April 12th, 2004


Sausage Sandwich

I've dreamed a few dreams recently. Last night I discovered that the Professor had been curating what purported to be a cutting edge art exhibition. Well, not exactly curating, rather tidying up. It was a collaborative installation by Vic Reeves and Wayne Coyne. To be honest, it was pretty derivative, but the crowd lines were long. A recommendation in a weekend magazine; there's enough people who take their cues there. Muppets, I thought - dreaming doesn't generally include the filters that would stop me thinking that way so obviously. The exhibition reminded me of one I saw quite a few years ago in the old Saatchi gallery on the Abbey Road by a young Japanese artist who had assembled the contents of several rubbish skips across the floor of the main gallery. It wasn't bad, but my interest was in the rubbish rather than any intervention of the artist upon it. Intriguingly, they had included a giant Sinclair ZX Spectrum that came in a suitcase and must have been used for sales purposes or demonstrations. I doubted that they'd found this rare item in a skip, but it wasn't impossible. You could get a good price for that on ebay these days. The quality of rubbish was higher then too. People were still throwing away the 60s and 70s. Now it's the 90s. Slim pickings.

As the Professor tidied up, I wandered around to see if there was anything worth taking away. I seemed to be looking for clothing. There were some interesting quilted cupboards that bore some Borges influence in their infinite recession of storage compartments, but these didn't seem to be part of the exhibition. At some point I awoke in the dream to discover that I was covered in blood and had obviously fallen foul of some vampire I slept beside. I stood in the bathroom rinsing it off and saw my face in the mirror. It reminded me of an old Batman opponent called Two-Face. One eye was bulging out and weeping some thick rheum down my cheek. It seemed my body was mutating and no longer in my control.

In the other dream, I was auditioning to play for Ozzy Osbourne's band. Not my first choice of gig, but I wouldn't mind playing the early Sabbath numbers if it came to it. Ozzy's audition technique was fairly inventive, he had produced a series of oil paintings of imaginary musical scores. They didn't apparently observe any musical conventions. He's just point at one of them (blobs of various size and colour) and tell you to play them. I seemed to do okay, but, rather like the dream gun, the guitar seemed to have redundant pieces of wood and string hanging from it.

So, that's the dream world. In this other emanation of ours however... The other night as I slept fitfully to World Service, I kept on hearing the sounds of those unfortunate Japanese hostages in Iraq. I've spent long enough of my life with Japan not to feel that it's something distant or exotic, but rather it's immediate and known. As known as anywhere. Certainly much more than America. Somewhat unfairly, I thought that it wouldn't have been like this in the old days before the war. Japanese people wouldn't have been making these noises, in the ideal of that time they'd have been concentrating on displaying all that yamato damashi malarkey and acting very stoically. Ideally, they would just commit suicide to avoid bringing possible disgrace upon their families and the nation state. Times have changed though and now they whimper. This is a change for the better. Mmm, these months of rest don't seem to have done much for cynicism. I found these noises very disturbing. You didn't need to speak Japanese to understand them.

In the background, some man was angrily grunting Allahu Akhbar. He may as well have been chanting Mind the Gap or Fries with That for all the spiritual content that came across. The Japanese noise was a primaeval sound of fear, the Iraqi was a deathly incantation and not far off some King Kong portrayal of cannibal villagers dancing around the cooking pot. Is this how it really sounded or is someone intending it this way? Allah has 99 names and you only seem to know one of them.

News this morning of some Chinese taken hostage. Cue newspaper article harking back to Saladin and Richard the Lionheart. I'm sure it's in print somewhere already. Given the Chinese involvement in the conflict (absolutely zero), I can only conclude that some of these kidnappers are both desparate and just plain stupid. Cui Bono? I'm not sure using Latin would endear you to them. Aside from the persistent belief that these incidents are as much evidence of the barbarity of male psychology as anything, it seems that nihilism might be experiencing a revival. At the risk of putting myself in the same boat as various Christian leaders here in the UK, I'd so much rather be hearing people apostacising in favour of Islam because of its beauty, its logic, its poetry, its civilisation. Because it brings them closer to God. It doesn't seem we're being offered that choice (and you need to consider who exactly is manipulating these apparent choices), so you'd better head for the trenches. Mind you, if the Chinese are brought into a world conflict, it does offer a third way (I find it curious that Blairite term has its origins with Qadafi's political philosophy - No Representation in Lieu of the People. It was also used by the far right for quite a while. Might still be.) for possible affiliation. Phew! After all, China is the world. It's only our stupid Western educations that could claim it was ever anything else. Never mind Arabic, it's a flash in the pan, go for Mandarin.

That should push Sarmoung back up the infidel Google listings a bit.