Sometimes I think too much.
Take my first view in the original production of Omen II. A decent enough film I thought, and the superior sneer of Damien at the end of the film was masterly. But not really frightening enough for me. Until I went to bed. There, in the false comfort and snide warmth of a snuggly duvet I began to think about what I had seen.
In my half awake, half asleep state I imagined a much more graphic film than the one I had seen and my mind decided that there was no way that Damien could possibly be stopped. None. No way at all. Evil was unstoppable. The end.
Luckily I woke up and life seemed altogether brighter and much less evil-orientated. My rock solid atheism could re-assert itself and the demons could retreat back into fantasy literature. But I still remember that night of reimagining the film and I can still retexture the sense of lost helplessness that I managed to create for myself. And the sense of dissatisfaction at the ‘real’ end of Damien in Omen III or IV or whatever. Not convincing!
Brexit and 45 are not things from which I can wake up. The demons associated with both those grotesqueries seem more and more real as time goes on.
45 and The Mooch seem like overdrawn characters from some Grand Guignol pulp-fiction pot-boiler, but they live and have being in the real world, even when that world is composed of salted, filtered water in a swimming pool.
I used to say that I swam in college because the pool was the one place where I did not think. That wasn’t really true, or perhaps accurate enough. What I think I meant was that the pool was the one place where my brain could be truly unfocused and whatever was playing on my mind could be, and usually was, lost in a welter of stream-of-consciousness kaleidoscopic disassociation - so to speak. In other words my mind was released from early Gothic Novels, or Don Juan, or The Magic Mountain or the horrors of William Faulkner, or whatever it was that I was supposed to be studying and it could bounce along in whatever funny little ways scraps of remembered experience took it. Then, once out of the water, showered and changed, the real world (or at least what passed for it in Swansea University) was able to reassert itself.
It is rather like my ability to sleep.
I can be set about by the circling creatures of Goya’s sleep of reason awake, but head on pillow all of them slip into the velvet darkness of oblivion. True, I sometime awoke in the morning with the immediate and startling realisation of what was there when I went to sleep, but the period of rest was release.
So my swim this morning was much more centred (yes, I am aware of the pun with swimming up and down along a line in a lane) as my mind refused to bounce in its usually happy manner and my thoughts stayed resolutely with the UK leaving the EU, and the POTUS behaving like a kitschy lout. Perhaps I shouldn’t have written about these two disasters yesterday, adding the joke that is Spanish politics and Justice to leaven the mixture: but my concerns are present in my mind and my mind juggles these awful realities trying to find a modus vivendi.
I am reminded, as I often am, of a millionaire with whom I was once on a committee who once gave me wise advice about money. “The Great Trick,” he said, “is to keep money moving, keep it moving, juggle it. Borrow, spend, buy, keep it moving!” I nodded as sagely as someone who didn’t really know what he was talking about could do, when he added, “And the Second Great Trick, is to know when to start running!” Which I did understand.
As someone who was sort-of brought up in the Protestant Work Ethic with added Delayed Gratification, I could respond to, but not understand what my millionaire friend was talking about in terms of high finance - but when retribution was invoked which obviously indicated that the “juggling” was a euphemism for cheating, and the “knowing when to run” was away from the police, I knew.
It is like the films of my youth. In films, in all films, the baddies never won. Even if the baddies were the ‘heroes’ of the film, they had their comeuppance. Thieves did not get to keep the cash, murder always came out, Justice had a capital ‘J’.
But that was films. This is real life. Where is the Justice with a capital J for 45? What precisely does he have to do to suffer the punishment that he so richly deserves? Given the size of his ego, nothing, absolutely nothing is going to dent his own inflated idea of his own self worth. It doesn’t matter if he is impeached, imprisoned, bankrupted (again), derided, voted out of office, shunned, demonstrated against - nothing, will dent his own belief in himself.
I can imagine 45 (and I like doing so) as a down and out tramp, loose folds of flesh hanging from his gaunt face (making WH Auden look like a picture boy for face cream); his tattered clothes clutched about his lank flanks; his thin weedy hair hanging in lank dead twists; his tiny hands weaving around in what he imagines to be imperial gestures still telling the other homeless waifs of how he once won a great election, of how he was the most powerful man in the world and that he re-made the world in his own image, of how women threw themselves at him in ecstatic adulation and of how he was betrayed by the men, women, judges, voters, Democrats, Republicans, Americans, Germans, Intellectuals, newspapers, television, The Swamp, non golf playing people, friends, family, everyone but himself. But, of course, he still had it. He was The Great Negotiator (how almost like a Dalí title that is!) and that he was still, and always would be great.
I then imagine the Great Germaphobe washing his tiny hands and tucking into a salvaged Mac meal.
But the reality is that 45 will be even richer by the time his disaster of a period of office comes to an end. He was never realize how he was despised. He will never appreciate the damage he has done to his country. He will die happy, realizing that he had been the president and “knowing” how great he had been and how he had made America Great Again.
Not even justice with a small ‘j’.
I realize that writing like this does not really make a difference. I always hope that somewhere there is a reader who responds, who relates to what I write and spends a passing moment thinking about the issues. But with Brexit and 45 - what can one do? One feels that there must be something practical, something real that must be done but what?
I am linked to campaigns in Britain and in Spain about Brexit and holding the government to account - especially with regard to we Brits who live abroad. I sign any and every petition that comes my way and is sympathetic to my point of view. I read and respond to the idiocies that I see taking place in the places that I call home. But I fear that it is not enough. Brexit seems to be powering (!) its way along, helped and fostered by the selfish nasty party that caused it and a crazed popular press; 45 panders to his debased base and sinks ever lower in his discourse and actions and seems unstoppable. What is a wishy-washy liberal (with a small ‘l’) like me to do?
Perhaps this recognition of helplessness is stage one. Determination to move one to something practical might be stage two. I live in hope and search for the reality that allows this to happen.