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|Thursday, March 29th, 2007|
|Monday, January 15th, 2007|
It's closer everyday. The thing I have been dreaming of since I was 18. Somehow karma has routed this path, I have no idea why or how, all the people I have met, a year in total solitude, the randomness of this life.
So in 10 weeks, i'm heading for a years holiday in Thailand and India, North India first. To visit the land of the yellow hats, Ladakh, to swallow up greedy gulps of Tibetan Buddhism, the biggest city, Leh, the highest desert in the world surrounded by stupas and temples and the Himalayas.
Blessed this life is. Ego says IT / I made it happen. The hilarity of the mind.
|Wednesday, December 13th, 2006|
|ever strange days in Asia
So the weekend was a big small one.
Unusual for me who's used to doing nothing most of the time, Sunday night, there was a party, nothing mad, just a few beers, in bed by midnight.
My best buddy got trashed.
Monday was a little shakey, sleep deprivation from the whole weekend PLUS i hadn't eaten properly since..ermm..Thursday.
I call my school, post bus journey to 'pick me up', I work in a rough town, my bicycle has to be locked up for the weekend.
5 calls on and no one is answering, call 6 i get the response -
'big trouble! the school is in big trouble' we can get you in 5 minutes.
15 minutes later, 2 panic attacks and a stressed out friend on the other end of my mobile, all becomes semi clear.
My nervous system is totally shot by this point.
The Chinese mafia have homed in on my school and made threats for cash, suddenly i understand why my pay is so good. I too am working for some mafia sect, in a school completely locked up in the middle of paddy fields.
So now i'm working under some kind of guard system, CCTV in my classroom, just incase the kids of the Mafia rivals get kidnapped.
All in a days work.
|Tuesday, November 21st, 2006|
Ok, I'm past my 30 and half year.
Things are changing all the time.
My friends are all getting married by the tonne weight, i'm the cool one that slipped the net? the one that's admired for there freedom and there unwillingness to conform.
Asia's full of souls like me, the one's who just can't find a place to fit in to, many happily sink into a world of depression..the last leg of escapism. Leave everything behind you know to be comfortable, the ultimate last chance hotel.
I have discovered something great by escaping.
That i'm not like the others. But still don't seem to fit in any genre.
My painting is coming on amazingly. Productive and producing images that just seem to fall from the wrist.
So thinking aloud, I'm alive just to create beauty.
|Thursday, November 2nd, 2006|
|new beginnings and drama
Most of the time I have no idea how the world works.
Take the past year, through some sort of direct karma I was placed in a job at the end of the world.
A town where I was held deaf, dumb and illiterate. Pretty much totally Taiwanese, which even the Chinese speakers fall flat at.
Cishan was like rehab from London, I had imagined that escape would be easy once distrations were taken away, that was the only barrier between me and happiness right?
Surely i'd just get to Asia and sit down in contemplative meditation while watching over the mountains?
I couldn't have guessed.
I'm not sure how this past year will define itself in my life.
At the moment, it feels like i have been in rehab, because now, back in the world of living and friends to talk to, and being able to speak, and hear and be understood, the world has taken on a new shiney glow.
|Wednesday, October 18th, 2006|
I never knew the real meaning of 'culture shock' dictionary.com say's
a state of bewilderment and distress experienced by an individual who is suddenly exposed to a new, strange, or foreign social and cultural environment.
I saw a more indepth version, ironically in the Taipei times.
It's not a shock at all, it's a condition.
Phase one is as above, I feel I skipped this part, I was too damn excited to be 'free at last!'
Phase two is reported to be that of complete intreague. Finding beauty in the foreign culture, trying to understand local customs and traditions.
(lasts about 2 months)
Phase three 'Shock!' getting angry at all that phase two promised and turned out to be a farse, picking faults with everything local, traditional etc. and missing stupid things about 'home'.
Phase four..accept that this is not home and get on with it!
Thank goodness, someone has realised why I have been on the verge of throwing my bicycle at cars that cut me up, getting riled by the endless 'herro's' shouted on the street. Being discusted by the elderly with there spitting into cups, coughing in my face, que jumping ways.
Teenagers goading eachother to dare to speak to the foreigner..falling apart with laughter when I enter a store.
A year on (a full year today!!) i'm getting to the last part.
DEAL WITH IT. Current Mood: determined
|Thursday, September 21st, 2006|
Today was a good day.
Good days are always fun as the world takes on a different hue.
Black days, i don't know about. Thankfully, and it's been tested to the max here, depression is not my bag.
Brown days are souly left for hangovers and post drug binges. (which I no longer suffer)
Blue days, they have their rising and falling..anyway, you get the picture.
Today was a fuzzy yellow. The world was not clear, but dreamy and pretty.
I saw something new I liked about Cishan.
It's a fineable offence not to recycle here, and as I see it, the Taiwanese are pretty mean.
But they do the most comedy / bizarre things with everyday objects to make old trash into something useable. Not like making beer cans into pretty sculptures, like shameless, proud infact, of useable trash creations.
What brought up this mind was the image of a man, spotted whilst cycling home, meditating perched on top of a traffic cone, a comfey seat mastered from cardboard and parcel tape. He was well at ease.
Then i remembered spotting an old vegetable seller last week, a new one. I know them all by face but this guy had been off the scene for a while and was gaining much attention.
His newly assembled prosthetic leg. He had a bit of an audience of old croans, wooing over his creation.
He had it proudly resting on his lap, i'd imagine, boasting over the total cost of his new accessory.
I see, bits of bicycle, and a rough kind of door hinge for the knee.
The foot was sculpted from tape and paper, and the shoe?
A perfect addition.
A single, found, fake Nike trainer Current Mood: complacent
|Wednesday, September 13th, 2006|
The fuse of boredom is greatfully burning fast towards the end of my time in Cishan.
A whole year spent alone.
I never would have deemed the reality as possible and as impossible as it has proved to be.
Just one year ago, almost to the day I decided on this trip.
Job application number 326, for a position well beneath my capablities, had just been rejected.
My wish to travel was in my every waking thought.
Moreover, my best friend had just been commissioned to write his second book, searching for gurus in India. Our evenings of sourdough baking and weekends of organic allotmenting were coming to an end.
The world i was living in was out on my league. I was playing with the upper classes.
Showbiz parties, celebrity dinners, weekends partying and socialising in out of this world country houses.
I knew this wasn't me.
Class still exsists in England. It's discusting. Not the people just the idea.
Like the caste system in India.
I saw middle class girls trying out love with upper class guys, who would admit, 'she wasn't the one' simply because they had been trained that 'they could do better'.
I guess when your education has been paid for so dearly, you owe it to bring money back to the family via marriage.
So, tangents allowing, I'm happy to be out of that world.
And this one is really, really OK.
So the one sparkling, in your face moment when I knew I had to go.
Lunch in 'Eat!' organic delhi, watching a Patrick Bateman wanna be tissue remove mayo from his sushi while staring out onto Oxford street.
An old well dressed, but possibly senile woman, while waiting to cross the road peed herself. Standing outside, legs shaking slightly.
Maybe 10 tourists rushed over to take pictures of this unlikely event.
I was reminded of a scene in a movie, that i'm yet to see, where the world had gone mad. Current Mood: contemplative
|Thursday, August 31st, 2006|
OK, this is a lazy blog entry, but i have become obsessed with the weather recently.
What follows is a pan of e mail conversation about what's going on.
Last month 3 typhoons hit Taiwan on the same week, that week I spent in a bath of insomnia, a shower of what i think depression might be like, and a duche of madness.
Today that feeling happened again. as follows:
What a strange day, I woke up feeling less awake that i did when i was
My buddy from Taichung was on messenger, we had the most low key
conversation, both agreeing our heads felt a little 'floaty'.
I checked the weather to see what was happening, and noticed a massive
drop in air pressure.
What follows is an explanation, maybe, for this shift in mood.
> Thought you'd be interested that it wasn't just us monging out, it was
> weather and everyone was at it...a huge rapid increase in pressure which
> made the TV weather..Roman felt it too..exactly the same, and everyone in
> work was complaining of it. One teacher even got a taxi to school because
> felt so out of it..Roman saw an old woman mown down by a blue truck..its
> nationwide phenomenon. It hit 38 degrees at 3pm here..oy yo!
Jees! Thank goodness!
I think there is a paper to be written on the subject, "air pressure
mood management environmental locational business evalution
tics" (as it would be called in
You feel all head drunk, mongy, inturnal very emotional with it too.
Interestingly about 3pm here the sky turned to that black, low wood
smoke sky effect, the kids we all over, i was getting boughts of almost
uncontrollable anger and everyone started acting really suspiciously.
then BLAMMO! a storm of the highest quality hit with massive winds, a
mini phoon that lasted an hour.
Also the Coopod oficially died last week after a sour plum tea disaster, and is currently being consumed by ants.
So it goes... Current Mood: confused
|Tuesday, August 29th, 2006|
My posts have become sparse as kindly pointed out by a certain lady of loveliness, There are a few reasons for this.
-I feel what's happening inside far outweighs what's going on, on the inside. These things are so fleeting, by the time i have my finger on what they are, they have passed.
I don't have the writing skills to express them whole heartedly.
-Although life in Taiwan is pleasent enough, my routine is so rigid as to keep me sane, most events are really not worth the time it takes to type them.
-I have entered the most artistically prolific period of my life. This may be due to much time alone, and spare. Plus suddenly, I have lots to paint about.
My room has pleasingly become a studio with a bed. The lack of personal possestions is driving me to create a sense of meness in the space I reside in.
-Finally the quote.
'Frugality without creativity is deprivation'.
After reading Paul Austers 'Moon Palace' (a slightly flowerly novel with a few good ideas) I decided to limit my daily budget to such a small amount it became a game.
eggs, porridge, avocados, and a pretty substantial fruitarian diet.
2 beers before bed and a savings account healthier than i have ever seen.
|Wednesday, July 26th, 2006|
It's stated that about one in four will have one at some point in our lives.
I think i'm on my third in the last year.
I have no idea who.
Gifts left on my bicyle, things going missing..and this morning I wake up to this..directly opposite my room.
Its kind of handsome in it's simplicity... in a way...
' You are so beautiful, but you look so blue '
|Tuesday, July 18th, 2006|
...so something very strange happened on the weekend.
There was a typhoon forcast, and i wanted to get out of the mountains and travel to veiw the intensity from a comfortable bus seat.
I travelled to Koashiung, to name it an ugly city would be hailing it merit..it's like a tropical Bradford.
I no longer have a scooter so i had to walk, Kinda cool to see things at a regular pace.
On the main road, the only person on foot, in the middle of the day i came across a man, a typical Taiwanese, slighly over weight, punky funky teenager.
He's peeping from behing a pillar at a female car park attendent, his scooter parked beside. It's only when i'm too close to turn back, I realise the frantic action of his right hand, stuck right down his pants, jerking with considerable pace.
I walked on not wanting to cause him upset or embarresment.
How i misjudged the situation.
The weirdo teenager hopped on his scooter and followed me, scooting past at my every turn, I thought to warn me to keep quiet over what I had seen. The more lost I got on trying to escape the closer he came, until he's right there beside me...wacking off while driving with one hand.
What was most tenuous about the situation was that i felt fear, and he, knowing it, continued in his actions.. This lead to believe that he was a very deluded young man..even to the point where there was a police car parked between us.
It seemed to fuel the fire.
I was stoned by this encounter. Not for my own sake, i have lived in Londons biggest dives and Manchesters no go areas..i have seen some things..
What made me grieve was the fact that someone was so lonely they felt the need to spend their free time doing this.
On the bus back home they were playing every popular KTV kariokee films, women clad in diamond dusted bikinis miming to mindless songs about love, dancers grinding to the appauling beat.
A sudden reaslisation that women are still second class in this world, however hard they may try to be hardened and controlling and equal, we are just pretty posessions up there for the grabbing.
How pony. Current Mood: apathetic
|Thursday, July 6th, 2006|
A workapholic has to be a cross between a work phobia and an addiction.
This week, as afformentioned, I have been teaching in a junior school.
At the same time as it's possibly the hardest i have ever worked and i resent it, deeply (fantasizing about the end of the day on waking, a mere 14 hours in advance) but there's a pleasing edge about getting up at 6.40 knowing your day has a purpose.
Like teaching 14 year olds how to speak a languge that they will possibly never use..
oh.. Current Mood: exhausted
|Monday, July 3rd, 2006|
one day i'm working as a designer in Selfridges.
The next, today, i'm in a totally retro hicksville school teaching English in summer camp.
7.30am im sat in the rear of a pleasingly air conditioned car, driven by a Taiwanese English teacher who can speak no English.
8am I'm being brewed the most luxurious lifestyle coffee by the principal in her office, we can't converse, so we just nod and drink and get high.
8.10am. I'm spewed into beautifully old Chinese classroom where i'm asked to talk for 3 hours about whatever i want.
Here, I invented an entire family unit, dating back to great, great granfather who was a (aparently) a doctor.
For this I got paid a silly amount of money. 13 hours later, i get to go home, richer and closer to 'travel's extraordinaire' Current Mood: confused
|Sunday, July 2nd, 2006|
|Friday, June 30th, 2006|
|vegans are us
'thank goodness it's Friday'
This week has been busy and sleepless. A few surreal moments thrown in to the pick and mix of head heat haze and solitude.
A 3 hour unpaid training session in the city on storytelling. Picture a room full of over keen Taiwanese English teachers, playing to the beat of over keen Taiwanese English teacher trainers acting out stories..panto stylee..it was like a caffine fuelled bardo nightmare.
Followed was the experience of taking 8, 9 year olds to a 'western style' steakhouse and teaching them table manners.
They had never used knives and forks before so i spent the time cutting up knarly T bones for them and acting like a scary Aunti.
Discusted at what their tiny bodies were consuming I..
..took them back to school, and drew out nightmare diagrams of how a cow becomes beef, and pig becomes pork (yes kids, electrodes and conveyer belts)
|Friday, June 23rd, 2006|
|Art of the day
I painted today but the results were not as pleasing as the original photograph.
I love this picture.
Taken on a train journey between Trang and a place I forgot the name of in Thailand. Phrat-a-something.
I had to get back to Bangkok in less than 2 days..at this point my port was close to Malaysia.
One train a day, at last minute, put me in third class. 20 hours travelling in a vehicle that made the tube look like business class.
The passing scenery nothing less than geographic perfection.
Fireflies at dusk, mountains sweating steam post an end of the world storm.
A family of three sit with me. My seat buddy, a rather bossy, wrinkled, welcoming old lady, with the two grandchildren opposite.
'Gran', spent most of the journey making, what i guess are, the Thai version of Pinlan (beetlenut).
She chewed and spat and wrapped and chewed more, until, i guess she was pretty wasted.
For the time I sat there i was welcomed as part of the family unit, if not a deaf and dumb member.
So as 'Gran' was so wasted, I took all my comfortable clothes, towels and made her a stretch out bed under the seats. She accepted and fell asleep instantly.
The grandaughter fell asleep, and i watched as the boy pilched some Pinlan for himself. Unseen, by everyone but me.
So the photo is taken at this point.
The boy got sketched out by the drugs as his sister slept on his back and his head was spinning.
|Wednesday, June 21st, 2006|
I'm having issues with painting heads.
And feet, arms, torsos and breasts.
But the freedom of letting a cheap brush, dance with my hand and ink, on throw away rice paper, finding it's route..and the mind in someway connecting with the exturnal, rather than the internal, is a great release during these lonesome, sleepless, work fuelled, soul searching, wasted, wanted days.
And creation for no reason...
The beauty of the ideal cannot be questioned...however poor the outcome. Current Mood: contemplative
|Monday, June 19th, 2006|
|i made this...
...today, during a storm that seemed to rip open holes into a more clarified universe, parcel paper, a 60 dollar brush and a soundtrack of Explosions in the Sky.
Between dancing and whooping and splashing ink all over my apartment, i think i captured, if not headless, movement and a trace of weight.
The exibition looms... Current Mood: creative
|Sunday, June 18th, 2006|
|mid term traumas
This weekend has been a trial and a test of mental stability.
I decided to opt out of my usual headonism (read: drinking light beer with friends in Taichung) and decided to explore my own yard.
Being a Taurean, I am stupidly stubborn about most things. I have read the characteristics of someone born on my birth date and they all ring true.
A natural loner, creative, head strong, hermit like, self destructive at times. All the brands fit.
So today i went to a different city and walked for what seemed like a million miles. On this mission I became obsessed with visiting department stores.
They are so deliciously surreal in Asia.
A mix of 'wanna be Western' with a hint of over politeness, that make you feel like your living a dream. Fashion is sooo bad here, the will to buy anything is totally dissolved by an amusement factor.
In a place where pant high skirts are OK to wear but vest tops are seen as sluttish, my dollars stayed happily in my pocket.
In an economy boom such as Taiwan is experiencing now, it appears the 80's Thatcherite chick is still on form.
See attached. Current Mood: geeky