Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Human Dove

It is not a new observation that, whilst mankind traditionally sees itself as being like an eagle, or a lion, or a wolf, it is fact, far more of a pigeon. No matter where you go in the world you see pigeons (probably). In the Mediterranean you even see them sitting down, enjoying their own pigeony version of a siesta.

The pigeon is adaptable, hardy and prolific. Like human beings. Eagles and lions, although being at the top of the food chain like humans, consistently fail the test when it comes to surviving, thriving and staying aliving. People are like pigeons. Just accept it. If we were honest, the 3 lions on our shirt would be pigeons; the symbol of America would be a pigeon (probably in a bandana, holding an assault rifle).

It is with this in mind that I have noticed a worrying trend in the village where I live. Whilst we have our share of collared doves and wood pigeons (this is not London, there are no homeless pigeons limping around with legs like Lord Byron) there is also a community of white doves. They live on a roof nearby and are a beautifully uplifting sight as they strut importantly around. They seem to me to represent first world humanity. They are fed adequately by a householder, they pay attention to their appearance, they are clearly sociable, they have few worries and their pompous cooing clearly demonstrates an obsession with their own gloriousness. The only thing they really lack are mobile phones. But there is a worrying dark side…

THEY ARE STUPID. That’s really the only way of putting it. They are constantly getting run over. All the time. They feed in the road and don’t hop out of the way of cars. It’s almost as though (for the purposes of stretching the analogy) they are relying a nanny state to look after them and don’t feel they have to take responsibility for their own actions. Or perhaps, if you prefer a different interpretation, they have been concentrating for generations on the purity of their white blood and now have diluted their gene pool to the point where their minds are defective.

Of course, it could be argued that the person feeding them is at least partially responsible. It does look as though he throws a couple of handfuls of grain into a busy road and then crouches, trousers round ankles, behind a net curtain waiting for them to be brutally squashed in order that he can satisfy whatever obscene desires he harbours. But I have no proof of this. It’s simply conjecture until I see him doing it.

So in conclusion, um, try not to get run over. Don’t put bird food in the road. That’s it I think.

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Filling my day to find more time.

For the last year or so I’ve freed up loads of time in which to try and be more creative and do the things I’ve wanted to do. It hasn’t worked. I’ve spent hours drinking coffee and talking about the things I’m going to write, but I’ve got barely a page of finished work.
I suspect that a proper writer could have explained this to me before I started. Because I suspect that the truth is that you don’t need time to write, not a light airy space, not wine or joss sticks; you simply need to write. So that’s the plan for this year. Writing a blog, tweeting more, making notes of all the little things that occur to me during the day, finishing and polishing the episodes of sitcoms that I’ve written until you can see your face in them. Actually starting the projects I’ve talked about all year.
At the very least I might get some satisfaction from the process. Another thing I’m introducing is false deadlines. I’ve never finished anything early in my life, so I need to pretend that the last possible opportunity has come. I say pretend, it may already have passed.
So, by the end of January I will get a workable submission sorted for a book, then it’s a sitcom episode each in Feb and March. Then we’ll see where we are. Probably still here.

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Powerless

Yesterday our electricity was off for the whole day. THE WHOLE DAY! It was very much like living in the 15th century. Actually, it wasn’t too bad, just a bit chilly. The thing I noticed most of all was the way that my stupid 21st century brain doesn’t seem to recognise which of the modern innovations rely on electricity and which don’t. It took me hours to work out that I could light the gas hob with a match and boil all the water I could possibly want. On the other hand I picked up my phone at least a dozen times, presumably presuming that some kind of coal fired broadband connection was being trialled in my area.
I suppose this is the point that an incisive writer starts musing about the things we take for granted, and the way in which humanity adapts to new technology and quickly absorbs its capabilities as our own. Not me. I spent the whole morning swearing impotently at an absence of power, then went to a friend’s house to user some of his delicious electricity. Thus cleverly dodging any kind of lesson learning.
For the record, the outage had nothing to do with high winds, it was simply a dodgy fusebox. 5 minutes fiddling by a real man and it was fixed. At least that’s what my wife told me when she rang to say I could come home.

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End of Christmas

It’s surely time that my neighbours took down their massive neon display of lights saying ‘Merry Christmas’. I’ve now finished the Christmas ham, the turkey went days ago. I didn’t even eat any chocolate today. Christmas is over so it’s time to let it go in a dignified manner. On the other hand, I’ve still got the tree up. It’s just less trouble that way. I suppose that I could leave the lights off, but that way it simply looks like laziness.

The house needs a good tidy, I need to go shopping for food, otherwise we’ll be reduced to eating cheese for every meal. The rubbish has gone out after the Christmas break and means that I can’t get the car out of the drive. Nevertheless, I’m feeling pretty good about the coming few weeks. I’ve got important things going on at work;¬† my new year resolutions (NYRs) are inspiring me instead of weighing me down and I am generally pretty positive. I’m hoping that 2012 will bring more satisfaction, less money wasted on crap, a bit of travel (although probably not a lot) and a big party for our 10th wedding anniversary. What’s not to enjoy out of that? Apart from the party.

The papers seem to be full of pessimism about the year ahead, but I don’t think that I, as an individual, need to feel down. After all, we’ve had some pretty good years as a nation and shit things have happened to individuals every day, so it’s clear that no matter how the year averages out there will be opportunities for a lot of people to achieve new things and experience fine times. I especially am feeling the liberation of both my kids being in full time education. The extra time frees me up for finding new ways to earn a living. I’ve got about 16 hours accounted for, but at least a further 12 or 15 to fill. I’ve got some ideas, but it’s exciting that a new venture might be just round the corner. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt this way about work before, having a few years as a house husband (or housewife if you prefer – it doesn’t sound so pretentious) has really reinforced the relationship between work and income. This should be so obvious, but I’m not sure I’ve ever internalised it before – work has simply been something I had to do, income is something that arrives. Associating the two more strongly has given me a much more focussed sense of what I might do, and why I might want to.

So here we go. Tomorrow will be full of preparing the kids for school, wednesday and thursday are work, friday is as yet unplanned. It’s an exciting time.

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Happy New Year

Hi. Hope you’re well. Yep, me too.

Firstly, what’s NYE? or HNY? Obviously I know, but there seems to have been a tipping point this year and these terms have replaced the fuller, and more sensical versions. It’s genuinely interesting to me how these things happen. First no one’s doing it, then some people that I clearly don’t know, then everyone. Then probably me next year.

A few years ago I forgot to send my Christmas cards in time and felt like the worst kind of twat for considering the possibility of emailing anyone a Christmas message. This year, I didn’t bother with most of my cards and felt genuinely pleased with myself that I bothered to make the effort to email people instead of simply posting it as my status on Facebook. Twitter obviously still doesn’t work for me as I only have about 30 followers and I don’t actually know any of them apart from one old friend from school who never posts and one bloke in the same village as me who I see most days anyway.

I don’t know if any of this matters one way or the other – although I suspect not – but it intrigues me that it happens, as though there are tides and currents in human interaction that seem to apply to us despite us not really understanding how. Languages evolve, new ideas and behaviours develop, these are in turn shocking, then accepted, then mainstream, then passe, then historical. Prejudices come and go, jokes become boring, then subversive. So HNY.

New Year’s resolutions. 1) Write more – blog everyday, spend time writing jokes, work on my book and try to catch all of the ideas that I habitually let go. Some of this might be worthwhile. Of course it might not, but I fear¬† being 70 and realising that whatever I could have done, it’s probably too late now.

2) Be nicer to my kids. Someone gave my son a present at Christmas and he didn’t immediately pipe up with a cheery thankyou. I prompted him ‘What do you say?’ He looked at me dolefully and said ‘Sorry.’ This must change.

3) Eat better, drink more healthily and run more. All of these things make my life better.

4) Umm, that’s about it, apart from all the other obvious ones about watching less telly, being less lethagic etc.

Right that’s it. Back soon.