11 February 2007


One agrees with Friedrich Wilhelm Neitzsche that the thought of suicide is a great consolation. By means of it, one gets successfully through many a bad night.

According to Cyril Connolly (in The Unquiet Grave) many dare not kill themselves, for fear of what the neighbours will say; suffice to say that if this is true, one is most certainly not to be found in their number.

Considerable thought has given to all of the relevant issues; when considering suicide, the question ‘who’ might strike you as being rather obvious… but who should have to clean up the inevitable mess?

That is not the least of one’s concerns: in addition, one ought to enquire ‘when’ (not while in one’s prime) ‘why’ (ennui… an adequately good reason, if you ask me) ‘where’ (best to keep that a surprise, don’t you think?) and ‘how’… which one hasn’t quite decided. Natural gas has gotten so expensive, and a gun is so much more stylish than a single-edged razor blade… drugs are too risky: one might miscalculate the dosage and just have a good time.

But I digress!

When one realises that life is worthless, one either commits suicide or travels. Given one is still alive- technically, for after all, existance is a virtual construct in this case, wouldn't you say?- one proposes to share what one has been doing all weekend… what do you mean, you haven’t missed me?

One has been continuing composition of my magnum opus, entitled Travels into Several Remote Regions of the World (to be published under a pseudonym, Lemuel Gulliver: one has even created a biography for this alias, a middle-aged and (shudder) middle-class gentleman, first a surgeon and then a captain of several ships, with a talent for languages… yes, someone who actually enjoys travelling) In order to research, one travelled to Tourcoing… and one is hardly surprised that you haven’t heard of it, gentle reader; suffice to say that it is one of two lesser-known but distinctly separate cities adjacent to the city of Lille, although for the benefit of the local residents, one must emphasise their separate identity. (Strict definition of a city’s boundary appears to be a national characteristic: eg. Montreiul, linked by the Paris metro system, borders upon the city of light and yet fatally falls outside where the city’s defensive walls were located centuries ago… therefore most certainly not to be confused with Paris)

Returning to the subjects of Lille and Tourcoing, in this instance (one has forgotten the name of the third city, but let us call it Belfuscu, for reasons that are obvious, although not to you. One travelled northward to visit a couple of friends, who shall be called 2M & 2J (since the most appropriate initials have already been allocated) Who are they, you might ask... more pertinently, why do they not feature in the Cast

After a chance meeting upon the longest unbroken bus journey ever undertaken (from San Andres de Los Andes to El Calafate) we bonded over a llama at a service station in the middle of Patagonia (me speaking Spanish, the service station owner not speaking very much, they speaking French, with the llama making loud grunting sounds; it was a scene from… well, think Eraserhead meets The Lawnmower Man) after which friendship blossomed. Our travel itineraries for the following months in South America were tweaked to coincide, memorably over an excellent bottle of Medoc in Ushuaia, with another night on pisco sour in Arequipa to celebrate my birthday before trekking down in the Colca canyon, a drink with the devil in the silver mines of Potosi before departing on a four day Yunga Cruz trek (accompanied by a donkey with a better sense of direction than our guide) during the annual national strike that paralysed Bolivia back in 2005… and then there was that drunken night in Lima before one went to meet a friend who had been unjustly sentenced to life imprisonment back in the 1980s during the government's crackdown on the Shining Path… but that’s another story.

Upon my return to Barcelona, 2M & 2J came to visit me, resulting in a horribly drunken night as one invited them to a homemade paella before taking them on my infamous Raval pub crawl, calling at ‘Manchester’ (run by Chileans… a bad omen) ‘The IT Bar’, ‘Benidorm’, ‘Bar Marsella’, ‘La Concha’, ‘El Cangrejo’ (note to self: absynth, whiskey, beer and dancing do not mix… although one still blames that damn pisco sour at the start of the evening)

But I digress, again!

One had long promised to visit 2M & 2J in their new home, and news of 2J’s pregnancy provided a fabulous excuse to celebrate… without alcohol.

Suffice to say, it was delightful to catch up. Together we discussed the state of European government, the petty differences between religions, and whether to crack open our soft-boiled eggs from the little or big end… before inquiring into whether men are inherently corrupt or whether they become corrupted, and the merits of inrockuptibles while considering whether we simply suffer the bias applicable to all those our age, or whether the best CDs in our respective collections really were all released over fifteen years ago… while 2M & 2J tried to broaden one’s musical horizons to include La France. (Suffice to say, one has skipped through tracks on the latest offerings from Joseph D’Anvers, Arthur H and Mickey 3D, in favour of the delights offered by Zebda’s ‘Essence Ordinaire’)

We also visited several of the non-famous museums in the area (including La Piscine… wonderful building, shame about the ‘art’) ate pasteurised cheese (for obvious reasons) and laughed about old times. One met with several other mountaineering friends, including B and M3 (no longer together, sadly) : odd indeed, for one had been introduced to them on a previous occasion after a mountain ascent, and so their images have been etched on one’s memory… one almost didn’t recognise M3 with long-hair, makeup and a dress, not to mention a clean-shaven B looking… quite shaggable.

Over dinner, they entertained with tales of M3’s mad mother (who, fearing that her offspring will fight over family heirlooms, has taken to concealing post-it notes behind items of furniture, indicating who she intends to inherit what: little does she realise that B and the others have amused themselves for years by rearranging the post-its) and stag night plans for a friend who manages a local bank (they are seriously considering buying fake guns and some Segolene Royal/Nicolas Sarkozy face masks, in order to carry out a prank heist) As expected, they tried to persuade me to steal the Blefuscudan’s fleet, and when one refused they threatened to have me sentenced for treason, blindfold and held prisoner by gay gentlemen who were not brobdingnagian (measuring only six inches)

Upon discovery that one had some semblance of reason (used to exacerbate and add to the vices nature has given me) one was considered a danger to their civilization and expelled. But one does reccommend Lille itself as a daytrip: a curious place, oddly reminiscent of northern England with it’s small red-brick terraced housing, although with alarmingly unnaturally sized windows and doors… to admit more light, presumably… yet doesn’t it get cold? if not, why hasn’t that architectural feature been adopted in Thurso?

Indicentally, gentle reader, please do not read anything whatsoever into that little rambling aside at the start of my posting. One had no intention of doing anything drastic... until Chapter 65 of my magnum opus Pride and Partiality appears: you will have to endure until then, but not a day longer.

Upon that note, a word processor and a fine malt whiskey await...


Ben said...

There is a third option for those who have realised life is worthless: shrug shoulders and continue as before.

Ms C Qrisp said...

Arguably a weak and predictable response, he commented (with a shrug, of course)