Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Things fall apart....

I am living in a Brighton flat that I cannot afford, with psychotic neighbours below me and a view of the new flats around the station from my window.
Here’s my status. I vacillated between two women until they both rejected me. I broke the life that didn’t quite seem right for one that is obviously wrong. Did I lack the will to turn back before it was too late? Did I plunge happily into this pit?
What else has gone wrong? I’m stuck between two careers that never seem to quite get off the ground. I have no regular income, no job security, no pension. As the debts of the 20th century pile up around our ears, my own debts slowly wrap me in tight vines, paralysing my every twitch.
The mirror is cruel in an age of vanity and vajazzle. I am an overweight middle aged, balding man, a cigarette dangling from my lip. Sometimes I don’t smell too good.
How long have I dulled the knowledge of the pain of existence with marijuana and bonhomie? How many galleries of pretty women have I imagined making love to in empty rituals?
Slowly I insert more electrodes into the brain, until I too am immersed in the dream machines of the 21st century. Slowly I become everything I despise.
But I can’t just be left to get on with that miserable decline. I have two sons to set an example to. Where is the hope in this nouveau city? A city that installs fairy lights in a railway tunnel that is shelter to homeless beggars in sleeping bags.The cliché about Brighton is “fur coat, no knickers”, but the truth is more trendy jacket, no heart beneath. Yes, I walk past those poor sods too, almost daily.
Religion kicked off this millennium with a timely reminder, a display of its capacity for barbarism, lest we had forgotten the crusades, the inquisition, all that history. Science gives me the awe of nature that has religious intensity, yet as a religion it fails. Yes, once it offered us redemption: The futurologists with their artists’ impressions of crystal planets carpeted with soft green and low-hanging fruits. But the future was different to that. The future arrived already plugged into the matrix, tangling up our memories and desires with saleable commodities, plundered in the summer riots and now sitting in their attic boxes till the police raids come no more.
Outside there is no reality except the reality we cannot bear to face, the crumbling glaciers and barren fields, just behind the news item on Westlife’s imminent split. I could never trust myself with politics because of the compromise, the brown-nosed careers to be made, the failure of principle. Now I am as powerless as the apolitical, as powerless as the political. Even the powerful seem to lack the commodity that defines them. No-one knows which way to turn. Is some great helmsman going to arrive to guide us as darkness falls, hacking aside millions of innocent lives in his wake?

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity. (W.B. Yeats)

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