Philosophers' Corner from
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From a Country Bumpkin
the thoughts of Barnaby Kirsen
"Am I mad, or are they?"
As a simple country bumpkin it is not often that I leave the farm to visit civilisation - and even less often that I visit the stinky capital of artifice that is London. Yes, I may be a bit jaded, but it seems each time I go up there I notice more detritus of the modern experience.
Everywhere there are adverts shouting at me to buy this or that. Even when I'm taking a leak there is no escape. It is almost as if there shouldn't be any quiet time in London to be left with your own thoughts. Perhaps if Londoner's set aside their pretentious air kissing ways and thought for just a moment they would realise that they've left their ideals behind in favour of the material Mammon treats of this throwaway society.
So many unhealthy distractions. They work to afford to drink and they drink to forget work. 12 million unhappy profit-monkeys striving for higher status in a cutthroat competitive world. They go out to a club and take drugs - you see them grinning inanely, sweating profusely and gurning with such ferocity they look like they are practising French vowel sounds as if their life depended on it.
No sunsets to see in the city of shadows. Even the beauty of the un-owned sky is fragmented by the sharp concrete edges of the citadel and at night no stars can be seen amid the neon haze.
I look into the dead eyes of the corporate whores and see nothing but pound signs and pain. Hurrying towards death, asleep in their waking hours, daydreaming of bigger houses, larger pay-packets, TVs and flashier cars. Then you see the person who has all of that and is still not happy - preoccupied with the small stuff in their small lives. An elegant 40 something woman walks past. The strange dimples on her chin denoting many a time under the surgeon's knife. She is wiping tears from her eye using a tissue from her Vitton bag and moaning into a delicate little mobile: "I can't believe the caterers forgot the hors d'oeuvres [sniffle], I will never live it down at the W.I." Which just goes to show the higher you fly the further you have to fall in the modern meaningless melee.
As quick as is humanly possible I jostle through the hurried crowds and get back to the bus station. As we finally pull out of London and head west again fields and trees replace the busses and bricks, cars and concrete.
Back to the real world where I reside. Where there is time to stop and stare. Where people say hello and know each other's name. To a place where you can see for 20 miles or more. Where people earn a living and do not forget why we are here. To live, to be...just be.