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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Selling Out

Wow. A long time since my last posting. I wish I could say I have been suffering of writers block ‘cos that is quite a glamorous condition but… the truth is that a lot of shit has been going on in my life so I have missed a chance to rant about a few things.

On a completely different issue, I have finally sold out. I am on my knees, grabbing the capitalist cock with both hands and ready to give it some head. I have advertising on my blog, which is ideologically repulsive, yet cool as fuck. Please allow me to elaborate.

An average sucker such as me, on 2006, can have corporate sponsorship. Just like that. Capitalism used to be vertical, the have-nots eat shit and the do-haves reap the benefits. You have good honest men at the bottom of the pyramid and blood suckers at the top, profiting from someone else’s sweat. Now it is all mixed up. The pyramid is still there but it is made of spaghetti rather than blocks of stone. Everybody gets to play the game. Do you have a pension plan? Right there, you own shares: vampire. Do you work crap hours for shitty wages? There you go, slave. We all suffer The Man yet we all are The Man ourselves.

Do you have a blog and sign up for ads with Google? Welcome to your new identity a a mini Rupert Murdoch. The money is not there, the power is not there but the faint glow of the vague idea of making money out of grabbing people’s attention is there.

Sold out to The Man. Not for any ironic post-modern estethic reason. Just for money.


Come on, don’t make me beg. Just click on the damned thing see if a pal can make an honest penny for change.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Angry Kids in the Block

A lot of angry kids in France these days. I find it amazing that it has taken this long for all that anger to come out, that says a lot about how efficient The Man can be when it comes to keeping us comfortably numb.

Felix man, knock it off with the Pink Floyd thing. It’s getting kind of predictable.

Ladies and gentlemen, watch the shit descending upon the fan. It’s not gonna hit it this time but it’s gonna end up a tad closer than it was.

One day. One day.

It’s no coincidence that it has started in France. I mean, these guys celebrate the People storming a jail as their national day. That in my book should be a pretty big fucking mission statement for a nation, you know? It hasn’t happened in the UK mostly because the brits wrote the book about keeping lids well tight over the pressure cooker. I mean, these guys invented the concentration camp for crying out loud. The French have to a certain extent been more careless than their neighbours but this is like having dodgy plumbing in your flat: sooner or later your neighbour downstairs is gonna end up wet.

It’s funny how the media attaches the words “Muslim” and “Islamic” whenever the riots are mentioned. Pavlov, Skinner, you can be proud. Your life’s work has served a purpose. I live in the hope that one day I hear on the telly how CHRISTIAN hooligans started a massive fight after a football game or a CHRISTIAN rapist is going to do 30 years in jail, or that the vast majority of ASBOS are given to CHRISTIANS. I don’t know, maybe I should stop being the cheap bastard that I am and just get a subscription to Al-Jazeera Television.

One thing seems clear to me: this is not religious violence and it could only be called political violence in a very loose sense. This is way, way more primal than that. For a start and I hate having to say this:

Vandalism is great fun.

Now, don’t get all judgemental on me. If you disagree with that statement it is because you haven’t tried it, am I right? Thought so. I have and it is an intoxicating feeling, I can recommend it to anyone. Just stay away from my personal property when you do it, ok fuckers? It also goes without saying that if someone starts breaking shit up somebody else will follow. Like kids bullying someone in a playground, that is a fundamental rule of human behaviour. Once someone has the balls or the sheer stupidity to cast the first stone others will join and a lot of what is happening on these Autumn nights down South has a lot to do with that.

Still that doesn’t explain why the fist stone was thrown though.

Well, what the hell were we expecting? These kids are second generation immigrants. I know a thing or two about that being a second generation immigrant myself and ending up… you guessed it, living in a foreign land. These kids have a French passport but that is as far as it goes, they will never be French because they belong to no man’s land. Their parents traded their roots for bread but they never knew how life was in the old country. Like soldiers on the trenches of World War I they don’t know why they are there. As those same soldiers used to sing:

“We’re here ‘cos we’re here, ‘cos we are here we are here”

The French look at them and see Algerian kids. They look at themselves in the mirror of their elders and they don’t see an Algerian kid staring back. How are they supposed to see themselves? Surely not bloody French. It’s a hard life when the seeds you came from fell on a fucking stone. They live in shit neighbourhoods. Their schools are crap because, for some reason, it’s always the good neighbourhoods that have the good schools. Their CVs will always end up bottom of the pile.

Of course they will spend their entire life listening to the world screaming on their ears how wonderful their world is, how much stuff they can buy, how easy it is to get credit with out brand new card, how proud they must feel because they live in a country that gives a chance to every one. Every morning the sun will shine on their TVs.

Yeah, I know I am quoting Aha. Shut the hell up smartarse.

What happens when you chop someone’s cock off and then get him to watch porn 24/7?

Some will have the strength to break through. Those drive Audis and BMWs. All power to them. I salute your courage.

Most won’t.

Those are the ones burning those very same Audis and Bimmies.

Actually, that is not true. I said it just because it had a certain rhythm to it. They are burning the shitty second hand Clios their neighbours drive. Together with their own schools. This is masturbatory violence we are talking about here.

Well, there is something else: if they went to the city centre and started burning the cars of the white go-getters they would deploy the fucking paratroopers man, the streets would run red with their blood. As it is, The Man doesn’t care that much. He is actually happy he has something else He can use to scare us and get us begging for more cops, a firm hand, exceptional laws and heavy jail sentences. Fuck man, I don’t care for shit, just make sure my car is OK in the morning. My basic human rights… you can have them.

These kids are burning their own neighbourhoods because that is all they can burn.

It is called pecking order. The chicken that is the weakest won’t be able to peck another chicken. It will peck the ground.

It will hurt itself doing that. Maybe that was the whole fucking point to begin with.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Floydhead

Last week, a friend of mine lent me a DVD with a documentary on how the Dark Side of the Moon was recorded. Pretty amazing stuff. I have been a bit of a Floydhead all my life. One of the reasons why, as a kid, I would go and study English rather than playing football was that I wanted; I needed to understand what those guys were on about. Them and others, but you catch my drift.

The Dark Side of the Moon is the second best selling album of all time, only after Thriller by Mr Jackson. The difference is, Dark Side sells about a million copies a year. Think about that, a piece of music recorded over 30 years ago. The only explanation for that is that the kids are buying it. Teenagers discover music, look at what is on offer and get a CD with the same shit their parents were listening when they were their age, and even though it is not the less accessible piece of music ever written, it hardly is the Spice Girls or “she loves you yeah yeah yeah”. I don’t know, maybe it’s just that every generation needs a soundtrack to get stoned to and music these days is commissioned by people who get high on far more expensive stuff than dope so there are not many contemporary options for that. Hope that makes sense somehow. Having said that, this is the list of best selling albums in the UK last year:

01. Scissor Sisters: Scissor Sisters
02. Hopes And Fears: Keane
03. Greatest Hits: Robbie Williams
04. Songs About Jane: Maroon 5
05. Call Off The Search: Katie Melua
06. Anastacia: Anastacia
07. Confessions: Usher
08. Feels Like Home: Norah Jones
09. Final Straw: Snow Patrol
10. Il Divo: Il Divo

I wonder how many people will listen to those albums in 10 years time.

I don’t know if anybody could release a record like that today. Not just for business reasons because putting a piece of music in front of the world, per se, has never been easier. We just live in a different world. Floyd tried the material playing it life for a year before they went into the studio. Before that they had worked relentlessly for a decade perfecting their art, finding a voice, working their talent, exploring ways of expressing their vision. They worked within an industry that was profit driven: maybe not as relentlessly Phoenician as today’s, but EMI was never a charity. They created works of art that have stood the test of time. The only one that really counts.

Please do not think I am walking the old good old times were always better road. The sixties and the seventies generated as much shite as any other decade for every diamond that got produced. I am convinced there are kids out there with as much talent as Mr Waters, Mr Gilmour and company. It’s not the human genius that has disappeared; it’s everything around it that conspires to strangle it.

Example. When Floyd went into the studio to record Dark Side, they had access to absolute state of the art technology. The laptop I am using to write this is orders of magnitude more powerful than all the tools they had put together. They had to work with 16 track tapes. Roger Waters, being Roger Waters, had a 2 track tape recorder at home, the one he used to record the coin sounds you can hear at the beginning of Money. When it came to mixing, the whole band had to sit on the mixing table because someone had to physically operate the controls and Alan Parsons, the sound engineer, only had two hands! This was manual, analogical, handcraft stuff. The technology set clear borders to what they could or couldn’t do, but those limitations actually were a source for creativity. The constrains set them free in a way.

They wanted to create sounds they had never heard. That is the key. A musician today can get ANYTHING he could possibly even imagine at the click of a mouse. That on paper sounds wonderful and it is, but on practise it means it is not about creating anymore. It is about choosing. Picking up stuff here and there, hyphenating, gluing bits together. Go ask Moby if you don’t believe me.

Pink Floyd also had a different concept of their public. They did not play for the lowest common denominator. They did not try to reach the widest possible audience; they wanted to reach AN audience. There is a very good case to be made about their music being pretentious, but at least they trusted the listener. Their songs take ages, absolute ages to get going. Sometimes they don’t go anywhere on the first place, sometimes their music is just a texture. They never produced singles because… a single sets a three minute limit on what you are saying and they believed in letting their work follow its own rhythm, its own pace. They never seemed to be bothered by the fact that 12 minutes in which apparently not much is happening gives you plenty of chances to change the radio station searching for a more immediate hit. They allowed their songs to live in their own space. Their priority was the message they were sending, that was their first loyalty.

That’s one of the many differences between creating music and putting together a fucking ringtone.

Another example. I listen to Eminem and, for all his talent (which is much and sadly wasted) it feels like walking along a red light district and having twenty hookers assaulting you (I live in Leith, enough said). Eminem, dude, I can see you are a man with a few issues you want out of your chest, ok? Don’t worry, I am your audience. I have time. Sit down, have a fag. Tell me what is bothering you but please, trust me a bit here. I am not going to run away the moment you stop shouting. You have my attention dude, I am not a fucking monkey. Breathe a little, all right? I know I have a hundred channels of telly to choose from, but if I am watching this one is because I WANT TO. Have a bit of confidence here. In your art as much as in your public.

Both the industry AND most of the artists themselves think we are stupid. Reality shows like Pop Idol and the X-factor shows it with stunning clarity. Not only we think you are a moron, we re going to explain you step by step why and how you are and you will still not get it. Those shows are so irony free it’s just painful. The magician is showing us how every trick is performed and we still look in awe every time the rabbit appears.

Maybe they are right. Maybe we really are that stupid. Maybe listening to 30 year old pretentious 15 minute songs by a bunch of upper middle class art students sulking like only art students can sulk is just another flavour of stupidity.

Bye for now. Shine On, You Crazy Diamonds

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Sunday Afternoon Blues

I’m taking a break from the whole God thing today. Actually, you probably have seen I took the weekend off. Did you folks have a good weekend? Mine was all right. Tried a Jacuzzi for the first time, which is something I always wanted to do because I was curious about how it felt to be sitting inside a gin and tonic. It was OK, not life changing.

More things. I have received my first two e-mails from readers. It felt really good, getting 50% of your readership getting in touch (I could easily make it to five but my sister doesn’t speak English). Unfortunately none of those e-mails was positive. The first one was about how bad my writing is. Ironically enough his writing wasn’t that good either, I mean, one would imagine that if you want to send a message to someone telling him how bad a writer he is you would try to put some effort yourself, you know? Like, compose a sonnet or something. A bit of the odl elbow grease at least. That tells you a lot about the state of the world these days doesn't it. The other one was ALMOST a hate mail thing. I was told off for being disrespectful with the Bible. I have the feeling I might just have lost half of my audience now, which is not nice, but I understand. Welcome to the ever growing list of people who are never going to get a rimming from me though. I have my feelings too, you know?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

God and Google, Part III

OI! You! If you just arrived here don't be thick and start from the bottom ok?
Sorry, I didn't mean to shout at you, it's just that I have some artistic integrity, all right? I love you man, I am grateful for the time you are wasting reading my shit. Come on, give us a kiss, don't be like that.


Before I start, please let me get something out of my chest.

The Bible is an awful, awful book.

I gave up way before Jesus was born; the fact that I was going to have the story told FOUR TIMES didn’t help my motivation a tiny bit. I mean, come on, people. I am all for character development but… what the fuck is that? It’s not like the book was looking thin and the publisher needed some filler is it?

Couldn’t the evangelists agree on a common story? What happened to teamwork? Is it really that difficult sharing notes? Did you guys really have to write FOUR FUCKING BOOKS TELLING US THE SAME STORY????

I recon what happened was that at one point the evangelists started fighting over, a bit like Rock and Roll bands. Who knows, maybe they started all four of them being the best of friends. Just like the Beatles. Luke and John were the creative force, Mark was the ignored genius eclipsed by their shadow and Matthew the funny one who had no particular talent but added to the chemistry. I recon Mary Magdalene started shagging John and became their Yoko and when they split they all released separate albums that sounded exactly the same. Maybe Luke wrote a follow up that was a bit like Paul McCartney and the Wings and was, mercifully, lost forever in a fire or something.

Who knows. Maybe they hated each other from the beginning, just like the Gallagher brothers and Jesus got really pissed off with them because every time he spoke they would have arguments accusing the other ones of copying the notes they were talking. The Bible says they drank wine so alcohol might have made things a bit tense, a bit edgy. It doesn’t really matter. The book is fucked from the beginning anyway.

For those of you thinking of reading the Bible, a word of warning.

Generally speaking? Don’t do it.

Do you want to read it just for the fun of it? Forget it. Get the Harry Potter books. They will keep you busy about the same amount of time and they are way more interesting. There is like zero literary values in here. If you feel childish with that read Lord of the Rings.

You might want to be careful with that one if you loved the movies by the way, the book is way better.

Do you wanna read the Bible because you have found God already? Don’t. Seriously dude, don’t. You found the old man, don’t jeopardise that. I am looking for God myself here so I know what I am talking about, I can appreciate what you have. Reading that book is not going to make you love God anymore than you do now. Much to the contrary, you might have second thoughts about the whole thing. Look dude, it will be like, you have this great girlfriend ok? You have been together a long time and you know, you just know she is The One for you.

Well, dude, I am gonna sound patronizing but it is for a good cause:

DO NOT FUCKING PROPOSE HER TO HAVE A THREESOME WITH HER BEST FRIEND, OK?

Dude, bad move. And reading the Bible if you are already a Christian is a bit like that. If you have enough faith to believe in God, just believe in this dego motherfucker that is trying to reach your soul. Don’t. Nothing good will come of it, especially if you are the one in a million who proposes that to his girlfriend and has her answering back “that is a really cool idea, because I don’t fancy renting a movie tonight. Let me give her a call see if she is busy”.

Shit. I am sorry reader; I don’t know where that came from because it has nothing to do with what I was talking about. Just ignore me. It’s just that I like talking about threesomes. Maybe a bit too much. Any excuse is good for me.

Let’s avoid this kind of distraction in the future, ok readers? If you ever see the word “lesbian” on screen just stop reading and save me some embarrassment.

Anyway: where was I? I remember now. The Bible. Do not read it if you are a Christian already, you might end up having second thoughts. Lesbian.

Hey! Just kidding readers! Checking you were paying attention here.

By the way, thank you for keeping reading. Your loyalty warms my beaten heart.

Do you want to read the Bible because you are looking for God?

Don’t. No way. There is NO WAY a normal person will find Him there. And by normal I mean “able to read”.

That book is contradictory as fuck. You really can justify anything with it. It is all over the shop. It is in such dire need of some professional editing that I cannot believe the sales these guys have had. Yes, there are some common threads running through the thing, kinda keeping it all together. Mostly two:

1.- Be careful with God because he will fuck you over.
Now, how is that gonna make me want to have anything to do with him? I mean, this God guy according to the Bible has some pretty serious anger management issues here people. I have had to deal with some mad bastards in my time but compared to this guy they were such a bunch of pussycats! He’ll evict you, flood you, petrify you, send you all sorts of plagues and diseases and shit, ask you to kill your firstborn, dump your wife, marry a new one, build a friggin’ boat, blow trumpets to a wall... What the fuck???? Even when he decides to give you a break and get you out of Egypt he will not take the short route. Oh no. You will have to walk for forty years. Gee, thanks God. Next time we’ll make sure we pray to that Greek fella from Easyjet.

Bit too much orange for my taste but at least he’ll get you there.

When I was 6 I had a turtle. You know how kids are with animals, they will do nasty things to them. Without malice, but they will get nasty. Well, I tell you, nothing, nothing I ever did to that turtle was even close to what God does to his people in that book. Even considering that turtles are pretty indestructible as pets come.

2.- God really, really, REALLY likes Israeli people
I don’t think I can exaggerate that too much. I mean, God, I am not even gonna ask you where do you go for holidays, ok? I know. I guessed it man, I have a brain. You thought the Americans liked the Israelis? Shit man, compared to this guy they are their bloody enemies, I tell you. God is like all over them.

Ah reader. Don’t even start thinking I am being anti-Semitic here, all right? For a start I have Jewish blood running through my veins pal. Forget it because this is not the point I am trying to make at all. I am not blaming the Jews for anything here. If God liked them so much, what were they supposed to do, ignore him? Hardly. This is not like, you have a drunken twat that wants to have a dance in a nightclub, this is like heavy duty, restraining order kind of stalking. He just won’t leave ‘em alone. I actually feel a lot of sympathy for the poor buggers.

That surprises me. You have a God, who creates the universe and mankind and everything and wants us all to live according to his wishes and all that. You would imagine he would have made himself a bit more… I don’t know: AVAILABLE MAYBE???

What are you playing at man? You have a whole planet full of people and you obsess with 12 tribes? What’s that all about? If you don’t want to put the effort, fine, go to China. You are not gonna get a much bigger audience anywhere! I mean, seriously guys, how screwed up is that?

If it was a case of God not paying any attention to the Eskimos for example, I would understand. In the bigger scheme of things there are not those many of them and, quite frankly, they do live in the sticks. Oh by the way, Eskimo civilization: if you live on a big plain covered in snow and want God to notice you, you might want to live in houses that are NOT BLOODY WHITE. Doesn’t make it that easy to see you from above does it?

So yeah, I would understand God ignoring them at least for a while. It’s not a nice thing to do but I can see where He is coming from there. But what about everybody else? Because this guy is all about Israelis this Israelis that, and Samson don’t get a haircut and Abraham come here 'cos we need to talk and Moses hold these tables for me buddy. As far as he is concerned the rest of mankind was, I don’t know: boring?

Well, maybe you didn’t like hanging out with them but, come on man, you have gone way beyond funny. Why on Earth didn’t you reveal yourself to the Egyptians? They were alrite, nice guys, good for a laugh. Yeah, maybe there took their comics too seriously but come on, are we geeks not worthy of Your Eternal Grace?

And did you really have to let them build the fucking pyramids? For nothing? Dude, that is not funny! Do you realise the effort they put on them? Did the Israelis ever built anything like that for you? What about the Greeks, the Assyrians the Persians, the Aztecs, the... I don’t know, everyone, EVERYONE. That’s not right man. If you cannot see it by Yourself I don’t know what else to tell You.

So no, I didn’t finish the Bible. Maybe it’s like watching The Usual Suspects: it starts kind of slow, drags along for a bit and just when you are thinking of changing the tape you go “WOW! What happened there!?!?” and by the end you are hooked and the last two minutes totally make up for any slow bits earlier on. Maybe the Apocalypse rocks and I missed the point completely. I don’t know, if you have made it to the end please tell me. Don’t worry about spoiling the ending by the way; that is a book I am not going to try and read it again.

Maybe if they make a movie I’ll rent it though.

God and Google, Part II

So here I was, at the very beginning of my quest. In search of a wise old man with a long white beard. The one dressed in white, the one in red does an entirely different job.

This one I am talking about is the One that holds the key to existence.

One thing is very clear from the start. You are not going to find God with any of your five senses. Hard as you try, you are not going to see, hear or touch Him. Smell is too unreliable. Taste is mostly a matter of taste. Unless you are prepared to settle down for Pantheism or some sort of Gaia spiritualism you will not go very far and I have no interest in that.

In a way you can see God manifested in his creation, but Science gives me a perfectly valid explanation for that and it has always worked for me. You can see him impersonated by one of the many who claim to be His voice but… what can I say, I have seen the Pope on the telly and I was pretty unimpressed. I mean, maybe if the guy had like superpowers, you know? If he could fly or turned green and massive or shot death rays from his eyes… fair enough, that would totally sell me the whole package. As it is it doesn’t even make me want to visit Italy.

I wonder who would win in a fight between the Dalai Lama and Pope Benedict. For all his angelic looks and his dedication to peace and love, the Dalai Lama must know some Shao-lin monk kung-fu shit. He must. The man definitely has the moves.

But the Pope… the Pope has the big fuck-off staff and that HAS to account for something when things degenerate into a vicious cock-fight.

Too close to call I would say. East versus West. The rock versus the bamboo cane.

Nah, forget the idea of spiritual leaders fighting it out. Appealing as it might be it ain’t never gonna happen.

I want the real deal.

If your senses are not adequate to find God, then I can only see two other avenues for that: your intellect and your heart.

I decided to try my heart before trying my brain. Ok, ok. You don’t need to tell me how much of a lazy motherfucker I am, alrite? I know. Thanks. Just keep reading smartypants.

In deep concentration I sat for hours trying to open my heart and my emotions to planes of existence beyond out material world. I searched within myself, long and hard. If God created me in his image, if I really am his beloved child, He must have left an imprint of Him within myself. I held to that thought while blocking any worldly concerns off my mind.

I can tell you right now that didn’t work. Maybe I did something wrong, maybe I should have put some more hours or some more elbow grease into it. I certainly wasn’t expecting to close my eyes and find Him in like ten seconds. After all, He has eluded me for decades now, I know for a fact this will not be easy. I can also tell you I put enough time and nothing, absolutely nothing happened.

In moments like this a man has to be honest with himself. Was I suffering from delusion? Is this a hopeless mission, am I carrying this burden for nothing? Can I really find God? And if I can, do I have the strength it is going to take? Am I approaching the whole Tricky Trinity issue the wrong way?

Should I forget about this God thing for a while and go get some KY Jelly?

I slept on it and woke up feeling invigorated. No way I’m falling in the first hurdle

Back to the drawing board.

My mind was created by Him, my mind must be capable of comprehending Him. It will have to be an intellectual approach and I can do intellectual: I wear glasses goddamnit!!!!

Books. I needed books. Sacred books that have been a ray of light for generation after generation. The same words that illuminated so many will illuminate me, their guidance my guidance, their struggle mine.

On my coffee table I had The King James Bible, The Baghavad Ghita, the Koram, the Talmud and the February 1998 issue of The Watchtower.

Now people, don’t take me wrong. I am most definitely not an MTV generation kind of guy. I don’t have a short attention span. Hell, my concentration powers are simply autistic. I do enjoy Bergmann movies. I have read Marx. I have listened to whole Operas. You ask me to do something tedious and I am there. Any Pink Floyd song that lasts for less than 10 minutes is a bit of a dissapointment. I have read War and Peace. Twice.

However.

You will have to agree that my coffee table was holding some pretty heavy shit. Come on now, how long did it take you to read the Lord of the Rings? Do I have your understanding ? Good.

Fearless, I jumped right into the task ahead and opened The Watchtower.

Bad, bad stuff. It has an advantage over the other sacred texts in that you get colour pictures, but the graphic design is appalling beyond words. Nobody can expect to be treated seriously when you have such an obvious disregard for aesthetics. I mean, that magazine is UGLY. They are lucky they don’t sell it at the newsagents or bleeding OK Magazine would sweep them off out the shop.

Jehova Witnesess dudes: just a bit of friendly selfless advice.

Go buy a fucking Macintosh. Oh, and please don’t forget nobody lives in my flat so don’t bother knocking the door.

Damn, another setback.

Don’t worry Felix. Stay calm. Have faith in yourself.

Did Rocky Balboa quit in Rocky 4?

No he didn’t and neither will you.

God and Google, Part I

I have been an Atheist for God knows how long. I stopped being religious at about the same time I discovered girls. That might be a coincidence, that might be due to the fact that even though I discovered them they kind of never discovered me. I don’t know. All I can say is that my heart was full of Faith one day and all of sudden, that warm glow disappeared never to come back.

I am Spanish. You could say Spain is a Catholic country the same way you could say kamikazes were motivated. We have always defined ourselves as being “more papist than the Pope”, and we were saying that centuries before there was a German guy on St Peter’s chair. We are hard core Catholics. We just dig it. So much so, that even though I am not the bluntest knife in the kitchen and attended a Jesuit University, I still had to move overseas to realise how much we are into it. Only then I became aware of the fact that I came from a Catholic country.

Before that I just thought I came from A country.

The thing is, culturally I am Catholic wether I like it or not. There is some stuff that is just hardwired into my brain after growing up in such a society. I like having a concept of forgiveness, of redemption. There are also aspects of Catholicism that I hate, the whole concept of guilt, the idea that your ideas are only right if they come from the right higher authority. But I can suffer and enjoy all of that and still not have Faith and not being a religious person.

In that sense I cannot say I am Catholic.

Being an Atheist never really bothered me. Jesus and me never found each other. If we have it must have been at some social event because I can’t really remember him. I’ve heard he’s got a beard though. Prophets, Mystics, Preachers. I listened to them and even though I was fascinated by their passion, I also felt like they spoke a slightly different language, one I can’t fully understand. The closest I get to the mystic experience is listening to Marvin Gaye sing “Let’s Get It On”.

I don’t come from a religious family. My parents were children of the Civil War, a substantial part of their lives was spent under a military regime that defined its ideology as National-Catholicism. Doesn’t take a genius to see why the mere thought of a German Pope makes me uneasy.

I didn’t learn to fear God from my dad.

From my father I learnt to fear priests.

As I child we had to study Religion in school. I remember it as tedious more than anything else. Once a week the local church would organise some sort of “educational thingy”. North Korean brain-washing it wasn’t: we mostly plotted how to nick the wine we knew they had hidden somewhere. By the time I reached Secondary the government introduced an alternative subject in the education plans called Ethics.

At a very young age I was forced to choose between Religion and Ethics.

The very same choice so many men and women have had to face through History.

Later on I went to a Catholic University, mostly due to the fact that it was half an hour walk away from my parent’s home. Actually, that was the one and only reason. By then my faith was long gone and the experience only confirmed my honest, heart-felt, passionate indifference.

I cannot say I am a tormented soul. Well, maybe I am, but it would be for other reasons. In fact, I don’t really believe we have a soul. The thought of spending the rest of my life without a God never worried me more than the thought of spending my remaining years without voting for the Liberal Democrats.

Until recently, that is.

You see, I have been doing a lot of thinking. I am in that period of life in which you go from worrying because you can find white hair on your head to being grateful because you can find any at all. I am becoming more aware of certain things, I have even started a blog as you might have noticed.

I came to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, I could do with some Faith. Maybe I do need God after all

That feeling has been growing stronger and stronger.

God for me is right there, at the top of what I have started calling my Tricky Trinity. 3 things that I wish I enjoyed but I just don’t: God, Metallica and Anal Sex.

I just don’t get them. The anal sex thing does particularly bugger me.

My friends and relatives speak very highly about all three of them.

My neighbour is going through a really hard patch in her life, having recently become a widow. Her religiousness has been a lifesaver for her. In her hour of pain she has found comfort in God, a comfort that I know will see her though.

My best friend is a passionate Metallica fan. Their music has helped him to get over girlfriends, dead-end jobs, lonely drunken nights.

My boss at work. He is very much into Metallica too.

Why, why so many people seem to derive so much enjoyment out of these aspects of life which leave me so indifferent? Why can’t I be like them? Wouldn’t that make my life so much more complete?

Why is it I don’t have Faith?

Maybe what I am doing is expecting Faith to come to me. It makes sense that, in order to find God I need to seek Him first.

That thought opened my eyes.

God is not like a Robbie Williams song that you start humming along the first time you hear it.

For the first time in my 35 years of life I was having an epiphany of sorts. An overwhelming sense of understanding, a revelation.

I finally had something I could shout from the top of the mountain.

God, people, is like a fucking Jethro Tull album.

You cannot expect to hear it once and like it. You gotta put an effort. You need to want to like it, you cannot simply sit down and expect the music to work its magic the first time. You gotta hear it a few times before you get it.

The logic of that thought only has one possible conclusion.

I cannot just keep prancing along the path of less resistance people. I need to make an effort and seek what I can’t easily find.

With Faith as much as with everything else.

I am going to face my Tricky Trinity head on. I am going grab the bull by the horns and fuck the consequences. I am going to do whatever it takes to live life as fully as I can take it.

For convenience and safety reasons I will start with God.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Our Mate Dave

I am not trying to be blasphemous but:

Holly Shit.

Ever since I started this blog, bad men are falling all around us like brown leaves in Autumn. Had I known this was gonna happen I would have done it years ago. Sorry people of Iraq, I wasn’t aware of my powers back on 2003, so I just went to the demonstrations. What you saying? “For all the friggin’ good they did to us”?

Aye, well, I gotta agree on that one my friend. I am sorry.

Still not on my name though.

David Blunkett is toast. So many reasons to dance, so little time.

Some of you don’t live in the UK so I don’t expect you to know who this guy is. You might want to check him out at http://www.bbc.co.uk/. If you are in a hurry then you will have to take my word on this one: he is most definitely not the kind of husband you want for your daughters. Heck, you don’t want him to move next door to you, ok? Just a word of warning, you never know.

My love affaire with David Blunkett started when he was Home Secretary and said that immigrants in the UK should speak English at home. You could say I am soft-skinned but I kinda took that comment personally.

I mean, I am an immigrant, I am in the UK and I have a home.

I just thought it’d be too much of a coincidence for him to be talking about someone else.

And I also thought that, within the confines of my property, I will speak in whatever language I bloody want and there is fuck all anyone has to say about it. And I believe people coming to this country should learn English, that’s just common sense. It just also happens that I think that having to emigrate to another country to make a living is a very bad thing. Not the kind of trip anybody would do for laugh, you know?

Tragedy is the word I am looking for here.

Most Brits don’t seem to get that because one, they do a lot of leisure travelling themselves and that colours their view. Lots of them retire in their old age to sunny places with cash in the bank, no need or will to learn the language and just a certain fascination for the natives. Brits haven't had to run away from hunger for generations now. Two, they are pretty proud of their country (and rightly so, I must add).

If they could only understand how much of a damned disaster it is for anyone to have to trade your roots for food…. Well, I’ll just say a few people in the Daily Mail would be embarrassed.

You want them to speak English at home, so they properly wipe their identities out once and for all?

You sir are an evil man who doesn’t understand people, doesn’t like people, and doesn’t give a flying fuck about people. Get the fuck out of my government NOW mate, we’ll see you to the door so you don’t bump into the furniture we paid for you.

Shit, I forgot. As an immigrant, I do not have a saying on the way this country is run, even though I care about it way more deeply than 90% of the population.

No taxation without representation.

Don’t worry mate, shut up and speak English at home, alrite? We know what you foreigners are up to. Ask the mother of that Brazilian plumber if you don’t believe us.

After that moment I tried to keep an eye on this fella. He rarely failed to deliver. A brilliant example of the dark side of Labour, a grown up Stalinist wrapped in expensive suits and with a licence to do pretty much whatever he wants because a) there is no opposition worth that name in this country and b) his peers are mostly a bunch of monkeys. Evil winged monkeys flying about at the whim of the Wicked Blair, but monkeys none the less.

The Dark Side of Labour. I so hope there is a Light Side of Labour. Nobody has seen Yoda yet after all these years, but I hope and pray.

Then he had this thing with that woman. Bad move Dave, really bad move. You should know better than to stalk a pregnant married woman in a world where Max Clifford has access to so much cash. To make things even better, the guy, on the same week that the public finds out that he had intervened to speed up a visa application for his ex-lover’s nanny… he goes yapping to some ghost writer about how the rest of the cabinet members are a bunch of baboons.

Thank you Dave. That made my day. For once we agree on something, your pals do make a nice collection of primates.

You know? The thing that pisses me off most about The Man is not the power He holds on us, but that fact that He is such a useless moron. Yet we live under His boot.

They must be putting Valium in the water supply, they have to.

So he had to go and the media, amazingly enough, was almost kinda kind to him. He had a really hard upbringing, you know? Orphan, blind, poor…

Look, I have a heart, ok? I am sorry your early life was that harsh and nobody deserves that kind of pain. But you know what Dave? That doesn’t give you a valid excuse to be a bad man when you grow up. Adolf Hitler had a rough time as well and I don’t see anybody saying “well, you know, the guy had a difficult life so let’s not get too hung up on the whole 6 million Jewish people thing”.

And then he was back. What a surprise. Another Peter Mandelson. Blair sure likes hanging out with all the bad boys in the playground. Tony, Tony, Tony. I wonder what happened to you in school that made you into the man you are.

Now Blunkett is gone again. I am not completely deluded so I will not go mental with my dancing. Maybe a wee Rick Astley song for old times’ sake, because you and I know he will be back. Maybe not as a minister but probably on some sweet EU job somewhere in Brussels. These guys are like comets, eventually they fly back towards us.

Man, I hate talking about politics. We are at the mercy of some really unsavoury people here. And, like good computer games, politics make you swear a lot. There is a certain someone out there that, on reading this entry, is gonna tell me off so I will stop now.

I woke up today thinking of writing about the Artic Monkeys and the movie Kevin Smith is shooting just now and look what you made me do Dave. By the way, give my regards to the dole people. Shame you are loaded, because they could give you a pretty refreshing view regarding the reforms you were planning for Incapacity Benefit.

Have a good Wednesday people. Only half a week till Saturday now.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Technical Stuff

As of now, you can post comments in this blog even if you are not a registered user, so come on punk, do you feel lucky? Do you?

Sorry it took me so long but I didn't know how to do it.

A bit like David Blunkett, who didn't know you are supposed to be an honest man to be a minister.

Though looking at the scum he works with, I wouldn't have guessed it either.

All Saints

Today is All Saints Day. The day when tradition dictates you should visit the cemetery and spend some time remembering those that left us. It says a lot about this place we live in that there is one day a year when you are supposed to visit the graveyard yet no less than 4 when you must visit the shopping centre and buy shit (Valentines, Mothers day, Fathers day and Christmas and I am just covering the bare bones of a proper spending life here).

The Man doesn’t like you thinking about death. Five hundred years ago the Man made pretty damned sure you did think about little else than your own mortality so he could sooth your fears with a nice religion that would also, conveniently enough, be useful to keep you working the Man’s land. You don’t believe me? Go visit an old church. A real one, none of that modern malarkey but one from the days when religion had hair on the chest and a massive stick on its hands. A catholic one if you can. If you must. Look at the paintings, touch the sculptures, smell the burning wax.

Time has passed. Mankind has moved on. Progress has liberated us from many of our chains, society has advanced.

Today the Man doesn’t want you to think about death. It is bad for business. Why would you spend years of your life paying the loan you took for triple glazing and a second car when you have such a limited time on Earth? If we were like the ancient Egyptians and got buried together with our material possessions the Man would make pretty damn sure you never forgot you have a sell-by-date tattooed somewhere on your skin. As it is, the Man only reminds you when He needs to sell you life insurance and only in small doses.

Hell, as far as the Man is concerned, you should never even realise you will get to be older than 23, let alone die.

Now, I am not a morbid geezer. I don’t believe I think about death more than the average punter does. And yeah, the idea that one day you’ll be fertilizer is nothing short of the ultimate bummer and I would not recommend anyone to think too much about it. Especially if you are very drunk and prone to crying on stranger’s shoulders.

Very especially if I happen to be one of those strangers passing by.

On a day like today, though, it’s hard to avoid considering death. And if you look at it in a calm, rational and accepting way, the kind of way you can only consider mortality when you are pretty sure you don’t have a terminal brain tumour, it is a liberating thought.

Death is the only thing that puts everything else in a proper context. Given the fact that I do not have all the time in the world, do I really need to trade a chunk my life for a promotion? Is it really such a good idea to keep stalking my ex? Should I exchange part of my precious hours for a bigger house? Do I really look that good in that two grand Armani? Does it make sense to keep my grudges burning away?

Like fuck it does.

Take almost any issue, make your funeral into the punchline and see how the vast majority of those very issues becomes a joke.

That is why the Man hates us thinking about it. It drains His power away much faster than any revolution ever did. And we don’t even need a beardy guy called Karl to remind us of it.

Have a good All Saints Day people. I hope you are lucky enough not to have too many faces to remember today. Just don’t forget that in a way they will be alive for as long as your memory honours them. Give them the best of your smiles. That is the one prayer they would want you to say for them.