Monthly Archives: September 2008

To wish impossible things

the prophet
We are walking back toward the towering Koutobia mosque that we’re using as a handy landmark, when we realise it’s 4pm and the resonant solemn call of the muezzin rings out from it, amplified but pure, clear and bright as a summer stream but rich and deep like molasses, dewy, soft thick emerald Scottish moss, old longstanding trees. Heartwood. We are awestruck and silenced and it feels odd to think that the call is not for me, so pervasive and essential does it seem, and I don’t know what to do and sit down there to think and listen, listen and think.

Another day, as I look out of the window, the later prayer time must fall and a man in a red shirt stops where he is, unrolls his mat and kneels there, bowing toward Mecca, as this wonderful hot bright city seems to pause for breath in the purple twilight, dusky and dusty, breathing in deeply and calmly and just noticing, just taking stock, at this moment when day meets night. Again something takes hold of me, my heart – I’m humbled and shy; I feel perhaps I start to understand, being here, why one might believe and say and sing that God was great. I feel a part of something bigger, and at the same time I feel refreshed and affirmed to be one and unique and me; one of many.

And it’s the stars I think of, not the ones I know obscured by London smog and Edinburgh haar, but dreams, simulations or imaginations of journeys through space with them whooshing up huge and burning on every side; the stars up there in the thin atmosphere and the neat bounded glassy stars of the intricate repetitive tile work down here, radiating their own way, in painstakingly-mapped, bright, straight lines and angles; and the people, who glow like little stars, one and all.

And I think that Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty, and Stephen Dedalus and Dr Rieux and Billy Pilgrim and old Wandering Aengus, and maybe Winston Smith, Alex Portnoy, Candide and le Petit Prince and Titus Groan and certainly old Walt Whitman and his body electric, would have got it as well and nodded and swung to this same beat, I’d always thought it was all about searching for something inexpressible and elusive, something subtle, indefinable, untouchable, something that would never be found, but now I think perhaps at the same time it’s about knowing and realising, feeling it, that it’s all over us and under us, that it’s inescapably there, here, now.

I can’t forget.

From my notebook:

Marrakech is hot and red and dusty and everything I thought it would be and more. I wasn’t ready for the sleepy, hungry tough cats and kittens who stalk these streets like quiet implacable kings; napping in ruins, artfully evicting the last little particles of meat and marrow from scrap bones, almost skittishly watchful yet lazily proud. Tiny birds hop and flit picturesquely in the dust and the orange trees and teeter shyly forward to drink tiny sips from the fountains.

perfect speedI wasn’t ready for the omnipresent dirt bikes – ‘scramblers’, says the boy – which zoom unpredictably down every street and many pavements and even, haltingly, noisily, through the narrow walkways of the souks, penetrating into every possible twig and stem and vein of the red city and issuing big belches of heady petrol smell into the still air.

These seem to be ridden by every imaginable class of citizen – old men in djellabas, chic ladies in shades, people going to work, laughing young couples and skinny boys in football shirts and striped shirts and trainers, two to a bike, cruising with the bright, assured and wonderful air of the vivacious young of every land, looking confident full of the intent of grabbing Life soundly in both hands and squeezing the vital hot sweet juice out and drinking their fill, and starting with this here overheated and shining red motorised pedal cycle and this wide clear road that turns violet at nightfall when the big fat moon comes up; when the merchants pack up their multi-coloured, glittering, paintbox stalls and kneel to pray; when we pass a man washing his face, hands and feet from a big metal drum re-filled with water in the street and it looks such a vitally simple and refreshing prospect as this incredible baking day draws to a close; when I feel like perhaps my eyes will never be the same again, permanently just a little widened with the sheer effort of trying to take in all the amazing sights I’ve seen: all the sweet-shop, chalky colours, all the dazzling, endless, repeating, calming inlaid tile work of palaces and tombs, all the life and light and the multifacted breathing singing shining unity of the market, a time and a place, a small world.

Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye.

Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye.

So whoa, how ace was yesterday, as transfer deadline days go?! Man City, I don’t even know where to begin, Man City started the day with effectively no owner after absolute nutjob of a Thai ex-prime minister billionaire “human rights abuser of the worst kind” fly-by-night Thaksin ‘Frank’ Shinawatra had his £800m assets frozen. Not the most promising of starts, and then by lunchtime the boys in sky blue are apparently rolling in oil money, waving over £30m of it at Wor Dimi, pictured above, presumably at least half sincerely and the rest with the concerted aim of pissing all over the cornflakes of veteran veiny-nosed gobshite ‘Sir’ Alex, also pictured above? And buying Robinho.

Incidentally, I myself was praying for Kevin Keegan to sneakily nab this sulky bugger off our hands for 50p or something, having never forgotten the mildly entertaining chat when he first came over about his being a mental Magpie: “Dimitar told me it was his dream to play for Newcastle United one day and wear the same shirt as Alan Shearer, who is my son’s hero”, said his ma. His old schoolmate Mario Bekov, who has known Berbatov for 20 years, said his admiration for the former Toon ace bordered on obsession. “Dimitar never missed a Newcastle game when it was on television. And Shearer was up there with Pele as a God for him.” Alas, this one really was but a dream. Sure he would only have fallen victim to the curse of NUFC/Michael Owen syndrome and sustained a mysterious ‘training ground injury’ like all their other half decent players ever. Serious, what is it with that? Is it from foightin’? Well, now they have Joey ‘stubbed out a lit cigar in a youth player’s eye and also assaulted a 15-year-old’ Barton, so probably yes. And also the Messiah himself is heading off down the Gallowgate Jobcentre. Or not. Probably. Maybe.

So, the point is, yes I am going to miss Berbs. I’ll miss his weirdly early receding hairline, complete with girly Alice band, I’ll miss his deep-set eyes and his lovely accent, I’ll miss his great long runs and his flailing predation and I guess I’ll miss his teenage strops. And I’ll definitely miss the time he netted four against Reading. WHAT IS THAT EVEN CALLED? A four-trick? A fat trick? A hat-trick-and-then-some? A fourgasm? A Dimi? And what will become of him? I’m not too sure. I think, as we’ve seen, boy’s perhaps got too much of an ego on him and he wants to be a superstar, and I just am not sure whether he’ll look quite as good as he thinks he will lining up alongside Ronaldo and Tévez and even, on a good day, Giggsy… and there is just no sign of anyone EVER stopping wanking on about Ronaldo, so will there be enough wankery left over for wee Berbs? WE SHALL SEE. Also I just really really dislike Man U and always have and always will, I dunno. Even though I do love red.

What will become of Berbatov? What will become of Keegan and NUFC? What will become of Pavlyuchenko with no Arshavin? How cute was it when Corluka said he was really happy to come to Spurs because Luka Modric is his bestest friend? Is Daniel Levy a nob head and should I have given up on him years ago? Why do I get so worked up about this stuff, actually? Do you care about footy? You mostly don’t, do you? What about some of you? Club football? International football? Do you know what I mean if I say something about no matter how rational and logical and sensible you want to be about it, you just can’t help but feel disappointed with mornings like this one and ever so slightly angry at players who’re ‘disloyal’ to the club, even when they’re Bulgarian Toon fans and you hated the way the whole Jol thing was handled and it all really has very little to do at all with lovely old scummy old North London and the grimy smoggy streets you walked and ran and grazed your knees on as a little girl, and besides all that you actually lived very slightly closer to Upton Park anyway? No? I should go to bed, really, shouldn’t I?

With no transfer window to entertain me, I had to console myself with playing the old ‘Elvis Costello-lyrics-related-facebook-status-updates’ game with my brother instead, today. In case you were wondering. That’s awesome.

I went to Critical Mass! With M, who is wicked cool. I met a nice Australian(?) girl. My back wheel/mudguard situation was a little bit mashed up: boo. P fixed it, pumped my tyres and stopped the seat squeaking too: yay yay yay.

You know what is really really cool?


sri’s mehndi hands by darcitananda


the end. by misscaro

Islamic tile art

Image Plate from Owen Jones’ 1853 classic, “The Grammar of Ornament”, as scanned by cool origamist EricGjerde

Isfahan/ Imam(Shah) Mosque by HORIZON

And pretty much all intricately detailed fractalicious abstract things. AWESOME.