Broken dreams of a failed Pianist

I know, I know. I didn’t write anything recently.

You’ll assume I’ve been busy, no doubt, and that in the next few lines I will amaze you by recounting just some of the fantastical adventures I’ve undertaken in these last 5 (FIVE!) months. That is flattering, but well, the facts are facts, so I confess – I have done very little worth mentioning these last months, aside from grow a shade more grouchy, and lose a little more hair. I did start to learn Au Clair de Lune by Debussy, by only got to about 1 minute thirty in before it became way to complicated for me. I have no piano training, so it was only when I saw this video that the thought even occurred to me.  I had vague visions of me sitting alone in some back street bar, cigarette burnt down to the filter, whiskey perched on the piano, pouring out my soul into a perfect rendition.

As usual, reality saw to it that this would never happen, as I spilled instant coffee over my crappy Casio keyboard one bleary eyed morning. It was probably for the best. I have always been in awe of that piece of music; it’s ability to sadden but inspire at the same time is something I’ll never be able to comprehend, so for me to ruin it by stuttering through it on the ‘Funky Electro Piano’ setting would have been a bit of a shame.

Apart from that, and the fact that I actually married the world’s most perfect woman, I can’t say anything of importance has happened.

Here’s how it should be done anyway.

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Before and After

Who knew!! All you need to do is carry around your own lighting kit, and you can go from a lard ass to David Hasslehoff with a change of angle and the flick of a switch! Pass the cream cake

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I’m drifting.

I knew it would happen.

I have always had a propensity to take things too lightly, and only partially engage with the world around me. I mean, I have traveled, worked and lived overseas, and count people from all over the planet as friends, but this only makes me feel further removed from  my everyday existence. I turn up for work, and put the hours in, but my polite chatter about the football or the weather, my offers to make coffee, even my efficient use of Excel, all belie the fact that I am rarely even vaguely interested in what I’m doing there. I used to be, but now I feel an apathetic indifference to the career path I once cared enough about to get up and study at 6am before work. Is that normal? Maybe  it’s all part of ‘growing’

Actually, with each passing year, I feel as if I am growing further away from my old life. Even from my old friends and family. I used to think I was a boy from the village who’d gone out to explore the world, but to one day return and settle down, embarrassing my children and grandchildren as I grow old with my schoolyard friends. Now, if I return to my home town, I am feel like I’m not actually from there, that I am a guy who lives in the big city, visiting for the weekend.

It’s kind of an odd feeling – but at the moment, I have no anchor, no spirituality. No spiritual anchor. I realise now that years ago, when I worked in a plant nursery, I was much more connected to myself, the planet and the things around me than now. For a number of years I worked long hard hours, out in the fields I came to just ‘be’ connected, and part of the world around me; I sensed when it would rain long before it actually did, I touched the earth with my hands everyday, I watched wild animals and birds, and understood what they were doing. When I first came to live in London I at least took an interest in the people around me, the plants in peoples gardens, the birds overhead or the types of trees that lined the streets. Now, I don’t even do that. Now I have no family nearby, no house, no permanent address, no close friends in my neighbourhood, no hobby, no job I really care about. It’s kind of scary, but I think I’ve accidentally become a nihilist.

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Life’s a beach

Salty water stings my lips as the sunlight warms my skin.

And the man selling water stumbles on a girl who rolled over to quickly.

The child and his dad bury a jelly fish, as their mother takes picture on her iPhone.

And a tanned girl does a handstand, hoping one of the boys nearby sees;

All the boys see.

And nothing is wrong and that’s alright.

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December, ah December.

If the year was a pizza, December would be the fun filled stuffed crust, just waiting to be dipped into the last bit of garlic sauce and greedily gobbled up; washed down by the heady excitement of the New Year*.

The year has flown by; much has changed, much has not. I examined my face in the mirror this morning (something which normally terrifies me), hunting for the extra wrinkles and the receding hairline that I hoped would prove I was indeed one year older, and by inference (and more importantly) one year wiser.

Unfortunately, there was no clue, no evidence. If anything, the very fact that I was standing in my pants and socks and singing Christmas carols whilst tying to find traces of ‘wisdom’ in my own face belies what I’ve suspected for sometime now – that I am in fact becoming simpler, more idiotic as time passes. This isn’t so bad – if only I could grow younger at the same time.


*I have no idea if this metaphor has any value or not – I bought it online, along with all my other presents, and there is a ‘no returns’ policy

-Photo – Celeste Hibert 

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On waking up

This morning when I woke up, I realised that when I get tired of work, women, London and takeaways, there is nothing better than to go back and home and swim in the river of my youth.

That would be an awful metaphor, but, luckily, it’s also the physical truth.

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Lost time is never found again

I hate time. I hate the way it taunts us. The more of it I live through – and therefore the less of it I have left –  the less I understand it.


Whilst waiting for a special moment, a special day, whole months worth of time stretch out into what feel like years, only for that moment to flash by in an instant when it arrives. I guess that’s why people say live for the moment, live in the present. It’s something that I am just really coming to realize, that to truly value you life, you must truly value your time. I spend 8 or 9 hours a day at work, which – baring a lottery win (doubtful if I never buy a lottery ticket) or marry some rich old spinster (I’ve had pitifully little interest, despite being open to all offers) – I am likely to have to do for possibly another 30 years of my life (70,200 hours). Taking away time spent asleep, time spent doing all the stuff which one doesn’t want but needs to do (laundry, cleaning, shopping and stuff) and time spent explaining to my parents how to log on to internet banking, I suddenly realized that I don’t have that much ‘me’ time left. As the slow cold chill of my mortality slowly creeps up my spine, I realize that I have 2 options:

1. Get off my ass, and get out there. Seize the day and live for the moment. As Carl Sandburg wrote -“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you”

2. Get off my ass, get down the cornershop, spend all my savings on lottery cards, then get my self on to find a sugar mumm…er.. my one true love.

I think we all know which of the 2 options makes more sense, so, excuse me – enough with the procrastination I have photos to upload and numbers to pick out.

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Getting On

wake with alarm
dress appropriately

try to comb hair

catch the bus

walk home


undress nervously
lie awake

miss my cat
fall asleep


Posted in London, Poetry | 2 Comments

We come from the future

Yesterday I bought the groceries from the supermarket, scanning the items myself and paying for them without even swiping my card. As I shopped, I used a device that fits in my pocket to view a photo, posted seconds earlier, by a friend on the other side of the planet. A device that is hundreds of times more powerful than desktop computers I used at work less than a decade ago.

For some of us, the future arrived a while back. I don’t think we even noticed; as we were impatiently waiting for flying cars and teleportation devices, we actually got robotic limbs, 3D printers and radio controlled cars on Mars. At times, even science fiction fantasy can’t keep pace with our science fiction reality.

Unfortunately not everyone benefits from life in the future – we all know that billions still live in abject poverty, lacking even the most basic health care or sanitation. What makes it worse, some of these are forced into virtual slavery to build our latest must have gadgets. To think about this makes me feel a weird mix of self hate and sadness. At times it’s overwhelming.

William Gibbson once wrote – “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed”.

He was right.

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Wise Fox?

The TV drones away in the background as I try to sleep. I am uncomfortable. I’m too hot, and my pyjamas are twisted under the bed sheets. I never could sleep in the same room as a TV. I feel like someone is watching me. I get up, stretch and walk over to the open window. I glance over to the TV as I light up my last cigarette. I should have quit years ago, like all my old friends did. Me being me though, I continued secretly smoking away, whilst announcing to anyone who asked that I barely touched them – ‘Just when I had a drink’. Now though, I couldn’t care less. Those who quit had a reason to do so – they developed hobbies which required them to be fit, or met partners who encouraged them to quit. Some had kids.

Staring out of the window, I saw an old urban-fox-londonfox trotting up the empty street. It stopped to sniff at an overfull bin, then looked over in my direction. I stared back. In that moment I felt a connection. Something under that moon linked me and this old fox. Out there, in the street fending for itself, living day to day. I thought it was about to reveal something to me, a secret of this world. I waited. Then the fox’s head moved slowly. I realised that it wasn’t staing at me, but an empty polystyrene takeaway box beng blown past my window by the gentle breeze.

I cursed, threw the stump of my cigarrette out of the window, flicked off the TV and went back to bed.

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