Friday, 18 July 2008
Fate as a Sat Nav and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as a Pub Quiz team
The Boo (Beloved Only Offspring) has been involved in a car accident. No one hurt badly but car apparently a write off. At such moments one thanks the gods that all are safe then you start to think about the sliver of time that separates each of us from one sort of life or another. I think I have a cross between Bergman’s chess playing death and Terry Pratchett’s character of Mort embedded deep in my sub conscious as I tend to see Death as a lugubrious character strolling about the earth and Time as another character much like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland rushing around looking at his watch and trying to get places. They should arrive together at a certain point in someone’s life but now and then they don’t quite make the rendezvous as they should and off goes someone onto another life instead of the one planned. Of course it may be like Sat Nav, if a wrong turning is made the system readjusts and compensates for the error and another course is plotted. Fate as Sat Nav, now there’s an image. No matter how much you try and ignore that voice saying, ‘Turn around at the next opportunity’ it still tries to get you to where you should be.
This is not to say I am a fatalist merely someone who tends to see life events in the form of cartoon or film characters whipping about the place. X didn’t happen because it never was going to happen or X didn’t happen because the cosmos was buggered for a nano second because Time tripped over a tree root or Death took a wrong turning at the lights. Of course in that case it could be said that your whole life could be as it is because of one, two or a continual series of cosmic cock-ups rather than some slick pre-ordained pattern. Philosophers with brains the size of a multi story car park have puzzled over this for centuries so I make no attempt to discuss this but what I find odd is my need to visualise life and all its twists and turns as an on going cartoon caper in which various characters representing small or huge influential factors operate around me.
Time, death, life, hope, despair, happiness; all are ‘characters’ in my head. I know that if I had lived in the time of the Ancient Greeks I would have tuned into the Mount Olympus soap opera assiduously and it would have explained a lot. It is so much more comforting to turn the vicissitudes of life into manageable human like forms. I have this image of the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse as four elderly curmudgeonly men, living in a crumbling damp Victorian house that has a clear view of Ferrybridge Power Station and whose foundations are slightly rocked by the heavy traffic on the A1. They are biding their time, playing scrabble and watching the Six O’Clock News (the BBC is a much more reliable source of information than CNN or Sky). The horses are on loan to a local riding school so horse mad teenagers can have the benefit of them until they are needed. They go down to their local pub once a week when the quiz night is on. They are unbeatable on history questions and popular culture. Mind you the locals are fed up with them always winning and throw in the odd bizarre question on Big Brother or Jordan's autobigraphy to try and trip them up.
Adrian Henri of course was drawn to Orpington as the epicentre of Armageddon.