Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Far From The Marrakech Crowd

The Koutoubia mosque stands at the end of Jemaa El Fna square, which itself isn't a square but two triangles layed point to point, or the shape of an eggtimer if you will.

Marrakech has been described as an assault on the senses. It's more a like a bombardment though as first impressions are of the world's largest open air asylum.

Relentless swarms of sellers, peddlers, charmers, fakers and beggars vie for your attention. Politeness and patience are spread thinly. It's not for the agoraphobic. It's not for the claustrophobic. 

A week in Marrakech starts to feel like a month. Time to get out. To the mountains. And yet, even here there is a need to make money, albeit on a less industrial scale. Traps are skilfully layed. A road stop opportunity for jewellery, shiny rocks, magic beans.

The Ourika Valley was enchanting. I tried to act the goat scrambling up rock faces with inappropriate brogues. My reward was a cool jus pressé and a comfortable sofa in a perched rooftop café.

Perhaps the acid test of a place's charm is its liveabilty. Marrakech is not for me. It's an amazing place, best viewed from somewhere else...


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Letter To Mother-In-Law

I have come to the conclusion that you are indeed a vampire. If I were to hold a mirror up to you, you would see nothing, for that is how things appear to you.  

Nothing is ever your fault. It's always nothing to do with you. You have nothing to be blamed for and you've done nothing wrong.  

This inability to examine yourself is deeply disturbing. It leads to a feeling of invincibility, superiority and a complete detachment from any accountability.  It gives you, or rather you allow it to give you a carte blanche for any behaviour you like, no matter how outrageous, unreasonable or obnoxious, for after all you are beyond self awareness unlike us mere mortals... 

You are, in your eyes, utterly blameless in every situation and thus can confidently boast

"It's nothing to do with me."  

"I've done nothing wrong."  

"I don't see why I should suffer."  

And yet in reality it's all about you...  You've done your time, put in the hard work, given your service to humanity, and now, at your age, you demand your rightful reward.   The world owes you a living and by god you'll take everything that's going.  You'll make sure you squeeze every last drop of effort from those around you to wait on you hand and foot and attend to your every need...  

And in return?   

Well, you don't owe anyone anything do you? Why should you? How dare they suggest you actually care about anyone other than yourself...  

No, you have it all worked out. You see, you know that people are not on your level of intelligence and guile don't you?  They'll be easily fooled by a few sweet words of phoney appreciation and the odd plastic smile of compliance.  

But you know differently. You know it's all a game to get what you want and you love playing this game don't you?

Except, the game is over now...  

Your mask has slipped.  The real you is on show.  And it's not a pretty sight. In fact, it's repulsive.  

You see, no-one likes a fraud. No-one likes a fake. No-one likes a person who is so selfish, so self absorbed that everything they do and say is designed to get what they want at someone else's expense.  

Especially one for whom nothing is ever good enough...  

"The day's half over..."  

"I didn't get staying long today"  

"Someone bought me this, I don't like it"  

"I don't think I'm wanted"  

And so on...  

All about you...  

No-one else comes on your horizon. Least of all your daughter...  

Someone who has gone out of her way to look after your well being.  

Someone who has sacrificed her time, effort, health and self to make sure your needs are met.  

For zero thanks.  

After all, that's what daughters are supposed to do isn't it? 

Or is it?  

It doesn't matter anyway, it's what you expect that counts, isn't it?  How dare she expect any warmth from you back as her mother? After all it's her duty to look after you...  

She shouldn't have to expect you to acknowledge or remember her birthday, surely?  Of course not, you're nearly eighty. The brain shuts down doesn't it? Next thing you'll be forgetting your son's coming over on Thursday and you're being whisked off to Dublin to be wined and dined,  

Over your daughter's birthday...  

I'll finish now, as I've already wasted enough of my time as your friend, butler, chauffeur, cook, listening ear, entertainer etc...  

You see, life is precious. It's fleeting. It's far too short to waste with people who sap your energy, who drain you without thanks, playing little games to get what they want all the time, all the while looking down their noses with a feeling of smug superiority.  

People like you...

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Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Ten ways to measure a successful night out

It occurs to me there are simple, common sense signs to decide if any night can be deemed a 'success'.

Here then, in no particular order are ten of the best...

1. No one stabbed anyone in the eyes.
2. No one shit themselves.
3. There weren't any infectious diseases leading to weeping sores acquired.
4. Dissident factions didn't insist on you driving an improvised device anywhere.
5. You actually woke up the next morning.
6. There wasn't an impromptu visit from Satan.
7. Your body contained no visible tattoos.
8. Facebook page remains unhacked.
9. When you roll over you aren't greeted by the sight of your mum.
10. You don't have morning sickness.

Score yourselves as follows

1-3 This constitutes a fairly decent night out
4-7 Bordering on the mainstream - maybe you ought to cut loose a little
8-10 Did you even go out, or have you already died?

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Thursday, 26 August 2010

Seeing is deceiving

Someone once said we should live everyday as if it were our last. I struggle with this type of thinking; it appears to make sense at first, but on closer examination is flawed.

If this is to be our last day, it will be incredibly difficult not to be maudlin, jaded and filled with regret.

If however, we approach it as if it were our first day on earth, then we can at least fool our minds into setting aside our preconceptions. Everything from the particular shade of blue (or grey) that is the sky is a wonder, novel, curious.

We learn to explore with fresh zeal, to examine in detail even the most mundane of our surroundings.

In short, we cultivate an awareness of both ourselves and our environment.

We learn to how to live.

Monday, 3 May 2010

New Beginnings

And we're back in the room.

After a few weeks of unprecedented flux and form, things are beginning to settle.

My own ridiculousness has led to a parting of the ways with my wife.

She had tolerated my mood swings, outbursts and depression for 22 years to the day and deserves a chance at normality.

I wish her every happiness.

My wonderful daughters shall of course be here from time to time and hopefully experience a calmer, more stable dad.

Ridiculous Times is reborn.

The times they are a changin'...

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

This is the end, beautiful friend the end

The F word's here and the f word's back.

This is my last blog.

I want to thank you for walking with me.

I've enjoyed your company.

I've tried to make you laugh.

Tried to make you think.

Provoked and maybe annoyed you.

But we can agree to disagree without falling out.

I am withdrawing from this and other arenas.

Life is worth living, but I am weary of failing.


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Monday, 5 April 2010

Red & Black Shack

Yesterday was the first ever public display of the Red & Black Shack.

And they loved it.

They came, they saw, they moved on.

After two hours we had sold nothing.

Then on Easter Sunday a miracle.

Someone bought a dreamcatcher.

14 hours after we set off we arrived home.


Final sales crept into double figures.

An overall deficit of around £30.

So much for us being out of recession...

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