Monday, March 08, 2004

It is strange but with eight days to go until I jet off to South East Asia for several months or more I feel no sense of excitement, nervousness or intrigue. In fact I feel strangely empty about it. I was more energized during the build up to a weekend in Dublin. It is a strange phenomenon and I am struggling to understand it. Don't get me wrong; although I am not emotionally excited, I am logically excited. Perhaps I have realised that this event will be a long haul and my mood throughout will thus be a temperate rather than an excited one. Although I think it is an unlikely explanation.

More probably I am thoroughly bored with the marathon preparations I have had to undergo. Tomorrow I have to travel to my local surgery to get yet another injection. Meanwhile advice on what I should take with me has continued to be coming my way mixed heartily with the usual dispensed guidance regarding the need to travel light. Most recent has been that I can become a popular and necessary friend to fellow travellers if I was to stock some hair-clippers amongst my belongings. Probably good advice, but the list seems to be getting a bit lengthy and superfluous.

I had written what I thought was a comprehensive list of things to bring more than three months ago. Since than I have been slowly accumulating the necessary goods. Things like a penknife, bath plug, pairs of shorts, torch and so on. When I wrote it, I was planning to travel alone and only I expected to see it. Sadly since then, others have espied the list.

When you write a thing exclusively for your own eyes my friends, you write things that others may not understand, and you write without need for style or flourish. So it says something about me that two of the things I wrote were thus:

"Approx $100 US currency to stash upon my person", and:

"Sarong (wussy yes, but all advise is to take one)".

That I should use the words "upon my person" is bad enough and its existence has caused some limited mirth for my friends. But I feel the use of brackets within which I have written a justification to what could perhaps be a kind of omniscient god of all writing is particularly embarrassing. Why did I not just simply list the word sarong and leave it at that? Perhaps had I written the list for someone else it would have been absolutely fine, but to write it to myself? Did I not have confidence in myself to buy the product?

Ironically the existence of this episode has caused me such pain that I have not even dared to enter a shop with the intention of looking at sarongs. In fact I haven't even discovered where I might purchase such an item. So I will depart without a sarong. And I will depart without an emergency stash of US currency. Although I think I might still try to acquire some.

Random pic of travellers in sarongs...
...and they look like twats.

The importance of these things is fairly clear. The currency is a useful tool, as all peoples will accept it - so it could be vital in an emergency. The sarong is a common piece of clothing in S.E. Asia and a useful beach item that can be lied upon, used as a simple blanket, and converted to a kind of towel. I will pick one up in a Bangkok street market.

The other probable reason I am feeling strangely unexcited by my imminent adventure is that I am in the process of listing to myself what I will miss. For instance, I watched the first race of the 2004 Grand Prix season this weekend. And although it was probably the single most boring motor race I have ever witnessed in my entire life, I felt sorry that I would most likely miss the remainder of the season. Sad I know. And I am happy to see there will be a new series of Black Books, but sad that I will miss it. Pathetic. Obviously I will mss my friends and family as well...

Actually though I have been spending most of the last weeks silently telling myself what I cannot wait to leave behind. My local train line Thameslink is high up on the list of things I am looking forward to leaving behind. And so are the British equivalents of red necks. The names given to this group of fucks differ. Be it townies, rat kids, scallies or as this wonderful website calls them, chav scum. Regardless, they can be identified by the same common signs: tracksuit bottoms, baseball caps, stupid looking jewellery, getting massively drunk every weekend and antagonising their neighbourhood - I don't need to list all the things: look at the site. I can't wait to leave these annoying fucks behind me.

I'm currently reading Bill Hicks' "Love All The People", a brilliant collection of the late comic's routines, letters and other things. And since we are on an international theme, I thought I'd detail his quick capsule view on nationalism. It's a view I can find no fault with. Go buy this book I urge you:

"I was over in Australia and I was asked, 'Are you proud to be an American,' and I was like, 'I don't know. I didn't have a lot to do with it, you know. My parents fucked there, that's about all. You know, I was in the spirit realm at the time. "Fuck in Paris! Fuck in Paris!" but they couldn't hear me, cos I didn't have a mouth. I was a spirit without lungs or a mouth or vocal cords. They fucked here. OK, I'm proud. I hate patriotism. I can't stand it, man. Makes me fucking sick. It's a round world last time I checked, OK? You know what I mean? I hate patriotism. In fact, that's how we could stop patriotism, I think. Instead of putting stars and stripes on our flags, we should put pictures of our parents fucking. Gather people around that flag and see your dad hunched over your mom's big four-by-four butt. See if any boot rally mentality can circle round that little fucking image."


Hmm, I fear every time I want to make a point in future the temptation will be to reproduce a section of Mr Hicks own mastermind philosophy.

Must avoid.

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