Posted in Creative Writing, Poetry

The Alpha and The Omega

Before words everything was God. And then God uttered the first word, and a distance was created between heaven, and earth. And God called the lightness day, and the darkness night. He then called the ground on which he sat, earth, and the water in which he swam, sea. And the distance between heaven, and earth, grew greater and greater.

While God sat, he noticed the creatures on the land, and he called them animals and gave them different names. Then God called his friend Eve and they made love, and a child was born. God taught the child all the things he knew and the child taught himself even more. And heaven was now a distant memory. The child continued to divide day and night into smaller pieces, and called this time.

The Son of God would arrange to meet at a particular place and time, and he would berate his Father for being late. God complained of the long distance it took to get here so they both started to divide the earth, foot by foot, so they could measure the distance, and calculate, the time it took.

Late at night God would sit with his Son looking up at the stars and they wondered how far away the stars were, so they devised another system to measure the stars, and again the distance between heaven and earth, grew further, and further away. After they had finished dividing everything up, they labelled their world, the universe. And God sat down feeling sad.

The Son asked his Father why he was sad, and God tried to describe to him how beautiful the world was before they had labelled, and measured everything. How he would watch the sun crawl slowly over the horizon to sit upon its throne. And how he would sit all day watching flowers of various vibrations; shimmer, while rain drops fell. When he walked, he just walked, until he was tired. And then he sat. How he and his wife were happy every day without knowing what happiness was.

The Son felt sad for his Father and went for a walk. He found a rock on which he sat, and tried his best to think of a solution to bring his Father his heaven back here on earth. He thought all day and thought all night. He thought through the rain and through the storms. His Father grew old until he bowed like a willow tree branch, and the son grew old until one day he could think no more. And then one day all the words fell away, and he could see the world from where his Father came. An infinite amount of indescribable emotions sang throughout his body.

He ran to his Father to show him what he had found, but his father was now dead. His mother sat there crying for her husband, and she too wished to return home. So they both returned to the rock and sat through the wind, and the rain, and the storms, and the summers and the winters and the pain.

Until they came to a place where words no longer existed. And Earth became Heaven once again.

Posted in Articles

5 Points to consider as an Expat in Beijing

It’s one thing to move to a country where there is access to good English speaking services, and you are sure most people will have a basic grasp of the English language or culture. But to move to an entirely different culture where the culture and political mind-set is vastly different can be unnerving to say the least. I am glad to say my haphazard approach of never planning for anything, leads me to great stress in the beginning, but good learning in the end. Hopefully I am paving the way for others to feel more at ease. Being an Expat in Beijing for me was easy from the start, but I am also a man, and like everywhere else I go, including London, it requires some common sense.

1. It is very easy to get around in Beijing and the underground is run very efficiently. The cost is minimal in comparison to the extortionate London prices. Think 50p each way. There are also plenty of cabs and here wisdom is required. It’s always best to get one booked from the hotel or hostel to ensure a fair charge and safe journey but worst case scenario might be, being handed a few dodgy notes that are fake or being charged a bit more than usual.

2. Although I was and still am older than the rest. I managed a few bars and the odd club and saw a very open-minded culture as long as you are not waving flags pledging allegiance to other things. Common sense is required if you are a girl and always best to be with friends or your Chinese friends. SanLitu is a well-known nightlife area for Expat’s in Beijing but can also be a bit tacky so best to consult Timeout or your Chinese co-workers.

Jitan Park Beijing
             Jitan Park Beijing

3. Of course you have your visa already but if you are planning to work then it is wisest to get a residency permit before you leave. If not then you need to report to the police station first to register yourself for residency. Then you are able to apply for work through the usual outlets online. From there on it becomes the same as most other cities. Yes, there are lot of English Language teachers in Beijing but also many students, tourists and business people working for well-known corporations.

4. Eating is no problem in China and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from in well-known districts. If you do have a gentle stomach then maybe stay away from the vendors selling snacks, except the Wanfujing Snack Street, until you have acclimatised. There are many modern shopping centres much like in the west which you might like to get away eve to avoid the fog on a bad day. One of the best is The Place, Jia No.9 Guanghua Road, Beijing 100020, China. There are also many markets where you can find well-known brands for knock-down prices. Very handy for travellers. If you need to escape the madness then you can go for a quiet walk down one of the many Hutongs offering a glimpse of old Beijing.

Tea in Beijing
              Tea in Beijing

5. The smog and the environment will shock you although it is improving, so it is best to get a face-mask to wear because as well as the environment there is also a lot of building work going on in the city. You will look up to the sky most days and wonder if you are in a dystopian science-fiction novel with an orange haze across the sky but again common sense knowledge not to walk near the busy streets all the time will help. Visit the parks, walk down the hutongs, and try the small bars down the busy alley ways, and you will have a fun time in Beijing. Just don’t visit on a national holiday the place is packed.

Posted in Poetry

How to Get the Baby-Joy Back

Baby is not conscious of being baby. Baby want to play. Baby smile all day because Baby not know it Baby. It not know it is separate from its Mother. Baby and Mother are the same. Baby is not happy.

Baby exudes the appearance of happiness because Baby have no boundaries. Baby have no name. Baby is all the space in the room and more. Baby play with God. Baby is shaped around God. What happens when you repeat a word again and again and again? Until it loses its meaning. Even its feeling.

Baby yet to take shape and form words. Baby always laughing because baby not know. Not knowing is the path to peace. But how to forget when everything is learned? Soon Baby will know it is Baby and will take a name. Baby will develop ‘I like this’ and ‘don’t like that’. Baby grows and then Baby wears clothes. Then Baby complains. About the weather. The food. The pain in its back.

How to get the Baby-Joy back? Baby do Zen and sit all day long. Baby come home again and again. Baby-Joy reverberates through every cell and molecule. Baby-Joy annihilates the last vestibules of what it appears to be. Till Baby just a label. And Joy just another name. Sunshine. Sunshine. Play the Baby-Joy game.


Posted in Articles, Creative Writing, Memoir

How Far We Fall: Glamorous Clubs to Dingy Basements

Really where did it all go wrong. It’s as they say the drugs no longer work and you know it’s time to give it up. ‘Sunny Side-Up’s’ all day rave has landed me in with the wrong crowd. I say the wrong crowd but its more people who do drugs harder than me. It’s all micro-dots and housing estate surrealism. And this is on top of the ecstasy, amphetamines and coke. Of course I wasn’t doing anything really hard so it was easy to excuse my behaviour. My clubbing had gone from the happy house music scene to hard-core trance during a Sunday and then ending up in some one’s flat zoning out all day Monday, no longer caring about work. I wish the hand of God would lift me up and get me out of here. But free will is free will. Nothing was working anymore. I borrowed money from friends to buy pills to go out with. The pills offered no effect so I would add more speed or stick a bottle of poppers up my nose just to try and hook me back into the original buzz. I was no longer interested in the music. I had also lost a lot of weight to the point that other people thought I was going to die. So it was maybe a good thing that I had made an attempt on my life. A way to literally cut myself free from the people around me who seemed to want to continue on and on. After ‘my accident’ I had an excuse to leave. I had to go home and recover myself and I was happy about it. The rave days were over. Apart from the odd visit to the doctors to discuss my issue I was able to fit seamlessly back into work while living at home with my parents. But what to do next? Beer replaced drugs. Television replaced laser lights. All was lost. The party was over. Saying that there was always a crap nightclub in Watford as a kind of compensation and the occasional nights out in London to middle grade house clubs that finished at 3 a.m. Work was next on my mind. Work and healing myself. I needed to repair the body and get back into the world but I was lost and unsure what to do. It’s difficult to come down from the highs of ecstasy and suck up to the suburban lifestyle.

Ninetis Clubbing in London

                                                                                More Adventures Here

Posted in Creative Writing, Memoir

Pills and Thrills on the Early Nineties Rave Scene

I am quite puritanical by nature but I suppose there are two types in this world. Those likely to try drugs and those who will never touch them. I have to be honest and say even though my rave days ended in disaster it would be hard to say I would prefer to have not done them. To have experienced the bliss of ecstasy, the thrill of thousands of people dancing in unison in a warehouse.

My first night went like this, ‘Do you want some doves?’ ‘What are they?’ Say I. Too young to naïve they said to me in Beijing. ‘What you’ve never had one?’ He looked at me with shock and disbelief. I still didn’t know what on earth he was talking about. I bought some not really thinking too much and with my sister we headed to the bar to get two beers, slipping a white pill down our throats with the first swig. Of course I was familiar with the rave scene and its drug culture but my previous party culture had always been beer and shite discos, encouraged by the NAAFI discos provided by Her Majesties Royal Services. It wasn’t too long before the first rush came along. These were the days when pills worked. Whoosh, up I went into a chemically induced heavenly realm.

Did it have an effect on me? Well, shy and quiet David, went from talking to no-one throughout the week, to sitting happily on the warehouse floor chatting to a group of about fifteen girls and boys as if I had known them all my life. After the endless blagging the bass and cheer from the main room next door started to seep into my veins and work their way to my feet. I arose a different man and strode through the crowds effortlessly, flowing through a sea of love, where every breath made you feel you were in union with the whole ocean. The music was soulful house and it was Philip Salon’s Mud Club at Bagley’s, probably long after its stronger early eighties influence.

As the pill took a hold of me all forms and sounds merged into one. A hug was never just a hug. It was a transcendental experience that elevated the soul beyond the sounds to produce a smile that felt like it would stick forever. Since then I have tried many forms of Buddhism and spirituality and yet to reach the dizzy heights of those experiences. I was hardly the most avant-garde or adventurous amongst us, just a boy wandering through the fields of laser lights, and hard-hat drum beat sounds. Waiting for the sun to rise. The walk home. The conversations in a stranger’s living room. A pint of Guinness in the afternoon. A Sunday roast to bring me down. Early to bed and then back to work Monday. Waiting for Friday and the continuing adventures.

                                                              Please click through to further adventures

Posted in Creative Writing, Mental Health, Short Stories

Homeless Man (written after a conversation with a homeless person)

I have been on the streets for two years now and I have had enough. There is no lower place to go after the streets. Well there is, but you don’t mention it. I have decided to take the plunge and move into one of those charity homes run by the religious nuts. They offer you a room of your own plus meals in exchange for some work. It seemed like a fair deal with the only mild irritant, the potential for a religious discourse, not of your own choosing. And the tendency to agree with any said religious statements through fear of losing the space offered to you. But who am I to complain.

Actually who am I? Well I am a rough sleeper. I sleep on the streets at night. Of course I am not like those drunken bums you seeing embarrassing the rest of us destitute homeless. I have taken to staying away from drunks and druggies and sleep selectively near or outside Churches. I know. It’s heavily ironic that an atheist such as myself seeks protection from a non-existing entity that I have never prayed to, but in the end I have to swallow the bitter pill of gratefulness. And except help from his do-gooders here on earth. If you ask me it was his fault in the first place for putting me on the streets. No. That’s not fair. I can barely remember how I got here and I’m past seeking recriminations for who, how, what ,or why, just surprised I did it. I am amazed that I, or anyone, can actually last so long sleeping on the streets. Begging for money, hoping for food; and a way out of the madness.

I will move into this new home next week and quite frankly I am bricking it. It might surprise you that a homeless person would regret leaving sleeping roughly on the streets, with the cold and rain and fear, and sadness, but something about it grabs you. It’s not like you ask for it. One day you find yourself without a home or a friend you can rely on. And those first few weeks you are just holding on with your finger nails. Praying like mad. (I know, we atheists are such hypocrites.) Then you are forced to accept it. The cavalry is not coming. The angels will not guide a long forgotten friend or family member to a surprise meeting. And then you are just there. Hand out like the rest of them.

Head down full of shame. Embarrassment getting louder with every chink from every penny that drops down. And even at that lowest of low ebbs you have to be grateful. And if God did appear or an angel, at that point, I would have strangled them both but they didn’t. Not for me, or any of the thousands left out on the streets, but still. Be grateful. I suppose the miracle is that you can actually last on the streets for so long and still live; that pounds are dropped in your hat, and coffees are bought, and the taste, joy, and sheer contentment that comes from enjoying that one single cup of coffee. Are so immense.

And then the sun breaks through and you take yourself to a nice piece of grass and lay down your head, and for a while heaven does exist. Still. I’ll be looking forward to that room. That fixed space with a closed door. Sleeping soundly every night. No longer scared. Eating well. It’s just the Christians I’ll need to manage. God love ‘em.

Homeless Charity
Helping Homeless People