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



When I started this blog, I didn't know or care who would read these words.

To my surprise, people came and read, and even continue to do so (90% through Google searches on "chemical torture" - still #1!), and realgem has allowed me to (virtually and in reality) meet some people I deeply respect who I would never have connected with otherwise.

But now that I know some people, even if few, do read these words, something has changed. Just like the first time I was paid for a piece of writing - and it probably wasn't even a piece of reporting or a story or anything, more likely a press release or a consultancy report of some sort - something changed, and I look at the piles of old notebooks and typewritten pages strangely and wonder how and why I did it. And this is also why it is important to be on Brian's trail, because he was mystical. The work and the art and not the finished product were what counted.

And it gnaws at me, because I miss this world of pretty words and strange life forms swimming in the aquarium of the computer display.

I make texts, I make pictures, I may as well put them here or somewhere - share your work and the world becomes your notebook. I have some other notebooks, too, you can see in the sidebar.

Yet it has somehow become so difficult lately, and often I feel so tired.

(image found here, another of Alex's web presences)



...'Jewel of the Arabian Sea' ...always had a fabled aura in my mind...

(The contraptions in the photos are fishing machines like Chinese dragons, introduced by the Chinese here in Kubla Khan's time... their jaws are strung with nets which plunge into the sea again and again for fish...)



No one knows where Brian's (original post from the time) unfinished book is. Although he never seemed terribly concerned with finishing it; the writing of it was what was important. I believe it is somewhere in the south of India, in a metal trunk packed with manuscripts, notebooks and typescripts.

By one of those strange coincidences ("I believe in coincidences but I don't trust them" as Doc O says), I ran into a mutual friend of ours from Goa from 10 or 11 years ago (a time before e-mail and mobile phones). "He spoke a lot about you the last time we talked," she told me.

When the murder happened*, I was in the middle of my descent into a long and opiated dark night of the soul, and none of it really registered then. It is only now, that I have revisited places we knew and loved those years ago, that a deep sadness has fallen on me; a realisation I never knew at the time how much our friendship meant.

I have the name of a town, a less than half-remembered care-of address, and a laser-printed photo, and I go searching.

* CNJ report from the time. The "salacious gossip", speaking evil of the dead, that Michael Griffin refers to would be from The Sun (see link in my original post if you're that curious), and maybe also from this other CNJ story - "their body language showed they were more than just friends" - yes, in England maybe, but Brian was warm and physically affectionate in a way that few English people are.



Not only had Lazy's Arambol with its somnolent atmosphere of tropical alcoholic lethargy turned into something like the fucking Glastonbury festival, there were squads of soldiers in camo patrolling in the evening, and high-up plainclothes cops from Delhi poking around.

Yes, it's terrorism again, and the fear of another Mumbai attack. It would be perfect. If I were a Lashkar e Toiba strategist, that is where I would hit. Rubber dinghy with silenced engine. Four dreadlocked operatives in loose-fitting tie-dye or batiq; didgeridoos which collapse into AKS-74 gas-operated 5.45mm assault rifles; embroidered anti-personnel fragmentation juggling balls. And finding some Israelis to kill would be simplicity itself.



there are more foreign cars and motorbikes on the roads than there were... everyone has a mobile phone... everything is a bit more expensive, except for internet and phone access... brahmins still chant prayers in ancient temples, priests mumble mass in portuguese-era churches, the azan still rings out from minarets, narrow streets still smell of jasmine, incense, butchers' offal and sewers... women still sway in brilliantly coloured saris and grizzled fishermen scratch their chins, autorickshaw horns squawk angrily at cows ambling through traffic chewing on plastic bags... the arabian sea still crashes in gentle waves on the white sands and the palm trees still sway in the breeze...

(the new 1 and 2 rupee coins with a thumbs-up and v-for-victory/peace-man for the no-alphabets, with older British-influenced coins above)


hot heavy air coast of arabian sea sun in haze maybe if i type fast and make spelling mistakes i will keep writing here.

because there are things to write, yes there are things to write, but i can't write now.