I got into a Jesus taxi yesterday that was a sort of miniature cathedral on wheels complete with a choir and incense and a model of the man god himself on the dashboard, his head angled slightly downward as if in adoration of a lamb or the gear stick or something equally infant like. As we bumped and swerved through the avenues and streets of manhattan his spring loaded head wobbled incessantly, his arms outstretched in an authentic 'come to jesus' manner. The strange thing about this was that I felt so relaxed in that rolling place of worship that I even found myself singing along to 'hallelujah' in Latin, rekindling my choir boy days and holding the bark of the outside word at bay for the few minutes it took for me to get my destination, the soho house club. My Haitian driver was called Earnest which is a miracle in itself in that Haitians aren't known for handing out Edwardian names as far as i know but as my mother likes to say "miracles DO happen".
Somewhere there is an academy of idiocy supplying the Duane Reeds, At&T's, Walmarts and Cablevisions of the world with single brain cell organisms to work their customer service departments. Those of managerial quality will rise to the top quickly and will be marginally less slow in the brain than that of a sloth and will possess a vacant look, a truly vacant look. As in 'nobody's home' vacant. Not abandoned, but was never there.
To rob a man of his umbrella is bad form indeed. I am the victim of such a crime and however minor a crime it might seem, it is a crime, nevertheless. The insult becomes somewhat more injurious when you factor in that my beloved gave it to me. The injurious insult amplifies to near murderous levels, however, when you add to the equation the fact that this beautiful umbrella was taken kicking and screaming, kidnapped no less, from an umbrella stand at a restaurant that I have helped keep afloat with my over indulgence over the years and to make matters even worse (unimaginable, I know) the head of security there couldn't be less interested in the apprehension of the perpetrator of this heinous act. Surely Mr Head of Security at the Maritime Hotel in NYC, if you're not part of the solution you most certainly are a part of the problem and I suggest you might try your hand at something less challenging to you than keeping an eye on the general well being of your very good customers and their possessions. Perhaps you might like a term working at Duane Reed or other place of employ that prefers such sharp thinkers as yourself. Either way, get some bloody security cameras on the premises and watch those instead of The Love Boat or whatever idiotic rerun is keeping your attention away from the despatch of your paid responsibilities. You've lost another customer.
The fundamental unit of time is the second, defined officially as “the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom”. In other words, you measure the frequency of the microwave radiation emitted when electrons move between specified orbits or energy levels in caesium – and multiply it by 9,192,631,770 to get a second. It's really quite simple to the average Oxbridge graduate.
I’ve always wanted one. It’s a bit of a ‘must have’ if you’re a male and over 180 lbs and can handle yourself. Unless your stalker is a male too and larger than you, in which case it’s not good. Anyway, I had a temporary stalker the other day on the train. A bright blue crushed velvet tracksuit and long impossibly black hair down to his/her waist, that he/she stroked constantly whilst smiling at me like a cannibal might when stirring soup. It was sufficiently disconcerting enough for me to change carriages when we stopped at the next station. It wasn’t long before he/she decided to swap carriages too and come and smile at me and stroke his/her hair in that bright blue crushed velvet tracksuit and do it from the seat immediately opposite me. Had I longer hair I might have tried stroking my hair in the same manner just for the hell of it. It would have been a synchronized hair stroking event on the train, one of us with a more nervous than carnivorous smile, mine akin to a terrified ballroom dancer.
Survival in the wild after a plane crash or other such event that requires long term expert survival skills. /
I’ve been rehearsing for a plane crash for the last 15 years or so, or a ‘break down in the middle of nowhere, miles from help, satellites and medical care situation’. I’ve studied the ancient art of fire making, I’ve learnt how to use the natural world for things such as cooking utensils, soap, shelter and weaponry to catch and kill it’s animal life. I can find water by observing the body language of birds, I can inform you of your true north from the moss on a tree and I can help you navigate back to your tent or cave in the pitch black of night with nothing but my echo graphic scans of the terrain just. like. a. bat.
Yes, if you were to have a plane crash with me and my survival books and iPhone apps, you’d be well equipped for a series of over confident self assured lunges at conquering the wild – a far more rapid route to certain death or glorious survival, a means to get to the end result with a break neck expediency.
I’d be the only passenger in the plane going down with an excited grin, fantasizing about limping out of the wreckage in a few minutes, dressing my wounds and yours with palm leaves and vines, setting traps for dinner (rabbit) and raiding the aircraft for whisky. We’d make a shelter out of branches overhead, I’d make a saucepan out of birch bark, we’d boil some water, drink nettle tea and think about staying in the woods forever. Then you would realize you are with a total lunatic who has no intention of ever being found again.
Having over consumed food and wine this Thanksgiving, I found myself simply unable to move. I felt so hideously handicapped with immobility that my brain actually started trying to find illogical solutions to the problem. The desperation to have this large alien body of food in me be somehow removed from my person, to free me once more to move my arms and legs like anybody else, was real and urgent. Not unlike, perhaps, the feeling of a woman who’s been pregnant for 12 months. So as my brain lunged and lurched at possible options that might have given me some reprieve I alighted at my next new business venture. The external stomach – much like an external hard drive – could be plugged into our sides and carried along in a stylish leather pouch much like those wonderful under armpit gun holsters that I so admire in Starsky And Hutch and other superb American police television programs. Your luncheon partners would be none the wiser as to your keeping an external stomach and would simply think that you are armed with a large pistol instead. Any overflow from your real stomach would be subtly “whisper pumped” (I’ve applied for patent) off to the other one. This would allow for far longer lunches and rather than having to digest it all there and then you could choose where and when to do so, drip feeding yourself the accumulated nutrients bit by bit throughout the day or night, depending on your preferences and settings. Imagine how empowered you will feel, to have taken control over how you want to eat. To be able to say “Waiter! May I have another steak and bottle of red wine please?” Next time you have a large lunch, ask yourself how you might feel if you reduced that full up feeling by say, 40%. And how about another ice cream whilst you’re at it?
A man named Bruce strode / limped casually up the drive in 84′ish and knocked on the door. He’d come to look at my father’s maserati mexico which, despite being a 1968 model, only had 25,000 miles on the clock. It had been kept in meticulous condition by my father who in turn delegated it’s upkeep to a couple of transvestite car mechanics / body restorers who went by the name of Les Girls, just off the 1-95 in Miami. I did like that car. So enter Bruce.
Bruce had a look over the car from behind his mustache and promised to buy it there and then. My father asked him about the cause of his limp. As Bruce was wearing shorts this was obviously obvious; that being that Bruce only had one leg that was real. His other leg, or pretend leg, was made of rubber and he’d decorated it with painted toe nails. Quite what a one legged man wanted with an italian sports car with a very much manual gearbox and racing clutch, one can only guess. The odds of him even getting to the bottom of the drive were not good. In any case, we never found out because he didn’t buy the car. But he did stay with us for a week, in and out of the pool, in the drinks cabinet, in the bath, the kitchen, with the dogs on the sofa etc etc. I went out on the boat one day and he came too, waving his stump at women on the beach. He loved to do that, raising it up and down so quickly that it was a blur, extolling it’s virtues with a “yeeha!”. I never quite understood his logic – how could a third of a leg be any better than a full one? Only now that I am of adult mind, do I truly understand what he was trying to convey to those girls on the beach. What an innocent view I evidently had at the age of 15. But my father was able to see, quite instantly, the entertainment value of having a one legged man at his drinks parties. “This is Bruce with one leg”, my father would say. An excellent conversation starter, if you’re ever lost for one. Bruce loved it and the more fun he was having the higher an angle he rested his leg at. A preposterous invention of a man but the world was richer in some ways because of him.
Unicyclists are a strange breed, aren’t they. I don’t want to get sued so I’m merely expressing an opinion here but it’s an opinion based on fact, I’m sure. They are possessed of the circus gene, the desire to juggle and eat fire and cohort with midgets driving midget fire trucks. But the circus left town on these guys, crept out whilst they were sleeping one morning and left them because they were too weird even for the bearded ladies, the strong men and sword swallowers. In any event, their one man shows don’t quite have the draw of the big tent and it’s this craving for the spotlight and the applause and the roll of the drum that has them out among us, terrifying the elderly on pavements with their jerky adjustments, arms spread out like tightrope walkers and always with a face that betrays a self conscious desire to be looked at whilst pretending not to notice when people do. What could be worse? Only the progeny of a unicyclist could amplify my dislike for unicyclists. The very idea that two if them might get together physically and bring another one into the world. What a concentrate of absurdity, their creation not yet familiar with the ways of circus, dressed up in a midget fireman’s costume. What chance in life will that child unicyclist have?
Next week I will be discussing my dislike of people that juggle sand bags with their feet in union square.
I’m feeling revolutionary, ever so mildly, from my arm chair, latent, pregnant with an urge to join the throngs down at Wall St. The great unwashed, but the emphasis is on Great. I’ve been down there. I’ve seen the ‘sledgehammer cracks nut’ ratio of police : peaceful protester. The boys in blue’s firepower is impressive, glistening metal in the sunlight, the walkie talkies, the trucks and zip ties and the helicopters. I do so love the New York police for their harnessed aggression and ability to deliver on it immediately. Police states have always been kind to me so I doubt very much I would feel so forgiving if I were on the receiving end of a bit of police boot. And the protesters, their bad haircuts, the smelly armpits and general air of being unemployable made me second guess my support for them. Indeed, from my silent position standing down there I did examine them. They’re a rag tag, unkempt bunch of ruffians under a noble cause, however. I owe them something and we all do, we do. What prevents me from going down there with my tent and cammo netting, in truth I know it’s the only thing, is that my life would change dramatically were I arrested for protesting against what is essentially american government. Free speech can land you in a lot of hot water in some places and America is one of those places and I’m a guest here. My shameful passivity. This poem from Oscar is apt:-
Not that I love thy children, whose dull eyes
See nothing save their own unlovely woe,
Whose minds know nothing, nothing care to know,–
But that the roar of thy Democracies,
Thy reigns of Terror, thy great Anarchies,
Mirror my wildest passions like the sea
And give my rage a brother–! Liberty!
For this sake only do thy dissonant cries
Delight my discreet soul, else might all kings
By bloody knout or treacherous cannonades
Rob nations of their rights inviolate
And I remain unmoved–and yet, and yet,
These Christs that die upon the barricades,
God knows it I am with them, in some things.