Thursday, 25 October 2007

The High!!!

Welcome back, here’s part 2!

I wish to applaud how I have discovered the benefits of a drug largely new to me. People have been addicted to this one for centuries. Yet if one can hold off devouring certain common drugs then when one finally does partake the beneficial ‘high’ is extra rewarding. Much like one gets more benefits from going to university as a mature student rather than a whippersnapper fresh from school. This drug has been as good, similar to and curiously as inspiring as Absinthe.

And like absinthe I realise it is important to NEVER under any circumstances have more than 2 in one day or it may cost you an ear. I will also add that I only know this through PARTIAL empirical evidence. I have never myself had more than 2 absinthes in one day but I have had 2 on 3 occasions. On each of these the person I was with had a third, went completely NUTS. It was always I that bore the scars from those evenings.

I’ll not drag it out anymore but I am finally discovering the utter ‘creative fix-it’ joy of COFFEE. Wonderful. I’m glad I avoided it for so long to make use of it in this way now. I understand that this effect will wear off and I may never catch the same high again but no matter I get it now. In just the same way I ‘got’ surfing after just one lesson and now yearn for another opportunity to properly learn how to do THAT. Take note universe – I’m up for an assignment in a location that’d afford that opportunity.
I forgot to mention that I do not take all the shots I show with these musings – I favour mine where I can but use other people’s from our camp to show the event as best as possible. Notably I did not take the one with the trucks and rainbow – I wish! And this time I did not take the double rainbow one either from this round.

Many of you know me as a solar eclipse-chaser and this year as an extra cool treat there was a Total Lunar Eclipse on our first night. As it happened I was ‘man-down’ with a super bad cold and chest cough compounded by exhaustion from lack of sleep and jetlag. I just wanted to sleep and knew I should but how on earth could I of all people not stay up until 2.30 am to catch the deep red umbral phase of this phenomenon? So of course I pushed through and did. As a result I also witnessed the premature burning of The Man by an ‘individual’.

It seemed so unlikely that I was kind of in denial as I cycled out towards the place the man should’ve been but where a fire was burning instead. After years of people threatening to burn the bugger before the scheduled time, a prankster/performance artist had finally managed it. For me the “BURNING OF THE MAN” is not the highlight of the festival at all, in fact its rather random to me and I attach little significance to it. So I did not really care much at the time. I was just mildly annoyed in that I had planned to photograph the lunar eclipse and the man in the same frame after which I could’ve happily retreated to the RV to get more sleep having acquired my eclipse photograph of the event. Now I would have to find some other iconic thing about burning man to include in a snap with the eclipse. Eventually I got a barely satisfactory snap with one of the city ‘lamps’ and another with the bendy bus galleon.

I’d like to claim the eclipse meant more to me than it did that night but oddly I felt a little more duty-bound on this occasion than truly relishing it as the remarkable astronomical event during which is the only time we can see earth’s ever-present shadow. Of course I did appreciate its beauty and the moment but I was pretty ill and shattered. I guess Solar Eclipses are really my thing. I returned to sleep and managed to lie in until at least 1030, which can be very difficult as the day gets so hot so fast. Being in a tent can be unbearable by that time. This is one thing that makes an RV a better, if much more expensive option than a tent.

Every day like that first day, contains so many sights and sounds. Amongst these the Interaction Café stood out. Yes – they don’t serve food or drink! No - they serve INTERACTIONS. We arrived (Katie, Skez and I) and were ushered into a sumptuous restaurant by the maitre’d and flustered over by a group of waiters. Lovely chaps – splendidly half-dressed. Offered a table for 4 in case another guest arrived. We each picked an “h’orderve” from a proffered tin box. I forget what the others had but mine was ‘Perform an INTERPRETIVE DANCE on a theme suggested by one of your compatriots’. I can’t remember the suggestion but I did a dam buster flying around the room impersonation ending by revealing my underpants, which had the word ‘end’ written on the bum. The chaps who were running this Café were really funny and constantly making us and the other ‘diners’ feel great. As a main course, Skez had a non-contact ‘Blowjob’ while Katie had the ‘Human Camera’. I had the ‘Super Slo-motion Race’ that I shared with 2 waiters and Skez. This involved trying to travel about 3m as slowly as possible while tensing every muscle. VERY silly and very funny. I wish I did a snap to illustrate this place with as a picture does say 1000 words and it was a superb example of people going out of their way to ensure you have a great time.

Another thing I love doing is going Deep Playa alone on my bike. This is into the wide expanse of desert around the city in which various artworks have been dotted around. Once again, these artworks are pretty much created and installed at the artists expense (some of the bigger ones are funded by some of the event ticket purchase) and effort for your enjoyment and their self-expression. Doing this early in the week one can appreciate the solitude more as there are far fewer people but still enough to enjoy the odd random encounter. I found some good stuff. A field of a thousand silver windmills, a lone chair with a lone tree and a book with a poem about the last tree. A couch on which I had a short nap – aah. See snaps as I found it and as it had become by the end of the week, showing its evolution. There was a note on it describing the couch as the world’s smallest inn – ‘stay as long as you like – take the gift left by the last person and leave one in its place.’ My gifts were chapsticks with personalised stickers on them, along with individual pin-on buttons. I left these and took a scrap of paper on which was written this: “Accept loss forever”. Pretty ominous and rang a deep chord within me.

I administered some Third Aid in the form of a UV-active dolphin tattoo to ‘Pineapple’ of Los Angeles. To preserve water I administered this tattoo with saliva – it’s a desert after all! She and her friend Robyn were hanging out at the Big Rig Jig which is rather a good example of how bloody nuts this place is in terms of its art! I gifted them several of my buttons in what was the closest thing to a horse trade I had at BM. Robyn was wearing a badge saying “Don’t harsh my mellow” and I kinda REALLY needed that to give as a gift to another friend in dire need of just such a badge.

By nightfall I got back to camp but the others had already gone out. I randomly found them inside the Department of Playa Security – a theme camp ensuring Al-quaeda would not find a foothold in Black Rock City. To gain entrance I was rigorously searched by ‘Able’, a very able-bodied uniformed anti-terrorist agent who was quite convinced I was hiding bombs inside my mouth that only her tongue could detect. Rules is rules and while I knew I’d placed no bombs in my mouth one can never be sure that some other fiend hadn’t. I was relieved to eventually be given the all clear.

I had an encounter at Camp Validate because of a ‘u-turn girl’. This involved me bursting into their fantastic tent brandishing a riding crop, announcing ‘Ha ha – you have an intruder… and he’s armed… what’re you going to do?’ Much laughter… cries of ‘Give him a drink!’ A ‘u-turner’ is someone you do a u-turn for after you’ve cycled past them to ensure an interaction. It may be their cool outfit, gorgeous looks, the vodka jellies they’re giving out and so on. When I explained why I’d ‘u-turned’ and burst into the tent intent on conversing with this particular Lovely visible from the street, her reply was ‘Well, that’s ME validated!’ Then she gave me a rubber stamp to mark the word on her lovely tummy. This was that camps gift – providing validation for people on the playa. And always accompanied with some form on glowing praise for the thing one was being validated for and congratulatory alcoholic beverage of your choice. Later in the week in a slightly down moment I returned seeking my own validation. It worked – I felt much better afterwards though the strong mojito definitely helped!

We moved on. Finding a huge fairground creation involving 6 giant horses all moving up and down on poles. A hip-hop DJ was crunching out some great grindy chunes and soon as you like we were all over these horses dancing and messing around. There I met Saturn, a lady on stilts dancing next to me and while I was dancing on the horse, things were great but once I dismounted it became hard for her to stoop to my level. Stilt it was lovely while it lasted. Stilts equals bad news for conversation and smooching so bear that in mind if you’re planning a career in stilt walking. I doubt the guidance counselor will mention THAT aspect of the job. See inactive daytime snap of the horses thing quite a different place when not lit up nor surrounded by 200 dancing mad folk.

We spent some time hanging out near the fire twirler stage – this area is by no means the only place that fire twirlers operate, they do it bloody everywhere, but it’s a particularly good one with lots of extra visibility and drama being added by a circle of propane spewing gas towers. Amongst other things I saw here was a super remarkable fire hula-hoop girl and 2 huge guys with giant fireballs on chains doing what I hope was a pre-choreographed performance. Thinking about BM now I bet those 2 dudes didn’t even know each other and met on the stage for the first time that night. Safety Third! A constant amazement at BM is the quality of these performances. Always astounding. See snap for fireball guys. Also see snaps from Part 1 for hula fire-girl.

That’s just a light hazing of some of the stuff that happened the Tuesday – which was really my first day there.

The fact that none of this entertainment is provided by the organizers often makes people surprised to hear that one has to pay for a ticket too. The average ticket price is $250 so they are not too cheap either. Some of this money funds art, some of it funds the organization’s full-time staff, more of it pays for insurance, police hire, rental of the land, hire of earthmoving equipment, cranes and so on. However I also learned this year that the organisation supplies everybody who wants to use it with free propane. It is Burning Man after all. Apparently this one crazy art-piece which is a giant ‘X’ of propane towers spewing fireballs in series somewhat controlled by spectators pressing buttons burns $20,000 of propane a night. Seems unlikely but then I have no idea how much propane costs and this thing sure uses a lot of it! See snap from part 1 for this ‘X’ artwork.

Jay and I had volunteered as ‘Greeters’ on the gate from midnight to 4am on the Wednesday night. We did this the year before and had hugely appreciated it. Last year Domenique and I did it unofficially with Jay but this year I had committed to it beforehand. I’d decided I’d be in my fun policeman mode, wanted to cut an officious figure and be able to demand ‘papers’ or else from the new arrivals I wore a military uniform/polo outfit (see snap).

It was even more nuts than the year before with many more arrivals than at the same time last year. The satisfaction of being that person there to welcome all arrivals ‘home’ knows scant equal. Welcoming them with hugs, smiles, delight, silly banter and trading a tale or 2 then giving them the official warnings about driving and not putting foreign objects in toilets, finally handing out maps and so on. Of course it’s even better when a vehicle turns up containing virgins to initiate. This year officially spanking was off the initiation menu as someone sued someone the previous year. So we were left to initiate the virgins with bell-ringing, line crossing, playa dust angels and so on and of course if their friends requested the DELUXE greeting experience. This year the indefatigable Brian Spaley joined us and amongst others we had the delightful company of Hula, Keeper and Molly from Playa of the Apes. Out of Seattle these lovelies had erected a papier-mâché statue of liberty rising from the sands outside their cocktail tent. Coincidentally I’d met them all earlier that day while exploring the city.

I wonder if us greeters are regarded as an obstacle to getting into the main event by those who’ve driven long and hard to arrive late at night. Then I remember the super smiles these cars all contain as we bound up to them and ‘interact’. Never once have I had a bad response from someone I ‘greeted’. Though this time that could also have been to do with Hula’s ahem... special assets and her willingness to display them to arrivals. Of course I had to report her to Jay (he’d been appointed chief-greeter - hooray!) for the unauthorised display of goods without the required quality checks but after a thorough examination it was concluded they were more than acceptable. But even without her when I would introduce myself with my playa name - Doctor Lobster – without fail they’d break into a smile, laugh and I hope feel a little more likely to appreciate the absurdity of our existence.

Some of the cooler ‘greets’ included some Brazilians requesting the Deluxe Greeting Treatment for the 2 virgins in their group. Enough girls who love a man in uniform to make THAT outfit worth repeating next year. Also a lone French Dude who’d been at his desk in Paris and thought, ‘Merde, Burning Men - I must go’ - ok I don’t know what he really thought but he just grabbed a few things, his passport, went to the airport, booked a flight to Denver, San Fran then Reno, hired a car and arrived at the gates 28 hours later. It was his 3rd time and he’d almost missed coming. What else could I say but ‘Welcome home’. Also the unjaded 17-time burner finally bringing his 2 virgin friends along. The 3 virgins who’d been in New York, had their flight to London cancelled and just decided to come to BM instead.

But by far the best of all... sadly their names are lost to me... the husband and wife owners of the nearest gas station. They were finally coming to the event for the first time ever. Can you imagine - being the small town folk owning the closest gas station in the area and finally coming along to experience this behemoth of an event right on your doorstep that’s no doubt been a huge goldmine for them. They only had 6 hours, arriving at 3am but were super relaxed and so happy to chat to me about what they should do and the event in general! They were pretty sun weathered and craggy - I guess in their late 50’s – but all I could do was welcome them in, get them to ring the shell-case all virgins ring and shout ‘I’m not a fucking virgin anymore’ which they did lustily. My recommendation was to park their car somewhere about H-road and walk on up 6 o’clock until dawn. I wonder what they made of it! Maybe I’ll look them up next year.

At 4am we retreated to the safety of the Recharge Ranch to continue laughing the dawn in. Thank god for the RV so we could sleep late. Thank god also for the window in the RV that allowed Tali and Dan to feed raspberry pancakes to me until my strength was restored. Incidentally when I say sleeping late that is still only 10am. A REALLY good nights sleep at BM is probably 5 hours. Perhaps it is the fact that I draw huge energy from hot and dry conditions or perhaps it’s the exuberant nature of the event as 5 hours feels like enough sleep. I guess it’s also a lot to do with the idea of ‘well - I’ll sleep on the plane or when I’m dead’.

Last year the music was ok but this year I heard some of the best dance music I have ever heard. I put this down to knowing more about where to go, when to go, where to stay and being in extrovert overdrive. Also being with more friends helped make dancing several hours every day even more fun.

We danced at The Deep End daytime dance area twice. Once to our favourite Space Cowboy DJ – Mancub – the best daytime dancing I’ve ever done and only eclipsed as a general dance experience by the following night’s nocturnal activities on top of the bar at the Ashram Galactica (no HBO). The music led us on a journey for the entire afternoon, letting us engage with everyone around. The spirit of the crowd exquisite!

The second time at the Deep End was the most hardcore outdoor, at the mercy of the elements dancing by far. I’d been lucky with the weather this year and last, always being with someone suitably comfy in a tent or RV when a dust storm hit. My luck ended that day at The Deep End. At times we were barely able to see a few feet in front of oneself. But the DJ played on and the party faithful stuck it out. And THAT spirit was wild and unchained. Strong like some tribe of party savages about to feast. The conditions at BM can be extreme and not for the faint-hearted. Beware and be warned! Goggles and mask. When this dust storm cleared we were rewarded with an intense double rainbow. Super beautiful picture attached (not mine – again!)

So there you have it for this part – a very few of the things we got up to before the weekend at BM.

I’ve attached a LOT of very low res images showing some more of the art and some showing some of the things I wrote about in this mail and one of 2 girls showing us their beavers.

I can also let you know that I'm still running a multiple set of equations and analysis programs in various parts of my body, mind and soul in an attempt to gauge just how far the innerverse has expanded as a result of this recent super-ina-nova. For the last several weeks every available psychonaut I have (they’re like astronauts but do to inner space what astronauts do to outer space), has been preparing to go forth and explore these new regions within me. Many of the expeditions have been deliberately delayed to gather strength for what might be quite a lengthy journey. And I’ll admit some of them are just a wee bit daunted by the task – after all whose to say there will not be spiders as big as tigers in these new regions of my mind? If you care to offer a topic of exploration I’ll add it to their workload.

I’ve been joking for some time about being an interdimensional lay-by cartographer but now I realise what I REALLY am is an inner-dimensional cartographer. Watch this space.

As I mentioned life’s experiences have continued unabated since BM – not the least of which involved a magic time in LA with the mermaid Pearl, a surprise acquisition at BM, another unforgettable and equally surprising time in London with the same Pearl, a full contact dance mission to Ibiza, the continued delights of Doomsday, the film I am employed by, a few uncommonly good parties, friendships, Rugby World Cup (Bokke!), house-hunting, succumbing to the evils of the televised cricket, the Masque of the Red Death and Shillington cocktails.

Once more feel free to hit the opt-out clause and avoid the next installment.


Doctor Lobster xxx

That’s my playa name – like a nickname really though it has to stick to you like shit to a blanket, without telling the tale mine is came as a combination of Third Aid, Hot Baths and a Curious Kitten.

Doesn’t it seem super suspicious that one can buy items like Christmas mince pies that have best before dates more than 6 weeks prior to xmas itself!!!
I’ll have a moment of appreciation for the decommodification aspect of BM. Ahh.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

With Goose-like Tread Upon the Way I steal


Beloved Friends,

I am pretty nervous right now (*). As a fattened goose would be. One who never wondered why on earth he was being fed so much rich and yummy food by some benign keeper. Oh yes my friends – there-in lies my nervousness. I have given little thought (**) as to why so many rich experiences have been made available to me. Instead I have dived in and gorged myself sick on marrow from the bones of life. Now I am certain my soul’s equivalent of the liver is engorged and swollen out of proportion from the wonders and pleasures of which I have availed myself. Certainly to judge by the increased size of my laugh muscles these last few weeks have been a damn good work out in the fun department. My ‘nervousness’ may now come from the notion that perhaps I have been fattened for the kill! That some angel or demon is right now sharpening a scythe in advance of a celestial feast at which some part of me will form a delicacy.

*I’m not really
**I have really – One should enjoy what is made available to one. Regardless of what that is. If it is horror and suffering then one should enjoy that for the karmic cleansing nature of it. If it is pleasure and progress then one should enjoy that as karmic reward for previous benevolent action.

Here’s a pome (well you could hardly call it a poem) that’s been forming in a really odd corner of my mind and is surprisingly bypassing my internal censors and being released into the world...

If the Lord sees fit
To cover me in shit
That’s his wish - I’ll revel in it

If its honey and wine
Upon which I may dine
Even better then - His choice and mine

Yeah every experience is worthwhile for something.

Back to the goose metaphor - I have 2 choices:

wait and see what happens – continuing to revel and gorge myself so when the inevitable happens, at least those buggers will have a fine tasting treat. If I am just to end up as a feast on God’s table then I want to be as good a morsel for him as I can be.

the other is to try to find an escape route. But I think any notion of attempting to waddle off in some direction from some improbable threat is really just the last vestiges of the old ‘catholic-guilt-I’m-not-good-enough-nonsense’. I’m squeezing that out of my belief system. And boy, can I tell you, I’m going to be really happy when that’s all finally gone.

Hmm – somehow that makes sense though it also carries an edge of expectation and THAT is something that ALWAYS needs to be managed. And you better manage yours in relation to this email cos the management of it have carefully ensured that it contains numerous mistakes. On top of that they have deliberately included a multitude of confusing metaphors, similes, mad-cap theory and half-finished strains of thought for which I accept no responsibility.

Anyway I’m going for option 1 - accept my fate as trying to avoid it’s only going to mean I do not enjoy the ride my life sometimes seems to be.

Its taken me 3... 4... Shit 5 or whatever weeks since Burning Man (BM) to write this as life’s experiences have continued unabated since then. This was my 2nd trip to BM and once again it affected me deeply.

I’m also making an unprecedented move and releasing the piece as separate installments. Why?

The initial draft is already WAY too long. So by breaking it down somewhat may mean more of you read it. Though I know even this may be too long for some of you busy folks out there. It’ll also mean I can send a few more pics overall. I suppose it’ll come as 3 parts within a week or 2.

And it also means instead of rattling on about just BM I can digress into other stuff along the way.

Last year (feels like a century ago) I never knew many of you so you will not have received what I wrote last year about my 1st trip to BM so if you like any of this or know nothing AT ALL about BM please feel free to request it as ancillary reading and/or check out I also wrote some stuff just before I left so you may request that too!

Nowadays I’m pretty much always a positive person and willing to express that. However a long time ago a friend very close to me shook me by asking me who I was trying to convince by always being so positive about my life’s experiences – other people or myself? I believe a kind word said at the right time can go a long way. But equally a harsh word spoken at the wrong moment can cast a long shadow. That comment induced extra insecurity and doubt into my life. So that, plus the greater impact of this 2nd BM trip made me wonder about the 1st one – did I really have such a good time back then?

The answer is a resounding YES. By going to BM I opened myself up. Its increased my appreciation of EVERYTHING - the world and my place in it. Hence when I RETURNED to BM I was even more able to appreciate just how incredible an event it is. And in turn by being more open there I was able to garner even greater value from the event which is opening me up further. And along with it a great increase in my energy levels and apparent capacity to adore this silly planet we live on.

The 2 major factors influencing and increasing my enjoyment of this year’s event - People and Experience.
When both are combined they result in a healthy increase in Confidence.

I knew a lot more people this year – the Canadians of Slaktoria that I camped with last year and have seen while in the company of Princess Crab of Victoria, Warwick a great friend of 20 years and numerous adventures (an e2-b as it happens – either you know or you will in the next installment, I’m an e4-b2), Katie Clarke (also e2-b!) and Skez (a mere e-b), Brian Spaley (one of those people’s whose surname is clearly part of their 1st name), Angela and Will, Kris, Menkin and Donnie, friends of the inimitable Jayman (recently renamed Cheetah!) whose friendship has deepened incredibly over the year, various ‘Burners’ or acquaintances from Europe and LA, the fresh and lovely folk of our camp, the Recharge Ranch and all of those people’s compatriots. If you never got name-checked here and feel you should – no fear there are many opportunities later in the fact-phase.

Having a strong foundation of people to operate from is a great confidence booster. They introduce you to others and provide you with a friendly base to retreat to when the going gets tough. Its so easy to flitter or bounce around a place flirting, meeting, chatting and being generally ridiculous when you know that at any moment you can just give up that game and return to a group of friends who’ll pull you safely from the wreckage if you’ve been shot down in flames. Furthermore I’ll admit that it can also be more fun to have one’s acts of heroism or creative silliness witnessed by friends who may then write poems of your bravery and spread word of your legend. Ooooo – that’s tantamount to a confession – well I am much better in front of an audience than in a dry rehearsal. Top tip for me – you’ll get the best out of me if you make me feel like I have an audience.

Now I’m hoping that most of you know something about BM but knowing that some of you will not have done your homework here’s the most important stuff to know about BM.

Its in a desert at 4000 feet or whatever. Its boiling hot in the day, freezing at night. Harsh conditions – dry and super dusty. You have to be prepared. You have to be radically self-reliant and bring everything you need by way of food, water and shelter. You also have to take it all away with you afterwards without fail. And people do. There is no commerce. No entertainment is arranged by the organisers. Nothing is bought or sold. Every item from booze, food, through hugs and smiles is given free by the gifter. There is trading in a sense – in that someone gives a gift and you may return one if you like but there is no: if you give me this then I’ll give you that!

All entertainment is provided by the participants. People come and do stuff, create art and offer activities and so on just because they want to. And when you realise that they REALLY want you to come in and enjoy what they have created you can do so with such a free spirit. It makes the exchanges between you and other people so remarkably open. You find yourself simply loving that this event exists and that it all works out. Quite astonishing. And there’s 47000 people there and no they’re not really hippies.

No longer being a virgin was a huge help. I knew what to expect and how to better access the wonders the event offered. The art, the mayhem and knowing that people want to interact and engage. Plus I managed to pace myself over the whole week, not burning out early and focusing energy into the times that one wants to enjoy more. Such as the daytime, when art and people are more visible and can be engaged with easier than at night when its more about dancing and staying with your own gang. Then again, when I did go out at night (er and that was of course, every night), this time it was easier to find that brilliant time because I knew more about where to look. Funny thing... Now that I think about it, I’m not so sure I did pace myself so much as I think I might just have had more energy. Maybe I’m just better at it now. I do get a lot of energy from hot and dry weather.

But here is a titbit from one of the encounters I had

En route home I spotted the Talk to God phone box and figured a chat with the almighty might be in order (see snaps). God sounded like he was on Opium he was so super laid back. Actually he did sound REALLY tired. I guess he doesn’t get a lot of rest – just one day a week. Hmm..
“This is God, how may I help you?”
I answered him with ‘Hi God, does anyone ever call you just to say hi?’
“No – never”
‘Well me neither - sorry – you see I’ve got this really bad case of flu and I thought perhaps you could miracle cure it’
“well – I could of course – but its better if we just leave your body to do it”
‘er.. Ok if you think that’s best’
“yes – that’s best. That’s a really lovely outfit you have on by the way”
‘thanks god, gosh its really cool to know you really are omnipresent and all-knowing’
“yes – is there anything else I can do for you”
‘er... Do you perhaps have a beer.’
“of course – I can hook you up with some of that, I’ll send an angel. Anything else”
‘no that’s fine, great, thanks, nice chatting, bye now’

And sure enough a lovely appeared – handed me a beer (can) with a smile, turned and vanished into thin air.

After me a couple went into the phone-booth and I overheard this sound-delight - the girl to the boy after they had picked up the receiver:

‘There - see, I TOLD you he existed!’

Its all that kind of funny stuff that makes this festival so much fun and makes you want to contribute to it creatively in your own way too. Now curiously a pretty similar thing happened to me last year but it was a different phone in a different part of the city and I’m not sure if the God was the same. I’m not one for monogamy oh fuck sorry monotheism – I think either there’s ONE or as every culture seems to have one then there’s several. No big deal – let’s move on. Same result though – beer. 6 pack last year. Both times I never managed to delay the angel for long, they must be immune. And oddly I don’t even like beer much. Next year I’ll try to think of something else to ask for or hell, perhaps I’ll just let sleeping gods lie.

Attached a few snaps just of things and bits and pieces. A few art pieces. A few people doing things. Stuff. More to come so there ya go.

Incidentally the title for this email was inspired by one of my all-time favourite songs. Its from The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan. “With Cat-like Tread” . Its all about pirates and pretty funny. But its very useful to do silly sexy interpretive dancing to and formed part of my best performance ever – the Pirate/Cowboy/Vampire/Knight impressionistic dance act.

I’m in bed writing this footnote long before I have finished the rest of this mail. And I’m playing that track to check if I still like it as much. And yes I do – its bloody ridiculous, filled with soaring nonsense and has me awriggling in my lovely white bed – there is a hot bath waiting and its taking all my effort not to leap up and dance around the room. ........ Ok I failed – I did leap up and danced around my room, alone, for real. And I’m pretty surprised that I did that. Normally I do that kind of stuff only in front of people – you know when I have an audience and all that. Gosh – this is so much fun really. I do enjoy writing this nonsense – I like the action of it – my fingers clicking away on these cool keys, trying to spend time with each of you. Conveying some peculiarities of the things I think of the universe. Sharing my experiences, trying to draw a laugh and expose an emotion and create a sense of the immediacy of my communication. Trying to write as is I were talking to you. As if we were together. To me this time spent writing is almost like time spent in your company – though I get to do all the talking! Nice. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do this and to have someone out there read what I have written. So much of my life I have yearned to be creatively expressive and each of you who read this are making that a reality for me. Thank you all for fulfilling my greatest dreams.

Love, light, clear skies and barely expressible but abundant amounts of goodwill and joy.

Doctor Lobster

Serious aside: clearly I am not ALWAYS so effusively ecstatic in my moods but writing this right now has put me into that state. So please know that the last few lines I wrote above were meant with utter earnesty. Thank you for you.

As I’m plotting more of this feel free to request being removed from the list too – no offence will be taken.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

14d - Reality

Tree with me as scale reference (i removed me from other shot). But if you think THAT tree is big then check this one:

Trees are super cool but they are somewhat limited especially in range of motion and they lack opposable thumbs too! If a tree can get this big imagine what you with all the faculties of your body, brain, heart and soul can do!

Click here to go back

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Up, Up and Away

Hello Everyone,

This is the customary note I try to make before I embark on a Spaceship of the Imagination.

But before I board it I have a few hundred things to do – here are a few of them...

Rid my beloved potatoe plants of another hoard of snails (I took about 30 last night!)
100 bicycle sit-ups, 50 pull-ups, 140 crunchies and 90 press-ups.
Cycle to Soho and back once
Properly repot the tree that makes my bathroom so beautiful – the shoddy job of just adding loam to the pot that I did previously was not enough. The tree has desperately sent tiny little green roots out all over this thin layer. It deserves MUCH better care and attention.
Do a last yoga class
Respond individually to each of you that is good (and quick) enough to reply to this nonsense
Read some of my most talented and excellent friend – Liz’s script and respond to her (unlikely this will be completed before I leave but who knows – stranger things have happened)
Go to sleep twice in my own bed
Brush my teeth 4 times (at least)
Phone my mum (and dad)
Add the final flourishes to an outfit or two
Cram the luggage closed
Flirt with at least 2 people (and neither them nor I know who they are yet)
Deal with about 500 annoying things to do with the career
Battle the queues at Heathrow
Board a plane
Survive airline grub
Take a sleeping pill
Have a delightful 20 mins of wavy drifty weird-ass dream-wakings
Surface in LA
Clear US immigration in ridiculous clothing
Catch a taxi into Hollywood
See Warwick – a friend of many years and my main wingman for the excursion
Stock an RV for inter-dimensional travel
Drive 12 hours of scenic USA in one day
Rendesvous at Pyramid Lake with Jason, fellow Fun Policeman and whoever he’s riding with.
Pretend to sleep for a few hours on Sunday night

And so on...

And then I am back at what I think may be my ‘tribal’ home – Black Rock City, Nevada, USA – truly the Spaceport of the Imagination. I will also be in the period know as E4-B2.

Right.... So for those of you who do not know – this Friday I’m off to the Burning Man Festival in the states. It rocked my world last year and I’ve yearned for it ever since. Now the time to return is nigh and I have many hopes and fears. Which curiously is what the last year’s festival’s theme was. This year is Green Man – sustainability and so on.

I’m so looking forward to walking it’s (BRC) streets again, taking in human creativity at the Nth degree. That combined with the inspired ingenuity of the individual, the warm endeavour of the community and the force of nature make for a fine melting pot into which to cast my current form. And out of it a new me will rise. Last year I wrote myself a postcard while in the desert – I reread it this morning. The postcard had this printed on it: “In the space below capture for yourself what you want to take home from Burning Man this year.” And I had written:
“Myself – as I have always wanted to be. Free, spirited, inspired and inspirational. Filled with love for humanity and good will. Capable of decisive action.”

Hahaha that was pretty melodramatic and a bit hippy – well, those of you who know me, know I like a bit of that.

Anyway allow me to return to something else - ‘Returning’

Over the years I have often had a slight itch to do ‘new’ stuff and kinda embarrassed to admit it but there has been something about not wanting to go back to a country instead of going to a new one. The reason being as base as wanting a longer list of countries I have been to. I see that as puerile and short-sighted. However, Sam, my last long-term ‘relation-love’, helped me see how returning to a place can be even more rewarding than exploring some random new location (which is usually very rewarding in itself). Firstly one gets a better appreciation of things like geography – the roads and hills remain largely the same which is comforting and allows one to notice so many new things about a place. One gets welcomed back by the locals, who also very often have remained as unchanged as the geography. Now one is no longer just a tourist.

Yet while so much of a destination may remain the same, when I return to a location I have the distinct impression of meeting ‘myself’ again. Passing certain corners or places evoke memories of the last time I was there. What I was doing, feeling and thinking. Some spots even remind me of smells from other distant times – not because they smell of that but because of a common random thought I had at the time. For example, as a child I watched Octopussy in a cinema that smelled odd, not in a bad way but just in a very distinctive though unplaceable way. The cinema was almost empty and at that age (9-10?) I thought to myself, I will remember this smell forever. Now, whenever the thought occurs to me that I will remember a moment forever I smell that smell again. Vividly. And to this day I have never smelled that smell in any conventional sense in the world.

I don’t think I’ve ever even talked about that smell and experience before (ok maybe half-heartedly tried once or twice). Tricky to talk about its been trickier to write about. Just an awkward concept to try to explain. But I may put it out there that the smell I smelled was not a smell at all or not one set in the world of our normal senses. Rather it was the smell an experience makes as it is being branded into one’s memory. If it can be described in any way, it would be a smell like ... No, I cannot think of any words to describe it. It is all-pervasive though in its moment. It is the only smell that can happen in that moment – it is that strong.

So ... Back to the point - or perhaps that, inadvertently, was it. When one ‘goes back’ one meets oneself again and has that opportunity to complete circles and cycles. To understand where one came from, to enable understanding where one is and where one can go to.

I’m going BACK to a place again. A place that felt like my home and did inspire and heal me. So now on this return I can quite confidently say that I am returning free, spirited, inspired and inspirational. Filled with love for humanity and good will. Capable of decisive action. At least that is what I feel.

I will not expect to be welcomed back by any locals as no-one really is ‘local’ there – but I know a lot more people who will be there, the circumstances are different and the experiences will be new and no doubt remarkable. I also really know what to expect in some ways and have plans and ideas as to how to make excellent usage of the time there. I know much more about myself too. But what I look forward to most is that I will meet ‘myself’ there again. As I was a year and what feels like a lifetime ago. I’m excited to see and feel that change, to be able to note the differences and gauge something of the journey and then to turn back to the present, enjoy it and boldly take a hop, skip and a jump into my future. Happily and assured.

Now this future I speak of... Its a varied yet very big place. And I’m deeply intrigued at the prospect of seeing you all there.

Love, light and clear skies

Doctor Lobster

Interdimensional Lay-By Cartographer by appointment of Pimms and Lemonade

Attached image was me dress rehearsing the good doctor’s new Third Aid Labcoat onset with the 1/3 scale miniature bus we blew up. I’m probably not meant to send images like that around by the way... But the experience was a richly rewarding ‘creative’ one.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Year of the Pig - Wallowing In It

Fine friends,

You wallow, I wallow, we will all wallow in the fields of our own making. This is something that never changes.

This last year, The Dog was a year of seeking. A year of searching can be stressful and does not always yield positive results. However the Dog is a loyal year and ensures that if the thing saught is worth finding then it shall be found and if it is not worth finding then at least we will enjoy the search. That was The Dog.

All of that positive and forward motion may leave you feeling like you have scaled great heights or indeed that you are ready to. You may even have developed a taste for climbing sheer cliffs and be thirsty for more. But for now you are on a plateau and should rejoice in the flat walk ahead. As with each step you carry yourself that much further from the precipice. Seek no further height until you have enjoyed the riches in this new place and restocked for the journey ahead. The plains between peaks are as much part of the climb as the rockface itself.

Last year the explorer and adventurer in you drove your quest – this year it is your wisdom that will serve you the best. Wisdom comes not from a self-help book but from trusting yourself and the world around you. If you can just relax into knowing that you are on your path, and each of us is, then every step becomes clear. Whatever it is you do, you are being true to yourself, adore the decisions you make, because that IS who you are.

This is the Pig.

From Sunday, a celebration of oneself on an even keel, resolute and forward thinking. I hope this year doubles your laugh-lines and that you add to those on the people around you.

Love ya

Ps the correct way to read a chinese fortune cookie – is to add these words to the end of it “... in bed!”