Friday, 18 December 2009

AMSTERDAMAGE


I hadn’t been to Amsterdam for 6 years, which is about how old I was when I used to play on my mum’s BBC computer. Bat and ball was wicked, and so were Monsters and Chucky Egg, but it’s Frogger I want to give special mention to in this blog. If you’ve never played it, but you’ve been to Amsterdam, just imagine you’re trying to cross the street there and that you’re a frog, and you’ve pretty much got it. The traffic’s nuts: cars, trams, bikes, buses, lorries, pedestrians using running as a legitimate form of business-man-transport. Legitimate not cause they’re late, just cause they’re Dutch.

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My mate Gaz right, when he gets properly on one, there’s no stopping him. He can get knocked down, and he just gets back up again and takes it on the chin and other clich├ęs. He’s like that Chumba Wumba song about Weebles, but less egg-shaped. He spends a while doing what he said was an important dance, a dance that mattered, at strangers in a bar who don’t agree with its significance. Then when the bar closes and he’s not got the audience his dance deserves, he starts telling people he’s Rupert Grint off Harry Potter. He had people taking photos with him all night, and got 3 free tickets into a club, and an apology from the guys on the door for not being able to give him more. By the end of the night he's pushing 13 pence sterling in my hand and saying, "Get me a meat." But than doesn't stop him trying to engage Amsterdam residents in a game of burger tennis using their hedge as a net on the walk home.

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During the weekend I wondered something I’ve wondered a few times before. When you’re intoxicated, and things seem amazing or you have a brilliant idea, is it because you’re mind is in a higher, more open state, or is it because your mind is slowed down and so regular things seem incredible. It’s the old, absolute/relative argument. You know the kind of realisation I mean. Like, when music feels 3D with all the layers criss-crossing and you lay back in it like a massive sonic hammock, or when the person on the telly says the same word as you at the same time with the same intonation whilst looking straight at you. Or when you realise for the first time that even though the chicken and the egg are so closely linked, you never eat chicken and egg as a meal. Bacon and Eggs, sausage and eggs, ham and eggs, but never chicken and eggs, or you REALLY appreciate, and are proud of, portmanteau words like Nanslator and Amsterdamage, or your yawns taste like ironic pins and needles, or you decide you’ll make your fortune by selling Disease Monopoly to Hasbro and that the brown ones would be STDS, and the greens and navies would all be terminal illnesses.

Or you hear a song lyric differently to how you’ve heard it before like:

‘The people you’ve been before

that you don’t want around anymore

they push and shove, and won’t bend to you will

I’ll keep them still” (Elliott Smith Between The Bars)

and you realise that the first bit could mean that you don’t want to be like you used to be, or that you suffered mental illness and want to stay sane, and that the second bit could mean I will prevent these ‘people’ from coming back by keeping them still (inanimate/dormant), or that I will keep them, still. I will still keep them. You realise then that within the 4 different combinations of these various halves there are dozens of different nuances that could apply in each case. Is it, ‘I will still keep them, despite you hating them, because they are part of you, or is it, I will still keep them, so that you don’t have to. I’ll keep them for you, as in the Spanish ‘por’ not ‘para’. I’ll keep them instead of you so that you’re free from the burden. In the first part, if you don’t want to be like before, does that mean you don’t want to act like you used to, or act or think like you used to, or not even have memories of what you were like before?

Here’s a government Ven diagram showing the crossover:

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