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Bonjour, Parlez-vous Franglais?

September 24, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

You can’t run away from your problems. I mean, sure – you can run away from things like the fuckwits at the DWP or the various bailiffs, but real troubles, REAL troubles. They’re the things that sit heavily in your heart and mind. They press upon your soul. You carry them with you always and you can’t run away from them. I write this at something o’clock a.m. in a small farmhouse in southwest France. Today I went to a market and mingled with the natives. I enjoyed the small pleasure of the market traders who tap me on the shoulder and proffer me goods, they babble at me in French and I can understand every other word. What I enjoy about this is that they think I am one of them. I nod and smile, I reply in my passable GSCE French and note the look of surprise on their faces when they see I am not French. Today I was complimented on my accent and how I was willing to talk. I hate being the traditional tourist who thinks speaking loud and slow is some kind of babelfish. At least make the effort people. If nothing else, learn how to say “I’m sorry, I don’t speak any *insert language here* Do you speak English?” A couple of days ago (funnily enough, the day the pope arrived in Edinburgh, like we were on an exchange programme or something) I went to a place called Saintes. It is beautiful and has a proper huge cathedral which is, for wont of a better description, very Catholic. I’ve mentioned before about my views of religion and how there is a Catholic thread in my family, it was tugged as I stood there and the grandiose oppression of the stones and reverence surrounded me. It was awesome. No, I mean that. Not just in a ‘dude, that was awesome’, but I was literally in awe. You can see how, before ‘enlightenment’, people were under the thrall of religions due to their pomp and ceremony. Saying that, when it comes to ceremony, the Catholics have got most of the Judeo-Christian lot beat. Sure, gospels and revivalists have a good thing going, but if you want majesty and ceremony and a damn impressive show, the Catholics are the chaps. I walked slowly down the aisle, breathing in the atmosphere, feeling the resonance of the organ in my breastbone and, as I came to the junction of the cross, I saw the organ to my left and the confessional to my right. I seriously contemplated it, I can tell you. Then I looked to my left and there, at the organ, was a guy in an electric wheelchair playing his heart out. It was one of those moments. On of those moments where I go “hah”. Like a bitter laugh, because I find something… not laugh out loud amusing, but the bitter irony where it feels like I am the only person who sees the joke. I hate to break into a comic book nerd moment, but sometimes it feels like I am the Comedian in The Watchmen and only I can see the joke. You go back a few hundred years and this guy playing this music would have been drowned at birth at best. If he had been lucky enough to live, he would more than likely never have survived to adulthood and more than likely never been allowed to enter the church. Oh religion, this kind of dichotomy is one of the reasons I could never follow you. Here’s a little by-story, back in Ipswich a few years ago, one of the churches was being renovated or something and the plan was to knock down the wall surrounding the graveyard. However, when they started digging, they found a body buried in the ground. No, not what you would expect, because this body was not in a marked grave, nor in a proper plot. It had been deposited over the wall, and buried up against it. Once local historians and anthropologists were called in, they started to find more bodies. Hoardings went up and instead of a couple of weeks work to put up a new wall, excavations took place and nigh on a hundred bodies were found, buried all along the wall. So it turns out, back in ye olden plague times, people were so worried about going to Heaven or Hell that those who were turned down by the church took to stealing in to this graveyard in the still of night to make sure their recently deceased love ones could be buried on consecrated land and therefore go to Heaven. You see? That right there is why I can’t subscribe to any major religion. How can I join a club which discriminates against people who have nothing but their faith to sustain them. Twisted logic. So anyway, I was talking about my problems. Well, no. I was talking about talking about my problems. I kind of lucked in to this… ‘holiday’ of mine. Someone had a spare room in a French farmhouse and I had a car and time on my hands, so I drove to Dover, got a ferry and drove to the Poitou Charentes (great goat’s cheese by the way). Now I’m here and I am trying to sort things out. I suppose I could have done that back in Suffolk, but it is hard to concentrate when you live somewhere you hate. Spider Jerusalem wrote a series of articles which were made into a book entitled ‘I Hate it Here’. However, he hated his City because he loved it so much and hated how the people and places were rotting and crazy like a Alzheimer’s hobo. Same goes for Bill Hicks and his love/hatred of America. He loved that country so fucking much it killed him. Me, on the other hand, I hate Ipswich because it is a soulless, apathetic hole, with no real redeeming features apart from a handful of diamonds, which are smothered by the dirty coals. It is late, I have talked too much.

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  1. Kitty
    September 24, 2010 at 13:33

    This is most odd. Last night when I went to bed I thought ‘I wonder how the hell Richard is, and where in the heck he’s got to…’ less than 10 hours later I log into my e-mail and find you have blogged.

    I am glad to have read this. Very glad. I like your musings and very much.

    Keep in touch. Please.

    Love from Kitty x

    • iamhewhoisiam
      September 30, 2010 at 14:50

      Thank you! I havn’t forgotten I owe you a couple of things… 😉

  2. Laura
    September 30, 2010 at 14:42

    I look in once a week or so and am thrilled to see an update.The Ipswich description fits Peterborough very well too love XXX

    • iamhewhoisiam
      September 30, 2010 at 14:51

      but at least PB has the House on the Borderland! Let me know if coffee in Cambs is still on the table x

  3. Laura
    September 30, 2010 at 18:27

    One wednesday fo’ sho.Just started a college course but will pluck a wed next month out of the ether and give plenty of notice so we’re both available XXXX

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