Posted in Creative Writing

The Sahara Part 5

It was already late and we were reminded of our early rise. This wasn’t a holiday but a group-trek and a silent one at that. Getting to know each other was not on the menu. I finished my beer and headed up to my hotel bar. I lay on my bed fully-clothed watching the ceiling fan whirl round and round. The image of Lawrence sprang to mind and I visualized myself in full robes and head gear, looking out into the desert. I went to sleep dreaming of Aqaba.

The alarm bell rang and I awoke from a dreamless sleep. I stumbled around the room grabbing bags and then quickly brushed my teeth. I dragged my bags down the stairs and walked into the lobby with the rest of the bleary-eyed group. We just had time to grab a quick coffee and some rubbery croissants.

After a quiet breakfast we loaded our luggage into the back of two large open top land-rovers. I was starting to get excited and nervous about this adventure. The morning was still cold so I grabbed an extra fleece top from my bag to keep me warm. We separated into two vehicles. Four of us on either side of each vehicle. Martin jumped into the front of one and banged the roof of the land rover and we were off. Most of us were still half asleep. Our minds were now focusing on the trek. Uncertain about the days ahead.

The land-rovers rocked and rolled across the rough road to Ourzazate while we bobbed and jolted up and down like puppets. The red and orange hue from the sunset rose above the top of the ochre and red sandstone houses, that lined the road along the way.

As we left the edges of the town we passed a single Kasbah which caught my attention. This once fortified castle became my focus point as it grew smaller and smaller in the distance. It was a symbol of a forgotten time. Built to defend the inhabitants from marauding invaders. The Kasbah had a purpose which is why it stood the test of time. Maybe purpose in a man is what tested him through time. I smiled smugly to myself at that thought. Deepak would be proud of me.

The land-rovers continued along the rough road until there were no more buildings just the occasional palm tree, and cactus plants potted here and there. I was mesmerized by the beguiling beauty of the encroaching landscape. A vast plain without houses or skyscrapers to block the view. A writer’s blank page. Pen poised.

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Posted in Creative Writing, Poetry

The Hope of Africa

From the ashes rose

Africa.

A phoenix of pure

Sunlight.

Its vast wings of

Antiquity,

Spread far across this continent.

A mother’s arms shielding its

New born

From an imperialist sun.

Its velvet and silky wings

Soar across the friendly and tender

African skies.

Its voice

Sings song’s from fallen angels.

About the hidden fruits

They once tasted.

The hope of Africa one day returning.

On wings borrowed from

African’s sorrow.

spiritualpoetrypic

Posted in Memoir

Brixton 414 and THAT helicopter track

How on earth did I get from my tarted up Friday nights at Bagley’s Warehouse to Sunday night at the 414 in Brixton? At one club everyone was dressed up to the max wearing hats and smiles. At the 414 it was dark and dingy and that bloke who was a thalidomide victim, but also a presenter on Channel 4, was flailing his arms around on the dance floor. If that wasn’t trippy enough I had just been given a strawberry pill which I had never had before and couldn’t imagine it to be any better or worse than what I had already taken. I was wrong. I wasn’t expecting much as I said it was Sunday night, my third night out, and I was starting to flag. I had never heard the track Helicopter before but there were rumours of its infamy. It’s ability to raise a man from the dead.

apocalypsenow

I listened as the sound of a helicopter’s blades came swirling across the sound system. It was like the scene from Apocalypse Now as Bill Kilgore shouts from the helicopter, ‘Charley Don’t Surf!’ Nobody surfed in the 414 club in Brixton. I myself could sense something big coming up through my body as my chemically induced euphoria started to trickle into my bloodstream. The whirling blades of the helicopter swooped across the claustrophobic dance floor as the rush from my strawberry pill was starting hit my cheeks. Deflation went to elation as a klaxon horn rang out across the club. All hands were in the air. Whistles and sweat flew in all directions, as we migrants from the underworld, crammed ourselves together in one last manic mayhem before the weekend would end. I’m of my trolley. The disabled presenter is of his trolley. It’s all gone pie and mash, as THAT Helicopter track blasts us all into oblivion.

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Posted in Creative Writing

All the different countries I have travelled to.

I was just reflecting on all the different countries I have lived in over the years. My parents were in the military, which meant as well as being born in England, I also lived in Munster, Germany, during my pre-school years, hence my fondness for Bratwurst sausages and chips with mayonnaise. I myself joined the Royal Air Force when I was younger and as well as living in Cornwall and South Wales while I was training, I was also based in Cyprus for three years. A fortunate experience for a younger man. I drank a helluva lot and enjoyed numerous mezzes.

travel the world
The German’s love a Bratwurst

After the RAF years I came back to England, London, and I think I stayed there for many years living in various parts of London but mainly South London. While being involved in Buddhism I made a couple of sojourns to Nepal for a charity trek around the Annapurna range. I also visited Nepal again for a volunteer stint in a soup kitchen. That was about 12 weeks in total. I made a brief journey to India which was mad as expected, ending up in Kashmir for a few days, and then eventually Dharamsala.

Nepal Volunteer
Nepal Volunteer Work

Then after a period of unemployment I moved to Holland and ended up staying for five years. Holland is a profound place to live. I like the modern architecture of Rotterdam and the Kunstal Museum.

Holland Travel
Travel to Holland

After Holland I was heading back home and studied at Bangor University North Wales, Bangor. I realized that small towns were not my thing and found it isolating but perfect for study. I sat alone on the Isle of Anglesey one summer. Staring out at the sea with beers and Cohen.

Isle of Anglesey
Isle of Anglesey

After Wales I treated myself to a year in Beijing which was the first time I had ever had a real culture shock. After Beijing I came back home for a year but home did not feel like home anymore even though my family were there.

Beijing Cafe
Travel to Beijing

I suppose that’s the travel bug. I’m somewhere else now but I won’t tell you where yet.  Not untill I settle down. If I ever will.

Posted in Creative Writing

5 Things tourists love to do in Prague

I have been studying the city of Prague for many months now. Here is what I have found out.

1. Segways – Don’t blame me if in one thousand years the first person is born with only one leg. That’s my view on the carbuncle known as ‘The Segway’. If I hear another tourist in Prague say, ‘Hey, we’re getting up ‘at-the-crack-of-dawn’ fancy rolling through the tight winding Prague alley-ways on a Segway?’, ‘No thanks. I’ll skip this one. I’m still recovering from the last time you made me go riding with you.’ Which leads me onto their second love ‘Absinthe’

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2. Absinthe – This drink is called The Devil’s brew and I assure you that no serious decision is made in the Czech Republic, or so they told me, without a shot of Absinthe. ‘It clears the mind David.’ It didn’t just clear my mind. It blew it apart, then reconstructed it until I could only dribble one sentence, ‘Who am i?’ while tourists on Segways whizzed around screaming strange syllables. After the Segways and the Absinthe you can imagine how exhausted everybody was so we ALL WENT FOR A Thai Massage.

absinthe

3. Thai Massage – After the dangers of the Segway and the disturbing influence of Absinthe I decided to go for a Thai massage expecting to be smoothed and oozed. Good God was I wrong. I didn’t think my legs could be pulled and stretched in so many directions. The Thai masseuse then WALKED on my back nearly breaking every bone in my body. Strangely enough I felt relaxed and calm afterwards. I was thinking of going home until someone asked me, ‘Fancy picking mushrooms Dave?’ At first I thought. No way am I doing LSD. I once did LSD in Amsterdam and confessed all to a bag of sugar.

thaimassage

4. Mushrooms – As you can imagine I was a nervous wreck unsure what this actually meant. I imagined a horde of Czech people charging through the forests on Segways pissed on absinthe screaming, ‘Mushrooms!’ In a strange twist of fate we actually just went picking Mushrooms. Real mushrooms. It was like a throw back to the fifties. No jokes just a nice day out. Of course after the mushrooms I noticed an elderly couple being rather amorous and kissing at the table which brings me to the final thing I noticed people doing. Kissing.

praguemushrooms

5. Kissing – I’ve seen them kissing on the metro, in restaurants, in parks, and in cafes too. Old people, young people, the glamorous, the average. All kissing and cuddling each other in a very passionate and open embrace. Maybe I am jealous but in The West we say, ‘get a room!’ Still I find it endearing. Along with the fact that many people can still be seen reading from hardback books or don’t have smartphones so people are still engaging in conversations. The old world is still not lost. Viva Le Czech Republic! This is The Savage signing off from his reservation. Keep The Faith.

kissinginprague

Posted in Creative Writing

You don’t have to be depressed to see a counsellor.

Here I go again down that road! Talking about my only-self cause that’s all I Know! But seriously folks over the years many of us go through many experiences. Some are traumatic, not our own fault. Others self-inflicted, because we are young and foolish, or old and still do not know. Then there are just life changes of moving houses and relationships ending. We may pick up a religion and question life, and many years later drop it, and start another one or no religion at all.

It would be utter madness that while going through all this we didn’t feel the need to talk to someone. Of course you have your friends and your family but not all friends and family are great listeners, and this is where a great counsellor comes in. A good counsellor has the great insight to say nothing when needed, and the right time say something that will make you see something in a way you didn’t see it before. Counsellors and counselling come from a wide stable of teachings and over the years I have enjoyed two or three different kinds of counselling depending on the crisis.

Humanistic Counselling is person-centred and they tend to say that all the answers are in you. Of course you know that already, right, but sometimes when two or three things go wrong in your life, you might loose that centre and need someone to get you back on track. Death, divorce, career changes, even questioning the meaning of life, can all be done from the quiet space of a counsellors chair. It’s like chewing-the-fat with your best friend, only the questioning maybe be a bit more insightful, and you are there for a specific reason. One of my craziest moments was with a person centred counsellor when at a time I was questioning life, again.

I had would myself into this idea that I would continue beyond death, which is fine, and potentially true, but it had become a ruse for death avoidance, and hence life avoidance. Despite my various ideas about life after death the counsellor asked me, ‘What about if you just die?’ I ignored her and talked about karma and reincarnation, and again she said, ‘What happens if you just die?’ and I said, ‘What do you mean?’ ‘Well, what if you just live and die?’ And I looked to the floor unsure what to do and she said, ‘Just try and imagine it.’

I closed my eyes and just imagined myself dying and there being nothing, just the cold hard blackness of death. And then I let out a big laugh, and some more laughter, and even more, quite hard, and then went back to talking. The walk home after that chat was a beautiful walk and the world around me appeared as if it had snapped back into focus in a way I had never seen before. My counsellor was able to spot the underlying anxiety beneath the supposed questioning, pierced through it, and brought me back into the world.

frodosearching
Two Actors Searching For Something