Monthly Archives: October 2012

Your Existence

I have to take a pill every day to keep me from not being sad. I wouldn’t say it keeps me happy as such,  but just takes the edge of that crippling negativity which makes everything seem futile.

I wonder how I have become this person. Was I always like this? I look at my father and see an introverted, anxious man, plagued by existential angst, yesterdays regrets and fears of tomorrow.  I hear him speak of his own father and a pattern starts to form. I wonder if genes are involved.

I recall being a lonely child, making my own games in the playground.

Now I am an adult, I have a good job, friends and a family that love me. But….

Another long-term relationship lies in the dust behind me. Why is it that despite having wonderful friends and a loving family it seems this one relationship that evades me is the one that causes me most frustration.

I feel out of sorts, like I’m marking time. I’ve recently been working too hard and I’ve let slip doing the things that keep me peaceful: meditation, exercise, music. But these things have started to feel like distractions, something to fill up my time to distract me from the hollow sound of my own existence.

I used to feel like I was making a difference to the world through my job, but I don’t feel that and more. It seems as significant as gardening at the moment.

I find it so hard to focus on the good things I have. How lucky I am to be alive, physically healthy, a roof over my head, having food to eat. I know I am lucky. I just feel weighed down.

I wonder what would happen if I just stopped. I mean, if I just gave up trying. I’ve experienced such calm though meditation i sometimes wonder whether I shouldn’t just stay there. That’s the goal of meditation after all- to get to the point where you are just being. Can you even have a goal of meditation?

I need to step off again and walk barefoot through the grass and just have time to mediate and play my guitar. And maybe someone might look at me with soft, kind, understanding eyes, and fold me in their arms and I won’t have to keep going on my own.




The Tears of Romy Schneider

I’m lying up on the sofa today. I got on the train to work but my body wasn’t having any of it and quickly rejected my idea as a bad move. So instead I’m lying up.

I watched “The Triple Cross” on i-player. Christopher Plummer in a wonderful role that allows him to be the masterly cad with a sensitive side that he does best. He is a very handsome fellow indeed, but his half smile has a cruelty to it that makes him seem like a carnivorous plant: beautiful but ultimately deadly. His other most memorable performances for me have been Colonel von Trapp and as Squadron Leader Colin Harvey in “The Battle of Britain”; in both roles he has the same cool charm belieing an intensity and ferocity of manner when things don’t go his way, whether it be the Nazis threatening his family or his own wife not accepting a posting to be near him.

But this post isn’t about Plummer it’s about his co-star Romy Schneider who plays the Countess Helga Lindstrom, a German agent who is ordered to seduce Plummer’s character Eddie Chapman, an ex bank-robber, and secure his loyalty. Predictably, the Countess finds herself falling for Chapman, but in a film where the central loyalty is one man for himself, it was hard to see things ending well. In the last scene we see her in, with the Allies marching across Europe,  the Countess tearfully tells Chapman she will be returning to Sweden, and suggests he might join her there. “It wouldn’t work”, he replies.

As the film ended I reflected on the changing fortunes that life brings and the relationships people build often only to leave them behind. Helga’s tearful face in the French Cafe was uppermost in my mind, and I wondered what had bought this Countess to be where she was right then, mourning the loss of a man she had come to care for who rejected her out of hand: was it out of callous self-interest, or simply knowing his own narcissism to well, his own self-confessed desire to “keep looking at beautiful things”, he was protecting her from hurt he knew he would inflict. I wondered where her heart and head took her next, and whether she found happiness. It is likely she would not have many places to hide having worked with the Nazis.

Schneider’s face was familiar  and I was intrigued to know which other films  she had been in. I was taken aback when i looked her up on Wikipedia only to find she had died in 1982 aged 43, from a heart-attack induced by a cocktail of drugs and alcohol. She was found sitting slumped in an empty chair by a half-written letter, by her partner.

I was soon unfolding the bleeding petals of the tragic life of this Austrian rose. Her mother Magda was Hitler’s favourite actress and perhaps had even had an affair with the Führer. She had been engaged to actor Alain Delon, living with him for five years, before he walked. She cut her wrists. Her first husband committed suicide. Her 14 year old son from a subsequent marriage fell onto a spiked railing, punctured his femoral artery and died.

Recalling that cafe scene now, shot as it was perhaps a year after Delon walked out on her, what could Romy Schneider have been thinking as she told Plummer to go? Her tears seemed so real. Could she have already known when she accepted the part that her relationship had ended and she would have to relive the loss through this scene?

I sit here saddened by what I have learned. I enjoyed the movie, but the real story has moved me even more.

The stories so far

I’ve always written things down.

I started writing notes to myself in small diaries, barely larger than my smartphone is now, at the age of fourteen. They are quite consistently filled with the angst caused by being young and rejected by my first proper girlfriend.

I wrote stories in notebooks, and the year after I’d left university early to become a motorcycle disapatch rider I found myself with a broken bike and holed up writing my first novel in the bedsit I shared with my girlfriend. We played sonic the hedgehog, watched Twin Peaks and collected the tops from Captain Morgan Rum bottles on a bootlace which made a snake that Chaos the cat chased around the room. I re-read the novel years later and choked on its self- indulgence: a tale of angst-ridden friends with impossible dreams, two heroes (well, one anti-hero) battling over one girl, a murder and doors opening to new worlds. A psychologist would have had a field day, and perhaps it might have proved useful if I’d kept it to show mine. But disgusted, I burnt it. I regret that now. Even the worst of your ramblings has its worth.

I’ve kept journals since then, lately preferring the black moleskin favoured by Chatwin- summoning the power of an exceptional writer to inspire my own. And I think I’ve learned a thing or two since I sat in the bay window of my bedsit, trying to capture the essence of great themes and only ending in bathos and caricature. It’s the small things that count.

So here you’ll find small things mostly, because I’ve yet to find a narrative to link the world I experience. Has anyone I wonder? I suppose if there was one it would be the theme of this blog: that change is the only constant, but even that depends on how you view things.

I’m still writing after all.