It’s been a while since I’ve had anything to say at the Fat Prop. A Rugby World Cup has come and gone and it’s been over a year since I was in that cramped Airbnb apartment with the double glazed windows on a hot sultry and steamy September day in Paris.
So what’s gone in the last fourteen months? Plenty. My best friend was married in Rotterdam and I fell in love with a city half way around the world with trams, unsurprisingly Dutch elm trees and a heritage that came from working class origins. I’ve been to Delft and the Hague and liked both. The Rijksmuseum is now fully reopened and was intoxicating in ways my art gallery exposure ill prepared me for. I sat there stunned in the ‘Walpole’ room of the ‘Masterpieces from the Hermitage’ exhibition with two stunning full length portraits by Van Dyke, probably the best Van Dyke’s I’ll ever see.
I’ve disconnected Foxtel, and disconnected even further from the game of rugby. I’ve had my phone nicked. I’ve replaced the oven. I’ve lost motivation in the gym and I’ve chosen to not celebrate a major milestone birthday. It’s safe to say that much of the last twelve months has seen me in the dumps.
In some respects with my new oven, I’ve managed to bake my way out of the gloom. Much of that baking has ended up on my waist – and with that, I lost interest in going to the gym. I’m the heaviest I am since I started this blog, some 24kgs away from my lowest weight hence why I use that phrase often heard in the movie pictures of the 20s and 30s when someone would say to the other ‘This is where we came in’ because the movies in those days run on an infinite loop with audiences able to come and go at any time.
I’ve discovered podcasts, rediscovered walking, and watching movies in a theatre. I went to a piano recital. It’s been a year of reconnecting with old friends, and making new ones.
All the while my thoughts have been kept to a non – electronic form. My writing has stalled. I’m no longer convinced that pouring my heart out to the internet is the best thing to do in an age where you’re personal life and your social media presence is used as a determinate of your ability to do a job.
I’ll say it once, I’ll say it twice, it’ll probably be the last words on my dying breath. My personal life, my private thoughts, that is the ones I keep just for me, are none of your business. If you think that all I am is the internet & social media persona that an algorithm decides to filter for whether I deserve an interview or not, then that’s your loss. I wouldn’t want to work for an organisation run by an algorithm.
I’ve always known I’m different to everyone else. I think different, I behave differently and I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way to fit in, to make the way I think and act work in a connected world. It’s sometimes resulted in giggling, laughing and sometimes in tears. There are several ruminations of the famous that drive my thoughts most days. Robert Charles Benchley’s ‘Drawing on my fine command of language I said nothing’, Nora Ephron’s overarching theme given to Julia Child in ‘Julie and Julia’ “I never fitted in, literally” and accepting that was the way it is always going to be.
And my two heroes, John Harrison, he of Dava Sobel’s ‘Longitude’ and Alan Turing before I knew he was gay, before I accepted I was gay. Then of course there is Sandra Boynton the gifted artist of cute fluffy cats who had a drawing of a horse in a room full of cows. The chair cow puts a motion to the floor ‘Okay, now, all those in favour say MOO, All opposed say Neigh’. Underneath this room full of cows a solitary horse stares back at the viewer overwhelmed by the odds. Underneath this solitary horse are these words that have stuck with me since my University days ‘Just because you’re outnumbered, it doesn’t mean your wrong’.
I was asked recently if I thought of myself as a philosopher. Without a beat of silence I unequivocally answered ‘Yes. Absolutely’. A philosopher of what, I do not know, I just think that this life all our lives are not a game, it’s an experience that must be explored, lived and most definitely you have to feel it and think it.