Stop That Brain!

For the last couple of days I have been re-reading Galapagos, by Kurt Vonnegut.  A theme of this book is mankind evolving to have smaller brains, because big brains as we currently have them are just more trouble than they are worth.  Big brains are nothing but the “irresponsible generators of suggestions”.  I can dig that.

Take tonight, for instance.  I spend a couple of merry hours this evening researching for an epic blog post I was working on about the London 2012 Olympic Games.  But after a brief digichat with an ex-girlfriend my big brain became distracted.  The epic blog post became harder and harder to concentrate on, and took longer and longer to write.  About half an hour ago my big brain made me delete a whole evenings work, probably five or six hundred words worth.  Fuck you, brain!

Mind you, I have always been easily distracted.  My Mum still has my school report cards that say exactly that on them.  It was a girl called Mhairi then.  Not that I ever actually spoke to the lass.  She lived near me, and I remember I would do anything to get on the same bus as her.  I shudder to think what her big brain suggested to her about me, the strange boy in braces who loved her from a distance, without the gumption to actually say or do anything about it.  Though I did get myself the belt once for throwing a brick in a puddle and splashing her.  My brain thought it would impress her.  I was 12 or 13 or thereabouts.

Of course, I’m nearly 40 now, and my days of throwing bricks in puddles to splash lassies are over.  Age has caught up with me, any bricks I throw now I only splash myself.

Word of advise, if you ever get an awesome woman in your life, and I mean A.W.E.S.O.M.E. Woman, don’t fuck it up.  It’s harder than giving up fags fur fox sake.  I’m trying to find consolation in the fact it’s my brain’s fault, not mine.

PS – Epic Olympic Blog Post Coming Soon 😉

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Lonesome No More!

Everyone should have a new middle name.  And everyone should read Lonesome No More.
Get your own new middle name here
My new name under Kurt Vonnegut’s Lonesome No More! scheme is:-
John Hollyhock-17 Robb

Hullo there fellow Hollyhocks and Seventeens.  Now “Go take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut.  Go take a flying fuck at the moooooon.”

How I Became a Black Sheep.

I watched the film ‘Broken Arrow’ on television last night.  Despite the fact I went to see it at the cinema in 1996, I could remember nothing of it.  After watching it again I realized why – it is absolute garbage.  Still, the film did get me thinking.    It started me off on a nostalgia trip to my salad days, and in particular my life in 1996, and how it evolved over the following few years.

In 1996 I was 24 and earning VERY good money with British Gas as a service engineer.   I had a pension, and was also the regular recipient of dividend cheques from a multitude of shares that British Gas kept throwing my way.  I also had a £21,000 mortgage on a little flat on Castlegreen Street in Dumbarton.  Life seemed a complete doddle.

Broken Arrow was released in the UK during April of 1996, and it would have been there or thereabouts that I first saw it.  I remember going to see it with my then girlfriend Fiona, at the UCI multiplex in Clydebank.    I’ll admit now that it wasn’t one of my better ideas for a date.  Whether she had a thing for John Travolta I can’t recall, though I can’t imagine anyone fancying Travolta in that movie.  His girning alone would be enough to give any woman nightmares.

Life seemed so easy in those days.  The only clouds on my horizon were generally the product of my lovelife.  I had no real awareness of the wider world outside my own social circle, and had no thoughts or opinions on anything ‘political’.  My life revolved around work and beer, with increasing forays into dope, and guitar-generated rock and roll.

It was in about 1996 that I started to become a regular concert go-er.  Looking at my collection of ticket stubs, I can see how my musical tastes gradually changed.  In 1996 I was paying to see Bon Jovi, Oasis, Del Amitri, Reef, and Ocean Colour Scene.  By 1997 I was watching the Verve, Skunk Anansie, Live, Primal Scream, Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, and Beck.

The late 90’s went on to become, for me, something akin to a ‘perfect storm’.   I had moved away from Dumbarton to live in Rothesay on the sunny Isle of Bute.   For the first time in my adult life the Labour Party had won election to Government.  My formerly apolitical nature had been eroded by exposure to the music of Public Enemy and Rage Against the Machine.  And possibly most significant of all was the new time I found for reading.   I started reading broadsheet newspapers, particularly the Glasgow Herald, and a new work colleague was introducing me to the works of Noam Chomsky, Richard Brautigan, Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Waits, and Hunter Thompson.  I developed strong views on nuclear weapons, on the 1998 Gulf War, and the 1999 Kosovo bombing.  Almost despite myself, I was slowly turning into some kind of political black sheep.

And suddenly life seemed not so simple.   I saw in the millenium listening to Godspeed You Black Emperor and Mogwai.

Before long I was resigning from British Gas and getting arrested in front of nuclear submarine bases.

I wish I’d never saw that damn film 😉