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This is what boredom looks like

Folks, take a good look: This isn’t some photographic representation of a pensive mentality, this isn’t an aesthetic reflection of one’s colourless apathetic condition, this isn’t a nod to the monotonous  modernist conundrum and the clashes of minimalism either. This is boredom.

This is boredom

I shouldn’t be bored, god forbid if any of my peers read this. It’s as though all of a sudden I feel too relaxed, as though there was never a burden in the first place. Where’s the pressure gone? Even if it’s a temporary break in an otherwise busy mind-set, I don’t like. It’s too quiet.

Having my schedule clear up today has done nothing but given me more time to sit and do nothing, obviously there’s plenty of things I could be doing right now other than typing this pointless post, but why should I?

The passing week has been a violent blur of activity, jumping from one task to the other, whilst the world around me doesn’t seem to be moving very much at all. Am I going too fast? Should I slow down? I don’t think so, I don’t think I know how.

And just to prove that I am actually doing stuff, I’ll mention it for the millionth time, Cyclone. I’m tempted to put our current logo on my blog, as a sort of permalink to the dedicated blog. I’ve just released a video I spent last night cutting up and putting back together, much like a jig-saw. ‘CIA’, an apparently famous Romanian hip-hop group, played at Platinum as a part of their UK tour, I was there with a couple of others to film it, and after that I had the joy of post-production duty. It’s not a problem though, I find editing to be a very cathartic process, sitting and watching the picture come together, it’s no different to a painter who fills their canvas, or a bricklayer as he builds a house from the ground up. At least in my mind it is…

The finished product looked rather professional I must say, maybe I should start charging for this kind of thing? You know what they say, don’t ever do something you’re good at for free. What a cruel world.

Why is it so quiet today? Is Coventry playing with my mind? Where has the traffic gone?

I wish it was raining.

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A fragment of inspiration.

It’s quarter past five in the afternoon, a rainy Sunday. For the first time in weeks the harsh biting climate that we have grown accustomed to is replaced with a disorientating humidity, an uncommon warmth that has the city-folk caught off guard. They brandish shorts and summery tees, oblivious to the impending downpour that is to come some moments later. I can smell it – it’s wonderful…

I’ve been searching for some inspiration for months now, confounded upon inert plains of vicious lethargy. Time is becoming more of an enigma in this place, I’m losing my ability to utilise it, let alone track it.

This Easter break has been a tough one, I have remained in Coventry, set to devote all of my time and attention to my fledgling social enterprise, Cyclone. I am currently in the process of putting together a timeline, and create a blog  dedicated to my professional experience. It’s been a heck of a ride already, a strenuous, time-consuming ride with a tendency to erupt in stressful setbacks and human failure. I’ll be the first to put my hand up and admit my own failures as a leader so far, but I’m hoping this is where I turn it around. Time will tell for my project, I certainly couldn’t say where its fate lies, only that I and a few others will be there together when it becomes apparent. Shortly in the future I plan to reveal to you my project in more detail, including an insight into the things we’ve done. It’s been a busy Easter with Cyclone.

But I should have balanced my time better, I let my concentration slip for too long, I would even go as far as call it the worst period of laziness since before my time at university. Things just keep happening, but I have done nothing in the way of documenting them. From the masses of ‘should haves’ with university life, to the ongoing world around me. I’ve been apathetic to it all, which is terrible. From Thatcher’s death to the latest conflict flare-up on Korean soil… Where has my time gone?

I think I need some inspiration, some nugget of enlightenment to push me back up to full steam. There is so much to gain, but also so much to lose. My enthusiasm is more crucial than ever, but I can’t help myself: It’s too easy to sit back and let the passivity of television re-runs and internet phenomenon wash over you. So if this is the case, let it be something enticing and stimulating that takes your time away from you. At least I will walk out of it feeling more engaged, hopefully.

Tea will help too.

I think I’ll start with The Human Project. I’ve put off reading their book for a while now, but no more. If you’re a ponderer, a star-gazer, or take an interest in the science of ‘us’, then start reading it with me. It’s freely available. 

Hibernation/Recovery

2013, Once more unto the breach.

Allow me to interject amongst the silence. My goodness, the dust sure has collected since November. I’m afraid I must confess my late departure from cyberspace; indeed it was untimely, unwarranted and above all, lazy. The opportunities, the food for thought… So many events and inspirations that I missed. I have denied whatever you wish to call the magical array of wiring and chemicals (that resides within my cranium) a banquet. I have starved it of any real interaction with the world, not to mention the regular stimuli it so ravenously devours, it has been condemned to fester, observing the world through my eyes, but at a loss for words.

Perhaps the damage is already done, perhaps this was a sign that the blog is a redundant notion, and I will never truly regain the sharp edge that my mind once had. It can happen, you know: I was once in a state of invigoration, analysing and translating the issues of the world with relative ease, now I stumble over myself as I try to find the words that convey my emotions. To imagine myself never recovering from this sluggishness is nothing short of terrifying.

However, I know the thing that resides behind my eyelids is a remarkable creature, I can feel it growing bolder with attentiveness as I type these words. The dots are connecting again, I’m stretching my legs. I kicked the door back open and I’m blinking in the light, it’s so refreshing. I like to think that my mind ‘rebels at stagnation’, and whilst I’m not Sherlock Holmes (I sometimes find the ‘dull routine of existence’ to be rather charming), I do ‘crave for mental exaltation’.

Was that pretentious? Oh, no matter.

I shall have to run a few system checks before I can safely say I have recovered from hibernation. This is a crucial process, you see. To skip past the ritual would be a fool’s errand, causing more harm than good. I have made landfall with this returning post, but before I am back to ‘me’ I need to do the following:

  1. Grab the feather duster, and do a quick once over with my plans.
  2. Consider today’s issues. Analysing and reflecting as I go.
  3. Take in something truly marvellous, and, in a show and tell fashion, share it with you wonderful people.
  4. In a final exercise of colourful thinking, create something totally new, perhaps a piece of writing, a short story, a video? Who knows.
  5. Reflect, how did I feel during the process, do I feel better for it? Consider my findings and consolidate the agenda.

Now, it is absolutely vital that I follow this set of mini tasks to the letter. They must be in order, and they must be completed to an acceptable standard. So keep an eye out for me, watch the space.

I hope you are all well rested and ready to face another year. Did you make any plans for change, or ‘resolutions’? Do you know where that practice comes from? Well it’s an ancient tradition, traced back to the Romans and Babylonians.  They used to make promises to return or ‘reimburse’ their gods. Janus in particular, the two-headed god who looked to the past and the future. Hence the first month of the year… January.

My New Year’s resolutions? In all honesty I haven’t thought about them too much. I’ll let you know how I feel when I’m out of hibernation (and on top of my work again).

Mind ‘The Gap’

You never learn how to handle that, the gap. I don’t mean the literal physical gap between the train and the station, I mean the gap in time and space that lingers between you and farewell. Either you’re in the carriage or you’re on the outside looking in, but neither party has it easy. There’s that terrible wait, worse than the journey to the station or the airport, worse than packing your bags, worse than closing the door. You can handle those, you know where and when the transition will come; it’s just ‘the gap’ that feels endless.

There’s no way to prepare yourself for it, there’s no way to make that separation easier, other than not thinking about it at all. Sometimes that’s all you can do, you know, just don’t think about it. Hide it away, erase it from your attention, easier said then done though.

The physical separation, that layer of glass, that sucks, but it’s part of it all. Well, judging by this you can probably tell that I have just passed ‘the gap’, fortunately it won’t be long until I’m home again. Christmas looms around the corner and the pressure is on to hit the deadlines. It can be terribly stressful, more so than one anticipates, hence my weekend off.

I needed a break, we all need to take some time to recharge now and again. Now I can deal with the end of term buzz, the hysteria that we all fear. I’m going to embrace it, welcome it in as a sign of closure. It’s ritualistic in its predictability, so all I need to do is remain obligatory to the process, co-operate with myself. I said to my family before I took the train back to Coventry “This isn’t goodbye, this is me sorting out unfinished business.”

There’ll come a time when we all must endure ‘the gap’, you sit there staring at the faces of loved ones, hopelessly trying to predict the moment they finally pass from sight. You’re too uncertain to savour the moment, so the moment simply lingers, waiting to be interrupted by a departure so sudden that it’s cruel. Just remember that you’ll see them again, there’s just a few things that need sorting out in the meantime.

Today I wish to share with you the tale of an epic struggle between a man and his-self, a grand story of a subtle conflict, of inner turmoil. Legend speaks of a horrendous villain who knows no physical form beyond that of his victim, El Fatigue. He strikes like a ninja, calm and collected, with his next target sighted. His pursuit is merciless, relentless, and unstoppable. Countless scores before me have fallen to this shadowy force, having left their defences wide open and poorly prepared. Some would resist, a valiant effort, but if El Fatigue sees it fit to mark you, then your fate was sealed from the start. I’d heard of how the creature had terrorised entire campuses up and down the country in quick succession, decimating the faculties of concentration en-masse. Competence would crumble, whilst the surviving fragments of dignity and self-respect were cast away in the process, like ashes in the wind. Once the battle was over, once the bearer’s mind had been burnt to the ground, their heads would fall to gravity, their lifeless bodies left to face the heavy burden of disapproval. Yes, El Fatigue is a monster, whose reputation is only preceded by his lethality.

So that day, when the sky began to grow heavy with an evening mist, as I wearily travelled to my final lecture of the day, I knew that he had already chosen me.

The next offering for his sick manhunt, I felt my heart skip a beat in realisation. The long day had taken its toll, I was ill-prepared for another two hours. El Fatigue knew I was weak, he knew my body was starved of caffeine, and without this formidable ally there was nothing standing in his way. My sleepless nights made me a target, my ill-preparedness made me the game.

I tried to ignore it, I tried to stay focussed and remain one step ahead, but I was terrified. The thought of him lurking in the shady depths somewhere made me feel sick, the fact that I was to fall indefinitely was too much to bear. ‘I can beat this’ I thought to myself, trying to remain hopelessly optimistic in the wake of a strenuous two-hour stand-off. I shook off the image of ‘him’, closing in on my ever-failing person, like a vulture circling above the wounded. If I could remain enthused or at least distracted, just long enough until it was time to stand once again, to let the adrenaline carry me home, then perhaps I would survive this close encounter. Of course I wouldn’t, I surmised hopelessly. It was a fool’s errand to think anyone could outrun El Fatigue, to hide away from him is futile, he can smell your fear. I grew uneasy, sitting this still for this long made me a bigger target, my guard would fall, El Fatigue would surely spot me. Perhaps not, at least until the Lecturer killed the lights, a terrible mistake.

It is universally recognised as a cardinal rule not to dim the lights if one feels as though they are being stalked by the beast. A continuous barrage on the senses is, in fact, one of the few effective methods to fend off the sleep-dealer and keep him at bay. This is why he thrives in the classrooms, where the best of us regress into a state that goes beyond mere idleness, it’s like a feeding ground, there would never be any refuge for the weak.

We were less than halfway through when he finally began his attack. A series of short, harassing assaults that were numbing as they were frequent. I knew what he was doing; I’d heard the survivor stories, who talk of small but persistent attacks on the mind. Old Fatigue did it to test your defences and to sever the lines of thought. It would make you sluggish, ripe for the kill. Sick bastard, it was his signature move. I put up a bigger fight than both he and I had anticipated, not that it was of any use. I would break free from his hold, only to slip back under. His attacks grew more substantial as I grew weaker, to the point where he was dragging me under, into blissful nothingness. Every time I would resurface like a drowning animal, gasping for air, it only made him more determined.

I was exhausted from the struggle, my cognitive batteries were bleeding out, my vision was blurring. I remember trying to write something, anything, like an S.O.S signal to the world around me, screaming for help. It was futile; I was so hopelessly ensnared by this point that my frantic scribblings were quite possibly nothing more than lines of ink. I was alone, cut off from any hope of rescue or revival, the room was getting darker still.

Now, there comes a point where even the strongest of us must admit defeat; El Fatigue gets his way in the end, because we cannot defeat ourselves. He pits us against our fallibility as humans, the need for sleep, for food, for play. The cruellest truth is one we cannot shy away from, nor can we argue against. With the very last of my strength I fumbled in my pockets, hazily observing the antiquated Nokia that lay in my hands. The time, it was all over. There was still the best part of an hour to go and I was already on my last leg, defeated. There is no graceful way to accept annihilation, other than let it happen, and pray you are past the point of knowing any better. The last thing I could feel was the wind in my hair as my head slowly fell to the desk, devoid of sight or hearing. Then, without warning the crack of a light switch came to my side.

Blinding artificial glare filled my eyes, the adrenaline kicked in. I felt the surge revive me like a bolt of lightning, I yawned in a gallon of air as my synapses rebooted. The lecturer, that wonderful embodiment of ironic mercy, he had decided to finish early for the day, and it was with the resounding boom of his voice that I took back what was mine from the clutches of El Fatigue. Saved by the bell… sort of.

I walked out of that classroom in disbelief, for I had been spared from a fate I was not ready to endure. It was by happy coincidence that I survived an encounter with the harbinger of snooze, but I know it is not the end. For you see dear readers, you cannot stop El Fatigue, you can only anger him. He will return one day, ready to claim what he was denied. But for now I am safe, safe from the monster, safe to share my story of triumph.

Sometimes, the easiest things to explain are also the hardest.

I’m pretty indecisive at the best of time, so when it came to me trying to explain my thoughts and feelings today (Friday), things got rather abstract.

As you may or may not know I have been in Coventry for the past week (despite my wholesome wish against it) to see an accommodation fiasco put to bed. The problem with these kind of situations is there is a lot of ‘nothing-to-do’; more often than not I found myself looking for a reply from the other side, and that’s it.

The focus of my day(s), waiting and stagnating (hehe, that rhymes). I had gone a week without any major stimulus, without caffeine and without a purpose beyond the time-killing, and it was beginning to take its toll. The ever distracting ‘bee of inner turmoil’ feeds off this idleness and grows more unruly, whizzing around within my head and making it harder to do anything at all. Every time I tried for clarity the ‘bee’ got in the way, this non-existent fiend had me cursing myself for losing motivation.

 This little effigy represents my idleness as an antagonist, something to fear and hate equally. The search for its weakness is a fruitless one, and the struggle against it is an ongoing one.
Oh, and did I mention I drew it myself? 🙂

Read More…

Bad Legs

Well it has been another sizeable gap since the last post and my excuse for it is rather unbelievable. Right now I am sat at a table with gauze and bandages around my legs, I look like a half assed mummy and feel like an idiot.

Are you familiar with Blandford flies? If you are you will know how much trouble they can cause you after a few bites. I came across them  whilst I was looking for shot locations, but it wasn’t until I had returned home that I realised the extent of the situation.

It has been a most unpleasant experience, one which has taught me never to underestimate the risks of wearing shorts. I have spent the last few days feeling sorry for myself, whilst I take antibiotics and antihistamines. It appears as though I have had a rather nasty reaction to the bites, which in turn triggered some sort of infection. Surging joint pain and glandular swelling like nothing you’ve ever seen. It was so bad we even decided to pay the hospital a visit, during which the doctor jokingly exclaimed his shock. Perhaps this all justifies my idleness, if it does not I wholeheartedly apologize. Read More…

These days that pass.

Time flies, what a peculiar expression. It really should be ‘time flees’ or perhaps ‘time hides’.  I say this because I have once again taken notice of its elusive nature, how this particular creature will sprint on its tip-toes when you have your back turned.

If it happens once it’s happened a dozen times. Leisure sports an enticing distraction whilst time is running in the opposite direction. We all take notice of such it eventually, mainly because the head-start the rest of the world seemingly enjoys pushes us to a hysterical frenzy of ‘catching up’. The problem is there is little or no imminent point or goal for me to reach save for the self-appointed deadlines which grow lax with every passing day.

I feel like I’m in quicksand here; every move I make sinks me a little deeper. It’s got to the point where I am telling myself “I’ll do it later” over things that really shouldn’t even require motivation, even writing this post feels like an arduous task.

I guess this is the price I must pay for being too idle for too long’.

Home again.

The festival is finally over, and Hay-on-Wye has once again returned to being a sequestered little hamlet in Wales. I have to say over the past ten days there have been both great moments and rubbish moments, some of which I have shared with you via video or blog post. This however, is largely finished, and I must look for new things to occupy my days off.

I have a vague idea that seems to boil away within my head, perhaps it will see some clarity in time. Until it does I will focus on expanding the ‘wunderkammer’ and developing this muddle of a digital space; a spring clean may not be in order, but a fairly thorough ‘going over’ would do some good.

Preoccupation is a strange creature: It will hound you with persistent fervour during times of  inconvenience, yet it is nowhere to be found when you are alone and without direction.

I suppose when this happens you have a number of options; you can leave the creature to its own devices and stagnate in the process, or you can chase it down. The latter may require some bait however – a hearty dish of motivation, sprinkled with hints of inspiration. But a word of warning: Too much seasoning will make any meal overzealous, and hard to swallow.

Wow, in retrospect I ought to lay off the metaphors… Or sleep more.

Here’s the final ‘daily Hay’ video, if you’re still reading. It’s a bit wacky though…

The catch-up.

It’s been a long week, I’ve learnt a lot, but I’m exhausted. Honestly there is a lot I’d like to say in this post, but I’m feeling the ‘catch-up’. The ‘catch-up’ is that point in the week (which can occur at any time) when you realise how tired you actually are. Generally it is a delayed realisation, as one finds themselves far too busy to even consider the possibility that they are fatigued.

We all suffer from the ‘catch-up’ from time to time, and we all have our own ways of coping with it. Quite often the best way to get through this is by sleeping, simply shutting off and having one massive snooze to compensate for the growing deficit of lost hours. Another way to ride out the ‘catch-up’ is by taking a break or two; taking it easy and keeping things simple can recharge the batteries just as effectively.

But, sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we are too preoccupied with the pressing schedule to quell the ‘catch-up’. I think I speak for all of us when I say it can be too easy to just keep going, to keep telling yourself “I’ll ease up later”. There are those situations where rest is rather low down on the list of priorities; for instance (in my case) there is still one talk (at the Hay Festival) left to see, and several write-ups I’d like to finish before I take a break.

The problem with this ‘catch-up’ is it is always hovering around somewhere, and if you don’t see to it then it will ruin your day. You see, fatigue can reach a point where you are beyond being physically tired, leading you to believe that you are in-fact fine.

currently I do not feel tired, but I do feel unusually distracted, I am struggling to put sentences together and everything seems to get on my nerves. There was nothing wrong about today, but the ‘catch-up’ made me so fed-up it didn’t seem that way.

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