I’m going to Basingstoke! A trip down memory lane that will hopefully distract me from thoughts of climate change and food hoarding, if only for a day. As I write this, I’m listening to Armand Van Helden’s ‘You Don’t Know Me’. This was released in 1999, the worst year in my life so far. Every time I hear it I remember being at a party in Hampshire countryside feeling utterly inadequate. My taxi didn’t arrive and I walked 10 miles home in the dark. That was the best part: trudging through mud and ruining my shoes and reflecting years later on my endurance. I don’t even remember what mud looks like now: when was the last time it rained? What’s worse: being a 17-year-old constantly under the shadow of the black dog, or a sensible person in their mid-30s with children and a constant fear that the sky will cave in?
I’m back from my holiday in Greece, which was very enjoyable (thank you for asking). As George Michael’s ‘Outside’ played one evening, I thought what a clever and naughty twist on the local music. However, as soon as the song finished, a chap bounded up to the keyboard and began playing older Greek songs. He looked like an accountant who had been asked at the last minute whether he had any hobbies. The squelchy fuzz of his instrument was the soundtrack to a series of disappointing fairground rides you have thankfully never been on.
And while I was away, I wrote this:
We assumed it was a spelling error
And assumed it was a tribute act.
We sat in the second row in terror
As we realised that it was in fact
An unrhythmical mess
And a deliberate extra s.
I’m going on holiday soon. I read this today:
‘Numerous locations in the Northern Hemisphere have witnessed their hottest weather ever recorded over the past week.’
Brilliant – it will still be hot for my holiday! But…
‘These various records add to a growing list of heat milestones set over the past 15 months that are part and parcel of a planet that is trending hotter as greenhouse gas concentrations increase because of human activity.’
So, my holiday is part of the problem, and I thought my holiday was meant to be about getting away from problems! Argh! At times like these – when it’s really really hot and I torment myself with thoughts of our self-inflicted doom – I think of Roger McGough’s poem ‘At Lunchtime’:
‘…when word got around
that the world was going to end at lunchtime,
they put their pride in their pockets
with their bustickets
and made love with the other…’
Though I think it’s unlikely that we’d do that instead of freaking out and hiding in the shed. Or maybe that’s just me?