Never Too Late!

Never Too Late!
any resemblance to anyone real or imaginary is mere bad luck
we are all lying in the gutter, but some of us are trying to get up


They can't kill an animated cadaver.
Can't curse the damned.
Can't send a lunatic mad.

(dead blogs I loved)
I just want to find somewhere that feels like home.

-Hahahahahahaaa fool. Not this life, not for you.

"The man who finds his homeland sweet is still a tender beginner; he to whom every soil is as his native one is already strong; but he is perfect to whom the entire world is as a foreign land." (Hugo of St. Victor)

Inertia creeps

[dark and strange clip from Massive Attack. you probably know the music, but it's worth watching the video if you never saw it before]


Spit on providence

outside pharmacy, New Cross Rd, South London, spring 2007...

Fucked up woman clutching a tin of Tennents Super and tucking paper bag with fresh methadone bottle into tracksuit pocket: "So I 'ad to go dahn there an' sort it myself, 'cause that cunt from the social was too lazy to make one phone call for me! Can you believe it? It's no wonder you 'ave to drink! 'Ow was they thinking I was gonna survive? More 'an £400 they owed me in income support that they was tryin' to get away wiv not payin' me! I tell you, it's fucked up man!"

outside bar, Praça Roosevelt, central São Paulo, recently...

I go in to buy cigarettes, come out tearing the packet open and almost walk into a group of ragged dirty men gathered around a cart full of items scavenged from the rubbish. One of them politely asks me for a cigarette, I hand out cigarettes to all of them without thinking about it, carry on walking fast without stopping to listen to their thanks, my mind on other things. One of them calls after me, I keep walking, he calls again, I turn, he walks up to me. "Thank-you very much," he says, sincerity palpable. "We're not beggars. We're not." It is incredibly important for him that I understand this.


Keep walking

Return to São Paulo in a cursing rage. A black depression falls as soon as I enter the apartment that doesn't feel like home. Why oh why didn't I stay in Rio, for another few days at least? I already cleared my schedule until next week.

It's the bank's fault, I remember. Stop kicking yourself. I ran out of money and my card wouldn't work. So I had to get a ride back. But I'm sure if I had tried harder I could have found a way to organise things. On the ride home I am in sick regret, knowing I won't have the chance to go back for a long time. I despair of ever doing anything right. I know I will never make a correct decision in my life.

The apartment nauseates me. I can't stay in here. I get out on the street. The card still doesn't work and I have R$1. I buy a pinga and knock it back. I keep walking, avoiding my usual circuit of bars, because I will see people I know who will buy me drinks, and I don't want that, not now. I go back to the flat but still can't bear to see it and still can't sleep. I collect a handful of 5 and 10-centavos from the shelf and back to the street.

Walk and walk. Watch the transvestites, eavesdrop on the conversations of whores with their customers, sit on the pavement with the homeless, watching the traffic and smoking. Count the change, buy a beer and a last pack of the cheapest cigarettes. Determine to stay in the street all night, whatever happens, and not go back to that goddamn apartment. But my God I would like to drink.

This is when I spot a strange character propositioning women in the street. He looks like a cross between Borat and a Kabul street junkie. He is well fucked-up, but at the same time one of those people I instantly know is sound. We walk. He keeps asking people for directions to places he knows perfectly well. He babbles to me in portuspanglish until I tell him to shut up and speak one language at a time. He buys five papers of coke. We keep walking aimlessly.

It turns out he is an agent of cosmic balance. A well fucked-up character, interned many times, who seems to have been sent to restore the balance to my feverish mind. We drink pinga with grizzled old beggars, shoot snooker with traficantes, joke with whores, loud samba and old Corinthians games. Moment by moment my head is straightening out. We share cigarettes with street kids out of their heads on crack and glue, he sets me up with some hopeless girl, street people in rags ply us with stinking cheap aguardente and Paraguayan cigarettes. The rage and loathing is dissipating. Walk through tunnels, the zombie-movie streets of Cracklandia, over bridges and elevated causeways. Find another bar and sit for a time, and then keep walking. Seeing this side of the city is worth more to me than any number of beaches or palm trees or girls in bikinis.

Does cosmic balance exist?

Are there critical points in time, cusps of action, nodes in the web of destiny, crossroads of fate? Sensitive moments, critical times when your action or your intention or your words or your thoughts determine the course of the future and set your trajectory through the universe? Was deciding to leave Rio the afternoon before one of these points?

Is it so?

Or is it really never too late?

Tomorrow finally arrives. I go home and sleep, free of the crawling loathing.


[how can a city of 15 million seem so small sometimes?]


Human, all too human

Cockroaches are just too much like humans.

They want to live too much.

We were at a barbeque all fucked up and decided to conduct a genocide of the fuckers. Because after all, genocide is fun. Spray insect poison down the drains and smack them with a shoe as they go running.

My God, they adapt their tactics so quickly, it's like they have telepathy and they're broadcasting radio to each other. At first it was easy hunting, but then it just got impossible.

I hit one and wounded it and it played dead, thinking I would go after the others. Fucker. So I hit it again and it rolled like a fucking US marine or something and rushed for cover behind a loose tile. I hunted it down and smacked it with the shoe again and it vanished. I found it in the shoe - somehow it had jumped in there. I threw it on the ground and hit it again and this time, my God, it swarmed up onto my hand and jumped right for my face.

I finally killed the little fucker.

Human, all too human.

The main difference is they're harder to kill. You can hit one and it smashes into pieces, and when you come back half an hour later it has glued itself together with its own ichor and crawled off bleeding. You can cut a cockroach's head off and it will die of starvation, about a week later, after spawning hundreds of others.
YOU tell the truth, and let THEM deal with it


(S)wine said [somewhere in the comments below]
I shamelessly steal from Bukowski:
--What do you do?
--Nothing. I drink. Both.
Smoking is not as fun as it looks, kids. Unfortunately.

I don't trust air that I don't see, I glibly say. Here in the city you have to protect your lungs from the exhaust fumes. And I light up another one and force that smoke down into my asphalt lungs.

Drinking, and I mean really drinking with conviction, drinking to get drunk drunk drunk, like blanking that chick who's grinding her ass into your lap in order to go in search of another reeking cheap whiskey or conhaque nacional, I mean drinking to stop your hands shaking in the morning, drinking like Bukowski and Chinaski and all of them, I mean being a fucking drink-sodden, say it: alcoholic.....

...that, conversely, is actually more fun than it looks. Experienced from the inside, as it were. Because it looks fucking ugly from the outside.

Don't worry about the blood on your jeans, you won't remember where it came from, and your nerves are too shot to feel the pain... don't worry about being a total disgrace and losing any last semblance of dignity, either... keep drinking and you'll only remember in surreal flashes... all of life will take on a rather Philip K. Dick sort of aspect, what with the random black-outs, the time out of joint, the discovering yourself in the strangest places with no idea how you got there.


The wonderful world of English teaching

My first essay into this unfair and unjust profession was when I was very young, like 18 or 19 I would imagine. I flew to, ummm, Pakistan it was, for the summer, to see the parents and like this, courtesy of their employers at the time. I laid a heavy guilt trip on them about dragging me to that country for such a long time and never even taking me to visit India, so they got me a ticket to Katmandu, Nepal (border problems at that time between Lahore and Amritsar). I made my way to Pokhara, where I was sort of adopted by this guesthouse owner's family who put me up and fed me in return for bringing in tourists foreigners. I promptly cancelled my return tickets and vanished.

Some degree of beginner's luck does exist, because doing the things I did and surviving unscathed was quite simply impossible, but I didn't know that then, clueless idiot that I was. It sort of began with inheriting this dude's Enfield motorcycle and Dutch girlfriend, crossing the Himalayas on said bike without knowing how to drive, attempting to cross into India visa-less and near-broke, miraculously actually making Benares, spending a few months penniless hustling on the ghats and developing a heroin addiction, and everything just got worse from there.

Give it about a year later and I returned to Katmandu, true to form penniless and in screaming withdrawals, in torn jeans, floral shirt, plastic flip-flops and nothing else. This is how I ended up living with the gutter scum, dealers, hustlers and pimps of an ancient and crumbling mountain city. The only other foreigner on my side of the gutter was Viktor. He was Russian, which I didn't hold against him, and is probably dead now. So, probably, are Doc and Ramesh and all the others. I love you all. I had never felt as accepted and among my own anywhere, unlikely as the whole situation was.

God help me, but it was beautiful. I never felt such a sense of freedom, walking down the street in worn blue plastic flip-flops, and knowing that it was just me and my wits and nothing else. I didn't talk to another Westerner unless it was to beg money or sell them drugs.

So. One fine day, on the steps of a temple in Darbar square, I asked this foreigner for some money, and he said no but I can get you a job.

This is how I became an English teacher and ended up in front of an early morning class at 7am, junk-sick, dirty, probably near-psychotic, in borrowed shoes and shirt, the institute director looking on apprasingly, all the students older than me and calling me "sir".

I respect a good teacher. It is an under-valued profession.

Rules of engagement

I formulated these a long long time ago. They no longer apply, but they were a good idea and lead to spectacularly weird results.

1. Be aggressively friendly.
2. Be un-apologetically non-sensical.
3. Open fire on unarmed defenders, it's their fault they're unarmed.
4. Don't wear a shirt tied around your face lest the unbelievers strangle you with it. For is not the Lord good?

to answer my own question below, it's because i lost any faith in the idea that anything matters or that anything we do makes any difference. all striving is pointless.

may as well shoot myself in the head then, eh? i have no choice in the matter. paradoxically, doing just that might be the best argument for free will i could summon, over-riding the biological survival instinct and splattering the contents of my head over the nearest wall and ceiling.

i really don't like the contents of my head much - "out, foul jelly!"

my head works so much better when i'm hung over, i stop thinking too much and everything attains a sacred clarity.

i have to put this all to one last test, to see if there is any freedom... by carrying out arbitrary acts of freedom.... just to see if it can be done........

why are you so afraid to just lose it, cut loose??? there is nothing to lose, not for you.......


how is it that putting one word after another has suddenly become so impossibly, grindingly difficult?


Hahahahahaaaa.... (this conversation really happened...)