Monday, 2 December 2013

Hopeland (Notes from Corsica) 21: So Far So Good

21: So Far So Good

These are hardly original ideas.
The grass is always greener.
The human condition is invariably in a state of disappointment.
Is ‘different’ better? When habit and convention demoralizes and casts us adrift, how do we reset our course?
The thought of real change is intimidating; it could save me, yet I fear it and remain content with cold compromise. Dissatisfied, I crave happiness and, when it fails to materialise, look elsewhere for a quick fix. As ‘consumers’, maybe we have become so used to instant gratification that we can only be disappointed.
I want to be ‘of substance’, yet deny the process that makes the fabric hardy: life. I focus on the horizon, rather than on the small dramas in front of me. I desire to be “anywhere but here” with the vague possibilities of that ‘other life’ making me resent my real life even more. Traditionally these ‘other lives’ were just vague unobtainable pipedreams, seen in fuzzy black and white. Now, digital clarity promises a focused and immediate reality in ‘High Definition’ that is demanded without investment or preparation. Thus, even if I do make the dream reality, I’m unable to appreciate or recognise the gravity of its arrival; I just use it and move on to something else.
Many of my songs focus on the tricks that we use, the games that we play and the skills we develop, to stop ourselves from becoming unglued. For me, silence stands as failure and threatens everything, so I fill it with music and search for the perfect song. I’m surely doomed to be disappointed, but the ambition keeps me moving forward.
I believe that we all rest where compromise leaves us, in a kind of limbo. Limbo? It's sorrow's way; like the unravelling of a lost kite, a gentle rise or fall towards oblivion. We’re all connected by our unravellings, we don’t always feel the tug, but as the line tightens, leaves a mark, then relaxes, we realise that things can never come to rest and learn to trust the rhythm of chance. I say, don't be afraid to forget. You will not. What is vital will remain. Regrets will become your palest thoughts, and one day, when your gaze has drifted, the sadness will buck and buckle and be gone. How do you live the perfect life? How do you write the perfect joke? Start with the punch line and work backwards. And the perfect joke? A man falling from a great height whispering “so far, so good.”


Rolling up his sleeves, he approached us with the fixed stare and intent of one about to join a pub fight. As he brushed past, kicking sand onto our towels, I noticed that his belt was already undone. A woman in a red coat, with the countenance of a long-suffering wife, followed closely behind. Fingering his flies the man stopped with purpose fifty feet beyond us and completed his dishevelment. Naked but for briefs and a St Christopher, he clawed at the sand and within minutes had created an elaborate maze of sunken tunnels and ditches which fast became irrigated by the sea. So intent on this toil was he that he disregarded a chuckling child, armed with water wings and a bright yellow bucket and spade, joining the game with relish, until he caught the man’s eye. The sad red lady had stationed herself at a dispassionate distance and sat smoking, in mute acceptance of her lot. Maybe she was a sister or even a care worker. Cursing unseen demons her charge shivered and threw his arms to the heavens, perhaps demanding divine guidance, then continued his ecstatic excavation, like an aguish archeologist digging into the past, tunneling himself back towards happier times. He was joined in his work again, this time by a young Alsatian that fuelled the feverish frenzy, the two working in unwitting unison until the pup backed up, covering the sandscape and its architect, who kicked out at the dog in a rabid rage before returning to his work. After a good hour of unbroken endevour the digger suddenly stopped, as if to the sound of a factory siren, his shift complete. Picking up his clothes in a rough bundle he set off at a pace, retracing his steps, again covering us with sand, his wild eyes indifferent to our sympathetic glances. We had however caught his companion’s attention. As she passed us she rolled her eyes and, in perfect broken English muttered, “Lost forever. And it was a fucking Rolex!”



  1. If I lost my Brietling I'd probably feel the same :( - are you feeling unfulfilled Mr Jones? Change We Must :)

  2. Ay Nick, seems that change is apparently good for us; even if it is from bad to worse...

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