Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Book of Secrets

I wrote a book. We wrote a book.
It will never be published and it will never be read.
It is over 12 thousand messages long.
It spans over almost a year.
Its plot is sometimes repetitive but never dull.
It could be a book on human nature.
It expresses and explores the extremes of emotion and their effects.
It could be a book on love.
It is fast-paced, short-lived, ever-lasting.
It could be a book on regret.
An end in the distance, the silence, the unease of a shift in dynamics and in intention.
It could be a book on ambition.
The potential and arrogantly realistic expectation for the future, the appreciation and shaky invincibility of the present.
It could be a book on blame.
Ourselves and each other, in equal parts.
It could be a book on truth.
Personal, unchanging, stubborn and often assumed truths.
It could be a book on fear.
The fear of happiness, of consequence, of disappointing, of the unknown.
It could be a book on realisation.
The bar has been raised, the standard has been set.
It could be a book on instinct.
To push, pull, laugh, cry, accuse, assume, believe.
It is a book on everything, anything, always and forever.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Moral Dilemma

I need to be smart. I need to play this game. Anything but owning up to the truth. Never the truth. I need to anticipate your moves in order to cover my back. I failed. I anticipated wrong. I overestimated your ability to lie and underestimated your capacity to forgive. I backed into a corner thinking I was headed to an open field. A field of lies. I'll take the lies, any day. To the grave. Never the truth. You didn't play by the rules. We agreed. You caved and snatched me away from my field. It takes two to tango. I tangoed in the wrong direction. Towards my field. I want to be in my field. I could breathe in my field. I can't breathe in this corner.

Silence. I'd do the same. Exactly the same. Maybe a little different. But exactly the same. Silence. Silence. Anticipation.

This corner is suffocating me. I can't breathe. Where's my field. I want my comforting lies back. Never bring a second and unreliable party to the field. It's yours. Nobody is reliable. I can't breathe. But never the truth. Try another direction. Let's play a game. Be resourceful. Use what you can. Blackmail. It's a sticky situation so watch your back. Always watch your back. Don't fail again. Anticipate the reaction. How good can a person be. How honest. He can't be this honest. Everybody's dark on the inside. Be careful. It could be the biggest mistake you make. Never the truth. Anticipate and plan accordingly. Never the truth.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Summer of 2010

Exams came sooner than expected. Endlessly cramming, quick break, more cramming. And then, it was over. Freedom. I don't know what to do with my days. Birthdays, barbecues, sunshine and prom. Empire Film Guide. I'm gonna watch every film in this book. It's brief but it's promising. But no more time-wasting, it's a competitive world out there. It's time for work experience. Brides magazine, 2 weeks. I should have stuck to 1. Don't make me go back. A 'Devil Wears Prada' moment. Deliver this dress. It's urgent, run. A lonely patch of green in the middle of Oxford Circus, in the middle of the suits and the dresses and the heels. Sushi, Ipod and a little lunch hour to relax every day. And then, it was over. No more time-wasting, it's an exciting world out there. Travelling on a mini-euro-trip. Paris. Let's go crazy at the fun fair. I want a slush-puppy. The sun is shining, it is the start of an epic trip, and we don't waste a second. Nadia has a touche and I have a touche. The others are minging, they don't have anything. Every place we went: 'Il t'aime bien toi'. I visited the city, in all its glory. Tour de Paris on a Vespa, beautiful. Shut up Toma. Don't worry, we can be arab together. Hello Eric, let's rewind this past year. Peace and Love Hostel, Jaures. The crack den and ghetto are our home. Baby miracle: Adel the stranger was deaf one day, had perfect hearing the next. 'Passe moi soulaima'. Sou what? Four floors during a rainstorm. Seven deadly flights of stairs to reach our cosy, clean room. Roaming charges on the phones. Where's the internet cafe? I need to call my Mum again. 'I'm so happy your parents let you come.' My parents are not extremists. Glad I'm sharing with my belle, though. Should we spoon now? Let me tell you about an episode of Grey's Anatomy. Mais j'm'en fou... Harry races an Aston. There are races that last 24 hours. Learning something new every day. Strangers' philosophies expressed: 'Ai laike beeg gerlz. Zey argh gud for sex and laife'. Pictures on the toilet. Bal des pompiers. Let's go check out the firefighters. No firefighters, but too many people. American Sean. Speaks too slowly. Stupidly, 'I DROPPED MY PHONE IN THE CANAL!'. Bane of my life. Guys, I'm spending too much. Make me stop. Let's live off Mcdonald's and pasta. What should I wear?. You look so sexy, let's go now, PLEASE. Matching vintage army jackets? Check. Cafe des 2 moulins: 4 hours of pure bliss. Lara, why you sleeping in my suitcase? Berlin. Brilliant idea: let's go to the wrong airport! 5-hour fight-delay. Phew. It was a Wilkinson close shave. Berlin. Afternoon. Wake up. Shower. Dress. Eat. Party. Sleep. Repeat. I'm going for alone time, guys. I'll end up killing you all and myself. No questions, no interruptions. Perfectly balanced group dynamics. It went on. We cooked, and cleaned, and dressed, and ate, and peed, and showered together. Anyone for a rap battle? Amzilla's an observant one. Germs and Germans sound the same! It's like we're groupies, mate. 'It's finally the time. To walk back past ten thousand eyes in the line'. Rob. Can I call you knob instead? 'So you're the arsehole of the group'. A deal made. A promise broken. On to the next one. 'Yes. This is Trezor'. Huge, white sign. Empty warehouse on the highway. Or so we thought. I found one. Taller than the world. Subtle, yet effective. Too late to chat. Sleepy time. Patches of sand outside clubs in Berlin. Harmless boys who stalk. Ironically creepy men who respect a 'no'. KitKat. Sounds like the Berlin I expected. Dominatrix style. Casually moving on. No stopping. Berlin slows down for no one. Allows no down-time. Time for Suicide Circus. Buzzing dancer. Same move. Round and round, hands flapping. Eyes fixed. Fixed. Fixed. Buzzing. The image of this woman: fixed in my memory. 'They look English'. Off we go. They are English. Londoners, no less. 'No way. Do you live near the riverside, by the queue?'. Time for a little sit-down. They are there, and they are like mothers. Unconditionally helpful. J'suis pas ton amie, je suis ta mere. Back to the hotel. Breakfast. Taxi. Airport. Home. Sunshine, games, guitars and giggles. Journey. Working out well, but should be a solitary stroll, not a 2-man show. Strangers can be kind. On my feet now, ready to take over the world. Nothing can stop me, and nothing does. Some new situations. Play along and see what happens. Drama, drama, drama. And then I'm over it. Time for my re-focus. Up in those mountains, you rely on your mind to keep you entertained. It's beautiful. And so the journey continues. Frying under the sun, by that pool in the woods. It's like my personal Swan patch. Family, kids, chats and swings. Beautiful and relaxed. 2 weeks and I feel empowered. Let's do this. Home, and off to a new beginning.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Notting Hill Carnival '09


Last summer, I went to the Notting Hill Carnival for the first time. It was everything you would expect... Loud. Busy. Beautiful. 1 million people turn to the streets of Notting Hill every year over these 2 days of August. Just imagine the Rio Carnival, mix it up with the narrow streets of London, and this is what you end up with.



One or two Notting Hill Carnival facts:

-The Caribbean community leads the event
-It's the largest carnival in Europe and the second largest in the World
-Bangin' tunes fill the air from stands set up on different streets in the area (the sound systems are insane - each individual speaker is pretty much the size of a fully grown man. Each stand has about 8 of these speakers... I was pretty much deaf for a week).
-food stands provide the Carribean flavours
-the atmosphere is electric. There is a definite buzz...(although that may just be the drugs everyone is on).

We danced and we laughed and we ate and we sang. We were young and alive and invincible.

At least, that's what we thought.

Our massive group of 20 friends broke up into smaller and smaller groups. We wanted to go in 17 different directions, so instead of arguing about it in the heat and getting nowhere, we chose to separate. It was 2 o'clock. By this time, the streets were full of people from all walks of life, from 4 corners of the world. Black. White. Brown. Grey. Purple. I had ended up with 3friends, Izzie, Lara and Marianne, and we were standing in a huddle, deciding which street to explore, which adventure to go on next.
Over the general buzz of people dancing and singing and drinking and shouting, we heard someone ahead suddenly scream out oh my God, RUN!

Things started moving very quickly from this moment on. Without words, a decision had been made, to run down the road as fast as we possibly could. What exactly we were running from, nobody knew.

The bottles started crashing then.

Little yelps of fear could be heard, in the flurry of fear, as this herd of people, pumped with adrenaline, ran as one, down Portobello Road. Glass bottles were crashing. Ahead of you, behind you, to your left, to your right. You couldn't see them, but you could hear them. Front, side and center. They were being thrown at us, one after the other, one after the other.

Our safe and intimate group of 4 split up again. Marianne grabbed my arm. Lara grabbed Izzie's arm. We were all running in the same and only direction: straight down this narrowing road. None of us knew what we were running from. In the time taken for us to figure out what it was, we were each running from our own, personal, worst nightmare. We ran and ran and ran for what seemed like an eternity or two. We stopped only once. When the fear of the unknown was too much to take, we stopped and looked and acknowledged. Surely knowing what we were running from, was better than not knowing at all? Better than running for sheer life? The blind, leading the blind. That is what we were, until that split-second of understanding of this reality you've been thrust into.

We were being chased by a group of 60 young men. All black. All screaming angrily and passionately. All throwing glass bottles at us. Us, the emotionally outnumbered group, physically outnumbering them by far. The mind does funny things when panic strikes. Logic seems to hurl itself out the window, leaving you with this gut instinct. To protect. Yourself and those around you. It is overwhelming, and it leaves no room for pride or dignity. In my case, anyway. It all happened so quickly. We were running. I was running, and then I stopped. I was like a deer caught in headlights. A fish flapping on dry land. I had dropped my phone.

This wasn't just any drop. The back cover had fallen off, and the battery had fallen out. My phone was now in 3 parts. Bending down and retrieving it would take me 3 times as long.

Marianne had to stop too. Her hand was still clenched in mine. She acknowledged the dilemna I was in, and thankfully, made the decision for me. Life or Phone. She yanked at my arm and we carried on running, leaving the phone behind, on the stampede-ridden ground below.



Eventually, another decision was made by the masses. It was time to stop. The crowd systematically separated in 2. One half stood along the walls of the right hand side of the road. The other half stood along the left hand side, leaving the middle of the road empty. For the gang to pass through with no obstruction, for a brave soldier to step onto no man's land. We formed a human shield along the road, one row of people after the next. We didn't attempt to put up a fight, or to demand a justification.

And then we had to wait. Nobody knew what this gang wanted, or who they were looking for, or if they were looking to fight, kill, cry or laugh. Nobody knew how they would react when they reached the end of the road, to us, pressed up against each other, fearing the worst.

I was pushed, and pushing against a woman who's tears needed an escape. She was in hysterics, tears rolling down her cheeks, repeating "I don't want to die". A man whose face I can't remember, who was pushed against me, was a comfort to have there. As selfish as it may sound, I was glad somebody stood between myself and No Man's Land. He quietly comforted the lady behind me, who was going to get us all killed. I remember uttering a completely insincere and weak "It's going to be alright" before giving up entirely and listening to the silence of the street.

The biggest anti-climax in the history of anti-climii/anti-climaxes (take your pick)followed. The big gang, in all its glory, came running, jogging, and skipping its way down our road, passing the fearful eyes of us all with every step it took, screaming out some weak form of territorial threats to the silence. My heart was beating as fast as ever, and things slowed down an extra notch as they were making their big exit. My eyes never strayed far from the ground. I would get picked from the crowd and beaten if I looked any of them in the eye. My heart skipped an extra beat the moment they passed me by. And then it was over.

They did not attempt to put up a fight, or to make any demands. Just to make themselves known. This was their land, and a carnival wasn't going to change that. (I expect the thrown glass bottles were more for dramatic effect than an actual intent to do harm.)

My phone was no where to be found. I went home, and told my parents it had fallen out of my pocket while I was dancing.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ain't No Time Like The Present

He talked about being young. About the beauty of youth. About the hope of the young.
I don't fit the image of youth. Youth represents freedom, innocence, love, creativity and health.

My freedom is weighed down by the city. By the times we live in. By this society that judges. By its interference. By its importance.

My innocence is gone with this social urgency, to be aware of everything. Gone with the comfort we impose on ourselves and others, of expressing and explaining and expecting. There is no intimacy. It has been sucked dry and replaced by this mass generalisation, that we are continuously reminded of.

My love and heart have yet to be earned. Yet to be broken, and mended. Yet to be appreciated.

My creativity is limited. Because of technology. Because we can't escape it. Because it improves communication, while it destroys humanity. Because creativity involves physicality, where technology involves singularity.

My health is intact, but not as strong as it could be. Not as fit as it should be. Not as active as it would be.

They say the young live for the future, while the old live for the past. And the present? My present isn't what I would like it to be.