Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Timorous Or Bold

Not a whole lot goes on in Calgary.

There i was having an early morning pootle a couple of weeks back, assessing the situation, and decided to cop myself an iced coffee and a sparkling mineral water, a combination fond to me and conducive i thought to an early morning frame of mind that played into the hands of further assessment of the situation. What struck me soon upon entering the Drugstore and assessing the situation of the drinks fridge was that it was absolutely impossible for me to buy either component of this favoured combination without procuring my bodyweight in liquid.

The sizing in North America is a joke. The photo's perspective is not the best, but that's literally a pint of iced coffee and that's a litre of fizzy water. And no this isn't some family pack shit, there was literally nothing smaller. Which got me thinking that capitalism and greed and not biting the hand that feeds to one side, maybe the reason everything is Supersized over there is more of an art imitating life thing. North America is vast. The products are simply mimicking their surroundings.  

Which ties somehow into my next point. About four months ago a seriously questionable individual with a hazy sexual orientation sat down by the side of my bed loined in a pink towel and asked me a question.

Four months later, me and him fly back to Calgary this lunchtime with two of his prototype Big Bro Brother Cycles Mountain Bikes stashed safely in cargo, to undertake the mother of all cycle tours.

We are racing from Banff in Canada to the US border with Mexico at Antelope Wells, along off-road trails the length of the North American Continental Divide, the tectonic plate meeting point that formed the Rocky Mountains.  

In terms of tapping into my survival instincts i think it shits and will shit all over anything i ever do in my entire life, and that includes going to the Cineworld in West India Quay to watch Dark Skies.

The more i think about what lies in store over the next few weeks the queazier i become. It's 2,800 miles, 60,000 vertical metres of climbing, which we plan to finish in 25 days, which boils down to 12 hours of pedalling and 106 miles of movement each day. On shitty, muddy, unrelenting, godforsaken, long-forgotten, backwater trails. The drop-out rate is over 50%.

We have grizzly bear spray for the north, and fuck knows what for the tarantulas of New Mexico. We face sub-zero temperatures at the start and baking hot unending deserts in the south. We'll hopefully high five some indelible memories, and tap into reserves of pain and stubbornness and fear and likewise elation and hysteria we didn't know were there, enough to break the memory-bank, proper Werther's Original shit. Most of all i look forward to the company of silence, of pine forests and river torrents and mountains tops and nature at its most raw and untamed, not to mention the peculiar folk who inhabit such remote parts of the world, that no doubt will find us just as peculiar as we roll through on our fat tyres like the muddied living dead. And hey yo, we've got each other. Whether we like it or not.

If you want you can follow our progress here.

Look out for 'Will/Mingo Brother' under the names, and click on that, a little dot will come up.

Send us loads of shit by way of encouragement if you feel like it, i'm sure it will mean a lot. I won't be checking emails much but will be on my english number. Wilma will be updating his instagram when he gets the opportunity. You can find that here. And a wicked post he just wrote about the whole shindig here.

Nothing much left to say other than writing this thing out has made me feel even queasier. But at the same time i find myself so excited i can barely sit still or hold a single thought in my head. That must be the excitement only a free man can feel. A man at the start of a long journey. Whose conclusion is uncertain. I'll leave you now, feeling more than a little timorous, with one of my great pal Jonty's favourite lines in the english language, the words of Seamus Heaney.

The way we are living, timorous or bold, will have been our life.

Seamus Heaney 1939-2013 Irish poet, playright, macdaddy 

Saturday, 4 June 2016

The World Isn't So Bad

When Alexander surveyed the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer. 

For many years this nugget of Ancient Greek literature always held a smug place in my quote armoury, up until five minutes ago when i googled it to find that it's really a direct quote from Hans Gruber, the german brey who gets yipikaye motherfucker'd by John Maclean before hurtling 30 stories down the side of the Nakatomi Plaza to his death at the end of Die Hard.

Which makes sense. I can't remember reading any Plutarch when i was 10. 

But i like the syntax of the sentence. And in the manner of Alexander i've found that when surveying the world in front of my eyes, perhaps not weep, but one thing does make me very sad. It's how much human beings are fucking shit up. There was an article yesterday about how certain small fish are evolving to prefer feeding on polystyrene bobbles over natural foods, which is changing their physiology and stunting their growth. You can see all this plastic shit in their stomachs. Think about every time you go into Pret. And how much crap you discard into the bin six minutes after buying it. All the packaging. Where does it go. Why aren't there as many recycling facilities as there are supermarkets. Where are they all.

We're so mindless about it. I'm no better, curbing my predilection for the San Pelli is a daily struggle. Especially when that Croatian chick Bianca is plying me with it on the regular.

Dustbins are called dustbins because they were exactly that. Receptacles for gathering dust. Before the industrial revolution there wasn't any rubbish. Stuff people discarded were things like ash from fires, wood, bones, vegetable matter, and number two's. They stuck their meat and fish and produce from the market in a cloth sack and busted back home to get medieval in the kitchen. No wrappers, no cans, no yoghurt pots. 

Some people argue that nature will adapt to this rubbish-laden change in their ecosystem, it will find a way. I'm thinking they'd prefer not to have to, that they preferred it before. When there were lions roaming the hills of southern France and New Zealand had a birdlife so dense the first explorers to reach it had to moor their ships two miles off shore just to be able to sleep at night, for the birdsong. 

The current rate of extinction is higher than at any time in history, since back in the drizzie when dinosaurs got wiped out by the mother of all asteroids. Word on the street is we're losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the natural 'background' rate, which reps for about one to five species a year. 99% of currently threatened species find themselves at this risk specifically because of human activities. Plastics are just one of the ways in which we're fucking their shit up. Add to this deforestation, hunting, global warming, and now taking out gorillas in zoos. How is it that one species is so singlehandedly intent on screwing up the habitat for every single one of the other 8.7 billion who also happen to share our earth.

Who the fuck do we think we are.

So yes i survey the cinders of the world and get sad, and like everyone else i don't do jackshit about it because when i'm hungry Pret seems like a good idea. Which makes me feel even worse, and makes me want to get the hell away from everything, the horns, the machines, the screw faces, the screens. To flee, to get real, because instagram is not fucking real, to touch base with all the shit i forget, the stuff that is always there still hanging out, waiting for the curious animal in me to come seek it out. The daybreaks, the sunsets, the starscapes, the trees rustling in the wind, the rivers beckoning you to throw yourself buttnaked into them, to drink them, to galivant with grizzly bears. Nothing is wiser or cleverer or finer than nature. The world isn't so bad if you can just get out in it. It's the motherfucking tonic.

But before i do any of that i want to go to Sweden, track down Emelie Forsberg, and marry her.

Of all the scant solace i grope around for when my head fills with the above, watching the below provides me with some. A supersize serving of solace. This girl is incredible. And this video makes me really fucking happy. The whole post was really just a longass introduction to it. 


Thursday, 26 May 2016


Quite often on pills, on hot dancefloors, I bound up to total strangers because the chemicals have morphed their faces into those of my best friends. I run up to them and hug them. They smile back. They’re fucked too. And it dawns on me the face smiling staring back at me is not the face I thought it was ten metres ago. First off it shocks me, then embarrasses me, and then I realise it’s fine, and lovely because we’re both out of our trees.

Now, sitting here in the corner of a dimly lit pub in Brixton on a warm Tuesday night three days after the clocks went back, there’s a strong feeling of seasons changing and the battening down of hatches and a migration indoors. It’s October, but today it got dark at five fifteen.

Summer was huge and made my mind flip and went on long. And now in the opposite corner of the pub looking across the bar, I see you. Look at you. The slight of your hips. The way they lilt like a seesaw when your weight shifts. The desert boots I don’t associate with you. They’re there, in silhouette beyond the legs of a bar stool. And the line of your very straight nose that hooks into the horizontal that wades into that space above your upper lip, and the hair you don’t let fall over your eyes.

I see you every day. We’re always in the same places. I think that must be because we’re similar. It means we’re similar. There you are. Skipping across the road nowhere near a crossing, sitting in the corner of a plastic coffee place in a part of the city I don’t imagine you being in, watching you focus in on a book you’re trying harder than me to read because words jumble up in your head when you look at them. That’s what makes you so fucking intuitive, and why you scare the shit out of me.

I wonder if we see our friends on pills because in that heightened state we want so badly for it to be them. Because we’re so in love we visualise the people we love the most and we bound up to them.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Happy Anniversary

One of the best things i've read in recent memory is the line...

Showing people photos of your children is simply not asking for their honest opinion.

Pardon my french, but no-one gives a fuck. Not after the very first photo at least, which everyone displays a certain curiosity to see, if only to ascertain if said sprog is normal-looking/doesn't resemble some sort of possessed demon-child/looks vaguely like both parents. The master Louis CK drops this segment saying exactly the same thing better than any person ever has or will in human past present or future.

Hypocritical of me then, to compose a blogpost consisting almost exclusively of photos of an ilk not that far removed from the one so far maligned up until now; photos of my parents on the day of their wedding. Photos that tick the same uninteresting boxes as those of the kids, namely that they're photos of people dearly beloved to you, but unbeknownst to those poor souls whose attention you're so fervently drawing them to. 

But i'll justify the below for a few reasons. To start with, photos of the past are far more interesting than photos of some unformed future. Which is essentially what photos of kids are, representations of some unclear, little-formed, for the moment at least, unpleasantly snot-strewn future. Secondly, if it wasn't for the day represented below, it stands to reason that you wouldn't be wasting the far too few seconds of your precious life reading this right now, as i wouldn't be around to write it. So the below relates to you too. The other reason is that it's topical. My parents got married thirty five years ago yesterday.

35 years on the drizzle getme

Photo album, embossed yo

Mummy rolling deep on that aquiline tip

Argentine couz's rolling deep on that silken gaucho garms tip

My grandfather giving his best not one of you mess with me motherfuckers look

My mother doing her best ghost floating gothic-horror impression

The vicar doing his best character from a Tintin impression

Pops looking a little too pleased he made the papers

My argentine grandparents seamlessly holding down their absolute geedom

Mummy looking on adoringly

Mummy thinking what the hell have i got myself into

Pops not waiting til pudding to get his gurn on

Best Mandem in the place

Holy Trinity

General Famalam tingz

I don't have a clue who that guy in the middle is

Best Mandem lighting shiddup at dinner later

My 7 year old couz's thank you card


But asides from the reasons mentioned above, there's one more reason that these photos are interesting to me. And that's because recently i've witnessed more than a few of my friends, contemporaries, people i've grown up with and known for a decade-plus, do exactly the same thing as my parents did that day. Get married. And now more than a few of them are having babies. Which is where the showing people photos of your kids is simply not asking for their honest opinion diatribe came from. 

But the one common denominator in all of this is that not one of them, knows the least about what the flaming hell they're doing. Getting married, getting pregnant, having babies, watching them grow, no-one has the faintest clue about what they're up to. It's the most monumental case of styling shit out i've ever seen. Which is why digging up these old photos of my parents' wedding thirty-five years ago to the day, demanded i reframe my understanding of them. 

Where in years gone by these faded photographs showed me clearly a man and a woman going through the perfectly rehearsed motions of something they were always meant to do, a preamble to the one defining moment of their lives - having me - to which my brother was evidently a practice-run, i now know differently. From seeing my friends fumble and err and cock shit up and style shit out, i realise my parents were equally none the wiser. The photos above are documentation of this. They didn't have a clue. At no point throughout any of the day documented above did they know either what they were up to, or what they were letting themselves in for. No siree. Growing up we think our parents have all the answers. 

They don't. 

And nor will we. 

Shit never makes sense. The idea is we just care less about understanding nothing.


n o n e t h e l e s s

In the shallow paddling pool of certainty, one truth lies floating in the corner amongst the autumn leaves. Keep the memories of your kids up-tawp, in your mind's eye, rather than littering your mates' inboxes with them. Your kids don't want their photo taken in the first place, they're trying to tell you something.

Regina Means Queen

In the noisy confusion of a tuesday morning after a weekend that did its best R Kelly impression and makes keeping peace with your soul extra-specially trying, Regina Spektor sums the whole thing up so perfectly it makes you think after all it must have been her barking orders at the Big Man when he went off on his 7-Day bender back in the day to bring the whole thing into existence.

This is how it works.

You're young until you're not.

You love until you don't.

You try until you can't.

You laugh until you cry.

You cry until you laugh.

And everyone must breathe...

Until their dying breath.

This is how it works.

You peer inside yourself.

You take the things you like.

And try to love the things you took.

And then you take that love you made.

And stick it into someone else's heart.

Pumping someone else's blood.

And walking arm in arm.

You hope it don't get harmed.

But even if it does...

You'll just do it all again.


Bombdrop from 1:32

She is just incredible.