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
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.