Dated March 2, 2011 - En-route to Singapore
“All of you think that when you take a shit, candy comes out from your ass. Of course it’s only actually true of me.”
Everybody loves to travel, that much is certain. I’m convinced it’s as much about the process as it is about getting somewhere new and discovering new snails under the stones. Purple snails with needle-like teeth that sing ‘Hallelujah’.
Travelling itself is not interesting. What the core of the thing is, is movement, both as a physical occurrence and a metaphysical concept. Let’s get moving. I’m moving, Time to move. I like to move it, move it.
What is ‘it’? You, your ego, your sub-conscious, your desires, sexual or not, let’s get it on (not Stephen King’s IT thank you very much, though it could be if you swung that way).
Klaus Bischoff says his interest as a car designer comes from objects that move. The whole point of car design is not sex or fucking. Some people term a Ferrari ‘sex on wheels’, but that’s just the Freudian maniac in them talking. It’s about the flow of the wind over curves rather than the hand over the cusp. But you do have to be moving to have sex, and streamlining comes in handy then too, so make of it what you will. The point is to render the immovable, static object, and to transform it into a body in motion, imbuing it with fluidity and grace. Computational fluid dynamics – don’t you just love that term? Sounds like slush.
A motorcycle, and I rip this off from a far better writer, is the perfect example. At its most basic, the common, ideal motorcycle (say, a Honda CB750) is nothing but a motor and two wheels. Sitting on its stand, a motorcycle does not imply movement by itself, the headlight is standing up against the wind, the frame, the forks and brakes function as their own windbreaks. The air passes through the bones and heart of the machine rather than being sidled away by a fairing, and even more so in the case of an air-cooled engine. Cooled by water and oil? Even worse, as the chunky wafers and fins seem to hold out a hand to stop before progress has even begun.
If you’ve ever ridden a motorcycle then you’ll know that isn’t true. You might already think that isn’t true, if you’ve never seen a bike in motion. But how could you think ‘stationary’ when you’ve seen Brando roll up on the Triumph, when you’ve heard and felt Rossi scream past on an M1, or even some bo-hick delivery rider splicing the lanes and dicing with traffic inner city?
Motion transforms the motorcycle like magic, and all of sudden this collection of awkward parts starts to make sense, from a destitute shambling Picasso to Nijinsky on gravel and tarmac. We could go on and on, the rider’s body as a dynamic and living part of the equation, the paint and canvas analogy of Graham Hill, but I’ll save those for another day.
Motion, mobilis in mobili, as Jules Verne/Captain Nobody would say. If the life of Captain Nemo ever appealed to you (‘The sea is my country blah blah, never eat another chapatti again, fuck you Old Blighty’) you are possibly of the sort I am going to describe.
Motion is good for creativity too - aren’t I seated in a plane at how many thousand feet banging out something about being on a plane and writing? My God it’s fucking brilliant.
Motion gives you new experience – you fly headfirst into new territory every single moment, you see new things even on a road you’ve been down a thousand times, you bump into new bugs on the air and get to know them inside out. You leave your stationary cares, the shackles of the daily grind behind, and if you don’t like something that sticks at you then just fling it off like so much toilet paper snagged on your side view mirror.
Time to saddle up on your high horse, Ranger, and light out for the territories then? Hold your horse(power) a moment, pardner. Listen to uncle Emmo before you take up that mare and make sure it isn’t a moral high horse in disguise.
“Travelling is a fool’s paradise.” – R.W.E
Uncle Emmo does not mean travelling is bad for you, no one human could visit Machu Picchu and go away unmoved, even with the basic idea of just experiencing the utterly different and to be a stranger in a strange land.
No, what he means is the kind of person who travels to escape. Yes, you with the funny hat, the artistic aspirations and the cargo terminal full of emotional baggage.
“Poor Joey. She has all the anguish and anxiety that the artistic personality requires…without any of the talent.” - Woody Allen
What is the apotheosis of this Travelling Fool? Eat, Pray, Love a movie so hideous in its conception (frazzled American lady flies to Italy to binge on food and a foreign guy), so terrible in its aspect, and made even more so by its slick production and that fact that everyone, even me, secretly wants to be Julia Roberts.
Travel to gain new experiences, to meet new people, to immerse yourself in a bacta tank full of something else rather than the nourishing, if not particularly tasteful support system of daily life. Do it for leisure, if you can, unmolested by the agenda of Big Money is the best. Everyone tells me what an awesome job I have, but they don’t know about all the cul-de-sacs, hidey-holes and Ancient Curiosity Shops I’ve had to fly past without exploring, absorbing and making myself richer. Is it better to travel and miss out on what you want or to not travel at all? I thought so too.
Anyway, don’t travel to get that sense of being in a movie, for that is a false economy of movement. It is delusion. The sort of Fool Traveller is the one who mentions all the places he has been to, the people he has met, the women he fucked, the people he killed. Oh yeah Ernie, how many people have you killed? People who gave you shit.
Do not travel simply because you have the money and because you want the hotel you stay in to have a perfect view of the Arsehole of the World. “These are lofty concepts we toss between us,” said the Joker to the Thief. Travel the world because you are that frog in the slick, algae-covered well and though you might get out and run around, it’ll never let go of your small, well-shaped mind. When you go to Panama, all you see is six-inches cut through the valley of your heart. But you won’t tell yourself that, you’ll say, ‘Back in West Bumfuck, nowhere, we ride horses. Not these boaty-boat things.’ Travelling is not about comparing things back home y’all.
Captain Nemo had the world at his feet but he chose to roam the seas collecting shit from the sea floor and eating it. He is an awesome character and one of my favourites, but think about what he could have handed the British had he bothered, had he focused, had he not run around the Indian Ocean with a floppy fringe, staring at his shoes.
When you travel you should ideally become Sakyamuni, if not an arhat of some sort. At the very least you should attempt Gandhi. You should have infinite patience and give them the benefit of doubt, no matter how they appear, remember everyone is essentially human and to be treated with kid gloves, in the manner of a retard child, if not with mutual respect and love.
I’ve tried to do that, but mostly failed. I am a Business Traveller and they are not a fully human species, able to infiltrate a lounge and eat three bacon sandwiches, two orange juices and a coffee while making off with a packet of potato chips and a muesli bar at the same time. They breeze through customs, whipping out laptops and belts, sneering at the less experienced. The fly to foreign countries in anything but coach, raise a ruckus when things get delayed (“Do you know who I am?” they demand, “because we don’t ourselves,” finishes the sub-text). I’m sure they would drive fast cars and fuck movie stars and think of themselves as people that are to be counted when Judgment Day rolls in too. But I demonise.
When I get home I am going to go for a run, and then let the bike out for a spin and clear up all the existential cobwebs I’ve gathered from three days of walking around an exhibition centre with a thousand other fuckos. Surely there must be some price to pay for this eventually. Apple pie, press kit, show girls, shiny cars. Gild the lily darling, but remember the smell of spider-lilies in the evening, the smell of heartbreak. I don’t mind, if I can continue to put this sort of thing out. Sometimes the movement helps but that’s not the whole picture really; hard to write good and coherent when you’re head is full of cotton wool and hot sand. I know why the Muse is here right now, I just hope to cut her in half and transform that part into Jesus the Carpenter so he can keep me company always.
- whodareswanks posted this