I am onto my second day of penance—I am recently returned from London, where, my temporal corpus would contend, I misbehaved. I spent seven days behaving as if consequences didn’t exist—and suffering from consequences. The last week went as thus: on Thursday I had a pub dinner (after the gym at least), on Friday spaghetti for lunch before being fed constant sandwiches and gin and tonics on business class with British Airways, before drinking beer til 4AM. On Saturday I managed a run, before a day of chocolate croissants, pizza, then drinking until even later than 4AM, then on Sunday I somehow managed to go out for a burger and then out for Tacos and then to the pub – although I was home for bed by about midnight. On Monday I managed another burger and a couple of pints before flying back home to eat Chinese takeaway. The plan was to become healthy again on Tuesday, but returning to work was too brutal so I scrubbed the gym and went out for pizza.
Somewhere in the midst of all of the above I had an interesting conversation about pornography and prostitution with one of my hosts in Brixton. I tend towards the idea that we should maximize liberty, and hence the state should not make things illegal unless they cause manifest harm to people that are not involved in the acts themselves (i.e. everyone should be free to harm themselves and consenting partners). Particularly in things like prostitution and drug use, where it is clear that prohibition does not stop the offensive behaviour. My host argued passionately and convincingly that the people involved in these activities are, often, being abused, and are not truly consenting partners. I have continued to think about this since leaving London. I’m not really sure what the answer is though; I don’t think increasing restrictions or illegalization will make things any safer. But I am willing to accept that this is an area the state should maybe be more involved in, in order to protect potential victims, to insure that people in these industries have other options, and that abusers are punished.
Today, the local elections results have been dripping in like Chinese water torture. Corbyn has been very quiet all day, but I don’t think he is going to resign. At least there can no longer be any doubt whatsoever that the polls are broadly accurate. Nothing, however, prepared me for the the Tories winning a seat in Shettleston. What a time to be alive!
Theresa May has, absurdly, accused the EU is interfering in her election. How has this hyper-aggressive, charmless person became the stuck on favourite to win? She opposed Brexit, and now she is the champion of the hardest Brexit imaginable, which even UKIP formerly claimed not to advocate. Her only other policy seems to be the reintroduction of grammar schools, which were removed many years ago as a result of how unpopular they were with the middle classes (do you think the people who support them now will still like them when little Joshua fails the 11-plus?) I must stop thinking about politics or the melancholy of it all will kill me the fuck dead.
(I take a deep breath at this point)
Yesterday, after a relaxing sauna, I read a little John Keats. I’m not a big poetry fan but something chimes with me about Keats. It isn’t really the poetry that I enjoy, I just like to think about this short-lived poet. This young man, who, and at the age of 23, would see a nice day out his window and feel obliged to write a few pages of flowery verse to commemorate it. I imagine him being preposterously sentimental, which apparently was also the opinion of many of his peers. His death at 26 was hastened by a bad review in an Edinburgh literary magazine. I don’t read a lot of poetry. I read in a rush usually, frantically getting information into my head, stopping to chew on an occasional spot of irony, or a poetic line or two. But poetry is all poetic lines, so I find myself unable to read it comfortably. I’m sure I’ll grow into it, but, in the meantime, I suggest the poets should write popular music lyrics (for they clearly don’t presently.)
I heard a song at the gym the other day about visiting the doctor. Part of it was just a list of medical procedures and terminology. The tune was horrendous, but the lyrics were at least interesting in a weird way. It was as if the poet had just watched an episode of casualty and had felt an unusual tug of inspiration on his humerus. I wonder if Keats wrote anything similar during his final months as his tuberculosis slowly suffocated him.