Two And A Half Days Until Lift Off

As I previously mentioned, I have signed up to http://www.nanowrimo.org and have every intention of writing a 50,000 word novel in November.  I am pumped and can’t wait for Tuesday to come around so I can get started.  You can still sign up for a month of madness, so if you haven’t already put your name down for passage on this fantastic voyage do it now.  You know you want to.

I have decided upon my subject for November.  I feel it is quirky enough to get 50,000 words from.  Not only that I get to fulfill a long-held personal ambition.  Since I decided to participate I have had an idea in my head which has already started to take on a life of its own.  I know that between now and the time I finished this project I will not be able to sleep.  Today I filled in my synopsis on the NaNoWriMo website so I feel able to publicly share the very loose basis for the project.  Of course it may change a thousand times through November but for today it is correct.  So here you are, the brief outline to my new novel.  Are you sitting comfortably?

There are three things which can irrevocably change a man’s life. Death, God and saying the wrong thing at precisely the wrong moment. Unfortunately for Professor Henry Tomlinson he has recently experienced all three. As Henry desperately tries to cling onto the remnants of his sanity he gets pursued by ninjas, hunted by journalists and stalked by priests. Can Henry get through this ordeal without losing his mind, and if he does what kind of Henry Tomlinson will remain?

Mosquitos Are The Arseholes Of Satan

Ever had one of those nights when you are hot and sweaty and can’t sleep.  Just when the weight of your eyes become too much and they start to close you hear it.  At first it’s barely perceptible, so you strain your brain and try to focus on the sound. ‘Bbbbbbzzzzzzzzzzz’.  As it dives past you.  It’s dark.  Your partner’s sleeping.  So you resist the urge to try to kill the mosquito.  The trouble is now you know it’s there.  Every twitch, quiver or bead of sweat crawling down your body makes you think that you are being eaten alive.  It’s hard to separate fact from fiction.  You feel something moving on your forehead.  You try to wait to be sure.  It’s too much to bear. ‘SLLAAAPPP’.  ‘What the fuck are you doing?’

The miracles of Mother Nature never cease to amaze me.  The sheer torture which a lone mosquito in your bedroom can create is incredible.  It’s so small and visually harmless that it seems unfeasible that it can create such a night of terror that you wake up feeling like a serial killer.  The optimist inside me hopes that we are all part of an ecosystem.  That we all have a job to do on mother earth.  However it doesn’t matter how deep in my soul I delve I still don’t see the point of the humble fucking mosquito.  In fact I think the world would be a better place without them.  I am certain they are either a mistake of God, or Satan is reincarnating accountants and lawyers as this horrible bloodsucking shits.

When your eyes are open to the trite nature of the universe you find it hard not to see other examples of such pointless biology.  If you buy into this concept of intelligent design ask yourself how intelligent is designing an insect which sucks people’s blood and transmits disease.  It’s not intelligent.  It’s stupid.  Or what about the Blobfish.  Go on google it.  It looks like an arse which has been turned inside out.  How functional is that?  I honestly don’t see a point to it unless you want to induce vomiting in a human.

It’s not just nature world which contains a fair degree of pointlessness its people too.  Why on Earth design a being and give it the knowledge that one day it will die?  You are giving the creature a perfect excuse to be miserable for the rest of its life.  Why give this being a need for systems?  It’s as if it was created to live and die inside a self-created cage.  Why not give this creature freedom?  Probably because we wouldn’t know what to do with it.

I hereby declare war on the humble Mosquito and all its kin.  You are proof that evolution doesn’t work.  Therefore I shall exterminate you for the benefit of mankind.  And then I shall be declared a hero.  And ordinary folk will raise statues in my name.  And then I shall be dead.  Just a name carved in stone.  And that is alright by me.

Art Is Dead

Last week the American artist Cy Twombly passed away aged 83.  Upon hearing the news of his passing I like many others uttered the words “Who?”.  As is the way of the 21st century, I switched on my laptop and immediately googled him.  Unsurprisingly, as befitting all acclaimed talents of whichever field they happen to inhabit, he was rather popular.  Reading through news headlines he was lauded as

‘a key figure in modern art’

‘one of the most significant artists of the last 50 years’

‘a fraud’

Yet still I had no idea who he was, and what kind of artist he was, so my next port of call was Wikipedia where I discovered that he freely scribbled many of his paintings.  About closer scrutiny I can say that much of his artwork, to my untrained eye looked not dissimilar to the scrawling of a three year old child.  However I am in no way an expert on art, therefore I shall close this paragraph by merely stating that to be a successful artist, someone has to want to buy your work.

One of the most amazing phenomena in the cycle of life is observing how in death, people become much greater than they were when they lived.  Whether it be an uncle, a statesman or a musician.  Why as people we feel the need to dishonestly elevate people to greatness I don’t know but we do need it, as if it’s an almost integral part of our grieving process.  It’s amazing that people have been dying for thousands of years and all we have is around 20 unoriginal epitaphs to describe them with.

The last 100 years have seen two major changes in all artistic pursuits.  The first is that we have seen the introduction of marketing into art.  Whereas 300 years ago a true artist would sell one piece in his lifetime and live his whole life in poverty and only be acknowledged a long time after he passed now the game is different.  A musician dying is a wonderful opportunity to release a best of album, a painter dying is a wonderful opportunity to encourage the national museum to finally hold that retrospective they have been promising and a writer dying can create a buzz which can make their last novel a bestseller.  Death is fantastic for the arts.

In the meantime we have witnessed the death of experimental art.  Nowadays the only art we see is Generic.  Whether its the next big modern artist embalming his dead grandmother up a whale’s arsehole and hanging it from a glass tank in the middle of the Tate, or the next great self help millionaire who is going to help you be sexier than anyone in 60 days or the next big singer who has spent eleven times the GDP of Indonesia on cosmetic surgery in order to have the look.  Due to the blatant lack of new, no one even tries to produce new, instead they produce the new old rather than the old new.  Whether it be contemporary abstract futuristic cubism, or the how to quit smoking, lose 55 kilos and get a man or the next new rock indie folk punk funk hop sensation.  Very little of it is actually new.  That’s not to say that there is nothing new.  It’s just harder to see.

Life has changed, the world has moved on.  The Bohemian in me is saddened by the death of artistic pursuits.  We have replaced the romantic notion of the world with a practical one which involves texting and blogging and facebooking and twittering.  There are so many modern distractions that fewer people visit galleries, or read books or buy Cd’s.  Eventually newness is going to come to an end entirely and then the world will implode on itself and all which will be left will be a large rock and a cockroach called Brian.