Sunday, 25 May 2008

On.....the corner of 14th street and Serenity

Starting Monday 26th May. See here for more information.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

On......the price of fear

I wasn’t quite sure how to approach her as she stood there in her red dress. I am rarely prone to overwhelming lust but at that minute I wished to tear her clothes off and fuck her. Repeatedly. However my nerve failed me as it often does in these situations. You see I do not know how to approach women, never have done. All my female associations have been purely through mutual introductions or in ‘safe’ settings like educational establishments, workplaces, etc. The fear of rejection always weighed heavier than the potential euphoria of a girl's promise. Thus, I have never chatted up a woman. Sure the signs are usually obvious enough. A woman will do any one of a half dozen things to indicate that she has earmarked you as a potential suitor. She will give you a further half dozen signs to suggest that she wants you to come over. I can read all the signs but like an illiterate I fail to comprehend a single one of them. Actually I do comprehend but then in the process of the brain registering signal and transmitting instructions to my feet to start the walk, something breaks down. I freeze.

So once again I stood, or rather leaned, in that familiar position by the bar, eyeing a girl I liked yet powerless to do a damn thing to build up the courage to just go and talk to her. I wanted to know so much about her and it hurt me that I lacked the guts to just get her name.

How was I ever to discover that her name was Mandy for example? Or that she liked Art and was currently working in a dead-end job but was hoping to open up a gallery someday? How could I possibly know that after our second date she would invite me up for coffee and that we would kiss the night away never once wishing to spoil our innocent caress with anticlimactic sex? I would be forever ignorant that when we did eventually have sex, I would dream of the tightness and moisture of her pussy all day long. How was I to ever know that one evening, after eight months of indecision, I would propose in Venice where we are attending the film festival? Would I ever be able to reciprocate the joy and pride I felt after her immediate acceptance? Or the jubilation that followed when she ultimately introduced three beautiful baby girls into our lives? Or the fact that for every setback I faced in my early career it was her that cajoled, supported and encouraged me to keep persevering? Would I ever reach the heights that her mere presence propelled me to? Would she ever have quit that dead-end job and pursued her dreams?

I guess not. For here we were at 2.53, with the club closing at 3, remaining at the same level of acquaintance that we were an hour ago and damned to remain at for eternity. We will remain two soul mates drifting apart into oblivious anonymity without the even the grace of knowing what we never knew. For want of some courage a lifetime was lost.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

On......the bizarre incarceration of Ra'id Tajudeen Hussain

I awoke blind to the stench of urine and sweat, not knowing where I was or how I came to arrive there. I tried to move but my enclosure was miniscule and my legs, cramped as they were, bounced off the walls of my cell.

I was in a crouching position and movement of any kind was a remarkable effort.

I called out but no sound was distinguishable to my ears. I was either deaf or mute. Or both. I knew then that I was under incarceration and this small, dark, humid place was to be my cell. I had been deprived of all my senses. But had my hearing still. I could just about make out, from some great distance, a ticking sound, thumping, rhythmic. Like a bomb. The ticking was at times loud, more urgent, closer, imminent. At others it was faint, steady, distant, but ever present.

I feared for my safety, for my survival, my base instincts wishing to thrive and continue existence despite my desolate environs. I could do nothing for now but sleep.........

I awoke to loud noises from outside the cell. Again I cried out but again my voice died on utterance. I tried to discern the noises, to give them meaning, to understand who my captors were and what they wanted with me. All attempts to understand were futile. The language they spoke was foreign to me. Again tiredness overwhelmed and sweet sleep embraced me.

As I grew stronger I began to grow more aware of my surroundings. The cell was largely dark and devoid of any discernible doors or windows. On occasion, the cell would be partly illuminated with a faint, dull glow, like a great light from beyond was trying desperately to force its way in. The walls seemed soft, padded and worryingly seemed to move occasionally in constrictions, as they had a life of their own.

I was kept alive intravenously. A long tube was attached to me and the other end extended somewhere beyond the walls of my confines. Many times I would lie awake to try and hear a sound to see how this tube was replenished with food and nutrients. Each time I would sleep and fail in any attempt to make contact with my captors. Perhaps the nutrients that came through the tube also contained overpowering sedatives. In any case the tube was my only means of sustenance and I was reluctant to tamper with it.

I was left largely in silence and for many months the only consultation I had was with my own thoughts and memories. I had somehow grown accustomed to this place. I was getting stronger each day and I knew that I was being kept alive for a reason. The voices I heard outside the prison assured me that there was some sort of life out there in spite of my solitary confinement. Through my own imagination or perhaps even in reality, I felt that the voices would sometimes address me, speaking calmly, gently, and even lovingly. At other times the voices would be a series of loud yelps and exclamations. I felt that I had a friend on the other side, perhaps they were even fellow prisoners. There was one voice in particular which I began to find pleasurable. Despite the babble it would always be there. It was the voice of a female. There were times when I would go into great distress and kick and flail wildly in desperation and discomfort. Even at those times of anguish, I could hear the voice and it would return me to the placid, dormant state that had become a predominant sentiment in my institutionalised solace. So many times I wished I could regain my vocals and master her tongue so that we could communicate. I desperately wanted to meet this voice that had become a companion these past few months.

The cell reduced in size each day. Little daemons would come at night to silently remove small blocks that would constrict the space. I knew this for each time I slept I would feel movements within the cell and yet there were no physical presence when I awoke.

It is true that those in captivity will, over a period of time, begin to feel a certain attachment to the prison that holds them. After a while I thought less of my previous life, its incandescent lights and perpetual joys. The truth is I even forgot altogether what it felt like to be free. All I had now was darkness and voices and I had begun to cherish these two nebulous things. Even the movements and vibrations within my cell no longer frightened me. They were now a part of me. I felt safe and comfortable, no longer caring who my captors were

It is one of life’s injustices that at the apogee of comfort, there shortly arrives discomfort. The vibrations (were they earthquakes?) grew more uncomfortable and more periodic. Each time those lifelike walls would tighten and close and squeeze. I felt that I must surely be the subject of some cruel experiment but wait........there was a light in the distance. Not a faint hum of a thing but a distinct glimmer. There it was, it grew brighter and it drew me closer. Suddenly, and without warning, the light revealed a door. There had always been a door! But it had been sealed shut. It was now opening to whom? To what? A paralysing fear gripped me and I did not want to leave my cell but those vibrations were getting worse; they were expelling me from my dungeon and into the light. Gloved hands grabbed me around my head and pulled me roughly towards the great light. A great blade shimmered above my stomach and cut away at the intravenous tube that had been my saviour. I wished to return to my prison. This world was too cold, too exposed, too...........light.

I opened my lungs and I spoke for the first time in 9 months. I asked for food and for water. I complained about the cold. I begged for return to the darkness as the light hurt my eyes. My voice had returned and therefore I screamed and screamed. And then I was placed into a shawl and ignobly carried and placed into the arms of one of the captors. The captor spoke and it was her. The voice that soothes. My eyes still refused to focus properly in this new light but I could just about make out her figure and she was looking at me and smiling. I stopped my complaints and suddenly I felt very safe again. This was my mother, Halima Hussein, and she was to name me Ra’id Tajudeen.

The Bizarre Incarceration of Ra’id Tajudeen Hussein