Category Archives: writing

Frag One

I set my mind down, knowing that this is bound to be lost.

I don’t have a place yet. No home, no town, no strong familiarity to call my own.

No girlfriend, no wife, no loved one, no child.

They are all a statement of fact.

I have decided on my place, Oxford. Its not mine yet, but it will be.

I can’t explain why it will be, its like dowsing. I’ve stepped all around the lines, and the sticks didn’t cross. As soon as I step in here, they twitch like crazy, and I’ve no idea why.

Maybe its an element of weariness, having moved so much, travelled so long, feeling a need to set down the roots. But I sense its something stronger.

An unemotional society

Shut away in its rooms, experiencing not through watching, talking or seeing, but through typing. The carcophony of millions of fingers typing millions of words, pause, the chattering of keys and space bars as a low thump. Hours sat facing a glowing screen, quite often in darkness. Life lived through your fingers. They wonder what virtual reality is like. We have the first evolution of it now. Except more of the creation is being done in our minds, like returning to a word created by words, by radio. So much more to imagine, so much of the spirit like the noble earnest intentions of early American radio to entertain and educate in equal measures. Take people around the world for the first time, take them to events live as they happened for the first time. Took them to war for the first time. Every person being called upon to visualize to picture in their minds, things beyond their normal understanding of their own world. This is the spirit that has come back with the Internet. Certainly it can be twisted and exploited and exploitative, and often is. But the original intention is still there sometimes. You can look at spaceships, you can look at local government, you can find out things you thought you knew about. Things are made clear, things become understandable. We haven’t quite missed out on the pioneer spirit, its around a little while longer.

And so it goes a little something like this…

Hitch-hikers Guide meets the Net.

A vision of a future under the influence of the internet

The Nets vision with a fuck deal less pomposity

TECHIE STUFF

Your IP address is your DNA string.

Computers Far more powerful when the silicon chips are positioned under a perfect pyramid

DNA editors available, hard to do, so SKY offer 3453 channels and a pre-programed dick enlargement if you take the sports channels.

Microsoft’s final demise comes about on ‘Cold Sunday’ when an upgrade to their American operating system turned the entire population into fridge freezers for fourteen days. The rest of the world only noticed when their news broadcasts started to feature foreign reports.

Similar thing to Hitch-hikers, take someone from now and displace them to another place, in this case 70 years in the future.

World is full of experience surfers. You have complex programs which edit your nerves quickly and slightly so you feel sensations.

Liam had an extraordinary right aural tract

. The left one was horizontal, like most peoples, but the right one was at forty-five degrees. This meant two things:

· For all of his life Liam would have extreme problems with earwax
· He heard music just that little differently to most people

Guitars just passed him by; it was bass he needed, and plenty of it. His left ear was his James Brown ear, the one that liked Maceo Parker. The right ear was his darker side, his funkier side. This ear was Parliament, this ear was Larry Graham, it even looked a little like Bootsy Collins in his younger, early acid days, as long as you caught it in the right light late at night. He heard a part of any music just a little out of sync, and bass works better here. Music was truly a sensation to him, it reverberated through the whole right side of his brain.

Now Liam’s bizarre ear was to blame for some of his wilder ideas. His early nineties Neo-Beastie Boys rap combo Heckled by Sheep was a concept the Oxford Brookes Student union was unprepared for. All the record labels he sent the tape to were far more prepared, they have people trained solely in the act of telling young undertalented musicians just to stop fucking calling the office because the best in life they could ever hope for is to hum happy tunes to themselves as they front-face soup cans.

The whole picture was what Liam always saw. This week, whenever he closed his eyes, he pictured his big concert on the banks of the River Nile. At the foot of the pyramids at Gaia, he could see the huge stage lit by searchlights, lasers cutting through the sky overhead, guiding down the mothership

Pope wedding

A young boy bored with his life becomes obssessed with a man who
lives in a shack .The man might be Sid Barrett .
The Lotus Eaters , a group of students who sit around all day
smoking themselves incapable . When the revolution comes , they
will be the first ones up against the wall , slouching against it.
There was a choice . Down to the youth club for a game of pool and
if he was lucky , a few mouthfulls of merrydown round the back .
Or , an evening in front of the television with his parents , and
if he was lucky , a diatribe on the state of English football from
his father . The cider would be a slightly more effective sedetive
to his brain , so the youth club won a narrow victory .
Four years ago , the leading members of the community decided to do
something about the ‘youth problem’ in the village . The ‘youth’
were just hanging about , talking drinking and breaking the
occasional window . So these noble people decided to provide a
place for them to go , a place where the ‘youth’ could pass their
time more constructively . The drama sessions and football clubs
soon fell by the wayside , and settles down into a location where
they hung about , that kept them off the streets .

The Gene Genie

The nature versus nurture debate. Do our bodies have everything at birth, or are we a blank slate which learns everything from experience? The reality is that it appears to be a sublte blend of both of these seemingly seperate ideologies.

We are both a generating and degenerating life-form. We grow and deteriorate, often simultaneously. Hair is dead cells. Whole cultures rise and fall in our bodies; sometimes one or two go full circle before breakfast. Bill Hicks used to talk of wiping whole civilisations off his chest with a grey gym sock.

We are an incredibly disposible life-form. We end up gently decaying in the ground, or melted down. At least in this instance we take more care of our bodies than our cars, which we are quite happy to leave rusting in so many locations.

There are so many parts of our bodies that are working away, not just as parts of a whole, but as entities, almost beings in their own right. They too are created, grow, learn, make mistakes, deteriorate and die, sometimes in their own right entirely seperately from our actual cells. I mean, you can wipe out vast tracts of brain cells just by watching say, a Police Academy film. Or what about that morning-after hangover you get from a serious night out. Is that down to your body soting out what made it through the night, assessing the damage, and reporting back with any difficulties?

Even at the cellular level we find all sorts of independant activity. I never wake up on a morning and decide that I’m going to get my cells to fight that throat infection. Of course they do it all on their own, part of your bodie’s untouchable conciousness.

Now addled with a useful combination of stimulants, the writer returns for another crack.

Let’s find the music , the music that will produce the appropriate rythmn for this next piece.

I hope for the reality where I can control this urge I have for writing, and do it properly.

Looking for the germ of a idea, the learning to fly, the sea, the revolution.

The freedom of the fast bike ride, the sensation and danger of even a fairly gentle off-road trip. Returning to the road trip.

I would venture out infrequently in relation to the amount of pleasure that a good ride brought me. The feeling of freedom, motion through soley your efforts, a satisfaction that the car could never bring. Being able to go virtually anywhere you chose. To be honest, it often wasn’t about the great outdoors, being at one with nature and all that sort of stuff. It was the battle. The war against me I loved. Fighting the unwilling body, the lazy mind, the dispirited soul. I felt that when I conquered all those elements, I could do anything.

The key to gears. I always used to attack climbs the wrong way. I would build up speed on the flat in my biggest gear, and then attack it. The bike would always slow, and quicker than I could change down, the pedals became huge blocks of stone for my feet to move.

Then one day someone explained how it worked. You get into a low gear at the foot of the climb. And stay with it. Churn and churn in that tiny gear. Your lungs burn and pierce your chest. You have to find the rythmn, stay on the one or you’ve lost it.

The ultimate skill in cycling is to change up on a climb. On a real climb, like Alpe D’Huze. Start the mountain with a group of climbers, the worlds best. Wait for the heat and the doubt to set in. Wait until the last of your opponents is about to break. They are all churning awaiting the noise they dread. That click of the gear-change, like a starting pistol, metal straining against metal. The true climber shoots away, leaving the others floundering in his wake.

The best I’ve ever seen this done was in the 1996 Tour, where Riis tortured his opponents for miles. A small group of about twenty riders were on the ascent of Alpe D’huez when he made his move. But this was no simple break-away. He left the group with devestating speed, then slowed up. It looked as if he had blown it, as he was caught and fell to the back of the pack. What he was doing though, was trying to break each and every one of them. He scanned each face as they passed him, looking for the fear. After a brief respite he launched himself off again. Three times he did this, each cause more opponents to drop off the lead group until finally, no-one had any spirit left. He left them all far behind and won the stage.

So tell me about yourself

Well, I was an only child. Not many friends in the neighbourhood. Spent a lot of time in my room, imagining. Thinking of my future. Playing games for England, kissing the girl across the street. Funnily enough I never once imagined that data input would be my future.

I used to watch World of Sport, it is my first cognitive memory. I can remember the drag racing, the lumberjack championships, the exotic american typefaces. I wish I had been allowed to bet at five years old, because I had a pretty good eye for horses form at that age, a gift which has diminished with time. I can still recall that Sea Pigeon and Nightnurse were pretty safe bets. And Dickie Davies. Thinking back I am sure I saw him more than my father until I was twelve. My father was more of a Fred Dinage character in my life.

I can remember showing my affection towards girls by cycling. The more times you went past their house, the more you wanted them. Someone you really liked would be on a once every couple of days route. Claire Johnson was a twice a night, really worth making the out and return route pass through the same street for. Cute little nose. Never once came out of her house though. Ahhh, the life of a pubescent stalker.

Later of course, it was vodka. Never understood how I could drink the filthy stuff, neat, maybe half a bottle at a time. Think I was just warming up for acid frankly. With whisky, there is a point of extreme purity of thought before you get to the pissing in your pants stage. Not vodka, you just get the colours, the room swirls, you throw up on the cat, and your best mate tells you the next evening how you announced to the world you thought you might be gay before collapsing face down on the floor.

Now whisky I could really drink, neat doubles, the odd quadruple on cheap nights. I know for a fact, indisputable fact that I once had an hour-long conversation with a Welsh speaker, and we both made perfect sense, at least to each other. I wanted to be Jim Morrison, but lacking looks, three fellow travellers on the road to success and enlightenment and a good voice, I settled for his alcoholism and a ropey biker jacket. The only miracle is that I actually got laid in this period at all. Now I just want to be Noel Gallagher with less facial hair. Time teaches you to reign back on your ambition.

Alien to my culture

The complex mix of space flight, Egyptian mysticism and funk music combines to form the logic of alien visitation. Earth Wind and fire touched on it, releasing a stream of consciousness that has already been lost, like the green man, bits keep resurfacing in culture, little reflections of a long lost history appearing in the minds of people. The tall thin alien, reflections of us, with hands and feet elongated, are results of ourselves mutated by space travel, evolved through millennium of weightless procreation and radiation. Aliens are us, Egyptian space travelers trying to return to earth. We are the only creatures that populate the universe. It is hideously pompous to think of our society as the most advanced ever. Civilizations peak and trough, come and go. The Egyptian society rose to great heights, leaving legacies we are still to understand and comprehend.
Find the links: Alien – Travel – Egypt – Funk.

George Clinton nearly brought the aliens home. He was trying to bring down the mothership, the only thing didn’t realise was that the mothership was coming home, not taking us away.

Peru

“We are not murderers or terrorists, but politicians “. The guerilla leader, a well-spoken man in his forties, addressed his captives lying on the floor in their cocktail dresses and dinner suits. ” We are the defenders of the poor. We do not believe in the extreme violence of Sendero Luminoso. We wish to enter the legitimate political system, but in the present climate are prevented from doing so by the extreme position held by President Fujimori. One day, I hope it is possible that I could be President.”

The show had been a dull one so far, and Liam didn’t know if he could bear another three and a half hours of such turgidity. His far-from-lively phone-in was interspersed with sad little reports to underscore the point he was trying to get across, that the divide between the north and the south of England was growing. He was struggling to inspire his listeners and the calls were already beginning to slow down. When the newsflash was slipped into his hand, he was unprepared for the pot of gold he was now holding.

” Peruvian rebels have taken one hundred people hostage at the Japanese ambassadors residence in Lima. The captives had been attending a Christmas party for the Peruvian diplomatic community when the attack took place, and it is believed that many foreign officials, including Britain’s deputy ambassador, are being held. The rebels, claiming to be from a small left-wing terrorist organisation known as Tupac Amaru, have yet to make their demands known “.

The siege had been carefully planned, with armed rebels being driven to the attack in a vehicle disguised as an ambulance. Clad in full combat fatigues, they burst into the cocktail party which was in full swing in a marquee behind the diplomatic residence. Waiters suddenly transformed into rebels, grabbing automatic pistols and grenades out of champagne cases. Their comrades, armed with machine guns, filed in through a hole blasted in a wall. They had missed their main target President Fujimori, who had dashed away just a few short minutes before the attack started. But they had caught several officials who had strongly backed the governments stance of non-negotiation with rebels. They now had some bargaining material to use to try and get their imprisoned comrades freed.

Liam noticed as he read the report that Lima was an anagram of his name. Spurred on by this discovery, he put some gusto into his description of the events. He felt slightly invigorated by this injection of urgency into the dreary little show, and his dejection at having to return to the North-South debate was almost apparent. His professional tones just masked the disappointment in his voice.

The Tupac Amaru attack squad was a small and efficient unit. The chief never stated his name to his captives, and in his communiques to the outside world identified himself alternately as Commander Huertas and Nestor Cerpa Cartolini. His deputy, a shorter and well-educated man, was the one who did most of the talking inside the residence. The remainder, twenty one men and two women, looked and sounded like poor Peruvians.

It was with some glee that Liam got the news that it was five hundred hostages, not one hundred ” as earlier reports had suggested “. He stopped the taped report on Northern and Southern humour, and relayed word for word the new Reuters report.

Two teenage girls aged 16 or 17 arrived in Lima in September to train for the rebel take-over. Their untamed hair and peculiar accents distinguished them as coming from the jungle regions. After the attack on the residence, they spent many hours glued to the television until the fuel for the generator ran out. Soap operas, especially the Mexican ” Maria from the barrio ” were their favourites. They were even impressed by the commercials. When the girls came on the screen dressed in bikinis or bathing suits, they would sometimes sing along with them.

It was only after the second report that switchboard began to light up. Listeners offering their prayers to the hostages, suggesting how to end the stand-off or questioning the role of terrorism in the world. The seemingly unsolvable nature of the crisis began to take a hold on the nation. Families gathered around their radios, pubs stayed open late as a hush fell upon their customers, anxiously waiting for every word to squeeze its way through the smokey atmosphere.

Liam could sense what was going on beyound the walls of the studio. With each ten-minute interruption into the half-hour his voice became a further echo into the land, each word resonating into the distance as he spoke. Pulling together every ounce of strength he could muster, he fought the good fight on behalf of his listeners, finally persuading the powers that be to let his programme run on indefinitely, and to turn it almost all over to the crisis, to cover every twist and turn as it happened.

On his release, a member of the Peruvian congress read a statement on behalf of the rebels in a horse, dry voice. ” A military attack on the residence would not only cost many lives, but would leave deeper wounds in Peruvian society. Such an assault would also eliminate the opportunity for a wide-ranging solution to the problem of the guerrillas .” Some of the other freed hostages talked of how many of the rebels appeared to have explosive devices strapped to their backs.

And so it came to be that for eleven days and eleven nights, Liam told it as it was over there as best he could. He was humble in his soft-voiced prayers, when the negotiations were not going well. The strength and joy that came forth when a hostage was released was almost a boyish ” We did it ! “.

At the eleventh hour the rebels agreed to release the last group of hostages. The twenty-nine men left their confines and walked very tentatively towards a bus waiting in the no-mans land between the ambassadors residence and the army cordon.

In a press conference to a select group of the media, Nestor Cerpa Cartolini condemned the harsh conditions in which his jailed comrades were being held. They were, he claimed ” equivalent to a slow death sentence.” ” All we have left is struggle. What we face is state terrorism that kills thousands and thousands of children from starvation.” He urged the news media to visit the prisons and report on the plight of inmates with the same concern and compassion that they had shown for the hostages.

As the first freed hostage stepped forwards, the gathered reporters quietly commented on how fit and well he looked despite his long ordeal. A journalist from his home country even joked that ” Why , it even looks like he has put on a little weight during the siege.”

The first man forward had a large amount of plastic explosive strapped to his waist and arms. He knew that if he made a break for it, he would be set off immediately, and the others would have no chance of getting away. The bomb was to be set off when the bus was safely inside the cordon. So he bided his time. He sat nearest to the doors, waiting for everyone to file in and perch down on their seats. As the bus began to move away, he mouthed to the driver in a low rasp ” For the love of God, open the doors now.”

” It was like a cocktail party without liquor, and the guerrillas would come up and say ‘ Everybody back to their rooms and don’t come out ‘. But ten minutes later we would drift out again and start talking .”

The driver hesitated for a second, and then jammed the lever open. The hostage dived off his seat, and almost made it to the tarmac before the guerrillas blew him up. The blast ripped the front off the bus. When the emergency services eventually got to the driver, the whole front half of his body was badly burnt. Even in his pain and terror, he had kept control of the bus until his passengers were safe. The nearest two hostages had their legs torn apart, but other than that they were all fairly intact.

The rebels tried to blast their way out in the confusion, using up their stockpile of mortar bombs in a remarkably short space of time. The assembled military forces waited patiently for the smoke to clear, and then carefully cut them down one by one. Finally Nestor Cerpa Cartolini stepped forward with a machine-gun clasped firmly above his head. He placed it down carefully in front of the tanks, and lay down on the ground as instructed. Two eager young soldiers rushed forwards. When they were standing over him, he yelled something that sounded like ” no compromise ! ” and then shattered into a million tiny pieces.

The only tragedy in the minds of the hostages and to the country that hung on Liam’s every word was that of the first hostage. His companions had seen him disintegrate into shards of bloody meat before their eyes. Some had wounds from where splinters of bone had pierced their skin.

Liam paused for the first time after he had finished reading out the last report. A silence that no-one would ever quite be able to pin down how long it was, something between thirty seconds and two minutes, and it then became apparent that he had been gently sobbing for all of that time; under all of that silence you had been unable to detect the source of the noise.

note: this was written before the end of the siege, and is an amalgam of news coverage and fiction. what actually happened was less spectacular, but more tragic. to see more See one of the BBC stories from the time

Food

I saw the man who came and took away my freedom. He was shrouded in a dark green mist of hate and was determined to capture me. The footsteps he made as he came towards me were slight , barely making an imprint in the sand. The eyes were narrow and black , with a hint of fury. My captor arrived without warning to take me and once his job was done he disappeared without a sound.

The year had been a fallow one, with little water for the crops and too few seeds in the first place. Our village had seen many of its finest sons and daughters die from starvation, and all that were left now were the lucky stragglers , whose salvation was that there were so few relying on last years food .