Friday, 15 April 2016

Stop the world

Stop the world, I want to get off.
Also, I demand a refund. It's not what I expected.
Too much hatred and violence.
Too much corruption.
There must be other worlds I can try.
Can you send me your full brochure?

What do you mean, I've spent 69 years here, it's a bit late in the day to ask for a refund?
How did I know things would get so awful?
It all looked very promising fifty years ago.
So kindly apply the brakes and I'll just quietly alight.
And then I'll float languidly round the cosmos admiring the view.

What do you mean, I can't get off until my time is up?
That could be another twenty years.
Nobody warned me it would be so long.
And not even an interval.

What do you mean, all the other worlds are full?
People are dying all the time, aren't they? There must be room for more.
Surely you can squeeze me in somewhere?
I'm quite thin. I don't take up much space.
I'll make it worth your while.

Just give me a break, all right?


  1. I had to read that twice, a great post. Is it personal or a mirror to the many displaced or poverty stricken? Either way, its powerful.

  2. Suburbia: Thank you, I was wondering who would like it and who would be totally baffled! I suppose it's personal up to a point - the state of the world around me is increasingly shocking and depressing. But of course it's also a mad surrealist flight of fancy!

  3. My sentiments entirely - even after 44 years.
    It seems like every time I go out I see or hear something that makes me feel this way.
    It's also why I watch so little TV, and when I do I avoid the commercial channels like the plague - otherwise I'd end up throwing things at the telly.

  4. Did it really look promising 50 years ago, or were you wearing the rose colored glasses of youth?

  5. Dave: I don't throw things at the telly, I just fume and curse. And wonder why so many global problems seem impossible to solve.

    Bijoux: Oh, things were definitely more promising then. More jobs, higher wages, better pensions, cheaper houses. I could give you a very long list! Right now there are at least 37 food banks in Northern Ireland. That would have been unthinkable just a few years back.

  6. I agree with what you are saying Nick. War upon war and displaced people. In the 1970s we had endless wars in the Middle East, with Beirut constantly bombed and we heard about it on the news every night but it seemed much more remote than Syria that we know about today and that is just for starters. The history of food banks is worthy of a look too. We have more food banks and they fill a charitable instinct. People will soon come from the woodwork to take the food on offer. So they are used more. Was povety in the `1970s different in that people knew how to cook a bag of rice and lentils to make cheap meals and the drug and alcohol abuse problems were fewer? Poverty needs redefining.

  7. Yes, 50 years ago things were a lot more promising. Now I think of an office mate I had once. His favorite saying was, "Cheer up, things are bound to get worse." That's certainly true now. We were lucky to be privileged for most of our lives.

    At 81 and 76 Andy and I are short timers now. At the rate time is flying they'll be scattering our ashes in no time.

    Your talk of going to another world reminds me of the people who would like to go to Canada. Unfortunately they don't have the skills Canada is looking for. :(

  8. Rachel: Oh, lots of interesting points there! I think you can only use a food bank if you have a referral from an appropriate organisation. I don't think they're open to all and sundry. But I think you're right that people used to be better at improvising cheap nourishing meals than they are now.

    Jean: Things certainly have got worse, and it's not just us old-timers idealising the past. I guess an awful lot of Americans (and Brits) don't have any of the skills that are now in demand, either because of a poor education or because of a lack of re-training opportunities.

  9. I suppose I think we all just have to keep trying to do our best

  10. Jenny: Yes, at the end of the day all we can do is look after ourselves and our circle of friends and loved ones. We can't look after the whole world.

  11. Inventive post. I agree with the hatred and violence and corruption, greed is my pet rant, politicians, bankers, CEO’s. But for all its faults I’m glad I live in the UK.

  12. i like the way you write nick.
    and you've hit on the longing that is in all of us.
    the only thing that is currently working for me in all of it is this... rather than it disintegrating...
    i am thinking of everything going on now as 'birth pangs.'
    birth pangs that have their place in time before the new earth begins.
    i think if ENOUGH people become aware and manage to keep loving and let the garbage flow without them... it will eventually find a new way of existing. it will all transform.
    LOL! is that new age enough for you? sorry to sound like the age of aquarius! i'm a year older than you. and i can hear that song in my head even now!!! we can't give up dear bean! XO♥

  13. Polly: Yes, greed as well. The routine salaries now being "earned" by chief executives are outrageous. £5 million a year simply for running a big organisation, while the poor invisible buggers who actually do the heavy lifting are lucky to get the minimum wage or anything more than a zero hours contract.

    Yes also, the UK is still a much better place to live than some other war-torn or poverty-stricken country.

  14. Tammy: Birth pangs before the new earth begins? Letting the garbage flow past? I like that way of looking at things. Maybe that's what is happening. I also remember "The Age of Aquarius" from my psychedelic youth!

  15. I simply buy a very large pile of sand annually, into which I place my head. May I suggest you approach your local sand merchant, and do likewise!

  16. Cro: Well, that's one suggestion. I fear I might quickly suffocate however. Perhaps I just need a permanent error message "Cannot connect to internet".

  17. I really wish that I could wave a magic wand and give you a break. Since I can't, and since you can't get off either, just enjoy the ride.

  18. I feel that a return to the proper use of lamp posts would alleviate my feelings of betrayal: I think I could still manage to string up a few of the overweening mighty of this world - if someone will steady the ladder for me.

    And then I can turn my attention to the buggers who are comfortably off enough to think themselves entitled to ignore it all...

    Who says retirement is dull...

  19. Ramana: Thanks, a magic wand would come in very handy! If only I wasn't so hyper-conscious of all the desperate people in the world. Today's 24/7 worldwide media has a lot to answer for....

    Helen: I'm not sure stringing people up from lampposts would make the world a better place. But bringing those privileged and complacent reality-deniers face to face with the people they're shutting out could shake things up a bit.

  20. I also want to get off, but then, "who leaves the old road for the new knows what he left but does not know what to find". Are we sure it's going to be better, wherever that is? Greetings Maria x

  21. I was feeling a little like that last Wednesday, but a visit to Eye casualty at RVH reassured me that all will be fine, so I am back to cruising through each day.

  22. Maria: Very true. The grass on the other side always looks greener etc. I haven't got as far as actually envisaging the alternative worlds....

    Grannymar: Glad to hear the visit to the eye clinic went well. You usually manage to cruise through the days very successfully!

  23. A cry for help?

    We just had one of the worst budgets ever, all propelled by complete political incompetence and we are in a rage. I say we, I mean we, the citizens.

    I agree the world is in a mess, I think I'll just concentrate on my own small patch of it and try to earn a few pennies where I can.


  24. www: No no, not a cry for help, just a cry of disillusion! Can I presume that your budget favours the well-off and does nothing for ordinary folk, as is now routine in one country after another? Concentrating on our own small patch seems to be the only course left to us.

  25. I must say that reading the details of what ISIS is doing to people does make me feel that I would quite appreciate drifting off.... well, somewhere nice. I think I would prefer this world, but without the news. Someone or other said don't waste your happiness on things you can do nothing about, and so perhaps the answer is to switch off the news.

  26. Jenny: Ha, I wish! It's not easy to switch off the news when the media is constantly expanding and pouring out 24/7 rolling news coverage in all directions. I'd have to be a mountain hermit to avoid it all. And actually I do want to know what's going in the world, I just wish it wasn't so relentlessly disheartening.