, and Indiana Jones who's driving a ford fiesta is firing harpoons at the back of the plane. It’s all systems go and I’ve put the accelerating fiddly-device full speed ahead. The engine is roaring and the back of our heads are pasted against the seats as we make headway for the moon.
WHAT IS LOVE? Baby don’t hurt me. . .
The neighbour who has been banging on my front door tells me some anonymous baby is trying to sleep. I presume he claims ownership to this miniature human; but if he thinks that his fertility and natural ability to get someone up the spout gives him added leverage or credibility in this situation, then he is very much mistaken. I’m going into involuntary spasms with my hands spiking in opposite directions, head fluidly bopping back and forth like an oul clucking rave-hen at Creamfields. And after a while a sheen of sweat develops on my chest which makes my T-shirt stick to my body, and my hair clump to my head. I have two drinks in my hands full of ice cubes which have stayed intact despite the upheaval that is predictably caused by the human body metamorphosing into shapes it’s not supposed to.
MAMA TOLD ME NOT TO COME
I don’t really care about the thumps on the door because I’m...how you say...“lost in the moment.” A lot of preparation has gone into this one-man party. There’s the light system, okay, that’s the first thing, and it beams strobes everywhere in fluctuating frequencies like schizoid black and white buzz-bombs. Then there’s the graphics, all right, that’s number two, on my meticulously-prepared Powerpoint presentation which depicts all sorts of absurd montages of swiveling eyes, menacing mouths which open and close, and shape-shifting birds of craziness into crocodiles, like a twisted evolution of animals, and I’m head-butting the air as if I’m trying to knock all the oxygen away so I suffocate.
I remember queuing up for hours with all these presents: six bikinis, a new Samsung Galaxy mobile phone, some jewellery. The memory of it now brings back the sweltering California heat, and there was me in my cargo slacks and flip-flops - a pasty-faced Casper unaccustomed to the heat. I had all these things in my hands which I was struggling to carry and my internal compass was sort of fucked as I ambled up all twisted and struggling trying not to drop any of the items I had bought.
-Hi, she smiled.
It could have been projected professionalism, her chirpiness. Whatever happened I was nervous and sweaty; my articulation skills seemed to fuck off to God knows where and I was sort of stuttering as I scrambled into a plastic bag at my feet that contained all her DVDs, which I had the hope of obtaining autographs for.
-How are you? She asked.
What an angel, I was thinking. She wore a low-cut top, and I couldn’t help but sneak the odd lecherous look in the general direction of her cleavage as she signed my DVDs, so much so I almost forgot the art of conversation.
-Eh, I’m very well, eh, thanks, I spluttered.
She handed my DVDs back to me. At that moment I felt like lifting her up and taking her swiftly out of the room in my arms like Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman. My presents sat on the table and she merely scanned through them with quick, cursory glances. The most she could say to each of them was “Aww these are all really great presents, thanks!”, in a facetious sort of way, oblivious to the fact I’d spent the majority of my wages on them. I felt a blush come to my face. She was probably well used to be being pampered and spoiled; money being no object. In any case I had hoped to spend the rest of the day at her stall, having waited so long, if only to get my money’s worth, but instead I was politely ushered away by her handlers. Behind me was the pressure of a growing queue, a bunch of eager beavers not dissimilar to yours truly who were waiting on the sidelines for their brush with the star. And I got up with some nervous smiles and goodbyes and moved awkwardly to sulk in the foyer not far away. I suppose this was a symbolic signification to me that my day was over. The porn convention had on show a vast array of other talent, but it paled in comparison to what had just preceded it. I visited some of the other stalls out of a vague sense of curiosity, but to me my personal porn convention was over, at least until some other time I hoped to meet her.
Gauge, the woman I am in love with. Light-skinned, creamy complexion, dark raven hair. Amazing. This girl, you know, I'd never seen anything like her before. She caught my Jap's eye straight away, and it's not even that she was exceptionally good-looking. It was more her attitude and application to her job which impressed me the most, which to this day is unmatched in the industry. The most I can say was that I was struck by her insatiable sexual appetite that made me quiver like some weak, pathetic beta-male. She is a petite young woman of 5'4. I started watching her when she was a novice in the industry at nineteen, and now she's in her mid-twenties. We're both the same age, so in a way I can relate to some of the bumps she may have went through; the track of her progress has mirrored aspects of my own life, in a way. It's like she's my girlfriend, which is weird to think about. Her mischievous face, paradoxically angelic, and when she gets into her work with such youthful abandon my heart quickens as if being injected with some pure liquid cocaine. Whatever she represents in her job is transcendental to me. To say it’s sinful sounds inherently wrong. I would disagree with the religionists and feminists. For me, it’s a strangely spiritual experience, blessed and wholesome despite it being driven by physical—some would say violent—acts. I didn’t know people could perform like that, to complete such feats, and even at that young age I felt we should always appreciate the people who push the boat out like that.
I began visiting Twitter to get some updates on her daily life. It was primarily to find out what type of person she truly was, out of curiosity. It didn't matter that I'd seen all her videos; this was, like the film industry, looking behind the facade of the performer to get a "behind the scenes" look at their real personality. Over the years I'd safely say I've spent an inordinate amount of time on her twitter feed. I wouldn't like to quantify it, and a doctor would probably tell you it's not healthy, but I'm addicted. I’m a loyal follower now, visiting daily. Most of the time her profile is simply an innocuous drivel of advertisements, promotions, fawning from her fans on her latest productions. She often breaks the tedium up with teasing instagrams of her lying on the beach, for example, or in her car driving along freeways, or, my own personal favourite, a tirade of luscious selfies in mirrors. I often find I cannot resist a gush that’s embarrassing for its lack of dignity that it’s more akin to keyboard word-vomit. I'd say you can easily tell I'm an adoring fan. Like the other day she posted up a picture of her in a convertible Mercedes Benz SLR and a message that said “Going shopping, so excited xx” and I told her to be careful because that was an extremely fast car and there’d no doubt be lots of traffic. She didn't reply, but that's okay. I'm fine with that. She has a lot of followers.
For a number of years now I've worked as an Accountant at a place called Direct IT services, and the less particulars that are said about that, the better. The only thing I would say is that no one knows me in the work sphere. Well, they know me but not in the true sense. It's funny how you spend all this time with people in the workplace yet no one has the faintest idea of what anyone else is truly like. In essence, we're all strangers. I've made a living disguising my true feelings on certain questionable or taboo subjects – all I have to do is put on a certain glazed over expression so people think I have no thoughts in my head, or any thoughts worth sharing. And after a while no one really does any investigating, about who I am, what I do etc., either because they genuinely don't care or because they're too wrapped up in their own little bubbles.
One day in work startled me and was the first real sign something was wrong. Anyway, I think it was a Monday. I don't know what it was but there was something wrong with me. From initial boredom in the office, I began to dream about the weekend which, in opening a kind of doorway, it then fostered a certain inner excitement within me about other inappropriate things, not suited for the workplace. People in the office were talking a load of oul shite about what they did at the weekend, which mostly, as far as I could gather, consisted of a bottle of wine and a ganders at The X Factor; and I found myself dealing with emotions I couldn't control. At my desk it soon transpired I was befuddled with wild fantasies which I won't describe – entering intrusively at the mere slightest initiation, that is, by thinking of the weekend– and it was there and then that it struck me that the whole business with this girl over time had clearly scrambled my brains, hindering my functionality in the nine to five sphere.
It was twelve in the afternoon. I was at the photocopier printing something out, a quiet hum of chatter in the office, and all I could think of was her, her scenes, her career, and my desires. I got very aroused, I have to say, which I tried to hide. Can you imagine the embarrassment of sharing a photocopier with something between your legs that would cripple a donkey, me keeled over at almost a ninety degree angle and still trying to convey a sense of normality? I thought, “My God. My obsession is my addiction”, an addiction which started as a harmless but flirtatious pre-occupation and then somewhat mushroomed through the years to become more a problem than a hobby. These were obviously “first-world problems” of a twenty-first century deviant. Absurdly, I imagined myself on the beaches of Normandy—D-day—a rifle in my hand, and I contemplated the distinct possibility it was my last day on earth. The internet wasn’t even invented in 1943. Pornography came in black and white stills and had poor sound quality (if not an entirely silent production.) Hairiness was rampant and waxing was something you only knew of in candles. Any depraved ideas I might have had in 1943 came entirely from reading the works of grossly-libertine French writers like Marquis De Sade who hailed from hundreds of years previous. And, apart from that, everything else is left to the imagination. So at that moment beside the copier, I was on the beach. I was scared to death. I felt the urge to masturbate at the moment of truth when my brothers-in-arms needed me. Imagine that? The conflict, tearing me apart. I was crying on the beach, my belt lying open, me trying to complete my act of selfishness but I can’t because German bullets are raining down around my head. My buddies were perplexed. They were screaming at me, dragging me along and telling me to “man the fuck up” because that is what soldiers do in the heat of battle. I tell them I’m in love with a girl who I can’t specify, because she doesn’t exist yet. They think I’ve gone mad. But they pull me up. They help their mates, they believe in camaraderie. I do nothing in return. I was a historically-imagined, sexually dysfunctional Oppum from Saving Private Ryan.
-Is there something wrong with the machine? My middle-aged female boss, Karen, asked me. I was still bent over the side of the photocopier as if it was malfunctioning, so I could bend over with a feasible reason, thinking about porno and war intermeshed.
-No, it's fine, thanks I said.
I felt like telling her it was more likely ME who was suffering from a malfunction but that I would have whatever was wrong sorted in a minute, until it subsided. I returned to my desk and the thoughts came back with a vengeance, pervasive and unrelenting. I thought I might be overwhelmed. So I went to the toilet. These powerful, uncontrollable feelings shot through my head and down my spine and right to the sweet spot, and what happened next I'm not exactly proud of. I obtained some file paper from the tray and held it in my right hand, you'll understand to disguise a certain dubious activity that was under way in the crotchal region. The forces had to be released. And so I got up from my desk and went to the toilet and did the unmentionable, at a furious unselfconscious pace, I should add, the danger of being caught exciting me, in a way; for if someone walked into the toilets at that precise moment to have a piss there was a chance we could never be able to look each other in the eye again: a kind of awkward, corridor claustrophobia. But I didn't care. I did it anyway. She was appearing to me in graphic holograms, behind my closed eyelids, sitting on the toilet, my head arched back in this ridiculous ecstacy. I was shocked and amused that my libido was so hay-wired and unpredictable, but I did what I had to do and that got me through the rest of the day. I chuckled about this incident later but realised that I would probably need help some time soon.
For a number of weekends I took it easy, doing a bit of gardening and living a relatively peaceful life. I did things like go to the swimming pool, juxtaposing such activities in an attempt to provide a temporary respite from the torture and chaos of this girl, invading my thoughts. I had to try and ban the internet because the tunnels which it led to was taking up too much mental space, disturbing the reasonable confines of peace and taste. Most of all I wanted to afford myself a kind psychiatric re-charge of the batteries. It didn't work.
Two weeks later it was a Saturday and I was in my garden. I was ambling around the edges in a state of abstraction with the flowers, meditating-in-kind to try and initiate a deep bliss which couldn't be disturbed. Thing is, I don't even like gardening that much. I was bored, walking around and it occurred to me I was like some old geriatric with a penchant for daffodils. And this unwelcome thought entered my head which I tried to ignore. It beamed down through the clouds and into my head. I had the shears in my hand and I did a bit of trimming, but the intrusion wouldn't go away. I then saw a neighbour of mine, Mr McNally, an old savant who always talks to me about the bin man, and he waved across a couple of gardens. I smiled back at him. My neighbours aren't bad people but they aren't exactly rock-stars. To this day I'm scared of the possibility of them ever finding out my true nature: like wolves they’d feed on weakness and spread their gossiping like a contagious disease chain-mailed through the whole street. And when I see them I imagine them with their own problems; their own internal anguish. I can see through their disguised, reciprocal smiles and waves back across our waist-high fences—you can’t bullshit a bull-shitter—that they’re hiding something too. But are they as deviant and depraved as me? Who can ever truly tell the mysteries and nuances of what lies among them.
I went into my house and stuck on the kettle. The lap top sat on the kitchen table like this black plastic intruder, staring at me, winking me in the eye, propositioning me like a prostitute. I cold-shouldered the lap top, as if it was a wife or girlfriend and we were on bad terms at some social gathering. As it happened a young girl who lives three doors down came knocking on the door selling sponsorship tickets for something at school. This didn't happen straight away; to my best estimation the knock came after about an hour or so of me being in the kitchen; I don't remember much about that intervening hour when I switched on the kettle. It's like it never existed and, if it did, the visceral experience of it was like being underwater, a dulled perception, blurred and faint. There's no other conclusion I can come to other than that somehow some urge overcame me and I ended up lying in my living room in the midst of a marathon session on the laptop, ferocious movements, my shorts around my ankles, a mountainous mound of wasted tissues of emotion lying limp by my side. The knock on the door sent a severe jolt through me. I was instantly resuscitated out of a catatonic stupor and, jumping up, I nearly fell with a clatter of busted knees, managing to sneak a look out the blinds, which I closed earlier in a trance, hiding behind my burgundy curtains, which I also closed earlier, two fingers separating the blinds ever so subtly. My face felt tomato-jawed, flamed with exercise and exertions, albeit stationary on a sofa. And so in this “state” I foolishly opened the door.
-Hi Mr Frazer. Do you want to buy a ticket for the Zambia fund?
I thought I was hallucinating. My glasses must have been sitting wayward, obfuscating my vision with some funny interaction with a fading sun. Through some prism it produced a raft of rainbow colours coming cascading down through the background trees – messianic-like – into my eyes, almost as though it was her personally who had graced me with her presence, a younger supple version of her coming specifically to my door to see how I was doing; selling tickets of destiny. Seconds passed, maybe minutes, I don’t know, as I stood in a paralysed daze until I recalibrated my senses with a blink and realised where I was.
-Are you okay, Mr Frazer?
I closed the door with a slam. I’d frightened myself. I began to question my own sanity and awareness of reality. I put the laptop under the stairs and tied it together with some sturdy rope. I had padlocked the door of the cubby-hole in the stairs, threw away the key, sat down, got back up, marched to the shed out the back, came back, decimated the pad lock with a crow bar, cut the sturdy rope with my sharpest Stanley knife – both items procured hastily from the shed. I went straight back to where I was before the disruption. All of the tabs remained opened on the lap top, my living room a mess. I was an automaton. I put on a spongy pair of earphones which coated my ears and isolated my head from the rest of the world. With the volume turned up full – the sound of the videos shuddering through me, grunts and moans and splutters and heavy breathing – I thought of nothing else. The lap top was my whole universe. I was sucked right in to its contents. I felt vaguely ashamed with what I was doing, but continued nonetheless, a picture of Jesus hanging by the main door of my living room, something which for a long time I could no longer look at without experiencing a vague and implacable guilt. I felt pathetic but compulsive. It went on and on, one video after another, tab by tab, hour after hour, the vigour never dropping down below a stable intensity. I couldn’t help myself. I was on it for so long I was almost crying by the end. And so I was back to square one. But that could be considered a bad day.
Board meeting – 9:00am - Chaired by Mr. Stig Bubblecard.
Number one on our agenda today, ladies and gents, is the rather pertinent issue of primary and secondary issues, and in particular whether they are one and the same. Now according to this memo:
“The words ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ are primarily used to diversify the English language, which in terms of issues enables the issue-solvers to accord varying significance to issues through their own interpretive prisms as they see fit”
I draw your attention to this unholy cluster of syllables and, in particular, the fact the author concerned uses the adverb ‘primarily’ in his own description of a ‘primary’ issue. . .We could perhaps venture to say this is an unabashed attempt by the author to “blow your mind”, so to speak, through the utilisation of the very subject he hopes to define being used in the definition which, being a definition tends to lay the foundation of the issue which you are subsequently invited to discuss. But we think, if the subject is an issue but there is an issue in the issue, why did he tie us up in knots before we even started? Is the author merely trying to confuse the issue? We ask these sorts of questions, and we come to the realisation that the author is possibly a mischievous little devil, certainly one not to be trusted unconditionally like the mother-son paradigm, but rather one who is to be approached with the same suspicion and cold-hearted analysis as a detective when engaging in any further fleshing out of, well, the issues...
All right, any questions? I trust this was a simple introduction. The author of this memo says those concerned can accord significance to issues “as they see fit”, and within this my own theory is that we are presented with a situation of the utmost unfettered freedom. By this I mean we can say what we want in straight lines, tangents and random perpendiculars. For instance, say we roguishly depart from the traditional meaning of ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’, or whatever the case may be, flip it around to map out a new world where 'primary' is 'secondary', 'secondary' is 'primary' and issues are not exactly issues but are, instead, a kind of implacable fluffy notion that only mad and ridiculous spiritualists are concerned with. You can hold it in your hands like putty but when you try to grasp it with any real firmness, it slips through. Now what would you say about that?
So what you're saying is there is no issue Mr Bubblecard?
In a sense...Yes. Well...Yes and no. What I will say is that we will work very hard to overcome the issues yes and no, like binary politicians.
May I ask why are we here then, Mr Bubblecard?
Well it's very difficult to explain in-depth our timeless existential dilemma, Oswald, within the short space of time afforded to us in this meeting. As a company there is always issues at hand to discuss, but so little time. At this moment it is the issue of primary and secondary issues which we are worried about which we must deal with before there is to be any progression.
But what has this got to do with retail sales of high street clothes, Mr Bubblecard?
Nothing...Absolutely nothing. That comes after, good sir. I mean, how can you expect us to deal with the substantive issues without dealing with first with the preliminaries? You wouldn't want to jump to conclusions now, would you, good sir?
You’re a man of infinite wisdom, Mr Bubblecard.
Why thank you, Oswald. I'm flattered at your flattery. But! And this is a big ‘but.’ I don’t want to rain on this little parade of consensus. I want to return to the matters at hand. Right...Suppose I present to you here and now a humble confession, a confession which confesses to you all here and now I wrote the memo myself…Eh, what ramifications would that have for our debate?
Umm...It would mean quite a lot, sir.
It would foster the intrigue, Mr Bubblecard.
Increase the mystery of this meeting.
Yes, it would.
And what about the uncertainty of what we're talking about?
It would shoot through the roof, sir!
What about the circularity?
Swings and roundabouts...
Brilliant. Just what I thought. I'm glad we're all on the same page. What’s more, let me pick your brain more in-depth. What if I were to say the elements of uncertainty surrounding the words’ construction nullifies, to an extent, my own personal ownership? ...What if I were to say for construction purposes the words in question were considered in isolation. The singular meaning was sought from the dictionary and once ascertained was promptly printed out in amplified lettering. I then ritualistically put them into test tubes while blindfolded and asked my secretary to attach them to a centrifuge, where they spun for forty five minutes. Alas! Their re-emergence into this peculiar passage that you see now before you was, in a way, precipitated or 'written' by me, if you like, but is also, by its very nature, cloaked in mystery.
Why are you haranguing yourself over its meaning then, sir?
That's the bloody point! This is precisely what I'm getting at. A conundrum which has to be solved come rain, hail or sunshine. At the same time, I welcome your critical scrutiny, Hulga, I want to make that point. I trust that you welcome my welcome? Yes? Excellent, thank you. To return to the salient topic at hand it's quite clear we need to get to the bottom of this, but our task is shrouded in blackness. For again in terms of the memo “Interpretive prisms” are paramount, you will see, along with the overarching prerogative that we do as we “see fit”. Of course I could go on to comment on the farcical nature of sense as I understand it in this instance, and then I’d be hooked too into the quagmire of diversionary debate. I call this profound state of confusion the “The Uncertainty Principle”, and if you examine its nature with the utmost precision the more imprecise the components become; you will find the presence of uncertainty is everywhere, sort of like dark matter or racism – invisible yet in existence, known about but, yet, importantly, understood and misunderstood...all at the same time.
Okay, primary and secondary…Does anyone have any primary or secondary thoughts on the issue primary or secondary before we continue our strange progression? It is possible, I surmise, to widen the discussion even further, should we so wish, by not only focusing on 'primary' and 'secondary' but, furthermore, 'tertiary', 'quaternary', 'quinary', 'senary', 'septenary', 'octonary','nonary' and...'denary' issues. If memory serves me correctly I don’t believe there is the consequential description of an ‘eleventh’ term, for some reason, but I do know there exists in a similar fashion a ‘twelfth’ known as ‘duodenary’…But I think there are rather perilous dangers at this moment here of biting off more than we can chew, and I think that is possibly the reason why these terms are either intentionally or inadvertently excluded in the initial definition, which was and wasn't written by me, you might recall, and I think that is sufficient reason for ignoring them unless we get bogged down in the detail ad infinitum...The devil for any company is in the detail, of course.
You notice my penchant for creative 3D perspectives? If you raise no objections I hope you'll allow me to continue to use analogies and metaphor at will for the purposes of elucidation and confusion; a story-teller and a disorienting oracle, if you will. This is all so that you may all gain a better but at the same time cloudier and more ambiguous understanding in the final analysis...The bottom line, so to speak...Now I hate to perpetually return to the memo but like the bible it is the starting-point by which our discussion is based. And I ask you this: if 'primary' and 'secondary' can be anything we want it to be, essentially, (a la primary is secondary, and secondary is primary), through force of will and whimsy, it is possible, I would argue, that primary and secondary are not adjectives but are actually in one second, premium insurance policies, in another, abnormal cell division, and even at another infinitesimal point physical propellants or missiles which we can launch indiscriminately around the room. If you can imagine the “Interpretive prism” as a hula hoop and as a sort of game you get ten points if you can successfully Frisbee 'primary' and 'secondary' through the hoop then I'm sure you can all agree there is a lot of fun to be had which is great for general morale and mental health.
Would this be compatible with the health and safety regulations of the company?
Urm...Well. I haven't thought much about that actually. Probably not, but please conduct a comprehensive review of it for me please at once, and take your time while you're at it. We're in no rush. Forgive this frivolousness. Having examined this memo with a scrutiny that would be a credit to the most conscientious coroner conducting a cross-examination of a corpse, I can assure you that perhaps I've been over-thinking the issue. This sometimes happens when dealing with the common thread of diversification which in its broad scope can lead one into dodgy never-ending tangents. Without doubt the world of primary is a hungrier place without the twin accompaniment of secondary, and vice versa. It could be fair to say that the two issues need each other and mutually complement one another like salt and pepper, whereby, the symbiotic paradigm becomes an indifferent, ambivalent one when one pillar of the community—either primary or secondary—disintegrates or falls victim to neglect, starving the former of the latter or the latter from the former. If you starve one of oxygen the other turns into a shallow, benign substance who goes through a grieving period but then settles its own personal issues or demons and does not do anything to the collective detriment of language and thus to the detriment of our business activities. So we must be vigilant and afford each parity of esteem.
Primary and secondary like all organisms go through a certain life cycle, specifically primary and secondary phases of childhood and adolescence where they then grow and sprout hair in places they never had before. They have to be nurtured and studied and researched and weighed against the peculiarities and fluctuations in personalities of the analyser or “issue-solver”, who brings his or her own unique cards to the table and puts his own spin on the discussion through the operation of the “interpretive prism.” This has been known to create its own problems when, for instance, the memo hasn't envisaged the ‘issue-solver’ coming from a somewhat unstable mental disposition or uneducated background. Not for one second in its all-encompassing, all-accommodating glory does it preclude anyone from their input; no matter how idiotic, retarded, unresearched or unhinged. If I prompt you for your opinion Oswald, for example, and I say to you, “Here, Oswald, what do you think about this whole situation...What do you know?” ...Well, what would you say?
Well I don't know much of anything, sir.
Exactly, see what I mean? But you still had your say, and that’s the beautiful, uncertain mysticism of it. Here we solve the issue and we are ourselves the issue. We grapple with ourselves and our external reality. We do this with so many words and paragraphs which may say something or may say fuck all, and the vital thread in all this is in distinguishing the something from the 'fuck all', the wheedling out the relevance from the irrelevance, the exploration and the journey that is involved in fleshing out the issues—any issues—not just primary and secondary but all the other ones. A universal theory and methodology and guidance, which I have been developing long before I became CEO of this business, since I was gestating in my mother's womb, if you may be interested to know.
Ah....Forgive me if I regain my breath. A sip of water. Ah! I recognise on the minutes of this meeting that this is quite a heavy and elusive subject to tackle. Regardless, one must push on with determination for the last one hundred yards, to summarise that which has gone before and to give a taste for what is to come later. I can say with supreme confidence these matters are not frivolous. This is not mere balderdash. Our raison d-etre as a institution under the rigours of competition is to sort out issues in whatever which way they are presented. Sometimes issues threaten to overwhelm the boat of the company like a big Cthulu with rampaging tentacles; we soon find that the only way the beast will perish is if we sever his limbs with a very particular sword of Excalibur. We collectively embody that sword. We’re in a privileged position. And while the tentacles have regenerative powers where new baby tentacles sprout endlessly while the waves crash and our boat is subjected to the barbarities of the water, we are reminiscent of noble pirates of the sea slicing and dicing the monsters that confront us, overcoming our issues for the benefit of shareholder primacy...like 20,000 shareholders under the sea...and we must keep our focus. We must live up to our name as the front-runners of an institutionalised, organized bureaucracy. Centralised authority, decreed by me, supplying the supplies to meet the demand. We are the absorbers of the underlings, like amoebas incorporated, merging and digesting inferior entities for breakfast. Always on the ball...total insomniacs. But sure business never sleeps. Now. I’m not saying this because I’m your friend. I tell it how it is. And I’m no agony aunt. And I’m not a believer in tangents. I believe in directness, of cutting through all the foliage to get to the Easter egg. But that doesn’t come without a treasure hunt, if you catch my drift. We must look for it, whatever it is, and rise from the flames victorious and triumphant, like Olympic terminators.
We haven't much time left, Mr Bubblecard.
...Apologies if I'm rambling, or my meaning cloudy. I'm passionate about this subject. You would almost feel inclined to inquire whether I am babbling and, if so, I applaud you for thinking outside the rectangle. It may seem that I'm playfully skirting around the edges of the discussion, dipping the toe in the water but never quite delving in; instead of getting to the crux of the issue it may seem I'm exhausting or time-wasting the precious seconds provided to us before we must scatter our rendezvous from the collective to the individual, to return to our posts and complete our unique and singular roles within the organisation. But that's not how it is. I care deeply about sussing out the issue of primary and secondary issues, but as much as I've strayed from that point it goes without saying I care deeply about it, as much as I care about the profitability of our clothes selling business. Like yin and yang one is as important as the other because to leave one unattended to would upset the harmony of the discussion, leave an imbalance in our perspicacious investigations to the detriment of one issue over another. That is not how we operate. I do not like leaving matters unresolved and that is one of the primary reasons why I do not skirt over primary and secondary problems or issues willy-nilly but, instead, endeavour to treat all problems with the same sincerity and the same resoluteness. In so doing I could easily set myself a word limit but I’d lose track. So many ideas, too little words, it’s all academic you'll understand. In the exploration of the relevance from the irrelevance my mind descends into a hiccuping, malfunctioning Microsoft word. It’s imperative that you turn it off and on at the plug for ten seconds. Reboot and put it back on. That way it’ll be right as rain in a minute. We’re held ransom to stupid conventions of time and space. Finite energy, rationality, and body clocks. Sometimes you just switch off. We all do. It all depends on the right input, output. We need to persevere against this, against obstacles. Think of me as a human keyboard. I let you type your problems into me. You input the information. I print it out. The clicking of my buttons will be therapeutic. Dear diary, tell me your problems. Yadda yadda there’s a tapping bonanza. You the employee and stakeholder find yourself fiddling furiously on me, your “keyboard”. But don’t overdo it. It’s like pornography: only so much you can take.
I have one query Mister Bubblecard?
Proceeding with said query is hereby denied, Snodgrass. Please do not derail my epiphany. You see this bicep? I’ve been working on this “thing” all my life. Rest assured you wouldn’t want see him when he’s angry; used to be a cage fighter. He also happened to be a man of leisure, like me. In a sort of similar vein to the abominable snowman he’d often be sighted, sparsely, flowing like a turd down a tempestuous stream. His little canoe would be caught in vicious rapids and he’d be constantly faced with the threat of capsizing at every millimetre of a second. And did you once see him worry about losing his sentience? No. The bicep was carefree. He had what you could call a life lust. I suggest we do the same, Snodgrass.
I’m finding it difficult to discern a smidgeon of sense in what you’re saying, sir. A bicep in a canoe?
What did I say at the start of this speech Snodgrass? My sense of sense is farcical, fine sir, and with your constant badgering you’re status as a fine sir is steadily diminishing and hangs by a thread, ‘fine sir’. Nothing makes sense all things considered. Embrace it. This cactus on this desk here. I mean, WHY is it here? This little guy is just trying to get by in life. He’s got his needles, he’s resilient; he’s got all the adapted structures in place passed down from generation to generation to deal with what life throws at him. Like deserts and shit. But WHY is he in this boardroom? That makes very little sense in the grand scheme of things. I mean there's some water over there in the dispenser, should he need some. We can just give him a dibble of it if we think he’s thirsty. But does anyone ever think to give this little bugger a glass of water? No. Spare a thought for this man, this cactus, Snodgrass. He merely exists out of some vague, fickle aesthetic that we have as human beings to embellish the rooms in which he inhabit with cactuses and tropical flower pots and suchlike. Because we “like” them.
Now, I may be getting carried away here. I may have succumbed to that ancient devilish drawback of digression. What’s porn and lectures on cactuses got to do with it you ask? Nothing. This is my confession and I ask for your forgiveness. I present to you everything, warts and all. I hope I’m talking sense. I hope you follow. No? Hold on a sec. From the bowels of the underworld I summon my confidence. I AM talking sense. I believe in me. I’m leading by example. I am bounding down the front line of battle like a Roman gladiator, attacking the Germanic Barbarians who are clearly not men of reason. The only ‘reason’ they understand is the reason of being clubbed over the head with a heavy metallic weapon. Or a spiky cactus. We’re merely on a roundabout, the circularity of which has been proven since time immemorial. I have supreme self-confidence in what I’m doing; in the direction of this company, of this meeting. Our agenda. Have faith in me. I’m a supreme being. Aka: Darwin’s lovechild. Rise from the flames like Olympic…Yes, I mentioned that. Now I don’t want you to suffer from being subjected to repetition but if I do traipse over material more than once, whatever. Sue me. I’m not infallible. I’m no pope. Gonna do this thing like a boss. No. Like an assistant manager. Conventional and that would inevitably mean dispensing with regular reports, with a crooked eye on risk management. Basic arse-in-mouth management theory, you'll understand.
Sir, are you okay? Your face is a swollen and red.
You people take it out of me. This has been a substantial personal investment and you’re a drain on my personal resources, if you don't mind my saying so. I’m low on carbohydrates but I need to keep going. I feel my second wind coming on, a burst of enthusiasm that will take me right to the finishing line. The stakes are high and I must strike while the iron is hot. Strikes: nasty for corporations. I’m sorry but I’d like to hold their faces down on a molten hot iron, the filthy reprobates. Press their face to a stove. Burnt ears all round. Sell them on the market. Worth a lot of money, are ears…My thought processes are breaking down, coherence steadily chucked to the wind. Malfunctioning Microsoft...Yes. But I must finish my set. Yes. Ooh the deltoids. Flex the muscles. Man, I am euphoric. Did someone spike my glass of water? I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I've transcended. I am a spirit, a non entity. I’m flowing like a turd down a tempestuous...Yes...Deliverance... hillbillies...What's going on...No going back. If I want I can apply the brakes but I’d rather FREE WHEEL DOWN HILLS. We’re free-spirited children. Who’s with me? Sally, are you with me? Here, rub my nipples. Nobody's got nipples like mine. Man, I am high on life. I’ve got the life lust. I’ve completely forgotten about the issues. Who cares? Let’s have a party. Let’s get back to the base values of the company. The BASS values, you know what I mean? Get the music on. Full blast. Britney Spears and Will.i.am...Fantastic...I wanna feel like I’m in the club, the pulsating beat rippling from my toes to the testicles. Back to basics some would say. Back to BASSICS. Yeah. The levels are too advanced for some, I see. All conscientious objectors need to get with the programme. Nothing really matters all things considered. Experiences are momentary, you can’t always be serious. Duties can be dealt with some other time. Needa grab the good times. Grab a bite to eat. Grab a kitkat. Whatever. Man I want to EAT information and shite it out. Like a flow chart. I wanna spread my philosophy on toast and force-feed wankers, but I’m held back by some terrible sea of misunderstanding and uncertainty! Your vacant faces suggest that I’m on a limb? Anyway, I don't care...I'm beyond that now. Talk to the hand because the snot-bubbles ain't listening. Any problems drop me an email. With my new devil-may-care attitude I’ll have you know I’ve already construed your silence as tacit agreement and so all are winners and all leave happy!
….Ah, Mr Bubblecard?
We're out of time, sir.
No matter. We'll just have to revisit the issues the next day. Thank you all for your abrupt attention and patience. Have a good day. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some dancing to do...
Reading Henry Miller's Tropic of cancer is like a breath of fresh air. It's good to know that there was someone who lived. It's not often you discover such an irreverence in writing, a fluidity, a passion. An honesty. Henry Miller may not have had any money in his time but by Jaysus he didn't let it get him down. He wasn't racked with the limiting pretence of what others may say about his writing, which would then cause him to adjust himself with self-censorship, and write accordingly. He wrote. In all that he wrote he did his level-best not exclude the warts, the flaws which may have cast an unfavourable shadow-
“I have made a silent compact with myself not to change a line of what I write. I am not interested in perfecting my thoughts, nor my actions...There is only one thing that interests me vitally, and that is the recording of all that which is omitted in books”
A laudable motive if you ask me; an acknowledgement of the imperfections in us all, the attempt to describe what it means to be human.
This is what it comes down to, doesn't it? How does an artist, a writer of books, capture something intangible that pulses deep within his chest? His tools are the armoury of his words, his array of vocabulary, strung together through patchy or perfect sentences meshed together to convey more abstract ideas, emotions or moods. The writer may come to the realisation his words are flawed, his style is flawed but still he strives to communicate, to capture in black and white that rawness of experience which he then can give to the world so that it fills all who read it with soul, love, beauty, art, whatever...
Apologies for using the masculine "his" and "him"...I'm rambling a bit. But this is what art is all about. I suspect a couple of well known posters on this website would criticise Miller for one, having a looseness of form; two, indulging in crudeness of language, and even perhaps three, having no traditional story arc where a main protagonist goes on some journey of personal fulfilment...Or something...
I'm sick of reading pieces of writing that are developed around some dodgy contrivance. Pieces of writing like that to me do not even begin to capture the essence of our experiences. They barely scratch the surface of social reality. The dialogue rings hollow, the setting wooden. This is all that is sacrificed in the name of a rigid plot and hence, a good story.
Miller wrote about his time as an impoverished artist in Paris in the 1930s. He describes tales with prostitutes (Lots of them) and meandering ruminations on the beauty of the river Seine, the parallel trees, the winds in his hair. He shocks you with his pornographic language and his questionable morals. His lyrical descriptions are an assault on the senses, as he as a writer uses his own senses to describe his experience and then project them on to you. Some thoughts don't go anywhere, and that's the precise point.
Imagine the temerity of a writer who sat down to write what it means to be bored? How does he capture that essence? If you can contemplate the time scales involved. Boredom by its nature can go on for hours; whoever happens to be suffering from it will indulge in whatever means necessary to try to alleviate it – that is to say they'll daydream, be whimsical, think of being somewhere else. In terms of setting, this person or character never leaves the room, the four walls of a mundane setting. A prison, in a way. How would you feel about reading this? You might be bored yourself, but the point is boredom is a reality of our experience. The real trick here is how to make such a setting interesting for a reader.
If what it means to be a writer today is to re-hash snippets of old plots into “new” conglomerates; to borrow from films, to conjure up silly scenarios in the name of a story, to put characters within a basic conflict setting, to offer word-porn for a reader who wants to be immediately titillated with action and a clear message, then the reality is I probably don't wish to be a writer. That may sound a tad melodramatic, but if nothing new is being done, if writing as an art has stagnated to an extent that we churn books out on a conveyor belt, then what is the over-riding point of the effort? ...To get something published? ...To make money? I'd honestly rather give up writing than compromise a piece to placate a publisher or an agent. This is not arrogance. This is rejection of the idea of writing by established, stringent criteria. Of pandering to a "market" or an "audience". This is rejecting the soullnessness of writing as a mass-produced capitalist commodity.
One thing for sure is that if the world was populated with seven billion Henry Millers, it wouldn't be a very productive place. But for every unique artist who captured something no on else did, there are thousands of businessmen and thousands of commercial writers content with the status quo.
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