Monday, June 14, 2010

On giving peace a chance


Soft Setting Sun by Pants


I'm always moaning about the Chav-on-Sea town in which I live. But I came from the ultimate chavurb of Hackney, East London. Truth be told, I'm a chav in all but taste. So, how come I'm not doing the Lambeth Walk over my little bit of bloomin' luck then? Fresh air? Fresh food? Surely, by Pants standards, this is living high on the hog as opposed to getting high on the smog.

I moaned about Hackney, as some of you may recall. (If this applies to you, please seek medical help as you have been reading this blog for far too long.) Moaning is my default response to anything that is not alcohol-based. It's not that I think everything apart from wine is crap, it's just that I'm far too optimistic about how things could be if stupid people weren't running everything. Vintners are never stupid. Why don't we put them in charge? Just a thought.

Larrikin's End is a serious step up for the Pantourage, it must be said. Although, from Hackney, going in the other socio-economic direction would have landed us in Harare.

This morning I was listening to a radio broadcast of Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton addressing the annual Sydney 'Happiness and Its Causes' Conference * on the subject of Forgiveness. If you are old enough to remember floral yoke dresses, you may recall her as the woman who was convicted of murdering her new-born back in the early 80s. It turned out a dingo took the baby as retribution for the stolen generations. Don't all gasp - Lindy says she found some of the dingo jokes in circulation at the time of her unimaginable ordeal 'hilarious'.

Her talk was touching. Even though almost the entire human race had given up on her, in her darkest moments, she hadn't given up on us. As a gesture of magnanimity, it seemed gigantic. I find it hard to forgive being imprisoned in a ludicrous conversation for more than five minutes. How could it be that this woman could endure the loss of a new baby and an unjust murder sentence, not to mention global ignominy and put it all down to experience?

Selfishness, she said. Get your head around that one if you can. (Barney,will you shut the fuck up, and have you not noticed I'm nursing a half-empty glass here. You just can't get the staff). Yes, she was a Christian and forgiveness was a cornerstone of her faith, but actually it was a pragmatic decision. She found forgiveness a handy ritual, a convenient full-stop. The 'stewing' she said, did no one any good. Makes sense, but all the same, that's some dump.

It set me thinking. (Don't all panic at once - the internet is apparently a delicate apparatus). I stew over the stupidity of others for far too long and I'm going to stop doing it. Yes, the world would function so much better if folk would cease their daftness but it works well enough and I do now have the luxury of not having to care too much. Apart from the small matter of having Lindy C-C rewrite my Joseph K fixation very large, I'm enjoying reasonably rude mental health at the moment.

After listening to the broadcast this morning, I spent the rest of the day finding cheer in Larrikin living. I went for an elderly jog along our sparkling lake, taking particular care to appreciate the pristine quality of the water. For a very long time I watched our healthy pelicans take off, fly about carelessly and land. They are blissfully unaware of the pelicanocide that is happening in the Mexican Gulf. I am more than aware of the oil and gas rigs dotted along our coast.

I positioned my deck chair in a sunny spot and read some of Ian McEwan's Solar. When it got a bit too cold to sit still, I worked in the garden for an hour and then in the naturally solar-heated tin shed for another hour. And for most of the time, all I could hear was birdsong. That's quite luxurious in these parts as flora-grinding equipment is frequently deployed in rainless moments.

And then, the sun signalled its intention to set. It's impossible to adequately photograph the beauty of our winter sunsets on the pocket Kodak. The borderless vastness coupled with the nursery intimacy of baby pinks and blues simply does not translate into postcard format. Forgive me, I have tried, because that's what I'm doing now.


*I'm adding the link just in case you think I was messin' with ya.