I’ve long had a reaction to the claims by your typical racist chap that harps on about how black people look like apes.
The problem is that some black people do look like monkeys and apes, but this is in the same sense as the fact that there are people from all races who look like the FA Cup owing to a prominence of ear in the East and West of their head.
And in another similar sense, you then have those white people that look like chimpanzees; like my Northern Irish American-Film Lecturer: Ken Somethingsomething.
All in all, people look like things; it’s a human tradition.
Some look like dolphins, some look like insects; ultimately the fact that you look like our closest relatives throughout the Animal Kingdom (fellow humans aside) is probably a good thing.
This is just a thought I’ve had throughout the years, since meeting Ken.
And it’s not as though Ken wasn’t a handsome chap.
He had a desk-bound ruggedness, a man filled with poetical passion that let itself loose as he lectured the sweet-protestant-Jesus out of me and gave some rather fabulous ticks as he marked.
He was a ultimately an attractive man, if attractive men are you’re thing, and it was just the sheer shape of his face and the recession of his hair into full-blown male pattern baldness that made him appear more monkey-like than your average American-Film lecturer.
Also, for the record, male pattern baldness (MPB) is not a cause for unattractiveness.
Since we’re talking about it, yes, I do have an example.
Hunter S Thompson.
Thompson is an icon, a man who has transcended the mortal world and become a literal folk-legend; one of those historic men of whom there are countless anecdotes of his presence at scenes and his actions that caused scenes.
His works inspired generations, with 40 crucial years of extraordinary output that forged a new genre of literary journalism, and this is his writing alone. His attitude, the demeanour with which he strode the Earth is legendary.
He is amongst those men, such as his hero Hemingway, who made writing one of those very masculine occupations – not a world in which women were not equally capable – but one in which miners and welders and other such grizzled and anti-intellectual stereotypes wouldn’t be able to call them pussies.
Because Hunter S Thompson was not a pussy.
His into-the-fray technique of gonzo journalism evokes those terms that just feel masculine in this context. Much like my favourite Monty Python sketch in which good ‘woody’ words are discussed (not ‘tinny’ – “sorry old horse”).
Novelist (bit tinny…).
And Hunter changed the world from behind a type-writer and a cattle-prod, dousing the reader in the glory of the righteous crime of ‘not-giving-a-fuck-with-intent’ and wearing long white socks and with male pattern baldness.
And the male pattern baldness is only relevant here by its irrelevance.
Thompson changed the world, and my life, with utter and total freedom and male pattern baldness, and all whilst looking slightly like an aging chimpanzee.
And what I also adore is the fact that he took the helm of his head; echoing the essence of him being Master of his Fate and the Captain of his Soul by shaving his scalp and changing the world.
But still, I catch my Dad eyeing me fondly from the eyebrows-up, missing my hair that was his.
But to his fortune, he doesn’t look like a monkey. Or an ape.
They’re different, you know.
I’ve a nice big nose.
But it’s nice. And big.
It’s quite handy for obscuring either facial cheek from the opposing eye above.
This skill hasn’t really lent itself to the everyday, or even the exceptional life, at this point.
I do use it to turn off light switches when my hands are full.
I’m glad I haven’t seen any of the other apes doing this yet; I guess that what comes from being too stupid to have a big nose. And thumbs.
People can’t tell I’ve a big nose from straight on though; only when I turn, and knock pedestrians over with the nostrils.
My sense of smell is abysmal.
I can only tell if there’s been a gas leak when I hear the sound of the fire-brigade (plus the intense burning sensation that I can’t do much about because my hands are full and I’m not trying to turn on the light with my nose).
My voice isn’t nasal, it’s just a regular, nothing-much-about-me voice.
My nose in profile looks like it should belong to a pickpocketing villain who overhears your plans of escape and warns the dodgy policeman in exchange for some sort of nose-pleasing rub.
My nose looks suspicious, but I can promise you it’s not up to anything at all calculated.
It’s a nice big nose though.
Would I have it removed?
No – unless I could flip it upside down, attach it to my wall and keep two joss sticks in it.
But then I couldn’t smell them…
Could there ever be the chance that an acid attack might genuinely improve my nose?
I can imagine the compliments…
“Well, I can see all his teeth at all times and his eye keep dangling out, but his nose really is much improved in terms of distance to me.”
That’s the thing about my nose – you never quite realise just how close to you it really is.
It’s like rats.
I feel I can’t impress enough upon you how ridiculous the size of my nose is in relation to how bad my sense of smell is.
I have an exceptionally average-sized hanky.
My sneezes are mediocre in volume and spray.
There is nothing large about my nose other than the size of it.
And it is at this point when once comes to realise that some facial components are simply genetic traditions of your family, passed down from large-nosed grandpapa to large-nosed mama, until it lands in your lap and quickly works its way up to the centre of your visage: the bulls-eye of what people look at of you.
My nose looks like an Easter Island head, only – not just the nose – the entire head is the epicentre of my face.
And it inhibits me zero-percent.
I do, however, have the natural benefit of having a big nose, large thick-rimmed glasses and a big moustache; meaning that I can appear perpetually disguised as though I’d just walked out of a joke shop and wished to vanish into the midst of a ‘Generic Disguise Convention’ (filled with burly burglars in delicate dresses and sneaky chaps wearing a particularly suspicious hedge).
Are there any benefits to having a large nose?
Being easily describable in a witness statement.
Were I to commit a crime and the victim get away; you’d find it easy to describe me to the police.
Because I’ve got a nice big nose.
You can even tell when I’m wearing a full face mask because the mask looks like it’s pivoting constantly from a central location.
And it’s not a particularly sturdy nose either. I’ve been cracked upon it multiple times and shriek as nasally as the next chap.
There’s really not much more to it than that.
I’ve a nice big nose.
But then, so does my Mum, and her Dad.
Maybe it’s a gift.
And perhaps it’s a gift because, as I’ve said before, sometimes all you need is something to say.
And with such a large conk as my face possesses, I’ve had something to write about.
I didn’t need to write about it, but I did.
Go figure again.
You might be familiar with the entrenched British radio stalwart entitled: “Desert Island Discs” in which prominent folk from various fields are interviewed on the hypothetical pretence that they are going to be marooned on a desert island.
On this island they are permitted 8 songs (usually music), 1 book and a single luxury item; and this is to do them till eternity isn’t eternal anymore on this desert island.
A charming concept and a wonderful way in which to see more into a person as they unveil themselves via the vital songs in of their life.
A tremendous way to sum up a lifetime, but a hard task when summing up the Earth.
What songs could sum up the Earth and all its previous? Are we stuck with 8 songs to detail our planet’s past? Do the dinosaurs get any sway in our say?
It’s probably worth explaining why I’m bringing the planet into this.
I can remember being told that one day all life in the entire universe was going to end, but not before our sun gave up the galactic ghost and Earth went bang.
I was very young and slightly shaken (almost crapped myself) until it was explained to me that the Earth was not due to explode in a whirl of mountains and continents and pets until millions of years after my own comfortable bed-bound death.
Though quelled, I still held the knowledge that all this was temporary and that there was going to be a final day.
And so, from those young days to this, I have pondered at times about which things would be a good way to kick off the final day; activities and playlists, guest lists and buffet items.
And then, as my understanding of probable alien life came into being, I realised the need to broadcast our best and brightest to the cosmos; for a whole host of reasons including but not limited to: scaring the sweet shit out of Johnny Alien and ensuring they heard the lovely melodies of tales about getting-the-girl, being-so-glad and telling-all-the-world.
And I’ve been narrowing it down.
Yes, it’s another series from me, and whilst a new one comes, please don’t assume the others are dead. Perpetually IN is not quite out of vogue, Matters That Matter still matters and Brief…Therefore Witty still has some epigrams to launch before lunch, although it has become increasingly clear as to my answer in that famed personality quiz question: “Do you find it easier to start new projects or finish up the details that’ve been passed on to you?”
Never pass things on to me.
Especially a trumpet (I hate it when a person plays a brass instrument and holds eye-contact with me. Gives me the willies. Woodwind doesn’t seem to bother me though).
Especially when you’ve just blown it at a group of post-conch-blowing Mauri in the 1600’s.
Onto the rocket goes:
Having viewed much of the world with a fairly sturdy stomach, it was not till I watched true Maori of New Zealand perform the Haka, barely a few feet from my face, with as much intensity as a human can muster and hopefully as much as an alien can bare to stand.
The tattooed face isn’t really an important factor in this, because we’re talking about a wielding of the face that is such a tradition that I truly believe that it has become a genetic blessing on the traditional Maori people.
The bulging eyes, the enormity of the limbs of the ilk that might not grace the cover of GQ but would certainly cause a fellow to quiver in recognition that this is a matter of dashing brains upon the beach, and the tongue that whips with every sincerely meant gasping inhalation of the imminence of battle in which you simply can’t wait to take part.
The slapping/clawing of the legs and chest, the slight and delicate motions between in which genuine respect is given to some hairy sun-stealing deity, the waving of weaponry and the warrior’s deep-shrieking vernacular of a people that have no issue with your puny European musket because we’re used to hunting giant 12-foot Moa birds with huge glowing green rock-clubs, so beware me as I blow my conch (put the trumpet down).
There is something so utterly awe-inspiring about the Maori Haka that I truly believe it is amongst the best of what our species has to offer, and we must look at things in terms of an entire species from now on, otherwise the aliens won’t take our rocket seriously.
I can easily believe the Haka can make you fearless. For how can an expression such as that pictured (just look at the picture…) have any concern over so fleeting a complication as a Martian death-ray?
It is, however, crucial that this Haka be performed only by Maori. Even if they’re 1/24th Maori; that’ll do just dandy too, but it’s not going to be a European guy doing it.
I’ve seen the Kiwi rugby team with their Haka, and the Maori contingent is all of what I have expressed above, but the tall blonde guys joining in too – it just doesn’t work for me. I don’t believe their Haka. It seems too ‘awfully-hope-this-isn’t-too-much-of-an-inconvenience-if-score-a-try-awfully-very-much-sorry-thanks-sorry’. I’m sure they could do a marvellous Scandinavian/Viking battle cry, standing all moody whilst the rain runs from the battle-axe, plus I’ve never seen an Asian or African guy do the Haka, but I’m going to have to choose a Maori guy (and girl, sure) for the Haka here.
I’m not saying European guys shouldn’t do it, I’m just saying it’s not getting onto my rocket.
I’m trying to make inter-galactic friends here.
There is also that message of the Haka, which is the indomitable threat of an ultimate victory expressed via the eyes and lashing tongue in the Haka, but written here it is:
“The worst thing you can be is shit. And I’m going to defeat you in battle, kill you hence, I’m going to eat you, and I’m going to turn you into shit. I will turn you into shit. And I’m keeping your boat.”
A powerful message we can all relate to, especially since I’m in favour of eating some people. Not all people, but explicitly people who continue walking towards our planet once having seen the Haka (because we’d better eat them; they must be insane to keep marching after seeing that).
You might now be starting to see how Desert Island Discs and my rocket deviate from one another.
Next up, onto the rocket goes:
‘Mamma Mia’, by Abba.
Perhaps this is the battle cry the Scandinavians could be doing whilst the Haka’s happening next door?
Of course I’m referring to the single song, not the entire musical. Not the musical at all in fact, but undoubtedly that glorious piece of lyricised human condition known as ‘Mamma Mia’.
Crickey it’s a corker.
A tale known by those who have loved, lost, and rekindled, lost, loved some more, and therein having actually done loving properly; it is a shame of our childish species for which we are very happy to indulge in this equal to the many times we like to put that record on and get all excited at that opening piano staccato that is in imitation of a tick-tocking clock that only tick and tocks onwards and past you whilst you’re still standing there – very much so still fallen for that person and very much so still hopeless to do anything about it.
Mamma Mia – here we go again, a mantra for those about to whirl about in a familiar romance once more, as well as those about to put ‘Mamma Mia’ on again.
Here we go again.
Lyrically, it sums up the side of that human condition that the poets try to nail and the scholars try only to avoid, whilst musically it is simply very fucking-on-the-nose as a song everyone likes.
It could always simply be that I’m a tad of a nostalgic romantic at heart and this is sheer indulgence on behalf of myself, but I don’t see how that would matter either way as it’s my rocket and you’re all my species (I’m fairly possessive) and this is the way we’re doing it.
I just adore that moment of hushedness, in which the staccato returns and the humble “Mamma Mia, here I go again, my-my how could I resist ya” – in which the hushedness represents that intimate chat with oneself in which you’re too stupefied by love that you’re unable to answer your own internal monologue. And the culmination, the CULMINATION that …..CULMINATES to the point of saying simply: “I should not have let you go”.
I feel that “Awww” is a splendid way of summing this song up, and in doing so, goes a great length in summing us up also.
The human species: “Awww” and (Haka-induced) “Arrrggghhh!”
That’s what goes onto my rocket.
I just spent 4 hours being unmanly.
Manliness is easier when sitting down, but therein lies the flaw of the matter – video games, despite all their sword-flailing/bullet-busting/gore-for-all enthusiasm, are not a manly way to spend ones time.
Stewing up a stench, gaining body fat in every region aside from the virulent thumbs, and alienating myself from my own inner dialogue, is not an effective use of my Monday; nor is it a good reason for all those cavemen predecessors to have procreated and died in a long line of folk known for their good thumb-work all adding up to me; eating more calories than I could possibly spend because I feel like it, with booze before noon, and a disdain for the unfashionable sunlight because it creates glare from my television screen.
Video games are a waste of evolution.
I can think of other species that would have died to have had those thumbs (in many cases – they did die – Dodos with thumbs would’ve vanquished those pirates); and here I am – wasting them like any other comparable metaphor that I can’t think of.
4 hours devoted to pixels is probably a major factor as to why I can’t do the proper word thinking no more.
Nobody looks back from their death-bed and wishes they’d spent more time wasting their life.
Oscar Wilde committed his last words as an epigram, proper sturdy wit that has lasted the ages as a bit of throw-away excuse-me-for-being-so-hopelessly-charming-and-acutely-smashing via the line: “Either that wallpaper goes or I do.” And he did.
Upon my own deathbed, surrounded by the failures of my life – obvious my omission – I shall advice this of the young: “Get ahead in Candy Crush early; it’ll save a lot of living”.
I don’t know why I don’t do things.
It could be the fear of failure. It could be the fear of success.
When I look back on the manner of living by which I have conducted myself, I could cry.
I’ve had a high-flying job, travelled the world, wooed fierce women and defeated great men, I’ve a formidable gang of friends and family that is quite simply better than yours, with a woman by my side whose perfection and reciprocated love for me is unutterable by any common tongue as it seems only constant and fiery devotion to one another will do.
I have a dog.
Me – not the dog.
My ancestors will die and leave me enough money that I will never have to work yet I can still envision myself being ignored by the people on the street as I begin to worry about eating that day and having very cold feet.
I was raised with my head in books and only the most-lofty of clouds, my arse in a theatre and my feet on the pitch. I was accused of being able to do anything I wanted in life, and so began a fear of taking those few short steps are all that require me to do so.
I have taken steps; no strides.
I could do anything, and it terrifies me.
Not deserved, what some would have killed for
I need to take no more steps, as I feel only strides will do. That great single stride that begins every great adventure, only it must be one that cannot be stepped back.
I’m not sure if its anxiety or simple stage fright (on that stage that all the world is, and all the people merely players).
Being an egomaniac is a terrible thing when you’re on your own, with nobody to make laugh and only the cold stare of your disappointed self, wondering why you haven’t made it great yet.
This ‘second coming’ wasn’t worth all the hype was it?
Time to be a man about this.
First, a good hardy slap to the right (upper) cheek.
Ow (Damn I’m good at that).
Second, a promise to be immediately fulfilled.
An article, written post-hence, to be properly proofread and fully uploaded to all available media.
The subject: the greatest aspects of Earth I we need to flaunt to all alien life for two reasons:
1. They are intimidated by the Haka and learn a lesson in fucking off.
2. They hear the immortal tale of the human condition of lucky suffering – ABBA’s Mamma Mia.
3. Well, read the article and you’ll find out.
I have to say, writing is a marvellous thing, as reading is also, and I think you’ll find that together we can get a bit of both jolly well done, eh?
And remember, “do not go gentle into that good night”, but make sure you give the dawn a good kicking too.
With strides only,