A little early in the year, but still, fancy a barbeque?

by Suw on January 21, 2004

Last night I had my first decent night’s sleep in a week, uninterrupted by blocked noses, sinus pain, acute stomach cramps, headaches, nose bleeds, gurgling radiators, murderous nightmares, cats or parents.

This morning I feel perkier than I have in ages, although I suspect it will wear off if this cold takes a tighter hold as the day progresses. But last night was packed full of dreams. Not just your usual single scenes, but long, complicated dreams.

I can’t remember all the details, but some highlights included sunbathing in the grounds of a huge house that I owned and getting a sunburnt face except for the patches round my eyes protected by the enormous sunglasses I’d been wearing; playing a strange version of hide and seek; a promise to go to yoga made to my friend Svetlana; finding myself back in a band I’d been chucked out of long before as bassist; catching the bus home seamlessly from Acton to Reading but getting off at the wrong stop, having to walk part of the way; seeing a bunch of hooligans, all with similar spiral tattoos, setting fire to a minibus in a carpark; cycling past my road without realising it, and suddenly noticing that the buildings were all different – big Art Deco jobbies; and meeting Eminem’s (black) sister who was head of the bread and pastries factory, very intelligent and showed me a brand new type of bread which had writing through it.

I found myself then, after Eminem’s sister had left to go back to work, on Shad Thames, a road in the Butlers Wharf area of London, near Tower Bridge. That area has always been a favourite of mine. When I lived at Rotherhithe and worked in town I would walk for half an hour to Butlers Wharf, and particularly down Shad Thames if I wasn’t late, just so I could catch the tube at Tower Hill, thus crossing a zone boundary and saving myself 70p.

So here I am, outside of this Art Deco factory (which isn’t really there) on Shad Thames, with a barbeque. I set the barbeque up on its stand, and light it. Trouble is, I’m not really very happy with my location because people from the factory can watch me, and I want a little privacy. So I pack down the barbeque again, and carry it along Shad Thames towards Butlers Wharf looking for somewhere suitable.

There is nowhere. I walk along Shad Thames, then cut through one of the archways to the river terrace, but still nowhere. I walk past all these tables and chairs that fill the space up – the place is packed solid with cafes and restaurants. There’s no space for me at all. I cut back through, across Shad Thames and into a square. Same deal. Nowhere at all to set up my barbeque. And by now, it’s gone cold anyway and I’m really no longer hungry.

I woke up around then, perplexed, trying to figure out what it meant. Fed the cat. Got back into bed. Fell asleep again.

I’m sitting in a room with my friend and ex, Andy. We’re talking about how I’m back in a band now, and how well it’s doing. He clears a space amongst the junk on the floor, and produces a barbeque, which is identical to the one I’d been carrying up and down Shad Thames. He sets it up, lights it. And again I wake up.

Lately, I’ve been looking for some answers. I’ve been totally unable to find them. I’ve been looking for clues, for signs, to explain something. I’ve asked oblique questions of friends and strangers alike, trying to ferret out a little nugget of truth which I could then use to help me understand what’s happening. Or rather, why what’s not happening is not happening.

Yesterday I started to come to the conclusion that in order to get the answers I want, I’d have to take what feels like it would be a very big risk and at the moment, that’s something I feel unwilling to do. At least, not with things as they stand now, anyway.

I’ve been looking for a place to put my barbeque, but maybe I just have to accept that there isn’t anywhere free at the moment. Other people may be able to find space, but maybe I should just leave barbequing up to them.

The world is as it is. People are who they are. Maybe I don’t need answers. Maybe I just need to accept reality for what it is.

Steve Kane January 21, 2004 at 12:00 pm

I know what it's like not being able to set up your barbeque where you want. I have to set my barbeque up in a secret place that nobody else must see, but the problems of getting my barbeque there without anyone noticing means that I am seldom allowed to set it up there and, even when I can, I have to rush my food before scampering off again. I'm wondering if it is even worth getting the barbeque out at all as I get such limited usage from it. Maybe I should just give up and eat salads until I can find somewhere to set up my barbeque without hiding, and enjoy a more leisurely meal without constantly looking over my shoulder.

Visit me @ http://www.steve-kane.co.uk

Suw January 21, 2004 at 12:06 pm

You want my opinion? Go with the salads, mate. You can really get some gorgeous salads these days. I particularly like the crisp green leaf salads with balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing. And it's far better to enjoy the salads you have than pine after the barbeques you don't.

Besides, summer will be here soon enough.

Steve Kane January 21, 2004 at 12:30 pm

The only salads I can usually get are rather unsatisfying tossed salads.

Vinkie January 21, 2004 at 1:43 pm

Sometime you just drive yourself mad….

That seeking feeling for awnsers can so piss a person off. It's trying to get to a point but you have no idea where to go to or how to start. Or even worse if you do know all these things you're afraid to use them.

Ah well at least you have room for a barbeque so life isn't all that bad.

Bram Janssen January 21, 2004 at 2:19 pm

You know what, Suw? Maybe you should forget all this writing and jobbing. All that stress and trouble.
Why don't you make movies of what you dream? You'd get rich!

All the dreams I remember involve either some kind of fright or sex. I never remember the joyous happy free stuff. My dreams would fit in the commercial breaks of the boring depressed show.

A visitor January 21, 2004 at 9:13 pm

Hi Suw,

your last 4 paragraphs resonated big time. If you've ever made the trip to my own humble blog, you may have understood that I'm on a couple of related journeys — one personal and one professional — not entirely unrelated to your own.

For the last 2 months I've been at home, looking after children, reading a lot of blogs and other stuff, writing when I can, which is unfortunately not often.

But nothing seems any more clear or resolved than it did at the start. Yeah, I've rested and relaxed, but the same worries and doubts and just not knowing persist.

And the credit card fills inexorably.

Some of the unknown relates to close relationships, which I'm not free to discuss in this forum, some is about what happened to my dreams, some is about simply WTF I do with myself to earn enough money to live on, an issue that becomes more pressing by the day.

FWIW, I think you're doing exactly the right thing by working so hard on the screenplay and the journalism course. Nothing will resolve without you keeping busy and working hard. This is my problem, cos I don't have anything right now that inspires me to be busy or work hard. I can cook, write, concrete program, design, and many, too many, other things to a serviceable standard, but there's nothing in the world that inspires me to dedicate myself to it.

Secondly, Euan Semple recommended to me a book: Tony Parsons' As It Is. His review is here: http://www.theobviousblog.net/blog/archives/000353.html#000353 . I gather the premise of the book is very similar to your last paragraph.

I have the book on order.

I hope I've understood something close to what you meant to say.

andrew [andrew@andrewbarnett.com.au]

Suw January 21, 2004 at 9:35 pm

Vinkie, Bram, Andrew, thanks for your comments. It's kinda nice to know that no matter how vague and dancing-round-the-issues I am, somehow I manage to communicate enough that you understand. Which makes me feel a little less lost.

Thanks also for the book recommendation. If Euan recommended it, I'm sure it's well worth reading. I'll put it on my wishlist and when I have some money I'll get a copy.

Meantime, head down, get some work done and we'll see what the view looks like the next time I come up for air.

(BTW, Andrew, sometimes I think it doesn't really matter what you pick – just devote yourself to *something* and if you need to change course later on, you can do so.)

A visitor January 21, 2004 at 11:14 pm

Email me your postal address, or set up an Amazon wish list, and I'll buy you a copy from Amazon UK.

andrew [andrew@andrewbarnett.com.au]

Suw January 22, 2004 at 11:20 am

Thank you so much for your kindness, Andrew. I am quite speechless. So much so, only a smilie will do – 🙂

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