Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lemon Meringue Fever


I don't want any mizness
I just want a little bit of business
No champagne, just fizzness
And a witchy-wizard kind of whizzness

Open a bottle, screwtop
Shake it out lovely fruitypop
Nice big boots, no flip-flop
Deep breath, count down, make it stop


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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Back In Blighty Day

Today is Back In Blighty Day, in the Grand Calendar of All Things.

Our carefully booked flight was supposed to deliver us at 10pm on Saturday, but the BA jet coming to get us broke down on the way and had to land in Venice, stranding about 50 people in Cyprus. We were stuck in 5 star accommodation in Lemesos (Limmasol) overnight and caught a flight leaving at 5am and arriving at 8.30am UK time. Turns out that had we arrived as intended, we'd have walked right into some heavy violence, at just about the time there was a stabbing and shooting on the Holloway Road. My neighbours and local shopkeeper told us all about it - most of the lower stretch of Holloway Road was blue-lined and Bobby-shut as we tried to go and re-stock with provisions upon our happy, hungry return. We went a different route. I feel strangely to be so relaxed about absolutely everything and it makes me realise what stress I am forced to accept in order to live in snobbish, status-obsessed, vain, anxious modern London.

I didn't miss internet at all while I was away, nor news, nor family, nor friends. I missed making music and playing backgammon, so I bought a cheap Chinese acoustic six-string guitar which GGF has decided is now hers and regularly uses to learn chords, and a backgammon set, which we played regularly and competitively and which we left at the villa for all to play and enjoy. We read a lot, walked, conversed, swum, ate good food, and, in our cheap, economical hire car, we explored the island with it's fabulous east-meets-west natural abundance, its arid heat and its strange schismic, subliminal violence, its generous, charming, honest, greedy, careless, philosophical, ex-colonial inhabitants.

I really appreciated the difference in thinking time that this brief interlude afforded me, time for deep thinking which just doesn't occur when the cylinders are firing keeping everyone else happy. Perspective has been achieved and I have had some realisations and revelations, including one spectacular moment high in the Troodos mountains in the centre of Cyprus. There arose a spontaneous moment of truth such as only comes when you are unprepared and mistakenly believing you are doing something else, in which all was revealed to me. And when I say all, I mean all.

Better still - due to the wonders of technology and the nature of fate, I made a video as this enlightenment actually happened. Now as you, dear reader, may or may not know, this is not the place for that kind of rich metaphysical experience - I run a personal podcast for that over at deekdeekster.com - and soon I shall post it up there, but not right now as I am still putting things in order.

Since I got back four-ish hours ago, aside from opening a stack of snail mail, I've checked over 1500 emails (not spam), filtered the same number of emails (spam / unwanted), deleted a couple of dozen spammy Twitter users who have decided to follow me in the past three and a half weeks, and now I'm uploading around 200MB of photographs to Flickr. I also received a most marvellous present in the post which I am totally enjoying - the new Unio and Petitio album, entitled Cheers fanx ta - which if you've a mind for sheer anarchic fun and audio beauty, I urge you to purchase.

Food is ready - time to eat!

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Water and Junk

What ho, brethren. Still here in sunny Cyprus and experiencing water shortages and land development frenzy as the locals attempt to build as many concrete houses and sell as many plots of land as they possibly can before the VAT deadline - which is July 1st. Cyprus joined Euroland January 1st 2008 and VAT is an EU requirement on land sales, but they sensibly negotiated a six month respite to avoid stalling the relatively buoyant economy. So, the Euro currency is in but the laws are delayed, and just as well when building and development are 20% of GDP.

What none of the local headlines are saying is the effect that this huge splurge of urban expansion and fast-track modernity is having on the local ecosystem. Cyprus hasn't had rain for many months and even hospitals are suffering water rationing. It was of course not a real hospital which found its taps running dry, but merely a clinic in the old Limassol hospital, housing (among several other things) a drug rehabilitation centre. This scandalous situation took many days to remedy. Meanwhile people living in districts high up in the hills and mountains are not recieving even their ration of water.

We've coped pretty well due to the fact we're living in a luxury villa with tanks on the roof (most new houses have these, along with efficient twin solar panels) and so on the days when drinking water is out, we're still able to shower and wash up, and we drink from the litre bottles of water we stash when the drinking water is running, which is around 50% of the time. But we also have a swimming pool, which aside from the appalling loss of life it wreaked upon the insect life when we pulled off the covers (they seem to have got the message now, for I'm just fishing out the dumbest of shield bugs, small spiders, and the odd millipede now - or maybe we killed most of them on days one and two!) takes up gallons and gallons of the precious stuff.

Still, all around where we're staying, the building continues. Yesterday I was woken at 7am by the sound of an earth moving truck, and a medium to large caterpillar bulldozer, which proceeded to spoil my early morning appreciation of the wonderful bird life by removing a good proportion of the local shrubbery and creating a moon landscape between us and the building site we've adjusted to already. I became disconsolate, depressed. I come away from London to relax and find myself thinking deep thoughts about humanity and greed and brutality and lack of knowledge and respect for nature. As I top up and chlorinate the pool.

The rest of the countryside round about is agricultural; orange and lemon groves, olives and artichokes, and the scent is so intoxicating we wind down the windows of the little efficient Nissan Sunny we've rented and breathe it down into our city-tarnished lungs to keep it there forever.

But look closer and you'll see junk everywhere - this is a working environment and farmers are the least sentimental about nature you'll ever meet - not just empty agrochemical containers and spent shotgun cartridges, but abandoned fridges, food wrappers, coca-cola cans, dumped vehicles and the whole appalling detritus of modern living tipped without care into any available gully. Every roadside is littered with cigarette packets and lighters and metal and more food packaging; and every beach, even the protected ones where turtles nest, has a high tide mark of multi-coloured plastic which makes me wonder whether there is any concept of nature guardianship operating here, and feel embarassed to be a part of the culture which is creating a rubbish tip from this paradise.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Cyprus Hots Up

I have ten minutes left in this internet cafe so this is going to be a case of speed blogging.

After a week, I cracked - in a nice way, like a mature cheese - and bought a guitar. I could sense my fingertips becoming soft. After a month of playing for hours a day, they were hot-coffee-cup-pick-up hardened and I didn't want to lose that. So I found one of two music shops and bought a cheap Chinese steel-string acoustic, a capo and a set of strings.

Now Cypriot detente is a fact, looking forward to visiting the north of the island in a couple of days, for a couple of nights. Also it's now hot enough to justify taking the cover off the pool and adding some chlorine to make it nice and baby safe.

Oh the sunsets the fruit the birds and the British... but actually it's a lot of fun, my first real proper holiday in over two years, and just in time for my precious insanity...


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Tuesday, April 08, 2008



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The Real Cyprus

I've come to Polis, the Greek north of the island to get away from the
plastic which is strewn everywhere around Paphos. It's been a
delightful and successful journey. I'm amusing myself by observing the
clash of old and new, rich and richer, functional and decrepit. And
moblogging, as I drink thick coffee and wait for my grilled
mediterranean fish, silver bream.

Sent from Google Mail for mobile | mobile.google.com


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