I have always considered my friends to have good taste. After all, it follows that if they've chosen me as a friend, then...
Yeah, well. Anyway - a friend recommended I listen to a certain musician. This person's CDs never fail to please, I was told. Interesting lyrics, beautul and strong melodies, a whole new way of music is upon us, she said.
So, I got a David Gray album out of the library. And i played it. No, that's not quite true. I played the first four tracks. I think I can be said to have given it a decent shot. I will never listen to another David Gray song again. Ever. So now I know that at least one of my friends has a small lapse in her tastey things. Actually, that doesn't read all that well, but I think you'll know what I mean. After all, you're a friend... which means you have perfect taste. Well - almost perfect taste.
In my job I get to read a lot of bumper stickers. Some are funny ha-ha, and then I see some that are funny-peculiar. Occasionally, i see one is just plain stoopid, like the one that swanned into view today: "I am not ashamed of Jesus. I am not ashamed of the Bible. I am not ashamed of God." it said. Well, I'm sorry, but yes you are. That sort of schoolboy sloganeering has its roots somewhere... If you're not ashamed, what are you? Deeply embarrassed? Cringeing just a wee bit? One thing you're not... is proud. If you were, you'd be telling the world. Wouldn't you? or is that an embarrassing question?
I see that the Cosmopolitan Club has just demonstrated what a bunch of back-country hicks they are. They invite an Indian Sikh gentleman to their club to honour him for his good works in the community - then refuse him entry because he's wearing his turban. Cosmopolitan yokels: it's a concept.
READING: John Connolly's latest. It's different. More on that later.
LISTENING TO: Not David Gray. No, I'm listening to another "Best Of" collection: this time it's the Rolling Stones... "Gimme Shelter"is bursting my eardrums right now. I've started listening to more RS these days that Beatles. And i just heard that John Lennon's been dead for 29 years. Crap.
TODAY'S WORD: Dyscalculia... it's like dyslexia, only to do with numbers. Cool.
There had been no fellowship of Friends at Northridge, but the old man enjoyed his own council, and studied the Scriptures every day. And every day, when the young Arthur had come home from school, filled with questions about the day’s lesson, he had done his best to answer. God alone knew whether he had answered adequately, but he felt that he had always answered with sincerity, if not love. So it was up to God and Arthur now. Up to God and Arthur.
Arthur cleared his throat, and said, “Conscription’s soon to be a reality, you know. As a single man, I would be eligible.”
“That’s truth, boy. You would indeed. What can I say? I can’t advise you on this, Arthur.” The old man sucked at his pipe, and sighed. “I’m glad the decision’s not mine to make. I feel that I would turn my back on them. I did, when they went to South Africa on that fool’s errand. They’ve no right to order young men to go and kill other young men!’ The old man was growing angry, and his voice was shrill and cracked. Arthur reached up, and adjusted the oil lamp. Great hu-hu moths were beating at the thin insect screen, desperate for the flame. Joans of Arc, thought Arthur. Joans of Arc, eager to do battle in the flame of war. And in the end it was flame that ate her. How could a church that preached love do that to a fellow human? He shook his head, and thought again of Amy, as he did a dozen times a day.
Amy Copthorne, as the observant reader will have deduced, is Tim’s much older sister. She’s almost 25, and in danger of being left, as they say, on the shelf. Arthur wonders why he thinks of her so often, then wonders why he wonders. Arthur was nothing but truthful with himself. She’s not for him, anyway, he thought. She’s a Copthorne, he’s an orphan blacksmith.
Still, he loved her. He spoke to her at least once a week. She always seemed to be at Miss Jayne’s house when he went around there to do some chores. Arthur Tomlinson was now 28 years of age, directionless and rudderless. He owed a debt to Grampa Smith, but could never repay it. This talk of war repelled him, and perversely excited him at the same time. His beliefs, moulded as they had been by more than 20 years of debate with his foster-father, were unshakeable. He suffered every time he shot a wild beast, so he knew that he could never bring his gun to bear on a fellow human. Yet at the back of his mind Satan’s imp was whispering about glory and medals and returning with honour, and how he could ask Amy Copthorne…
He shook his head, and moved away from that train of thought. It’ll never happen, he thought to himself.
Arthur stood five feet nine inches tall, and his labour over the anvil had given him a solid, thick build. His shoulders were broad, his chest deep. He enjoyed spending a weekend in the thick bush that was still within an hour’s walk of the village – although the farmers were starting to beat it back. The bush was thick with game: the introduced deer roamed freely, and cleared paths for the hunter. His hands were heavily calloused, broad, and muscular. He could cradle a rifle’s weight and hold it rock-steady for minutes at a time. His chest nipped in to a slim waist, and his legs were almost too long for his body. He was a strong man, made for activity and action. The old man had scrimped to keep the boy in school until the age of sixteen, and the lad had responded well, his open face eagerly shining for the knowledge that the teachers had for him. He hadn’t been a model student, by any means. His continuing education with Grampa Smith had seen to that. The old man had encouraged the lad to question everything, to accept nothing at face value, but to recognise truth when he saw it. This had resulted in a number of thrashings, but they had been all well-earned. He had questioned everything as a boy, and he questioned everything now.