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07/01 Direct Link

It was during that sleep madness. When you're neither alseep, nor awake, and nothing ever seems quite real.

An idea came to me. It was a stupid, horiffic idea that I couldn't get out of my head.

The idea was this. A superhero, who was a fop.

I kept mumbling 'fop fop and away!' in my sleep.

Maybe he could have another catchphrase. 'I'll fop until you drop'.

I imagine him to have very large hair. A long flowing silk coat and a silver tipped cane. There would be ruffs on his sleaves, light, white and very, very lacy.

07/02 Direct Link
THE ADVENTURES OF FOP MAN

Scene: a fashionable cafe in downtown dandyville. Fopman is enjoying a skinny latte.

Enter: a man, out of breath

'Fopman...*huff*...thank goodness...*puff*...you're here...*gulp*...some people have just robbed the bank.'

'Oh my! How utterly terrible! Do tell more.'

'Well...there were three of them...'

'That's enough. You know, I would love to help you, I really would, but you see, I've paid for this latte and I promised a friend that I would help themto pick out an outfit.'

'Oh.'

'In fact, I have to meet them now. Goodbye. Fop, fop and away!'
07/03 Direct Link
Scientists have discovered the Higgs Boson.

This is a wonderful thing, I suppose. We are a step closer to understanding how this whole universe works.

I wonder what will happen when we do finally understand life, the universe and everything? Life would become so...dull. With nothing left to discover, what would we do with our time? Where would all the physicists go?

They would be forced to wander around in their knitted jumpers with a dazed look in their eyes, having lost their purpose in life.

So physicists, well done. But don't go too far. For your own sakes.
07/04 Direct Link
I had my last ever saxophone lesson today.

I brought him a couple of bottles of wine.

He brought me some cufflinks.They're blue, with a band of silver and purple stretched across them like a breath of air. They look like they've been made out of solid water. Not ice, but water that no longer flows freely.

I'm really going to miss those lessons. Getting up early on Wednesday, listening to his stories. Having him tell me I'm getting there.

Seven years. I can remember the first lesson. All nerves and fear.

Goodbye, sir. I'll get there soon.
07/05 Direct Link

Describe yourself. He had always found that difficult.

'A lost soul, wandering through the remnants of the world. Envious of the moon, because at least it has the stars.'

That wasn't true. He wasn't lost. He entertained no sort of opinion towards the moon.

However, it sounded pretty and managed to create the illusion of being deep without saying very much at all.

He thought for a while. Maybe that phrase was perfect. Illusions, foolery, trickery...those were the things he clung on to.

Where would he be without his little bag of tricks, his language?

Dead and buried.

07/06 Direct Link
Tomorrow, I am going away on holiday with some friends.

I'm rather looking forward to it. It'll be the first time I'm on holiday without my parents.

Hopefully we will be able to survive. Feed ourselves, wash, clean and not succumb to cabin-feaver.

This also means that I will be away from here for a while. For a slightly long while. Which could lead me to not finishing this batch.

I've never not finished a batch, apart from the first one I joined when I had no idea what I was doing. All those years ago. My, time flies.
07/07 Direct Link
My mind is winding down.

Those rusty gears and teeth that clanged and groaned are slowing, ticking back the time.

Copper wires, once bursting with energy, so hot that it would stab your skin to touch them, have stopped. The flow of information is a trickle, a drop.

Thoughts that once flew and soared and screamed in my face have lost their lustre for life. Now they sleep, content that, for now, their work is done.

I am in hibernation mode. This mind has swtiched off, to conserve energy. For an intelligent responce, please ask again once October begins.
07/08 Direct Link
He could fall in love with anyone. And indeed he did.

That girl in the bookshop, with the glasses and black hair. He had always liked glasses. She made him feel warm, like a cake just out the oven. Love.

Then there was that other girl, the one he talked to all the time. He loved her, with her smile and eyes. He would steal stars for a taste of her smile.

Or how about that girl, just glanced whilst walking in the street? She wore a brown scarf and skipped. His love for her was a screaming furnace.
07/09 Direct Link

'Do you really want to look in my mind?'

'Of course I do.'

'Why?'

'Well, I want to know you. I mean, really know you. Not just the superficial face that everyone sees, but the you underneath that. Underneath the make-up and painted faces.'

'Do you really want to? I mean, it's not exactly a pretty sight. My mind can be a scary place. Full of those monsters you used to believe haunted your bed and bats that claw fear in the walls of my mind.'

'I still want to see. I need to know you.'

'Well...ok.'

'Good.'

07/10 Direct Link
It had been a particularly boring evening. The music had been too mainstream, the hall to dark and overbearing, the heat too insistant.

Lounging against the wall, James scanned the rest of the room. Full of either couples trying their hardest to emulate those seen on the television, or single people intent on drinking their isolation like alcohol.

But then, there was another. In a green dress. She was so pale, he skin seemed to shimmer under even these pale lights. By God her smell! He could smell her all the way over here. She smelt comfortable. Like home.
07/11 Direct Link
It had been a particularly boring evening. The music had been too mainstream, the hall to dark and overbearing, the heat too insistant.

Nina was just wandering around the centre of the room, looking at everyone else. They were all self-absorbed, eyes locked onto each other or themselves, each flittering about in their own world.

Then there was someone else. Someone coming towards her with an intent expression on his face.

It was probably her smell. They were always attracted by her smell. She had tried to get rid of it, to no avail. Her smell always clung on.
07/12 Direct Link
You are important to me. Very important. Probably more important that you imagine, because you like to do yourself down. And you have a poor imagination.

You are great. Really great. Not that false great, the unimportant great used every day, but truly great. Like the pyramids are great. Like God is great.

I hope you know this, and if you didn't, I hope that you do now. So know that you are important to one person. This one person, who feels better whenever you are around. Who knows that all those dark feelings are silenced, just for a while.
07/13 Direct Link
Today was the best day ever!

Whilst I was going for a walk in the fields, a car came out of nowhere, crashed into a hill and exploded. Turns out the hill was actually the burial place of an ancient king, and the exlposion had unearthed his tomb! It got me on the discovery channel.

Then my nan died suddenly of a stroke, and with her inheritance money, I was able to buy myself a new tenor saxophone!

When I had finished buying it, I found out my friend had been mutilated by a wolf.

That wasn't so good, really.
07/14 Direct Link
Went to go and see Bruce Springsteen live in Hyde Park.

There's something about walking into a place with 80,000 people, all of whom start to sing/shout 'glory days' at the same time. It makes your bones vibrate and all those hairs arch their backs and that primeval part of your brain shudders in delight as you melt into the group.

Then Paul McCartney came on and did 'I saw here standing there' and 'twist and shout'.

They overran, and the organisers turned the sound off before they had finished. All that engery, just dumped by the wayside.
07/15 Direct Link
Sun. There was lots of it. Everywhere.

It danced through the clouds and pirouetted on the fingernails of the mountains. It dived over the water, entering and exiting every little glimmer and sheen.

The sun sank into our skin, embraced us, kissed us, warmed our poor bodies into action. It illuminated the day and gave the colours an extra brightness as if infusing them with more soul.

It tickled the nose and electrified the senses.

This sun. With its promise of life eternal. That created bursts of colours out of a grey landscape. That thawed my poor, icy soul.
07/16 Direct Link
Sun. There was lots of it. Everywhere.

It creeped through the windows, slunk around the curtains and suggested itself under doors.

The sun would fly over the hills and wrap itself around your body. Work its fingers under your clothes and start to scratch at your skin. Make it red and angry and raw.

It would stick pins in your eyes and hot pokers under your fingernails. Bite your feet and punch your nose and spit all over you until you were drenched.

The sun. The pain it brings. The promise of hurt and blindness and burning for all eternity.
07/17 Direct Link
The chances were, he was drunk.

He didn't very often drink, but tonight had been an exception. He had needed to drink. He was rather hoping that some specific memory cells would end up the casualties of this action.

He clambered onto a table and bowed to his audience.

'Every song has its final cadence,' he slurred, 'every story its last piece of punctuation. Every man his last breath. And then...he turns into dust, whilst the mountains, which lack any spark of creativity or intelligence, any ability to feel or love, manage to keep being there, just looking impressive...'
07/18 Direct Link

He continued with a shudder.

'My God. Every waking moment we are faced with our mortality and still we get dressed and make friends and eat and walk and talk. My God...'

It was at this point that the table collapsed. Flat on his back, he started to address the ceiling.

'Nevertheless,' and he raised his arm as if to emphasise his point, 'Nevertheless...right now, at this moment, I can think and I can feel. And to the best of my knowledge, so can you.'

He gestured at his audience.

'So for now, let's just dance our worries away.'

07/19 Direct Link

James tried to smile. It did not come naturally to him.

When he was small, he would practise smiling in front of a mirror. For hours he would just stand there, trying to force his lips to make a friendly gesture. They rebelled. Whenever he smiled, it looked like one of those emoticons people used in messaging. Not a real smile at all, but people saw one because that was what they expected.

Her smell had become more intense. It made his fingers wriggle in pleasure. The only other time that happened was when he played his piano.

07/20 Direct Link
Nina stared at his smile. Well...she said smile. It was strange. Mechanical, as if he had had to learn how to do it via a book.

Nina broke eye contact and started to stare at the floor. She hated looking at people. Hated taking in all the dimensions and flaws of other people's bodies. She loved humanity, but hated being reminded that one day her body would fail her. She tried to avoid people with glasses, those who needed inhalers, crutches, wheelchairs...

He was getting closer. Closer to her smell. She would be forced to look at him soon.
07/21 Direct Link
The land looked asleep. If you really looked at it hard, you could almost see it breathing.

And those mountains. Like the irregular heartbeat of the world, forking its way through the landscape.

One particular hill looked just like a dinosaur that used to dwell in the sea. Its skin had dried out, leaving dusty, barren flippers and a stone jaw and ridged mountains for a spine. I thought that maybe it was waiting. Waiting for the sea to come in once again so that it may return home.

Coach journies are dull. This helped me to pass the time.
07/22 Direct Link
'It just comes naturally to you, doesn't it?'

'What does?'

'Being poetic.'

'That's very kind. But I woudn't say that.'

'Then what would you say?'

'I would say that I'm good at making stuff sound poetic. I just throw in big, flowery words and scrape and extended metaphor until it screams in pain but to be honest, being poetic is not one of my strong points.'

'Well, I think it is. And I don't care what you think, because that's what I think, and you can't tell me what to think no matter what you may think. You got it?'
07/23 Direct Link
'You know what?'

'What?'

'Maybe rivers aren't actually made of water.'

'I'm pretty sure they are.'

'Maybe there was once this giant snake, right? All big and blue. And maybe, right, it tried to, I don't know, steal Loki's hammer...'

'Thor's hammer.'

'Thor's hammer. So then, like, the giant snake was punished to carry people around on its back forever and ever and ever.'

'But there's more than one river.'

'Blue snake's babies.'

'But how come river's aren't solid, then? How come you can put your hand through it.'

'It's mythology. It doesn't have to make sense, now does it?'
07/24 Direct Link
James wondered what he should say to her. How he should start to talk to her.

He wanted his words to etch into her brain. He wanted to lodge himself in her mind so thoroughly that all she could think about would be himself.

James wanted to consume her mind, devour her thoughts, light a fire across her synapses so that all she could hear in her ears was the scream of his name, all she could see that shape of his body!

Somehow, the words 'Hello, I'm James. How are you?' seemed unable to create the effect he wanted.
07/25 Direct Link
'Hello, I'm James. How are you?'

Nina thought that that was a beautifully generic statement. It shined due to its sheer dullness and lack of creativity.

Nina was tired of hyperbole. Tired of the excess of language that surrounded every conversation. It seemed that people were more interested in leaving a lasting impression than in acutally engading in a proper conversation.

Whereas 'Hello, I'm James. How are you?' was wonderful. There were no fireworks, no explosions. Just a simple statement and a pleasing question. What more needed to be said? It was perfect. A perfect line. Nina loved those words.
07/26 Direct Link
'Looks like I caught up.'

'Looks like you did.'

'Who would have thought it?'

'Who would have though it indeed?'

'I'm not entirely sure they are any good, to be honest.'

'You always say that.'

'That's true.'

'At least now you can pretend to have a reason as to why they are not all 100 words of pure genius and unbridaled creativity.'

'That's true.'

'It is true.'

'So what have you been up to?'

'Oh, you know. Just waiting for you to get back. My life is pretty pointless without you.'

'Really?'

'Well, you do create me.'

'That's true.'

'Yes.'
07/27 Direct Link
The conversation was dull. That was to be expected. The atmosphere didn't lend itself to casual conversation.

James was rather enjoying it. There was no pressure to be witty or interesting. It was just machanical. Going through the motions. It was like the opening paragraph in a book. Not really that interesting, but setting the scene.

Her smell was still wonderful. James wished that he could place it in a bottle so that he could sniff it whenever he was feeling depressed. He knew that sounded creepy, but her smell really was amazing. He would marry her just for her scent.
07/28 Direct Link
The conversation was dull. That was to be expected. The atmosphere didn't lend itself to casual conversation. 
 
Nina was happy with it. It meant that she didn't have to think. Her mouth could act all by itself, allowing her mind to drift to far off places, full of colours and sound.

James seemed nice enough. Nice enough to warrant a second conversation at a later date. Maybe even a third.

Normally, Nina avoided this sort of thing. She found it difficult to understand her emotions, whether she really liked someone or not. They never seemed to give a clear indication.
07/29 Direct Link
Yesterday was good. It really was.

Talking easily, laughing quickly and lightly. Getting lost in the maze multiple times until one is forced to make a slight detour...

Then there were the swings, flying so high that you almost set off into space. Or the zip wire, which is teriffying when you have two people trying to make you go the speed of light. Or the assault course, which is difficult to do in flip-flops.

The books. Oh the books...

So. A nice day. A little sparkling gem in the days of my existence. Make life worth living.
07/30 Direct Link
They left together. He enchanted by her smell. She enjoyinging his simplicity.

It was a love, of some sort. Not passionate, where eyes lock and hair entangles and limbs explore. No burning poetry, no symphonies and choirs.

Instead, there was quiteness. A comfortable silence. They knew there was no need to set each other on fire. They could start off slowly, enjoy each other without worrying about trying to out perform each other in romantic gestures.

Maybe they will work and be with each other. Maybe they won't. But for now, they are, and that is all that really matters.
07/31 Direct Link

'You know what?'

'What?'

'I think people are too harsh on themselves.'

'Hmm.'

'I mean, everyone seems to think that they are not good enough. Which is not good enough, really. You should be happy about yourself and your situation.'

'Well, what if you're in a bad situation?'

'There are always others in worse. And if you complain about your one, then you're insulting those in a worse position. If you get what I mean.'

'I think so.'

'So people should be happy.'

'And how should they do that?'

'I don't know. Smile every hour or something...'

'Wonderful advice.'

'Yeah...'