Saturday, 22 May 2010

The Coconut Revolution

That's one hell of a movie. And that was one hell of a life for those people down there on the island of Bougainville in the Pacific ocean. Tragic but at the same time somewhat funny hell (at least I laughed few times while watching the movie) and they doesn't seem to be too unhappy despite the ongoing war. They suffered and they do have a lot to complain about, which they do to a certain extent, but there is something in their attitude and how they handle the situation, that's very inspiring indeed. It's probably one of the few (I can't really remember any other) documentaries about the war which brings about the hope and strengthens your belief in some universal humanitarian values, rather than crushes them in dust and leaves you weeping about the darkness of human nature.

The story began in 1969 when huge multinational corporation Rio Tinto Zinc opened its copper mine on the island, tensions were growing through the 70's when Papua New Guinea gained its independence from Australia, and it turned into war in 80's, when some local people demanded their share of profits from the mine. Just few billion dollars. Not more and not less than half of the profits since the mining started. Fair enough. Why let somebody just come to your backyard, dig a huge pit in the middle of your garden, poison your water and land, get enormously rich from that and in the end leave you with just a big hole in your land. Unfortunately that's how the world works far too often. I can imagine those executives in Rio Tinto rolling eyes and rising brows and saying that all this is ridiculous. Bunch of savages, you know, we used to buy them off with trinkets and a bottle of rum.

Not anymore. Not being able to get to terms with the mining company in negotiations, Bougainvillians decided that they don't need such mine on their land. All they needed to achieve their goal was determination and some stolen dynamite. Papuan government sent the riot police in and then some troops, but both of them were repelled by rebels, who initially were armed with just bows and arrows, but later managed to take full control of their island. After that the government of PNG sent warships to impose blockade on island, however even nearly complete isolation from the rest of the world didn't brake the resistance. What doesn't kills you, makes you stronger. Bougainvillians learned how to make weapons, how to run vehicles on coconut oil instead of petrol and even built some hydro plants from scrap material found on the island. I found it absolutely amazing. What you can see in the movie is sort of self-sufficient, heavily militarized, tropical DIY wonderland.

Far from paradise however. Lack of medication and other supplies, military actions and other problems led to far too many premature deaths. It is estimated that 10000 to 15000 people died during the conflict, largely from starvation and diseases. There were certainly many problems, and it was a very hard life, but somehow by watching this movie you get the feeling that things like freedom, dignity and pride matters. That they are worth suffering and fighting for, at least for these people. Even more importantly you get the feeling that it's not so utterly hopeless to stand for them.

You can watch the movie here:

I'm obviously under the spell of these big, eccentric, superstitious warrior preachers as much as the journalists were when making the movie. As for today the war on Bougainville is over. Actually it was already almost over about the time when the movie was made. What's shown there is the very last days of the war if not first days of gradually coming peace. Which might be a good explanation why these people are so relaxed. According to Wikipedia ceasefire was agreed in 1997 and no major military action happened anymore. So it must be that when the movie was made it was already the case. Then again it might have looked somewhat different back then and definitely less certain, as according to the same wikipedia article multiple agreements were signed and not honored by any side during the years of the war.

Bougainville is not fully independent country yet, however they won considerable autonomy and a promise to held a referendum on independence in next few years. Both leaders of the resistance Francis Ona and Joseph Kabui are dead now. They died from natural causes. Ona never accepted peace negotiations and proclaimed himself King of Bougenville on the day of first election in 2005, but soon died from malaria, while Kabui became the first president of the autonomous province, by winning election with solid majority. While in office he granted access rights to 70% of islands mineral resources to Canadian company without parliamentary consent and was widely criticized for this. He died shortly afterwards in 2008.

Will Bougainvillian leaders soon find themselves corrupted by power and wealth that it could bring for themselves and their families, or will they manage to build a fair and prosperous society for everyone? That's certainly a huge test, but at lest they won the right to do it for themselves.

By the way, and I found it out absolutely accidentally, just when I was about to finish this post. There's another election going on on the island of Bougainville right now. It's about to finish on 24 May. According to this article, the life on the island goes on pretty well.

There's another movie about the conflict which is made a couple of years earlier and called "Bougainville: Our Island, Our Fight." Unfortunately I couldn't find it on the internet.

Director: Dom Rotheroe
Year: 2000
IMDB link

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Pere Lachaise

As we were walking around the dusty walks of Pere Lachaise cemetery we drunk from a small bottle of brandy that I kept in my pocket. One sip in memory of Jim Morrisson another one of Oscar Wilde and one more in memory of all those executed communards. It was still pretty early in the morning, but I had a nasty flu, my nose was running, and the pain in my chest was terrible, so I had an official excuse for getting half drunk for the rest of the day. It was beginning of June, high up in the sky sun was shining bright, promising another hot day to come, but here on the earth under the crowns of old trees it was shady and still cool. The most visited cemetery in the world, so the Parisians proudly say. Resting place of V.I.P.'s. Dead history of arts and culture of western civilization of past couple of centuries.

We proceeded through narrow, sleepy avenues of gray marble crosses and marble busts, marble angels and inscriptions mostly in French, which I didn't understand at all. Though I could understand the names and dates of course, they doesn't make any sense if you're not familiar with the stories they tell. Far from everyone buried here made their names big enough while being alive to be remembered by people who didn't know them before they moved to Pere Lachaise. They are the background, the ordinary folks, the masses, admirers of those who did. In fact the owners of cemetery long time ago moved a couple of celebrities like Moliere here to make it more attractive for people to choose this site as their last and final home, and that's what many did. Call it social mobility. No doubt some of the guys from the masses did in their lives financially and socially much better than some of these celebrities. Maybe they even despised them, when they all were alive. Wilde for example died as an absolute loser, but now his huge thombstone is red from lipstick, though he didn't even liked girls. That could be one of the most peculiar aspects about the afterlife.

I was literally coughing my way through the city of dead.

“You see. I'm mortal too,” I said to little miss B after a particularly violent outburst of cough.

“You still have plenty of time.” She smiled.


“I would really prefer you to stay alive.” She told it half jokingly, half seriously and I looked at her for a moment but I didn't say anything. Little miss B. Her gray eyes were looking lovingly at me, her nose winced a couple of times as if she was about to start crying, as if she really thought about my death, but her smile was that of a very happy person.

We fell into long and funny conversation about all those dead people lying here. Why they were so cool and why some of them finished so badly? Does being cool necessarily leads to ugly death? Can death be anything else? Not ugly? What last longer memories or bones? Memories are gone together with folks who remember you. However in the peculiar case of Pere Lachaise, it may be that memories stay long enough. Otherwise it's definitely bones. Yeah, bones are quiet resistant to decay. And does love last longer than life? How could memories last longer than us? Am I drunk already?

“I bet you are.” She laughed and then fell silent for a moment and then told me the story about the woman who married T.S.Elliot. She was much younger than him. He died, but she is still alive, still lives in their flat in London, still keeps his room in order and speaks about her Tom as if he were alive.

“That's very romantic.”

“I like it too.” said miss B. She was wearing blue jeans and brown and green cardigan with hood. She had the hood on her head and it was a bit too big for her, so now when she was looking at me she had to tilt her head back. She had a very self satisfactory almost triumphant smile on her face. She looked funny in the hood, a little bit like a garden gnome. Though very feminine one.

“Do you think it is possible to learn to love somebody?” I asked her.

“Do you think that you need to?”

“I don't think so.”

“You don't need? Or you don't think that it's possible?”

“Neither. It's just another crappy theoretical question.”

I told her about Hugh Everett. He was a famous physicist who invented theory that reality splits all the time in many different versions or worlds or something. So in one of them you get sick and die early, but in another you live happily further. In one world you become a rock star in another you work at McDonald's all your life. In fact he believed in something called quantum immortality, which means that in some of the worlds you never die.

“Which means that there is a universe in which Jim Morrisson is still alive and writing new songs.”

“And another one where he is cleaning toilets in McDonald's.”

“Having family and children, peaceful life.”

“Or being desperate and lonely. Still getting high on every possible stuff he can get his hands on, though not being able to get his hands on nice girls without the fame, he spends his lonely nights wanking on internet porn. Poor old loony, who used to have dreams.”

“Many options, but is it so?”


“This theory.”

“I don't know. It's just a theory, but it's sort of serious theory, it's not a sci-fi, it's a proper science. The interesting thing about Everett is that he wished his remains after the death to be thrown out with rubbish and his wife eventually did it.”

“She put the body in the rubbish bag?”

“She threw out ashes, as far as I know.”

We wandered into a place called columbarium. None of us ever was in a proper columbarium before and I always wanted to visit one. Not that I really dreamed about it, but the name itself is very sounding and there is something mysterious in it and if I was near one I couldn't let myself miss that chance. In our country we usually don't burn people after they die. I guess that's because we have much more space. The density of population in East Europe is not so high either for living or for dead. Now when we were there I didn't find it so exciting as imagined. If the graves are private houses, than columbarium is a block of flats. Huge walls with rows of marble plates bearing the names and dates of births and deaths of their inhabitants. We quickly ran through the list of celebrities buried here, looking for somebody that we knew and who would be worth visiting. We found the name of Isadora Duncan. Her flat number was six thousand something and we went to search for her.

To be honest I never knew much about Isadora Duncan. Well, I knew that she was famous dancer, that she is considered to be something like mother of contemporary dance. But my knowledge about this was very limited. I knew also that she was quiet eccentric person and there are some movies made about her rise and fall, but I haven't seen any of them. What I knew was that at some point in her life she married Russian poet Sergei Yesenin, who was a great guy, I know for sure, because he wrote beautiful poems and some of them I could even try to recite, though not sure that I would remember them well enough to do it smoothly. When they married Yesenin was 18 years her junior and they didn't speak each others language.

“Apparently sex between them was very hot. They had some sort of animalistic drive, something like that.” I said in a very thoughtful, reflective voice. Apparently because of the alcohol. “You know what I don't understand. How people can sleep with each other without speaking to each other.”

“There might be some sort of body language or maybe the language of scent or something. Or maybe he lost his mind just by seeing her legs.” miss B said enthusiastically.

“He wrote about her tired eyes.”

“Don't you ever wanted a woman just because of her looks?”

“Well, yeah. I understand that you can fuck somebody without talking that much. You can do it once or twice, or for a week or two, but after a while it's usually boring. It's often boring even if you can speak with each other.”

“You don't find me boring. Do you?”

“No, no, no,” I said feeling that there was something deadly serious and even fierce in her voice. “You are clever.”

“So what?”

“You know, one friend of mine told me once when I was messing around with a girl who wasn't particularly bright. How can you do it? I can't get it up with a person who is stupid. He is a gay, that's why he used the word “person”. I wouldn't say that I agree with him completely, but he had at least some point.”

“Do you want my body or mind?”

“Well, maybe it's better. I mean if you don't talk with your lover at all. Maybe that's the only way you actually can't get bored. You speak with her in Latvian and she answers you in Chinese. That way you can't get disappointed by what she is saying. You put your own meaning into the sound of her voice. There is no point to quarrel anymore, or if you do it you can do it just a little bit, just for fun, but nobody will try persuade other about something, about anything and none of such quarrels would have any lasting effect on the relationship.”

“You think so?”

“I know,” I was looking at her breast under the cardigan and suddenly thought about biting in them. There was summer in the air and I liked her a lot.

“So what happened with them?”

“They were both crazy and finished badly and pretty soon. They didn't last too long together and soon he was back in Russia, married a couple more times during next two years, drunk himself into complete madness, cut his wrists to write a farewell poem in his own blood and hanged himself next morning. Another few years and Isadora Duncan also died in a bizarre car accident, when her huge scarf got entangled in the wheels of a car in which she was driving.”

“That's weird.” She said.

“Yeah, quiet weird.”

“And beautiful.” She looked thoughtful as we approached the flat of Isadora Duncan. Next to the plate with her name laid some flowers and a small strange vessel with the business card next to it. On the business card was a name of a Russian woman printed in Cyrillic and her occupation – the teacher of choreography at university somewhere in Siberia. I can't remember her name or that of the city anymore. Just out of curiosity Miss B without any bad thoughts lifted the lid of the vessel and what we saw inside apparently were the remains of the Russian dancer. It took just few seconds and maybe it was just an illusion, but I think I saw the the ash soar from the vessel like a jinn or a ghost or whatever. She quickly put the lid back in place before the wind scatters the ash all all over the cemetery.





“That's something...”

“What do you think?”

“I think she loved her more than Yesenin did.”

“That's very feminine point of view.”

“I am a woman.” She said proudly.

We went further. It was time to go somewhere else anyway. We had enough of the cemetery. We went into to the open space, the main road of this city of dead eccentrics. The sun over our heads was shining bright and it started to feel hot. Apparently they didn't lie in the yesterday's weather news. I removed my coat. We didn't talk for while. I was plunged into thoughts about the dead Russian lady and her strange last will. There was a strange feeling of unwanted intimacy with her and we not just witnessed something very private, we actually actually touched her. However I didn't feel embarrassed because of that, I was just thinking about her, tried to imagine the old, respectable lady, a teacher probably well known in her faraway place, making this last statement to somebody, who actually accepts it and does all the way from Siberia to Paris. A husband, a friend, a child or pupil? Who knows. Most likely she did't have a family, people with families tend to stay together in afterlife. Another form of post-humuous social mobility or something else and probably much more?

I coughed. I touched the bottle in my pocket.

“Hey, stop! We forgot to drink in memory of Isadora Duncan,” I said to little Miss B.

“I feel that I've had enough already for this time of the day.”

“It's nearly empty anyway. Let's finish it.”

“OK let's drink. You always have to be intoxicated. Either by wine, or love, or poetry, but you have to be intoxicated. That's what Baudelaire said.”

“OK, Lets drink. Do you know how he died? Is he also buried here?

“Who cares.”

As we were walking down the streets I felt warm hand of Miss B in mine. I persuaded her that purchase of another small bottle of brandy is absolutely essential for our well being here in Paris, or otherwise we need to call ambulance for me straight away. It was something past noon and we felt a little bit tired from walking that we started at 7 am. We found a park, fell on the grass and laid there for half an hour almost motionless. The sun was burning and I felt like a lizard accumulating the heat in my body after a long, long winter spent in deep sleep. I leaned to miss B and pressed my lips against hers. I secretly slipped my hand under her cardigan and held her breast. I watched her blush. I thought that maybe I really drink to much and maybe I'm not the most serious man on the planet but at least we were still alive.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Altar of the Planet

A somewhat extraterrestrial and somewhat very terrestrial view on the climate change, Earth hour and human species in general.

First of all global warming is a myth. However not in the sense that it's not true. I think we have all reasons to believe that it is true if only we do not engage in some sort of conspiracy theory involving the omnipotent global network of greedy scientists who invented it. It's a myth in the sense that it plays the pivotal role in the modern Eco-cult. It clearly bears a resemblance to religion, in all its waiting for apocalypses, collective and individual guilt and redemption through ritual recycling, monitoring your carbon footprint and donations to save polar bears. I would suggest that to some extent it fills the void of religion in modern secular world. Only instead of God there is a Planet. And there is no reason for laugh, because the facts on which the myth is based upon are true. Our planet is in danger!

Well, not the planet probably. The planet will survive whatever we do. We can't kill the “Mother Earth” because “Mother Earth” is a piece of rock and mud flying in the vast empty universe and “Mother Earth” doesn't give a shit about the creatures inhabiting it. It has seen dinosaurs come and go and it has seen other great extinctions of species and after each of them the life blossomed again. We have no reason whatsoever to believe that it will be somehow different after us. However we certainly are capable to make it very inhospitable place for the survival of polar bears and tigers, and a lot of other life forms including ourselves. And we are on the track of doing it. Maybe I'm too sentimental, but I find it somewhat sad.

To be honest I don't believe that we are capable to save tigers and polar bears outside the zoo's for a very long period of time, if the human population continues to grow. There is no sign that it will stop to grow in near future. I can only hope that as it continues to grow we will be able to escape major military conflicts involving weapons of mass destruction. There is very little ground for such hope, but all sorts of miracles happen from time to time, and I can just hope that this one will do. However lets go back to the global warming and the mythology surrounding it.

Conspiracy of the stupid
Lets imagine that all this stuff is invented by a bunch of scientists who just want all the money that now flows to their institutes and universities and their pockets. That there is some sort of such conspiracy. Wow it would be the biggest and probably most meaningless conspiracy the world has ever seen. Because all the money and power actually is on the other side. I mean those multinational corporations with all their funds and influence on the governments that grab hundreds of billions in profits from fossil fuel. And imagine the scientific community - most of those poor (by the standards of corporate world) guys hate each other, or at least they are constantly competing, arguing, everybody hopes to find a new theory, everybody wants to shoot to fame. Can somebody honestly think that none of them would defect from such conspiracy, especially if there are these people out there in the business who can and almost certainly are willing to pay them 100 or 1000 times more if they could come up with some reliable evidence that will make a global warming a myth? It's ridiculous.

Conspiracy theories are invented by people who are stupid or too lazy to try to see the whole picture. In fact conspiracy theories serve the system, by marginalizing the opposition, by shifting the attitude from real problems and possible actions to the imaginary realm of conspiracies of reptile-humanoids or Jewish-masons or greedy scientists or whatever.

I'm not saying that all scientists are always absolutely honest or that some sort of shift in the paradigm is impossible in the future or that theories can't be overturned. However by now the absolutely overwhelming majority of scientific community says that there is enough evidence to say that the global warming is caused by humans, or at least more likely it is caused by humans. If so, and we don't really have anybody else to ask for the opinion, we must do something about it. If they are wrong in the end of the day, we don't lose that much, if they are right, which is very likely, we can lose everything if we don't listen. Simple like that. Of course there are people who think that the sole fact of snow still falling or occasional recounting of polar bears overturns all the theories. They even sometimes call it logic, but so far, when reading such materials, I have seen only sad examples of limitless human stupidity and ignorance.

Vicious circle
So what can we do? Almost nothing. Well, we can of course switch off the lights on the earth hour, we can watch our carbon footprints on individual level constantly and that sort of things. The sad reality is that it won't do the job. What we need is first of all the political will of those in power all around the world to take very serious measures. However, as we have seen in Copenhagen it's not happening. That's logical. The economy of the whole planet is so heavily dependent on fossil fuel, that even small measures mean some sort of sacrifice. The simple logic of economics says that the one who is sacrificing something is loser. Nobody wants to lose. OK, the good thing is that some of the major economies and politically most powerful countries (even America finally) are now ready to talk, but the whole thing is taking so long. It took 12 years from Kyoto to Copenhagen. Kyoto ended with hope, which quickly evaporated. Than came Copenhagen which ended in disaster. Gloomy? Are we back to where we were before Kyoto? I don't think so because there certainly are many things that many countries do to try to cut carbon emissions, however nobody can afford to go too far without risking to lose its economical and subsequently its political influence. So everybody, even the most politically committed countries must stay in the race, as long as others do the same. It's really a vicious circle and it's leading nowhere. The time is running against us.

There is another aspect also. To effectively cut the temperature rising we need to agree to leave some of the fossil fuel reserves in the ground forever. I think it's nearly impossible for any government on the planet to come to such level of political commitment, to agree to stop pumping it's own oil from the ground. I simply don't believe that it can work in foreseeable future, which is the timescale in which we need to take the action. With the oil resources getting scarcer and prices rising everybody will be interested to pump as much as he can. Why not? The one who is pumping will get all of the economical benefits from the pumping, while costs will be shared by the whole planet. Maybe there is some sort of solution to this. I hope. But what other countries will do if somebody refuses to stop pumping. Nuke them? It's hardly an ecological solution. Besides everybody will need this oil.

Just when the ice cap on the North Pole melted for the first time in history - a very alarming sign that we are burning too much fossil fuel, Canada and Russia send their battleships to the North Pole to claim the oil reserves there for themselves. I know, I know there was probably a whole set of reasons for them to do such thing. But if we distance ourselves from everything else and just look at it from the climate perspective, it's funny. Isn't it? If I would make a movie from extraterrestrial perspective I would include this as a piece of very dark humor.

Actually the only hope and solution for the planet in the long run, is to find a new technology to solve the energy problem as soon as possible. Something that is cheaper or at least not considerably more expensive than fossil fuel. Something that is effective enough and Eco friendly at the same time They are working on this for years, but so far there is nothing on the horizon. That's maybe much more alarming than disaster in Copenhagen itself, which we needed so badly exactly because there is no alternatives so far.

Back to the Future
Finally back to the Earth hour and why did I say in the beginning that global warming is a myth. Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to say that it is something irrational. Global warming is something real and we must approach it rationally, and there is a clear and rational message in Earth hour. First of all to show the governments, corporations and to each other that we do care. Secondly to remind ourselves that we must care. Also maybe it will help to somebody to realize that he or she is really consuming too much, that we can can stay alive for a while without the electricity and all these gadgets that we are so much depending upon. Maybe even have a good time while doing it.

One more time I will say don't get me wrong and don't take me too seriously either, because I'm not a specialist, merely curious about such things and just having a good time right now. However if we look closely at the Earth hour, we must notice that it's also a ritual in a way. In a way it works also on a deeply irrational level. There is a theory in anthropology, that humans actually have very hard times when they have to negotiate their social contract rationally by the means of language. We simply don't like it. Language is a system of symbols, digital medium and as the means of communication it bears in itself immense possibilities of deceit and lies.

Ritual is a physical act. It's an analogue channel of communication and it's hard to fake. During the ritual strong bonds and very high level of mutual trust are established within the community. Researchers argue that only because of this level of trust established during the ritual, something like the human language could possibly evolve. Ritual in a way creates another superior reality in the minds of participants. In this reality our contract is sealed and through it the spoken words become credible source of information. Thus allows some scientists even to speculate that first word ever spoken by early humans actually was “God”, or something like that. Moreover when such contract was established and language evolved it allowed individuals to engage in cooperation and to be altruistic at levels never seen in the nature before. Which in turn brought us to the very top of the ecological pyramid, exactly where we are now.

It seems to me very tempting to suggest that Earth hour is becoming a ritual way for us humans to negotiate new social contract. Something that we badly need faced with consequences of our own technological growth. Only this time instead of something supernatural like “God”, there is “Planet” or “Future” or “Responsibility” or something like that in the center of this superior reality which we are creating. I find it rather fascinating to find the old irrational mechanisms of thinking, that created religions, to be involved to help us to convince ourselves in credibility of the most rational and scientific discourse. Maybe more precisely would be to say that probably language and logic are falling short to mobilize us and convince us that it is necessary to make some sacrifices.

It's not a Religion
I understand that real decisions will be made in the corridors and cabinets of governments and they will be negotiated through language. There is still a long way to go. However don't underestimate the ancient and irrational ways of how society is organized either. I was visiting Northern Ireland as a tourist recently. Don't tell me they didn't try to negotiate peace during these 30 years of conflict. They tried hard, however it was on the streets, in the pubs and during the sectarian parades when history really took it's turns. OK that's a very extreme example, but ask political campaigners and they'll tell you many weird things about the human nature. The same works in the political rallies and other gatherings, and we all know that most of the elections even in our XXI century are won by conquering peoples hearts, rather than minds.

The fact that governments are so involved with the Earth hour is even more amazing. It really becomes a ritual involving all levels of society. I mean those guys in the governments need it as much as we ordinary people do, if not more, because it will be them who will be negotiating. Of course they will be rationally counting pros and cons, but somewhere deep in their minds the other reality also will start to establish itself. Something that will make any fruitful negotiations possible. I'm afraid that otherwise we might be doomed. The amazing thing that I see in it is that it's not a manipulation from outside this time, it's rather something that is almost self organizing from within the society. Sure there was some guys who came up with the idea first, but tens of thousands of ideas are coming up every day and most of them are dying instantly.

At least I hope. I mean most of the politicians are whores, you can't do anything about it. That's nature. However they are also humans. (maybe most of the humans are whores and they are just the mirror of society. I don't know.) If it was possible for the ancient selfish apes to make a contract it must be possible for us. We even have some advantages. It's really not us and them. Just us. Even politicians do understand it.

OK. I will say one more time. I'm not trying to be clever. I have neither qualification nor knowledge to make a big deal out my scribblings. It's just my literary vision of things at the current moment. I'm also not suggesting that we don't need rational discussions. We need them. Badly! At all possible levels in politics and life and especially about the climate change. I'm not trying to say in any way that climate change is religion. It is a science and there is nothing really religious about the ritual apart from the psychological mechanism involved and it is exactly the rational argument undermining the whole thing, that makes it so powerful.

Weird, especially for me, but with the cool head I'm choosing to take the part in Saturdays ritual by sacrificing one hour of my electricity consumption on the altar of Planet.

(I hate to read that last sentence, actually.)

PS. I hope there will be happy end.

PSS. No not the end. Eternal evolution of our species :)

Friday, 12 March 2010

5 seasons

I'm waking up flies
Chain smoking and waiting for
Big Bang of the green


Flowers fuck with the
Help from the bees. Mad, sweet buzz.
Thunder is coming


The dog is barking
At screaming colors of leaves
Accident on the road


13 days of snow
Birds fall down dead from the trees
Olympics on screens


Daffodils in our park
Her lips are slow and warm.
Taste of lipstick and beer

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


Image: quidquid
True story of how I spend nights in companies of software spiders and souls forever lost in the World Wide Web.

I'm starting to be excited about social networks. I was never really into it before, but now I enjoy being networked. During the last month I joined blogcatalog, bloglog, blogfrog and blog-who-knows-what-else. My password is short and simple, so it's not a big deal to jump in. I learned the whole new vocabulary and met all sorts of good and bad, beautiful and ugly people.

The most amazing thing though is to watch people from all over the world coming to my site. According to Google Analytics so far this humble site is visited by 179 people from 36 countries. Well it's not entirely correct because I myself visited it from few different computers in two different countries, but anyway. Every midnight I open Analytics and watch the world become greener.

So far I'm popular mostly in USA. Well, everything is relative of course and "popular" is maybe a little exaggeration. I think certainly there must be somebody on the World Wide Web who is much more popular than me in America, but I've got my 72 visits from 31 state. Despite that many of them didn't last longer than a couple of seconds, still that's more than from any other country and I'm sort of proud of it. Still missing 20 states though.

I found blogrfrog particularly useful to conquer USA. That's sort of blogging network for mums with kids and they've got a wonderful widget to put on their sites to see who is visiting them. It looks very similar to bloglog's widget, just nicer and more efficient, it takes you straight to the visitors site. So one evening I spent a couple of hours jumping around those sites and it didn't took me long to see them coming back. I knew they'll do. It looked like pretty closed community, where everybody is concerned mostly about their kids and diets and how to make money online from being concerned about kids and diets and of course they were curious who is peaking at them. (like everybody is, I guess) They didn't stay too long though and I think I never saw them coming back. However with such little effort I covered maybe few hundred thousand square miles on my Analytics map just in couple of hours.

South America is real pain in the ass. I think that's the most romantic continent on the planet. Because they have revolutions and heroes, and passion, and great literature and I imagine that life there must be like one never ending soap opera. So far I have only six visitors from there. 3 from Argentina and 3 from Brazil. Uruguay, Paraguay, Colombia, where are you?

And then there came this accident. I messed around with blogger templates and somehow lost the Analytics code without noticing it. For two days visitors on my site came and went without being properly recorded and during this time somebody from Qatar came over. Imagine? Qatar! I felt like birdwatcher in Northern Europe who missed the Emperor penguin in his own backyard while searching for his glasses. Everybody tells him that there was a penguin, but he can't put it on the record because he saw only blurred silhouette.

Africa is another huge problem. I've got the feeling that no African apart from one girl from South Africa knows anything about my existence. Why? How? To be honest I've got the same feeling once on the motorway in UK with all these thousands and thousands of cars passing by I suddenly felt so endlessly lonely. Now I even considered to join the site called which I stumbled upon accidentally. That's a community for bloggers from Africa. Still haven't done it. Maybe one day I'll do.

So here I am. A little piece of information somewhere on the vast World Wide Web. beep beep I'm sending out those pings or feeds or whatever they are called. I'm playing tricks and then again I'm sincere. Almost like in the real life, just everything is coded differently. beep beep click click If human language is digital medium, as it's written in a book called Stuff of Thought by American linguist Steven Pinker, then here we have a code within a code within a code. Is there somewhere under those layers of code something like real me? Whatever it is.

I met one friend, a girl at University, we didn't had the time to talk, but then she called me back later to tell that I looked bad. Too slim and my skin is yellow, she said.

“Are you sick?”

“No, no. I just have to write these essays and stories and that sort of thing. I'm spending to much time by the computer.”

Well it's true, but I didn't tell her, that I spend last three nights crawling the web together with Google spiders, just gathering whatever sort of random information there is available about links and networking and everything else. Basically just swallowed the sites byte by byte.

“You should quit smoking.” she said.

“Maybe you're right.”

And then we somehow run out of topics to speak about. I felt like... yellow?

Was it real me? The yellow one? Or maybe I'm real only when that something that I am is coded in readable for myself and for others format?

beep beep
click click

One day I'll die.

beep beep - will last.

Honestly. I think that future belongs to the machines. We humans are so fragile (and other life forms even more so. At the moment some of them largely because of us humans, but that's different topic again). In the long run our future depends on our ability to colonize another planets and galaxies. In the very long run... who knows what will happen to universe in the end. There are all sorts of theories, but none of them is very optimistic. None of them is painting a world that at the end is habitable for somebody who needs to breathe and eat. In most of scenarios it can be tricky to survive even for the machines. But they'll sort it out. They've got the potential. They are our collective memory. And if memories are what defines us, that's maybe our salvation.

Well I know that I have the tendency to get overexcited with anything that I do or hear somewhere, but some others even more so. I met the guy, here on the web. Visited his blog to be precise. The blog consists almost entirely of ads. There is huge amount of them and in the middle of them there is a picture with a man begging and a couple of paragraphs with the text, where he explains that he can't afford to pay for hosting three domains that he has got. So he is asking people to click on his ads and then he will reciprocate.

Then I thought.. Wow, that's proper attitude. I didn't ask him why he needs to host three domains if it's so hard, I just sat there by the monitor admiring his faith and determination. I imagined him running around the globe... beep beep click click ...energetically negotiating deals worth few penny each, arguing about the ethical side of this thing and so on, and maybe his body is really starving at the same time. Who knows? Who is real he? And he is not the only one. And then I thought, if so many people put so much of their energy and thought in something, even if it's so absolutely meaningless, it can't simply go down the drain. It really must somehow materialize. It's still not clear to me how it will.

beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep

That's us.

Thursday, 4 March 2010


the dew of the morning fell on his face
and woke him after months of dreamless sleep
or was it deep in the day
and jolly springlike rain?
little spider man slowly came out of his cryogenic sleep
trembling and shrugging
back to the life and straight into the spring
dazzling patches of color
slowly turned into objects and shapes
coughing and sneezing
he rose up
and went to explore the place

he came here late in the last autumn,
when he like all spider men of his tribe
crawled up to the very top of the tree
sat there for a while having a rest
and started to produce a long, long thread of silk
he remembered this evening
when they all sat there
on the edge of the leaf
silent and serious
lost in their thoughts
one by one they took off from the leaf
when their threads were long enough
to turn into kites
obeying the peculiar law of their their tribe
to look for their wives in a faraway land
they floated towards the horizon
with their sails full of wind shining
in the rays of the setting sun

but memories aside
as his heart regained it's rhythm
and his limbs were ready for the walk
he decided he now needs a dinner
and therefore he caught a fat fly
he quickly injected his venom
into the hairy abdomen of beast
and waited holding tightly
until his dinner died
he still needed at least an hour
for the fly to be ready to eat
so he whistled and waited and happily grinned
and that's when he suddenly met his next wife

he approached her
with ancient ritual steps
she responded
by slightly turning her head
she stepped forward
he stepped back
after all she was
three times as big as the man
he approached her with caution
she approached him with lust
he bravely smiled
and she
returned him the smile

the act of love itself
was rather complicated
yet anyway hot
with sixteen legs entangled
and somersaults on the moss
he tried to keep himself sober
to remember to touch her in certain way
to avoid being killed by her passion
but happened exactly the worst
and during one awkward turn
she buried her fangs in his body
and the beauty of the moment was lost

she honestly mumbled – I'm sorry
he helplessly said – it's OK
and they quickly finished what's started
though avoiding contact with eyes.......

......”I'm really...” she rose up
“Don't worry.” he said
and then she went to dine on his fly

eight long
and slender
yet powerful legs
and high on top of them
and round
and hairy
as peach
and a couple of something like
thick sharp wedges
sticking out
of the cave of her mouth
the most decadent, the most beautiful chelicerae
any spider has ever seen
he thought
for the sake of his own consolation

she had finished the fly
and noticed him watching
she grinned surprised that he's still alive
then turned her back and started to wait
until he'll be finally ready to eat
little spider man looked at the sky
a couple of birds were flying dangerously low
wouldn't it be better to hide?
but then he realized
he doesn't really need to care anymore
objects and shapes
slowly turned into dazzling patches of color
little spider man laid on the ground
slowly digested alive by his wife

(Drawings by I.P. Many thanx to her.)

Friday, 26 February 2010

Working Class Heroes

She is sitting on her throne. Proud, arrogant queen, overseeing people bringing her stuff into the new place.

"It's a good day, isn't it." there is a weak reflection of smile on her face when she talks to one of the removal guys, who is sweating and looks angry. The sun is rising rapidly over the old walls of city of York as the job goes on and it's really a very good day in terms of weather, despite that it's winter.

"Not too bad," answers the guy bringing the box inside, and there is something similar to smile on his face also. Honestly he never really understood or enjoyed all this English weather talk. All he wants is to go home sooner, but there is still a lot of work to do. If something, he would be more interested in her Portuguese maid, but in the given circumstances he is not. He is just playing his role of the working animal, a mule, and she is playing her role of a maid and the woman on the throne is playing her role of the queen. Nobody seems to be very comfortable in their roles today and somehow they all seem to be too aware of the temporary character of their relationship, and too concerned each with their own problems to really enjoy playing any of the games they are supposed to.

“Careful, careful!” Her voice is trembling in the air like a crystal chandelier touched by the wind. She leans forward, her tired gaze becomes somewhat hawkish.

“It's alright!”

“OK.” She sighs. “It's OK.” She settles back in her throne. It's tiresome to deal with the commons and sometimes with people at all.

It's not a castle she is moving in, just a tiny flat in the recently build block of apartments. Boxes and boxes with candles, with scents and porcelain dolls. Not too much of them and not the most expensive ones. But what do they know and what do they care those guys from somewhere, from nowhere. What does anybody cares about me those days, she thinks to herself.

Removal guy is watching the delicate curves of the back pockets of blue jeans covering Portuguese girls buttocks and he imagines the flesh under them, then he looks at his own dirty hands and then he goes out to pick up another box. A daily routine. What the fuck I'm doing on this planet, he thinks in such moments. He sees other his colleagues smoking and takes a cigarette out of his pocket, lits it up and exhales a thick cloud of smoke in the cool winter air.

Women remain inside. There is great sadness in queens eyes. All this stuff it doesn't matter if it's cheap or real, porcelain or plastic. It's history, of her great lost kingdom. Memories of great hopes and expectations, titanic struggle and sad downfall.

OK let's go and have a lunch she says to her maid and switches on the engine of her throne. Her throne can do 20 miles per hour on good asphalt. It's a substitute for her legs since she was born.

Before they are gone girl brings them cups of warm tea and biscuits. She asks if they can finish the job as soon as possible, because she's got a train back to London at six o'clock in the evening. They say, yes sure, or they can give her a lift. No thanks, she answers, she'll be alright.

Just when they are gone, colleagues are keen to tell the guy the background of this job. The woman on the wheelchair, she was evicted from her nice house in London by the police and bailiffs, because council refused to pay for it anymore. She is completely broke, disabled and apparently mad because she wants to live far over her possibilities. She is crazy.

“Crazy bitch,” says one of the colleagues childishly with a smile in his wrinkled face of middle aged man. The guy frowns, but chooses not to answer anything. Apparently poverty and hard labor doesn't make people better he thinks. How does it comes that people who doesn't have much, very often are so arrogant and rude to others who have even less. Of course it's more of a joke, and “bitch” is just the expression, but it clearly bears the attitude. They rarely say “bitch” about the customer when they are working for rich people. Or if they say, they say it in a different tone.

The flat the woman is moving in is so small that all the stuff she is taking with her barely fits inside. The piles of cardboard boxes in the rooms are growing so rapidly that at the end of the day there is just a small corridor connecting her bed with a kitchen sink and a cooker left for the woman to move in her wheelchair. Portuguese girl is looking at the clock from time to time. Another couple of hours and she'll be free. She has spent last two years taking care of this woman. What next?

“I'll have a couple of weeks off, and then they'll find another job for me.” She explains to removal men. “There is plenty of people around who need care.”

“Do you like your job?”

“Well. They pay not bad. But sometimes you have to have the nerves to do it.”

“Who's gonna help her with all this stuff?”

“They'll send somebody else. The local council, I mean. It's not our jurisdiction anymore.”

“Don't you feel attached to her after such a long time?”

“Well,” she says. “It really doesn't matter. Can you guys please finish, so everybody can be at home before the midnight. It's ridiculously far from here to London.”

The guy brings in big open box with pictures and photos and one printed old page from a magazine which is framed and under the glass. He quickly runs through the text on the page. It features the life story of the woman. She was about to become a successful actress, or that's what they wrote in the magazine some 15 years ago. The first person with such a severe inborn disability who will do it to fame as an actress. There is a couple of photo of her together with supposedly important people. She looks happy, enthusiastic and proud. There is a lot of talk about her hard work and that sort of thing.

He doesn't have much time to read the article and he is checking with one eye if the woman sees him reading it. It's not clear. She probably does. But she is not giving away any signals about it. There is just sadness and resignation on her face and her gaze is wandering around the room randomly stopping at the objects and people. She is lost and it's like she is not there really.

The guy is going outside to pick up the next piece of her stuff. His mobile phone is ringing and he says: “Yeah.. yeah.. yeah.. can we do it tomorrow? I'll be at home rather late tonight. Yeah.. the weather is fine.. yeah.. everything else is fine also.. no.. nothing is wrong... Just a bit nervous. I don't know why. It happens, you know... No I'm definitely not going out tonight.. OK, I have to finish my job.. it's depressing. The job I mean... Yeah like always. Well it's a bit more depressing today... Yeah I need money I know. Yeah that's why I'm working... Listen, I really need to finish my job, I can't talk anymore. I'll call you tomorrow. OK? See you.” He takes another cigarette from his pocket and sits down by the van. It's a 20th cigarette today he counts throwing out the empty packet.

“We need to stop by the shop on our way back. OK?” He says to his colleagues.

He buys a can of beer and another pack of cigarettes. He sits in the cabin of the van next to the driver and watches the empty English landscape passing by as they advance towards home. He drinks the beer and smokes and thinks about the disabled woman they left in her new flat surrounded just by a huge pile of cardboard boxes full of mostly useless stuff.

Some dreams come true and some not, he thinks.

Then he tries not to think about her anymore. He finishes his beer and tries to sleep instead.

Cuddled by the warmth of the cabin, soft vibrations and monotonous buzz of the engine he nearly falls asleep, but is waken up by a sudden rush of blood to his penis. It grow bigger and bigger and it's a little bit painful and completely meaningless and mechanical as there is nothing in his thoughts. Absolutely nothing.

Just that awkward empty unwanted feeling in his trousers.

Leading nowhere.

As the life itself.

And the buzz of the engine.

And the vast empty fields on both sides of the motorway.

And his empty gaze wandering around in this landscape, trying to find something to stick to.

There is still miles and miles of the road ahead.

He takes another cigarette to kill some more time.

(PS. All characters and places in this story are purely fictional. Any similarities between them and real individuals are purely coincidental.)

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Photo Album

In this photo I'm staying on the big gray stone on the shore of Atlantic ocean

I'm staying exactly in the middle of a gigantic footprint of dinosaur

Left here 70 million years ago

This photo was taken by you

Remember you made about 15 photos with me on that stone

Because you said that you liked the shine in my eyes

When I talked about how dinosaurs was more like birds than lizards

How they lived in flocks, made nests and sung songs to each other

Cared for their children and vanished from the earth just when the flowers appeared

Because flowers were probably toxic to them

Yeah, you said, you never know whats under the surface of beauty


Here, next picture is you

You lay on the sofa with your eyes half closed

Your hands in the air making invisible circles and stars

You smile and my kiss is still under your nose

That was that evening in winter. The one when we took so many pictures of each other

Just out of nothing to do; and we laughed a lot; and we asked

What if the earthquake comes and buries us under this building today

Can memory cards petrify?

Can petrified memory cards be read after 70 million years?

And then you said, Hey let's make a baby tonight

He may last long enough and we don't know what else to do with our lives anyway

Your hands in the air making invisible cobwebs of love


And here is a picture with me again

It's blurred, it's taken on tube by one of my mates

Haven't changed that much or am I?

I don't know how you do? Just hope you alright.

I certainly am.

Still digging, still left-wing, still all is the same

Fighting my demons and sometimes having a fun

Just stopped for a moment to drop you a line

To say

You know

I'm still keeping you on my memory card


Who knows maybe somebody'll find it

After 70 million years

Friday, 12 February 2010


I met her on one of those mad Friday evenings in club, we had some mutual friends and we finished that evening in her place. The whole company, six or seven people. Who can remember now. We drunk as much as we could and fell asleep wherever it was possible in her tiny flat. We really didn't cared about those things back then. Next evening I came to her alone and brought a couple of bottles of wine with me. I was already quiet drunk. She wasn't expecting me, but she didn't mind either. She let me in.

“Yesterday,” she said, “you were wasted. But so was I.”

“Yeah,” I said. “Yeah.”

“Anyway I'm glad that you came. I really didn't know what to do this evening.” She moved across the room inviting me inside, and in her movements was something of a tired cat, if you can guess what I mean. Or maybe it's better to say that she moved like a fit, sporty girl who had a hung over. And I just said:

“Yeah.” And maybe one more time: “Yeah.”

“Yeah.” She mocked me? Or didn't she? “Want coffee or something?” She asked.

"Thanks, I'll stick with the wine."

We sat on the sofa to drink that cheap wine that I brought with me and talked. She was quiet serious girl. She had a job and her own flat and was about to study also, and all this at her age of 18. I was 19 back then, still lived with my parents and didn't even had a serious thought about leaving them. I didn't wanted to study either. I was just a punk and quiet happy with it. She had voluptuous breasts and quiet big roman nose and blue eyes, she had sex appeal and old black and white TV in the corner of the room, she had cockroaches in her kitchen (like everybody did in my country back then) and she had high expectations about the future. Not like me. I mean, in a way I had some expectations also, but they were very vague. At some point of our conversation just when the first bottle was finished I tried to persuade her to give up the job and forget about future. She hit back furiously. She was so serious about these issues.

That really pissed me off. Well, yeah of course I was talking nonsense, but that's what I always did, and if she couldn't accept it, at least as a joke, as it actually was intended, I really didn't have much else to say. She didn't wanted to talk about philosophy or art either. Or if she talked, she was talking crap. I'd better go home, I thought, but there was still plenty of wine to drink. Maybe we was just too different

“I was the champion in debates at school,” she told me proudly.

“Ah, yeah?” I frowned.

“It's quiet useful.”


“I can easily beat you in discussion.”

“I really doubt it.”

That was when the second bottle of wine was half empty. We both fell silent. It was quiet hostile silence for a brief moment. I was about to start one of my usual nonsense topics again just to make her angry, but I didn't. She seemed to have lost any interest in me at all. She took off the pullover she was wearing before and put on another one, crappier. It seemed like a gesture to let me know that it's time to go home. However we still had half a bottle and I told to myself, that I won't go before it is finished. She was really annoying me and she did it on the purpose but that's what I was doing to her also. We smoked cigarettes. She turned on her black and white TV and switched off the lights. The picture on the ancient screen was so crappy, that it was hard to recognize anything even in darkness, though it was still possible to get some information.

Not that we really cared. Because of the lights turned off or something but the mood has changed. The thing that we felt, and somehow I knew that we both felt it, was something like warm tiny invisible worms of anticipation of love and pleasure crawling around the room, gathering between us, pulling us together, eating our bodies, parasitizing on our fierce teenage sexual drive making us sick and happy at the same time.

It still took us about 40 minutes of almost complete silence, four cigarettes each, the last half bottle of wine and the whole crappy movie to end on the TV till I finally approached her and we made joyful and drunk love.

Next morning came with the usual headache and dry mouth. I stepped out of the bed and staggered to kitchen. I drunk some water straight from the tap. It tasted wonderful. I lit a cigarette and watched a small flock of cockroaches grazing on the kitchen table, I watched kids throwing snowballs in the yard. So that's the life, I thought. It's ironical, isn't it. To fall in love with a girl so full of shit bourgeois values.

FUTURE IS DOOMED. I wrote with a marker pen on the glass of her kitchen window and then I went back to bed.

Later that day I cleaned my masterpiece. Because she started to cry, she called me stupid punk, egoist, not caring about her and all that sort of crappy things. And then we went to the shop together to buy some food and wine.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

first memories

They are sitting around the table in a small kitchen in a summer house in lovely summer town by the river, eating pancakes with jam and drinking tea so sweet as the childhood itself.

The night is approaching their house from outside, with all sorts of spirits and witches wandering in the woods, but the boy feels comfortable and safe inside.

In their shining ship that is floating through the darkness bearing on board the last remnants of civilization, the sole purpose of why the universe was created. That means him.

Broken rays of light scattered in his teacup. Ten thousand pieces of memories of today that is about to remain in the past forever. Very soon. Just when the supper is over.

There is a mosquito net on the window and hordes of six legged beasts are trying to brake their way through it.

Armies of zombies blinded by light and instinct.

Insects as we know them are just the ending phase of the actual animal. That's when they are grown up ready to reproduce and die.

“Another day had passed,” sighs the man behind the table. His dark eyes are shining and devoid of any expression. And by the emptiness of his phrase and his voice the boy instantly recognizes the ending phase of an insect in him.

It looks like his black thick mustache is growing longer and longer, becoming a pair of antennae. Trembling, getting dizzy in fumes of sweet smell of strawberry jam.

It's sad and terrifying for the boy to understand that this man beloved so much is dead already.

He wanders: “if this will happen to me also?” but he says nothing.

Boy remembers this evening until the end of his days. Not exactly the whole evening. Just the phrase and the moment when the mustache starts growing.

One of those ten thousand pieces of memories of the days as a caterpillar