Only losers take the bus, so I took the bus, no point in amplifying the delusion.
Here are a few of the things that crossed my mind from Euston via Waterloo to Cranleigh.
It didn’t start well. Turning to the steps that lead down to the platform, I see a woman with a pram. She has stopped halfway, a look of exasperation. A diverse collection of individuals ignore her, some almost shoving as they walk by. As I overtake her, I comment that I can’t believe how rude people are, but noticing there is only 4 minutes to my train and I have 12 more steps to go, I hurry to the platform.
NO. Of course I don’t. I waste the vast chasm of between 7 and 12 seconds it takes to get the pushchair to the top of the stairs, then join the unmannerly bastards below who are still waiting for the train, waiting, sighing and fondling the Evening Standard considered to be a more valuable use of their time than a brief bit of baby lifting. My only worry when getting involved with a stranger’s pushchair is losing grip and accidentally sending the chair to the bottom of the stairs, thus going from helpful stranger to “the man who killed my child”.
At Warren Street, I wonder how many humans in the world aren’t as well fed as our pets.
At Tottenham Court Road, I read the review of Morrissey’s Autobiography. Why does anyone give a jot that it is part of the Penguin Classic Imprint. I imagine each literary editor who has wept for this supposed defacing of greatness is giving Morrissey the sort of shiver of joy he’d normally reserve for touching that Ena Sharple’s bonnet he keeps in the secret hatbox. Will people now turn their noses up at Gogol, Trollope or Homer because they have the same spine design as Morrissey? Wasn’t it just a joke? Is it the casket the words are in or the words themselves that really matter? If it is such an issue, perhaps Omnibus Press must now release lavishly illustrated books of Plato In His Own Words and Kenneth Anger should write a book called Babylon Babylon.
At Embankment, I think about the flurry of tweets about whether to vote or not, spurred by an interview or an article or ornament of Russell Brand’s. Someone said, “if you don’t vote, how can you change the status quo”, but the problem seems to be that voting doesn’t change the status quo, and so the frustration of a few generations who look to party politics and see similar shades of sentiment packaged as alternatives. With so many types of right wing to choose from, it seems peculiar that the majority of pretend rebel parties are right wing too. There are so many egos of bigots to choose from.
On the train at Waterloo, I open my copy of John Berger’s Hold Everything Dear. There is an inscription, “To Kate, much Love, Jimmy”. Does Jimmy still have much love for Kate, did Kate have a similar amount of love for Jimmy? Was it just in the Book Exchange because Kate and Jimmy like to recycle their books, or did John Berger’s words lead to a violent argument about Palestine and pre-empt the end of love?
As the train departs, I eavesdrop on the conversation of the middle aged women opposite me. It is not an act of eavesdropping, I have no choice. Once I hear talking, much as I wish to create a silent mind to keep reading without distraction, I can not tune out. One is reading the Standard. Apparently, she is a distant relative of Andrew Mitchell’s. As they talk of the days news, I wonder how often people think to question, “why has this been written? what is the purpose?” I think of Robert Anton Wilson writing about reality tunnels.
They get to talking about some criminal. In Cosmic Trigger 2, Robert Anton Wilson writes a beautiful, sad and thought nudging piece on the murder of his daughter, Luna, who was killed by a native American burglar. He writes of how he does not only put the blame on that man who physically killed his daughter, but also on history, on the events before the murderer was even born, that led to his situation and this death. Of course, you’re not really allowed to talk that like that. To keep us safe and blameless, we must that think that criminals are criminals and murderers are murderers, anything else is woolly liberal lather. A pity, as perhaps if we could start to scrutinise why the catacslysmic, terrifying and brutal occurred we may go some way to learning how to prevent it. Easier to think of our enemies hating us from some shallow envy than delving to deep and disconcerting thoughts and actions.
On the 63 bus, I see the village greens, old trees and bonfires that make this part of Surrey resemble Michael Crichton’s Englandworld, where nothing can go worng. It is a theme park of cricket and wealth, where the sort of families that these family homes were once built for could never afford them now. I think that if I lived here, it would be so much easier to imagine a poor that could only be lazy, and read the columns of Dominic Lawson admiringly as I considered the BBC to be a communist coven.
I am here.
tour dates soon at braintree, dorking, hull, leeds, york, edinburgh and many more http://www.robinince.com for details (also details of new Christmas shows with brian cox)
the science app cosmic genome has been updated again, incl Dawkins, Cox, Goldacre, Czerski and the like http://www.cosmicgenome.com