Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Epiphanies and other uplifting experiences 2

Trevor’s father had been a Desert Rat the Second World War so Trevor knew all about half-tracking around the Sea Of Sand on insufficient fuel and water, dodging German patrols and coming under Stuka attack. He respected General Rommel, a soldier’s soldier happily untainted by the demonic creed of Nazism. He drew his own War Comics correct in every khaki detail.

Trevor’s dad was long dead and Trevor a cardboard engineer when he was called to Dubai to advise on point of sale for the Shopping Festival. Days passed in arctic air-conditioning and stalemated meetings, nights in extended courtesies over elaborate dinners. Finally as a reward for a job appropriately compromised he was taken out on a dune-bashing excursion.

A convoy of Landcruisers drove out into the desert until all horizons were sand, deflated their tyres and skimmed at breakneck speed across the towering dunes. At times only centrifugal force attached them to the overhanging crests. The Bedu drivers kept an expert eye out for lethal soft sand and after an hour of controlled flight, brought their breathless passengers to a safe halt.

Trevor clambered out. The desert stretched away from him in shades of brown and dirty pink. Orange was bleeding into the sky from a hazy setting sun. It was still, just the irregular clanking of cooling engines. The smell of fuel and hot rubber drifted up.

He looked out at the Sea Of Sand his Dad would have seen, this coarse rock and warm pastels. Somewhere out there, his Dad, twenty two and eight stone, was digging out a jeep while covered by Bren Guns from a Wadji wall. And if his Dad was here then he, Trevor, belonged here. He shut his eyes, smelled the diesel and never wanted to go home.

Epiphanies and other uplifting experiences

Jimi Hendrix first appeared to Dieter as he walked to work at the café opposite the Puppenhausmuseum in the centre of Basel. Hendrix was driving a crowded tram. The next day he flitted in front of Dieter in the main station chewing hurriedly at a hot dog and carrying a large leather valise. These were tantalising glimpses, as clouds might part in May for a momentary flash of radiant, warming sunshine.

However a few days later Hendrix sat down at Dieter’s Café, although not at one of Dieter’s tables and opened the Zeitung. Martina took his order for a coffee with none of the hysterics concomitant with cataclysmic moments in Rock History.

Dieter ignored a table of clamouring Japanese and edged closer to the Legend. His slight frame was enwrapped in a white linen shirt that spilled out from a tight snakeskin jacket. A black felt hat with an Indian band was jammed down on the famously teased hair. He lit up a Marlboro with a Zippo. It was Hendrix alright, right down to the wispy beard and the sad, reflective expression.

Throwing caution to the wind, Dieter leant to wipe Jimi’s table top and spoke out of the side of his mouth in his best approximation of American. “You’re back. That’s so cool.”

Hendrix stared fixedly at his paper and drew deeply on his Marlboro.

“What are you doing in Basel?” Dieter persisted, concerned

“Driving a tram,” replied Hendrix in fluent Swiss German, “where’s my coffee?”
Rejoicing in the confidence, Dieter winked at the megastar and went off to hustle Martina and his order

Tuesday, 25 November 2008


As a species we construct our realities through the interweaving of narratives. Our conscious experience, projections and attitudes are all informed by stories we collect and believe we have learned from.

We assemble these stories from personal experiences, news items, anecdotes, chance observations, exemplary tales, histories validated and deluded, myths, partial memories, fables, fantasies, allegories, deductions and suppositions, glimpses and snippets, alibis and other fictions.

Each assemblage is, of course, as unique as the consciousness it is determining and is determined by.

However, the components may be common to many. There are only so many stories in the world.

It is the order, colour and application that make the man.


This is an implacable sequence of micro-stories in which reflect the world and recent times through finite and often small human perspectives and experiences.. We are building a consciousness through narrative and allusions here. The building bricks, structures and motifs will repeat, refine and supplant as such patterns will often do in our conscious considerations. Memory refines judgment. And is frequently coloured by it.

On the way we shall be funny, sad, questing, cruel, surprising, familiar, disturbing, fatalistic and redemptive. As we all are.