I’m off early tomorrow morning to go to Jersey. The island of my birth. It’s a little granite rock in the English channel. I spent my childhood there in a house on top of a hill. Usually I only go back for funerals but tomorrow I’m going back to see an old friend of my grandfather’s. His brilliant eccentric chain-smoking wife was my godmother but she’s been dead of emphysema for twenty years or so. He’s still going, but he’s slowing down. He might be able to help me with some stuff I don’t understand. Here’s hoping.
Today has been another day where I’ve stayed at home with the cat and the central heating and entertained myself for free. I’m writing this uncommonly early. It’s just gone six. I’ve cracked open a can of beer and I’m looking out at the grey streets and thanking the gods that the snow didn’t settle. The flight is out of Gatwick tomorrow morning, and if a single snowflake falls in this city then everything shuts down at once and there’s panic in the streets, fire, screaming, death and pain.
Hopefully it won’t snow in the night. I wanted to go by boat in my brother’s car. But a ferry was going to be about £250 before petrol, and the journey would take the best part of a day. Last minute flights for two plus car rental and a train to Gatwick – it’s much cheaper than the ferry all in plus we can do it without sleeping over. And the flight is an hour long.
A year ago I was at the Women’s March in LA. Hard to believe that it was a whole year. Such an optimistic event, and things have shifted in Hollywood since that day, even if not in The White House. There were people I connected with out there but never met – (too many people, not enough time, who’s this guy? I’m busy…) This evening I impulsively joined a writer’s group with two of them on Facebook. These are friends of a friend. But I’ve always enjoyed reading/watching the stuff they put out there. It seemed like the right thing to do to muck in. The theme was “status quo” and what that means to us. At the end we had to write stream of consciousness for seven minutes and then share. Here is my unstructured rant related to status quo. In order for it to have full impact, just imagine you’re locked in a cave with me and I’m wearing nothing but a loincloth and covered in filth and woad. You have a weapon. This is what I’m shouting:
“STATUS QUO: I wish I could land into something familiar that repeats – the sense of a status quo seems almost impossible – beyond the possibilities of the frame that I have stumbled into for myself. Status Quo – it’s a band in the eighties that shouted with guitars, and it’s a conservative dream of the way things should be but for me is it anything other than an idea – that there is a platform to leap from… I keep leaping and finding out my feet are in suet. I don’t trust that there can be a kind status quo – I want there to be such a thing. We all want stability and a platform that isn’t made of suet. I want to stand on a stage like the hairy guitarists in the eighties and leap from it knowing that there will be people to catch me in the crowd but usually it’s just a faceplant on concrete. If my status quo has been chaos for so long what can it be for people who are less lucky than I am – I have a home and I have warmth and food. Is that my status quo> That and the cat and the friends I have picked up over the years? How can we be satisfied with the things that we disempower when we frame them as normal? Maybe the things that we take for granted are status quo, and maybe we must accept that we are all jumping from a stage made out of suet and work out how to cook the suet into a nice hard pudding that can take the impression of out wandering feet and guide us to whatever it is that we think we need to be happier. Status Quo. Stability. Ground. Footing. But also to me it speaks of the way things have always been, and is it not time for that to change? To revolutionise ourselves internally, so we are ready to bring our internal revolution out into the world and be avatars of a new shining personal status quo where people can be drawn to the possibility of personal change and see that it can lead to a possibility of global change where these ancient monsters that have always lurked at the edges of power can be overthrown by millions of people like us leaping from our beautifully cooked suet pudding spotted dick platforms of currants into the current. Why do we seek you, quo? Why do we use the language of an imperial culture that trampled on art and killed gladiators for fun to express an idea of stability – yes they built out of stone for posterity, but they crucified and tore and ripped and we use their words to speak of stability? I would sooner have a rock band.”
Let me know the nature of your weapon, and at which point you would have employed it. Good luck kids! There’s a prize for the correct answer. You get to live the experience!