Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Major sunday morning brain activity!

Just had a major breakthrough on the bus this morning. Life is a waking dream.

Let me repeat:

Life is a waking dream

More on this brain activity later!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Currently reading: The sorrows of Young Werther (By Goethe)

When one is in love, besotted, with another, then one sees meanings everywhere and even the slightest happenance can move one to joy or despair. In this classic book Goethe describes, with almost painful honestly, how every man who has ever lived has felt when in the throes of love. There is a scene where young Werther, who is in love with Lotte, is at the carriage of her home to wave goodbye after a party. There are others there too, all waving goodbye, and young Werther is trying to catch lotte's eyes but:

"but ah, her eyes they gazed from one to another! But not at me! Me! Me! I was the only one who saw nothing there but her, and she did not look my way! My heart bade her a thousand adieus! But she did not see me! My carriage drove off and my eyes filled with tears for she had not looked at me! I looked out of the carriage and saw her bonnet and she turned to look back, ah! at me! But I am left with uncertainty. Did she look back at me or not! Was it me? Oh, what a child I am! How can one be so hungry for a look!"

I love the way Goethe describes the torments of being in love. Have we not all felt like this at some point in our lives? If not a look then perhaps a text message or email or an action or some other thing. We look for deeper meanings in the smallest things, in scraps and as a result we create a world of imagined things, of imagined lives, of imagined feelings. A whole world dwelling inside our heads constructed on the most flimsiest of foundations.

So this is what it is like to be human!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Women, sex and ancestors

What does a woman have to do? Nothing! Just sit there looking all pretty. She doesn't have to do anything. She doesn't have to be brilliant at something. Nor does she need to earn lots of money, or write delicious poetry. She just needs to sit there looking all pretty and all the stupid men in the world will run after her like mosquitoes circling a light! These braindead droids of men! What do they chase? Do they chase genius? Do they chase wisdom? No,  they chase beauty with their penises!

I see them everywhere! Drunk and mad is how they look and chase. Like drug addicts! The will is strong in them. The will to find a mate and have babies! There is nothing else but this that occupies the lives of people. But why?  Why? Because if we didn't. If my ancestors asked these same questions and didn't bother - then I wouldn't be here! I am here because my ancestors loved sex. Loved women and men. They never asked the who and where and whys. They just got on with it! Should I thank them?

No. I don't give a monkeys! I never asked them and they never asked me. "hey Wasim we're just gonna have some sex but the result will be that sometime in the future you will be born. Is that OK with you?"

I would not have given them permission!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Postcard to my Mother


Saturday, September 17, 2011


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Life as dream

They lived in a dream. The 'Gurani' Indians that numbered 500,000 and were spread between the Atlantic coast to the east and the Andes to the west. Their whole life a narrow dream. A dream populated with spirits and the souls of ancestors. A world they made sense of in their rituals. And then the Europeans arrived in their great black ships like aliens from another planet.  With their blazing metal swords and booming angry guns. They came on the waves on flying ships with huge 'wings'. Oh father! Make sense of the world to me! Father does not know. This is the beginning of the end. Oh father!  What I thought I knew and what I know. The gulf infinite.

I is someone else

"I is someone else". So begin the adventures of an Arthur Rimbaud: poet, incurable romantic, bad boy, bad mannered poster child of the new french poetic style. He was famous for his poetry, yet he wanted to be someone else. To fry his brain and become another. To step outside himself. How to do?  How to do? We take holidays to distant lands to escape. But do we really escape? How can you escape when you take yourself along with you. The key is to become another on your travels. Leave your old self behind. Leave it behind. Start anew. See all through another's eyes. Think the thoughts of another. Be another. Be. Like. No. Other.

Planning for Travels in Chile

Sometimes it is the planning and giddy anticipation of what is to come that sets the mind a-racing the heart a-beating, the imagination a-soaring. Like a modern day Ferdinand Magellan I feel. What will I find there? What will it be like? Will I fall off the edge of the world? Will I discover the secret of life?

Thursday, September 08, 2011

A case of Bouffée délirante


Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The World is my Oyster...


Why is it that I am drawn to places on the edge?
At the edge of the world - I seek to find - something.
What I know not. Perhaps the answer will reveal itself - like a rainbow in a puddle -
only then to disappear just as quickly.
A place to belong - is that what I seek?
A sense of home?
To be able to sigh: 'Yes, I have finally arrived. This is where I belong'
Perhaps I am chasing phantasmas. Chasing rainbows.

Perhaps in my restless and reckless heart, I seek answers - to questions
which have none.

Last night lying in bed I realised in a fit of clarity that my life was meaningless
like a slap in the face it was. Like cold water thrown over me - I realised that nothing mattered - if I die - If I live - what I do - what I don't
it's all in vain - in the end. In the cold dark cosmic mirror between the stars,
you see no reflection and when you ask - you only hear your question.
And in last nights fit of clarity I also realised,
I could do anything...anything I wanted. Nothing matters in the end so why
not make this matter. THIS. This one and only life. This my only chance. This existence.

In the supreme face of cosmic apathy and indifference the best thing
is to stick a big 'V' at nature and scream fuck you!

It makes one feel free. Super free. To be able to say: fuck what the world say's.
I never asked for this. I will do as I want,
and nobody can stop me...

And it's true. Nobody can.

the truth is,

I really am not afraid.

And THAT scares me!

People seek order and 'stability' - when all around them chaos rages like a storm,
tossing their best laid plans to the wind.

And in the end, what do we have to live forward to?


it will come one day.

And when death comes knocking on my door,
I want to let it in happily. 'Come in death' I want to say. Not
'Keep out! Not now!'

A life lived 'deliberately', is the only life worth living.


Yep, that's me.

I leave you now with a song that is perfect for this.

It's called 'Innuendo'...and it's by my favourite band of all time. The best band in the world! -  Queen.

This really is something special. Read the lyrics. Enjoy.

Lyrics: Innuendo

(One two three four)

While the sun hangs in the sky and the desert has sand
While the waves crash in the sea and meet the land
While there's a wind and the stars and the rainbow
Till the mountains crumble into the plain

Oh yes we'll keep on trying
Tread that fine line
Oh we'll keep on trying yeah
Just passing our time

While we live according to race, colour or creed
While we rule by blind madness and pure greed
Our lives dictated by tradition, superstition, false religion
Through the aeons, and on and on

Oh yes we'll keep on trying
We'll tread that fine line
Oh oh we'll keep on trying
Till the end of time
Till the end of time

Through the sorrow all through our splendour
Don't take offence at my innuendo

You can be anything you want to be
Just turn yourself into anything you think that you could ever be
Be free with your tempo be free be free
Surrender your ego be free be free to yourself

Oooh oooh
If there's a God or any kind of justice under the sky
If there's a point if there's a reason to live or die
If there's an answer to the questions we feel bound to ask
Show yourself - destroy our fears - release your mask

Oh yes we'll keep on trying
Hey tread that fine line
Yeah we'll keep on smiling yeah (yeah yeah)
And whatever will be will be
We'll keep on trying
We'll just keep on trying
Till the end of time
Till the end of time
Till the end of time

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Happy 65th birthday Freddy!

Time to break free...

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The church of Modernity.

Here I am. It's Sunday morning. Monday is a bank holiday and the carnival is in town. I spent last night at a friend's place in West London. As I'd agreed to meet my friend later in the evening and since I had arrived in the area a little early, I had plenty of time to kill. So what does one do when one has time a-plenty in Shepherds Bush? Visit the brand new church ofcourse!

I know what you are thinking. What is this church to which I refer? Well It is no ordinary 'church'. Like all churches it has high vaulted ceilings. Like most churches it has a dome roof of clear glass through which heavenly light showers through lighting the top of the heads of the congregation and worshippers. But this is no ordinary congregation and this no ordinary church either.

The church I am referring to is called 'The Westfield Shopping Centre' and people flock to it in their thousands in search of answers! They visit the house of Gucci and the house of Armani. They prostrate themselves at the Emporium of Adidas and seek wisdom from the oracle of Apple. They walk around for hours and hours like benumb zombies circling the two floors of the church like they do in Muslim Mecca. And then, having ostensibly found what they are looking for, they return home satisfied and content.

Until that is the next morning when they wake up and realise nothing has changed. Their lives are still as meaningless and empty as before. They are still none the wiser. Life continues to show them a mysterious face. They look at yesterday's shopping bags and wonder why they brought what they did. At the time, in the church of Westfield, that Prada handbag and the new Iphone4 was answering all their prayers. But today in the cold and honest and harsh light of the morning, in the light of their room and amongst the ordinary furniture of their home, that bag looks different. It seems they were duped. They were lied to. Salvation does not live in the church of Westfield.

I spent five hours in the church of Westfield yesterday and I didn't feel a thing.

Actually wait I lie. I did feel something.

I felt profound relief when I got out. At times it felt like being in a circus. A nightmare. A fairground ride.  A merry-go-round but without the merriment.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

What I can see today

I can see a blonde mother with her teenage daughter and younger son. Mother and daughter want to go into T. K. Maxx for more shopping but the son is standing outside refusing to go in. The poor lad has had enough shopping with these never-satisfied women! He wants out. Who can blame him?

I can see a couple holding hands. Now he has put his arms on her shoulder - weakly. He feels uncomfortable. Are they meeting in central London illicitly? Perhaps her parents don't approve of him? She is pretty and there is an air of royalty about her. She has a certain grace and walks as if she is comfortable in her own skin. Comfortable in who she is. Confident. They say confidence is sexy and it can't be faked.

What is confidence and why are some people more sure then others? Do they know or understand something that lesser mortals don't? Do they have access to the secret of life or some other esoteric knowledge?! Is confidence steeped in the real world or is it more about how you feel inside? The world is full of people who have something to be confident about but aren't confident at all. And the world is full of even more people who have less to be confident about but are very confident indeed.

I look at the couple again. I know what it is. As a writer you must get into and under the skins of people, and I think I have understood those weak gestures. That luke-warm hand draped on the shoulder. That wet kiss like a fish. That weak fire of passion that burns not like a roaring tiger but a mouse. He is not sure if he deserves her. That's what it is. He thinks she might be too good for him. Yet it is this same feeling of inadequacy that he has, that will fuel his jealousy and eventually drive her away from him. I can see their future in a weak kiss!

I feel like I can see everything today. Nothing escapes me. Perched as I am on this lofty peak why don't I cast this gaze, this all seeing eye, inwards. What will I find in me? Perhaps I am afraid?

Yes I am afraid. Better to keep the demons locked up!

And throw away the key.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mobile blogging from my new 'Samsung Galaxy S2' smartphone

The future just got better. The future is bright. The future is Orange. The future is mobile blogging.

This blog entry is being written, composed and posted from the balcony of a friends flat. I am not in front of a computer. I am standing outside with the rain lashing at my feet - and i am writing this from my brand new smartphone.

I am trying to think of words to express my proudness. proudness the right word? Or maybe better to say to express my feeling of utter drunken amazement at being able to do this. To be able to post a blog entry from anywhere on this fucking planet! I feel like Superman. Not Nietzches Uber man, but Clark Kent`s alter ego. I cannot believe and can barely comprehend the possibilities mobile `on the go` blogging have suddenly opened up. You have no idea! The floodgates have suddenly opened up for me. I can now post 'instantly' what i think the very moment i think it. I am so happy i think i am about to cry. I am not drunk...just a little sozzled n inebriated. No! I should not write in textology. Shame on me! Full sentences only. I am still getting used to typing on this wonderful touch screen. Yes it is smaller then the typing surface of a laptop - but it has predictive text and it can learn my typing behaviour. It knows what words I mean. It knows me very well....and we only just met!

Wow! Today i am proud to be human. Proud at our - the human races's achievements. Proud to be able to blog that even a word?!

Over and out.

This message was sent by a slightly drunk Me from the Samsung Galaxy S2. Gosh! I think i am in love. I have found my soul-mate. I have found 'her'. The 'one' i have been searching for all of my miserable life (i wonder if she allows me to type in italics?)

Please visit my alter-ego at my new blog (click on link below)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Currently reading: Open City (By Teju Cole)


Along the streets of Manhattan, a young Nigerian doctor doing his residency training wanders aimlessly. The walks meet a need for Julius: they are a release from the tightly regulated mental environment of work, and they give him the opportunity to process his relationships,  his present, his past - his recent breakup. Though he is navigating the busy parts of town, the impression of countless faces does nothing to reduce his feelings of isolation. But it is not only a physical landscape he covers; Julius crisscrosses social territory as well, encountering people from different cultures and classes who will provide insight on his journey - which takes him to Brussels, to the Nigeria of his youth, and into the most unrecognisable facets of his own soul. 

Extraordinary stuff.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Best Gringo's Guide to South America ever!

This is required reading material for any Gringo of quality...

The above is a link to the best guide to South America. It quite simply tramples the 'Lonely Planet' guide and all other guides into the Peruvian mud! Why is it better then other guide books? Well let me tell you:

a) It is updated every year - so has the latest information (unlike the Lonely Planet Guides which are updated every 4-5 years!)
b) It tells you the time-tables for bus services in even the most remotest of mountain regions - places you wouldn't even dream of going. Places that civilisation hasn't touched and where the locals look like inbred mutants. But it is nice to have that information in your fingertips - just in case!
c) It has a hard cover and is small and light.

Caught by the Travel South America

In around and abouts mid-December 2011, I will be heading off to Latin America for a much needed spiritual awakening. My inspiration meter is low - in fact, the tank is almost empty!

So to recharge, and re-boot, I will be donning those rugged trainers, the jeans, and the ruck-sack + camera + little laptop (for mobile blogging) + kindle (loaded with a lifetimes worth of reading material) + 2 t-shirts + 1 shirts + a healthy dose of wanderlust + passport + money + contact lenses + plane tickets + Latin translator (they speak Latin in Latin America silly billy!) + Christian cross (In case I need to prove I am a Christian) so that I am not burnt at the stake by some Conquistadores or followers of Pizzaro.

The idea being to wonder about this part of the world a little bit. It is a big part of the world and I intend to see as much of it as possible before I die. No! You have misunderstood me! I have no intention of actually DYING on the trip! Oh no. I hope to stay alive if possible. I hope to keep the ghost for a while yet - the ghost of my life force.

And wonder I will, wherever the heart will take me, wherever I feel like it, in my own style and my own pace and on my own legs. I will not hurry. I will not rush. I will not aim to see as much as possible so that I can tick those "I have been there" boxes. I will not be a tourist. I will not take stupid photos of myself in front of Machu Picchu to tell people that 'I WAS HERE!' - How degrading! LOOK AT ME! LOOK WHERE I AM! LOOK WHERE I HAVE BEEN! - Idiotos...

No! No! No!

I have better style then those idiot tourists with 2 brain cells. Oh yes! I will be a wanderer. An adventurer! An explorer of the mind. I will seek out and discover new life. And new things. And if I am lucky - really really lucky - I might even...find ...myself.

Oooh, how exciting to find oneself. But how strange no? To go to the other side of the world looking...for yourself! But isn't that what real travel is really all about? Its not places we seek. It's not little corners of the world. Its not caves or secret beaches or remote deserts or peaceful mountains. We seek ourselves. The truth is, that in modern life in a modern metropolis like London - you never have time for yourself. Its always about yourself in relation to others. You're never on your own. In fact - people are afraid of there own shadows and reflections. That is why whenever they are alone for a minute they take out their Iphones and Blackberries and get connected! Or play games! So they don't have to have an inner dialogue with themselves!

But who are you? Who really am I? Who is anybody? To answer this question you must surround yourself not by others, but by your own voice. And I'll be hearing plenty of 'my own voice' alone on my travels.

The truth is that I am good friends with myself. We (me and me) get on very well! I got to know me very well over the course of many previous travels and discussions. But I have been neglecting me for a while now! I have put me in a closet and I have shut the door. But it is now time. Time to let me out.

I can't wait! - Hahahaha

Tonight I will watch 'The Motorcycle Diaries' as a celebration and a sort of mental preparation for South America.

Over the course of the next weeks and months I will be writing a whole host of travel related articles on this blog. So watch out! Some will be useful. Some a little strange. Many a little mad. And most will no doubt be totally and wholly out of this world. If you want to join me on an adventure - an adventure with no limits - then stay with me. You might not be travelling with me - but through the medium of the printed word - through the use of 26 letters of the English alphabet - I may be able to work some magic with my fingers - and for a while - for an instant - transport you - as if on a magic carpet - to my side...

I will take you with me on my trip, and you will see and taste and feel - as I.

I leave you now with the following words:

We travel not for trafficking alone;
 By hotter winds our fiery hearts are fanned:
For lust of knowing what should not be known
 We take the Golden Road to Samarkand.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Saturday Picnic - Regents Park

One day all this but memories
Of the times we had
Things we did
Things we said
How we laughed
and shrieked
& got drunk.
How you stole my cigarettes
and begged me
for my lighter!

Memories, all but memories
How we celebrated this crazy thing
called Life
In the sunrise of our youth
In the ascendancy of our powers
One day all but memories

This Miracle
Of a beautiful life.
How I love you!
Though you sometimes hurt me so.




Monday, August 08, 2011

London's Burning! London's Burning!

It all reminds me of that Clash Song from the 80's:

London's burning!
London's burning!

All across the town,
all across the night
Everybody's driving with full headlights
Black or white turn it on,
face the new religion
Everybody's sitting 'round watching television!

London's burning with boredom now
London's burning dial 99999

I can hear police sirens as I type this. When I switch on the telly I am confronted by images of hooded youths on bikes throwing missiles at police, burning bins, and buildings raging with fire - all not far from where I live. Am I in a warzone in Afghanistan? Is this Iraq? No, this is London. London is under siege my friends. Under siege by jobless hooded youths - who are either, not at school / college because of the summer breaks, or are jobless because the economy is so fucked. Is there a cause or is this just the will-full mindless violence of a generation brought up on violent computer games - starving for some real world excitement?

Who to blame?

The cosy politicians with their austerity cuts? Cuts to education. Cuts to welfare spending. Cuts to the public sector. Cuts to the health service. Cuts to community services. Extra tuition fees. Fewer university places. Fewer jobs. Less of everything - but more things you want to buy. More things to buy! The types of shops that were looted tells you something about what these people want: the latest fucking trainers and big wide screen TV's so they can watch themselves on the telly attacking and looting. Their ugly mugs stapled all over the TV news - in High Definition! Morons.

My mind is awash with thoughts. That is why this blog entry is not coherent. It is rambling, I am rambling, my brain is under siege with conflicting ideas and theories and thoughts all vying for attention. I am angry. I am angry with the mindless opportunistic violence. I am angry with the politicians for creating a whole generation of lost youth. Yes they are lost. With no qualifications and no prospects - what will they do?

But there is something else that is eating at me. It is this: we live in a city and a world (at least in the West) where society functions. Criminals are caught and prosecuted. Violent acts are prevented. But this is only because these criminal activities happen sporadically and are spaced out in time. The police can deal with them because they don't require a concentration of force. But when they happen all at once - in different locations - when there is communication between the no-gooders that allows them to logisticise their activities - when the thugs have numbers on their sides - when the trouble makers use Blackberry Messaging services such as BBM to organise - then we have trouble. Then the police are stretched. And this is what we are seeing in London. A thin blue line of police that can't cope.

Get a group of people organised - and you'll get trouble. That is why in the old days of revolutions - gatherings of more then 3 people in town squares were forbidden.

But there is something else also I wish to discuss. Something more morbid and dark. Something that is gnawing away at my brain. Eating away at my skull. It is this: We think we live in a stable world where things work - but that skin of stability is very thin indeed. Tenuous. It doesn't take much to pierce it you know. And when it pierces the seething, malevolent, selfish, bad, violent, greedy side of humanity surfaces. A side that is normally kept in check by social order processes - police, the army, threat of prosecution, courts etc. But when that breaks down - when the police can't cope - civilization crumbles - cities burn - people get hurt.

We are a fucked up race. Humanity! What a joke! We rape and pillage this planet. We cause endless suffering to countless creatures. We are genocidal, suicidal, megalomaniacal, infanticidal, racial, profligate, lecherous, and greedy beyond measure. And outside I can hear police cars. I can hear a police helicopter buzzing above my head and on the news, London burns. London is burning. Black smoke is bellowing and belching. Shops are being raided. Livelihoods are being destroyed. Hackney is burning to the ground. The world is watching as we kill ourselves. This world is fucked. Where all gonna die. Let the cockroaches take-over! - Yeah!

Wasim. Blog Reporter. Live from a Warzone in Hackney. Over and Out.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Sunday despatches from a Man Alive

Leisure-time is the flower, or rather, the fruit of existence, as it puts a man in possession of himself. So those will be happiest in leisure who possess something real in themselves. During the day I don't possess myself - work possesses me - I belong to work. In the evenings it is a different matter altogether. In the evenings I am mine - I belong to me! Hands off!


If you think about it everybody does what is best for himself. The man who pushes to the front of the queue is doing it for himself. The girl who dumps her boyfriend is not acting out of malice - but self interest. The man who robs is doing it for his children. The inquisitors of the Spanish Inquisition with Torquemada as their head burnt heretics on the stake to save their souls from further blasphemy. The Nazis incinerated the Jews because they believed the world would be a better place without them. There is no such thing as pure evil in the world. Only terribly misguided, ignorant, ill-conceived, ill-thought-out, actions warped by wrong ideas. Everyman thinks he is doing right. No man thinks himself to be doing wrong. Only in the minds of others, is evil as a tangible thing, brought to conception. The cure for the troubles of the world I know: "look at every person that lives as if they're your very own child - would you throw bombs at your children? Everybody that lives has a mother - and when that person suffers, a mothers grief is born". If only we all remembered this in our daily lives - would we not then be kinder and gentler to our fellow citizens?


Man is the only creature in the world who kills for reasons other than food, land, sex (access to females) and survival. What are these 'other' reasons? No other animal but man kills because of the Ideas you hold in your brain? No other animal kills another because he poses a future threat. No other animal but man kills because it makes him feel good. No other animal but man kills because he wishes to wipe you out completely. No other animal kills for punishment or for revenge for something you have done in the past. No other animal kills because you do not share the same beliefs. The race of men kill consciously and deliberately. It is a part of the same intellectual heritage that enables us to contemplate the stars. Without one there would be no other. There is no art without pain. There is no love without heart-ache. There is no good without evil. The blade cuts both ways.


There is nothing more pleasurable in life then fresh coffee served with a fresh oven baked baguette that is spread liberally with a dashing of golden full-fat butter. The whole is perfected by a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Aaaahh refreshing! And to crown this glorious achievement is you - sitting in front of your laptop - tapping away at the keys - writing - in the knowledge that you have written something and that it is written well - and that you have expressed something seemingly ineffable. In short: doing what you enjoy and doing it well! - That is what gives me pleasure. Doing what I enjoy doing and doing it well - and trying to improve it as I go along. 

I play with words like dough balls - like small spheres of oven baked bread - I play with them  in my hands - shape them to my liking - apply pressure on one side and you have a flattened disk - you can pull, squeeze, squash, stretch and contort them. They are words and like set-jelly, you can make them into any shape you want. And what if you don't have anything to say?


You are alive aren't you tonta?! So describe what it feels like. Pause for a moment and describe what it is like at this very moment - to be you.

Why would people want to read such stuff?

Because in you, they may find, a piece of themselves...

Friday, August 05, 2011



Sunday, July 24, 2011

Coming soon...Wedding - The Pics

A choice selection of juicy dodgy snaps from the night of purple drinks and tummy bugs.

Be afraid...

...Very afraid. Hooooo-hahahahahahaaaaaaaaa! (evil laugh)

Asian Wedding - A Review!

So...I went!

I decided to go as I thought it would be an interesting experience for me - to attend an Asian wedding, and immerse myself in the subtle nuances and fine granulations of Asian culture. I always feel like a fish out of water at these things!

So there I found myself in a large banqueting hall, seated on round tables, sipping orange juice - whilst around me the show went on in all its pomp and splendour. Now that I think about it, the hall resembled a converted cinema. The entrance and initial hall area was higher then the stage. The stage was decorated in the usual refinements and a long white couch where the bride and groom would eventually sit and have their pictures taken with the various guests. I was seated on the table right at the end of the first section so that I was looking down on the tables in the second section. Now that I have described the hall I will now describe my thoughts. Many thoughts competed for space in my head as I attempted to make sense of the whole thing. Thoughts such as:

A large % of the people here are close genetic relations of mine. We share a common origin - yet look how wide the river bank of our differences now is. We are now like two people that began a journey together but have drifted to opposite banks of the river. The two of us are now mere pin-pricks in the distance - shouting and waving a language at each other - a language that we no longer share.

Can people who started off on the same road together become so different as the journey progresses? How is that possible?

It is possible because we are buffeted by different winds. Imagine two sail boats in the vast ocean of life. Now imagine two trade winds that blow differently. One trade wind the 'zephyr' blows hard and to the south west. The other trade wind called 'leper' blows to the north west but also occasionally blow eastwards. These two winds act on one boat and one boat only such that after a year, 2 years, 5 years - the boats will wildly differ in their position on the ocean of life. People are like that too and the winds that affect us are myriad in nature. They have names like: education, friends, books, movies, music, genes, influences, chance, necessity, darkness, light, belief etc.

So as I sit there in the banqueting hall surrounded by bangra music blaring through the speakers and an army of faces I have not seen for a while - it seems to me, that these people haven't changed at all. Or maybe they have changed and It is I that has remained still? It is a thought that bothers me all evening. Who is it that has done the moving apart? Me or them? I think it is the former, it is I, who has moved away, and they have remained stationary. I am struck by this thought and as I look into the face of the man sitting next to me - a face I recognise - I notice that he has grown greyer since I last saw him, his skin has lost some of its elasticity, his eyes have dimmed in their sparkle, his body has thinned - and the suit that used to fit him so well - the same suit - now fits him awkwardly - as though it is no longer his.

Sadness - the underlying feeling and theme of my thoughts. I am attacked by sadness - the sadness of a past we can no longer reclaim - that what is lost. But I also feel another sadness - a sadness more profound but I struggle to pinpoint its source. Why am I feeling sad? Because I realise, in an excruciating moment of crystal clarity, that I no longer care. I couldn't give a damn anymore. This is no longer a life I recognise and these people, though we share a common origin - are strangers - albeit strangers with recognisable faces. I know this man. I have seen him countless times. He is a relation of mine. But this is all that binds us - blood and kinship. Who is he really? Beyond the face that I recognise from childhood - who is this man? And suddenly, in a moment of electric shock; as I stare at him harder, his face melts away, and I no longer recognise the face either. He is now nothing.

The other thing that strikes me is the contrast in the hall between what the children experience and what the adults see. For the children it is magical - the beautifully laid out tables, the red napkins, the purple lights, the little goody bags full of sweets, the endless glasses of orange juice and purple drink. For the children who sit around a single table - as their parents sit on another table - for the children this is great! Here they are and they can make as much noise as they want! Nobody will say shhhhush! They can sit on their own around the table - with endless bottles of soft drinks - and then be served food by an army of waiters. These are children who very rarely go to restaurants - and here they are - being served food. Chicken, fish, rice, bread, and desserts. They're having fun - they can run around - chase balloons - play hide and seek in the endless caverns. They can go under tables and play home. They can move around the vast spaces of the hall - far away from their parents - and do what they want! What a great thing it must be for a child to be at such a wedding! I catch myself wishing I was one of them - how fuller - more colourful - more romantic - more sublime - more magical - the wedding would then be!

For the adults its all another world. A world of petty rivalry and upmanship. There is little magic but only something to complain about. For adults its about pretending to be nice to people that you must say hello to because - by some unfathomable quirk of genetics - you find yourself related to them! Call me cynical but the fact is that this is a 'family' wedding and the vast majority of the people here are kin - i.e. family relations. How many people in  our family do we honestly get on and have something in common with? Who are the people that you are related to, that when you see them, your eyes light up and your mouth widens in genuine affection and genuine 'looking forward to meeting'? Not many! Now imagine, putting all these people a hall! The only reason there is no blood bath is because there are only together for 4 hours and the music drowns out most of what they say anyway!

For me it was similar. One idiot (wearing a baseball cap - who wears a baseball cap at a wedding anyway?!) accosted me and said "I've been watching you for an hour and you never came up to say hello to me". I looked at him startled and replied "Well I was busy taking photos". To which he mumbled something inscrutable and trudged off - I still have no idea who he was! Such encounters I suppose are expected!

I meet the parents of the bride and they are both happy to see me and I congratulate them on the wedding. As the party continues and the bride walks in to a round of applause - and as we are treated to whole host of sounds and tastes, I find myself going into David Attenbrough documentary mode - and pretending that I am a wildlife documentary maker in the African bush - who has just chanced upon an elaborate mating ritual!

And it does feel like an elaborate mating ritual. The groom arrives fully attired on a horse with a sword in his hand surrounded by 6 burly men all singing and dancing. They then stroll into the hall - the groom making gestures with his sword - until they reach the main stage, and then they stand on the steps of the stage - the groom waving his sword about like a phallus, and his entourage of men growling in deep voices what can only be some sort of male mating song! - This is male machismo at its prime. I am a man, and I have a sword, and with this, I deflower thee...I'm not going to go into the anthropological significance of the sword, but it is clear that male birds of paradise have fantastically bright feathers and plumage, precisely because they want to attract the best females. In fact there is a bird in Papa New Guinea that performs an elaborate 'dance' - in which it spreads its feathers to reveal the bright colours inside when it wants to attract and impress a female. We are also part of the animal kingdom and we too have our rituals!

It's all a game.

In the end its all a game - the greatest show on earth...!

And what advice would I give the married couple? If they had forced me to sit on the stage with them what would I have said? How would the conversation have gone? Well let me invent a fictional conversation for your pleasure!

[wasim]  "Hello"
[married couple - MC]  "Who are you?'
[wasim]  "I'm Wasim"
[MC]  "Do we know you?"
[wasim]  "Well you should. Apparently were related" at which point the bride looks at me more carefully and says  "are you sure?"
[wasim]  "yes, we are. Anyway since I am here lets talk about something. Lets talk about marriage!"
[MC]  "OK. Go on then"
[wasim]  "marriage...Mmm....what an intriguing idea....Mmm...a ritual of great interest to scientists..." at which point I am interrupted by the groom and bride
[MC]  "are you a scientist or something?"
[wasim]  "nope, not a scientist, but I am a philosopher of sorts...look let me give you some advice on marriage - yeah?"
[MC]  "yeah please!"
[wasim]  "enjoy the party today's all down hill from here!!"

I know. I know. I am so horrible. How horrible and mean spirited of me. But then this conversation never actually happened - so sue me scumbags!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

To go or not to go....that is the question

It's 12:06am and I've just returned home from a lovely meal in the South African Fish Market...I had 6 Oysters for starters - 4 with lemon juice and 2 with Tabasco chili source. The oysters were huge, cold, and tasted like sea water. They were delicious. For mains it was sea bass cooked in lemon sauce. For dessert I had Creme Brulee - and for drinks - a whole bottle of red wine! Cabernet Sauvignon I believe It was...anyway...I have just got home, am lying in bed with the laptop on my lap, slightly drunk (but not too much) and I am debating with myself whether I should go to this wedding tomorrow that I have been invited to. The wedding is in Birmingham and it is supposed to be a classy affair. It is my fathers side of the family you see. A family wedding - yes one of those! I don't normally 'do' weddings. I steer clear of them usually. But this one seems to have caught me in its claws.

There is a piece of me that doesn't want to go, because it is afraid that it will be a waste of time and this piece of me would rather spend the time doing something else. There is another piece of me that would like me to go - because it would be a unique experience and something different...

What am I afraid of? People? Well in short yes! I am afraid of ending up on a table full of people I don't know - with no conversation whatsoever, slowly rotting to death of utter boredom. I am afraid of being bored. I am NEVER bored. If I have nothing to do I usually read a book or think...

....maybe I have nothing to worry about. If I get bored I can think - no? Yes - I will be taking my brain along so if I need to use it, I can think! But think of what? Think of how bored I am! What a stupid thing to think about...

If I do go I will be taking along my Fuji X100 expect some photos - and also expect a detailed blog post on the whole bloody experience. Warts and all. If there is pain at this wedding I will write about it. If there is passion I will write about it also. If there is love you will hear of it first and if there is comedy, I will make sure to make you laugh.

OK, let me sleep on it and in the morning I will decide whether to go or not. I wish somebody would make the decision for me - life would be so much easier. It really would!

To go or not to go....that is the question...ZzzzZZzz...

Monday, July 18, 2011

The art of Life

As I lay supine on desert sand
the happiest creature in this world of Man
I look up and spy the sky
Oh vaulted roof! - My room tonight!

With blinking stars for a canopy
nothing more I need for me
For a bed I have the softest sand
king-size? double? - as vast as this land!

For entertainment: memories like a butterfly
captured in the tide - the tide of life
For a lamp: the full moon held aloft
See! casting a beam, silvery soft

For water I have the stream besides
that ripples, and gurgles. Woe betide,
the traveller - who dreams - all alone
of women, and riches, he'd rather own

...and see's nothing of treasures laid bare
in front, above - Oh! Everywhere!
Speak not of things you do not own
love life
let live
and never moan!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

How to grow up & other thoughts

i)  Transformers 3

What a miserable day its has been today. LondonTown drenched in showers! The entire day a wash-out - low dark clouds. Perpetual rain. Soggy feet. Umbrellas and raincoats. The golden glow of coffee shops promising warmth, dryness, life-giving coffee and delicious cakes. That's what I did this morning - drank coffee and read and dreamt, and then I went and ruined it by watching the movie 'Transformers 3' in 3D no less! Why? Because I'd read a review somewhere by a respected reviewer (respected by myself - not respected anymore though!), who had said that too many of us take movies far too seriously. That we expect movies to be deep philosophical musings on human existence, and that we should relax a little, take a chill pill, and sometimes shut our brains, and watch a movie purely for the pleasure of it. So that's what I did. I bought a ticket for Transformers 3 - bought some of those disgusting Mexican nacho things with that yellow gooey stuff on them (called cheese?) - queued with some 13 year olds - went in - sat down - shut my brain off - and watched Transformers 3...


...and I survived.

Just about. By the knuckle of my teeth. The movie is a computer game! It has more explosions then all the world-wars combined. Every explosion was like an attack of intestinal diarrhea as my intestines slowly travelled up and up and up into my throat, until they were knocking on the door of my skull and threatening to stab my brain to death. They agreed not to when I promised them that I would be doing something more 'worthy' of my great intellect after the movie...

The 13 year olds loved the movie though. Well of course they would - duh duh! It's been a few hours now since I watched it and I've totally forgotten what it was about. Seems like my brain has decided to delete / expunge all evidence of this illicit movie act from its memory circuits. Never again. Ever. Never will I be seduced by the promise of orgasmic big explosions and special affects.

ii)  How to grow up / or whether to grow up!

I've been thinking about something today. Or rather, I've continued to think about it today as I've been thinking about it over the last few days. What I've been thinking about is growing up. These are my thoughts on the matter:

As children we have a totally different view of the world. The world is wonderful and fun and interesting. For children the world is a magical fairy-ground ride. The parks are wide open green spaces with an endless blue sky above and  s p a c e  to run around and play football in. The buses are wonderful places from the top-deck from which to look down on the heads of people. The Underground is one big ride. The shops are full of toys and sweets and things we want. McDonald's milkshakes taste yummy. You can never eat enough sweets. The world is full of ghosts. Your neighbour is a witch and eats children and there are lots of mysteries in the world. Father Christmas is a bearded man and we wish grandfather was like him! - Also in childhood emotions are simple: if you hate someone you tell them. You like someone you tell them. Someone is fat so you make fun of them. Someone is ugly and you tell them. You like a girl and you turn red at the cheeks and then buy her a sweet. You hang out with your friends and you speak loudly - you say what you want - behave as you like. You also enjoy simple pleasures. The chicken and chips from the KFC that you bought for £1.99 taste nice and it doesn't matter if they're not good for you. It don't matter if the taste is not 'sophisticated' - it don't matter. You like chicken and chips because they're cheap, they taste nice, and they fill you up! Simple!

Look at the faces of young people. What do you see? Worry lines? No! Worry free looks and bright shining eyes! Healthy minds not yet poisoned...Living in a world that is simple and uncomplicated...

and now... that life with that of an adult. Look at the adults in McDonalds stuffing their bellies with burgers and fries. Not enjoying them at all! Just filling their hunger as quick as possible! Like putting petrol in a car. You call that living? I don't. Taste is one the most beautiful of senses and pleasures. We should taste our food, saviour it on the tongue, in the mouth, before er, pushing it down the throat!

What else?

The life of adults is complicated. Oh so so complicated! Full of worries. Like a thousand arrows these worries come from all directions. In the bum, through the nose, through the ears. What are these so called 'worries'? Let me tell you: Boredom. Jealousy. Hatred. Anger. Sexual frustration. Money (or lack of). Annoying husbands / wives / relatives / children. Jobs that slowly kill us. And so many more.

Why do these things not bother children?

Let's look at them one by one!

Boredom = children don't get bored. The world is a magical playground. Full of wonder, and witches and demons and goblins and Harry Potter
Jealousy = a child's jealousy is limited to not having a toy that their friend/brother-sister has. It's not the all-consuming jealousy of adults that eats away like a cancer, and besides, a child's jealousy is short lived and eventually disappears
Hatred = children might hate someone but its more of a weak hate and not the cancer-like hate that adults allow to grow inside of them - like a mutant baby!
Anger = a child's anger will be directed at an individual. An adult's anger (is usually) directed at the whole world - but there are exceptions!
Sexual frustration = none. Sex is simply not an important part of a child's life landscape.
Money = as long as they have the basics children are happy.
Husbands/wives/children = none cos they're too young to have any of these!
Jobs = too young to work (lucky sods!)

So here is the question I am begging to ask you: Why the fuck would you want to grow up at all?!

And if you do - why leave ALL childish things behind? Surely, we can pick and choose, and keep some childish things into adulthood?

Is the world as seen from a child's point of view better? More accurate? More real?

Or is the world as seen from an adults point of view better? More accurate? More real?

How do we judge? Who say's what is better? More real? Us! Adults! - how can that be fair or right?

What is to say that a child's life is the best - and that adult life is a disaster!!

Why do we always automatically assume that a child's world is not real? 'Oh grow up!' we scream when someone is being 'childish'.

What I'm really trying to say is that we should keep something of that child inside of us as we grow older. That sense of wonder and adventure for example is a wonderful thing - but we lose it! We fucking grow up and lose it! We should not let family and people make our lives miserable. We should do what we want and not worry too much about consequences - because, in the end, we're all gonna die anyway. We shouldn't think too much of the future - because the future is not real. Only the here-and-now is real.

We chase dreams and illusions all our lives. We are fed lies about what a 'happy life' is all about, and we chase and chase and chase this butterfly - but we can never keep up, because we have endless 'wants' and 'needs'. The stomach of human greed gets bigger and bigger the more it is filled with things. The stomach of human greed has endless capacity! It never says: 'Oh! I think I've had enough!'. The human animal can never have enough. That is what Buddhism and certain Eastern philosophies (and Arthur Schopenhauer) recognised in their teachings. That is why many monks and other wise men throughout history have led ascetic lives. In caves. In the desert. In the jungles. Lives of simplicity. I'm not saying go and live in a cave or the desert! I am not saying that. But keep some of that cave, that desert inside of you - though you might be living in a busy city like London - think yourself like a desert - a cave - and distance yourself - from the poison arrows of adulthood!!

You can never have enough - but you can limit what you expect from life

It goes like this:

'It's not about how much you do want. It's about how much you don't want'

Strip out the crap - the junk - and you'll be much happier. Promise (or your money back!)


iii)  The best drinks experience in the world - ever!

When you've gone to bed having eaten a turkish kebab, or something spicy the night before - only to then wake up in the middle of the night with a parched throat feeling very thirsty. You then walk to the kitchen in your pyjamas with your eyes barely open, and you make yourself an ice-cold diet Coke with 7 (yes 7!) ice-cubes and a slice of lemon. You then pour this beautiful ice-cold drink down your throat and watch your thirst disappear...Mmmm...try it! - the best drinks experience in the world (and no hangover to worry about!)


Monday, July 11, 2011

Friday Night Pics - Restaurant Momo

All images taken with the Fuji X100 digital camera. Camera settings used: 35mm fixed lens at aperture f2 and ISO range 1,600 - 3,200. For those that don't know (or have been living on the moon lately!) the Fuji X100 has been a highly sort after camera thanks to its retro cool styling. But there is more to this beauty then just looks. Look beneath the bonnet and you'll find it has brains to match! It features a high quality APS-C sized imaging sensor and a brand new processing engine that allows excellent hand-held low-light street photography - all in a small form factor (size). This is an excellent camera and has a radical hybrid viewfinder, that can be switched between a normal optical viewfinder and an electronic viewfinder with the flick of a switch. It is much lighter and smaller then my Canon 5D Mark II and associated lens combo. It's also a real joy to use. A real pleasure to hold in the hand and play with (ahem)...

And oh yes, that's me smoking a cigarette below - so sue me scumbags!








Saturday, July 09, 2011

The Tree Of Life


A paen to birth, life, death, faith, purpose - and the meaning of it all in the grand scheme of the cosmos. Terrence Malick takes us on an epic visual journey from the birth of the universe, the formation of stars, the genesis of life, to contemporary day family life in the 1950's. This entire movie is a visual poem. You will either 'get it' or you'll be perplexed by the whole damn thing. Is this a work of sublime genius? Or is it a bloated piece of pretentious film-making? Is Terrence Malick a genuine visionary or has he got his head stuck up his arse?! Whatever your views, not since Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A space odyssey' have we been served such a rich dish. Recommended - but only if you let it take you by the hand. Don't resist it. Don't expect anything. Let all your expectations of movies fly out the window. Go into the cinema theatre with an open heart and open eyes. There is little dialogue. The affect is curiously subconscious relying on visuals and short pithy voice overs.

I've noticed how the camera is always at waist height - and always facing upwards - with the sky and the sun in almost all outdoor shots. Even indoor shots feature bright windows with sunlight streaming in. The sun is a key part of this movie. The sun is the giver of life. It is the other 'father', the other provider, in addition to Brad Pitts stern patriarch. What does it all mean? I think each person will take something different from it - that being the Director's aim.