Over the past couple of nights bbc four has been screening a fascinating series of programs about the english civil war, and I can’t resist raising an eyebrow over what it’s trying to say through them. Now as then, the country is divided as it seldom has been. The programs look at how communities and even families were split in two. Hmm… I wonder what point its trying to make there. The programs highlight the folly and futility of the episode, which I think is a valuable lesson for our contemporary time. In airing these programmes, you could say that the beeb is commenting on current affairs without overtly admitting it; there’s a subtlety and wit to that I like. There are a lot of parallels between now and then which are certainly worth drawing our attention to, but also some major differences. Once again the country finds itself at a frightening crossroads, but as long as we don’t start beheading people, I think we’ll be okay.
Part of me thinks that, as a writer, I should get something longer going again. Popping a blog entry on here almost every day is all very well and good, but its about time I got a longer piece of prose going too. Perhaps you agree, in which case I better explain: I write here every day, posting about whatever comes to mind, in order that eventually I can make something longer from several individual entries. Of course I write each entry in order to make it readable in itself, but I also hope that, eventually, I’ll be able to mould together longer pieces from several entries on the same subject. I’ve already done this a couple of times now, such as for my university story, and I’m pretty pleased with the results. Of course I wouldn’t be able to reuse all my entries like this by a long chalk, and I have to edit entries to make sure they fit together, but I thought you might be interested in reading a bit about my writing strategy. I find it’s often quite a good way of getting longer, more substantial pieces of writing going.
John just being here is enough to cheer me right up. He’s personally assisting Lyn today, covering for Dominik, and as soon as he got here earlier we began to make plans. Rather like Charlotte, John has an energy about him: a passion for travel and life which I find instantly uplifting. The lengths he went to on our trip to India two months ago were phenomenal, but we’re already discussing where else we can go, probably next year (think large islands to the south of florida, associated with cigars, communism and Earnest Hemingway). Friends like John, Lyn and charlie remind me how much potential there is in life; with mates like them I know, no matter how grim things may sometimes seem, that there will always be plans to make and fun to be had.
If a single image could be used to sum up the stupidity of Brexit, I think this could be it:
I write this in all seriousness and earnestness: when you have a situation where you have people who do not understand the issues at steak (and I mean genuinely don’t, such as the people discussed in this Independent article) shouldn’t something be done to intervene? I realise how problematic that notion might be, especially when it comes to people with learning difficulties and so on. But the old coots written about here clearly don’t have a clue what is at stake or what is going on, yet as members of the Tory party, get a say in all our futures. For starters, they praise Boris as some kind of great Churchillian figure, completely oblivious to the fact that he’s nothing but an egotistical little p’tahk who would sell the country down the river for his own benefit.
Brexit is an extremely complex issue, but they see it in very simplistic, nationalistic terms. I can’t help thinking that someone should take these old dears to one side, sit them down and, in the nicest possible way, ask them to keep out of things. I don’t want to sound nasty or fascistic here, but the country is in a position where a limited number of mostly older people with obviously quite limited understanding and world views, get to decide the country’s future, at a time when more is at stake than has been for generations. Surely that cannot be sensible.
One of the places I could potentially now be moving to, albeit temporarily, is Thamesmead. It was mentioned yesterday in a meeting, so this morning I thought I would go and have an explore. I had never needed to go that way before, but getting there was easy enough: a single, twenty minute bus ride from Woolwich. Now I’m back in Charlton, though, I’m not sure what to make of it. Thamesmead is an odd little place. One of the coolest things about London is how each of it’s many suburbs has it’s own distinct character, so Thamesmead felt totally different to Charlton, Woolwich or Greenwich. It felt smaller, quieter and greener; it’s town centre had clearly been modernised, and there were plenty of people there, but still felt somehow slightly abandoned. There were some very pleasant canals and paths which I can see myself exploring more thoroughly one day, but it felt a little out of the way. For one, I saw no sign of a railway station, and it’s not on the DLR. On the other hand, when Crossrail eventually opens, it’s new station in Woolwich will only be a short bus ride away so getting up into London won’t be that hard. Admittedly, a two hour trip is barely enough time to get to know a place properly, and I think it certainly has potential, but whether I could live there remains to be seen. I suppose I have a lot to think about.
Watching Catch 22 just now, I had quite a random thought: what would happen if Yossarian met Hawkeye Pierce from MASH? They are fairly similar characters in similar predicaments – I wonder whether they would get on. I’d even go so far as to speculate that one could have inspired the other. Could they, in this postmodern age, meet? And if they did, what could they say to each other? One’s a pilot and ones an emergency surgeon in two completely different wars, but they both react to the futility of conflict in the same darkly cynical way.