Tag Archives: Tefl

Read All About It

The point I’m trying to make is about experience. If yours won’t stand up to scrutiny, then it’s probably time you changed it. For that reason , and no other, I’ve started work as a stringer for one of the English language dailies here. I’m going to talk about expectations in a bit, but to avoid creating any false expectation of my work as a writer here, let me state; I have no intention of holding Bill Hayton’s ideas up to too rigorous an examination, neither do I want to expose or lift the lid on anything. Similarly, I have no ambition to be a journalist. Continue reading

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Opposites Attract

What happened here was essentially rape on a national scale. American impotence became American rage and, ultimately, American viciousness. You’d think the bitterness scars such as that would leave would all but define a national consciousness; would leave it as warped and embittered as its history effortlessly justifies, but you’d be wrong. Continue reading

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A Long Way From Kansas

They say whatever you’re looking for, you will find here. They say you come to Vietnam and you understand a lot in a few minutes, but the rest has got to be lived. The smell: that’s the first thing that … Continue reading

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Domodedovo Airport Bombing

Moscow makes you feel small. Big things happen here. Big things on epic scales. Think about it, the course of the 20th Century was pretty much defined by what was happening here. It’s even big to look at. The high rises tower over you wherever you go and whatever you’re doing. It reduces that most Western of attributes, the overriding sense of your own significance, to little. That most valuable of all Western commodities, the value of the individual, doesn’t have quite the same caché here. All that is left for the individual therefore, is to concentrate on what is to be done next and make life as good as it can be. Continue reading

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From visiting to residing

I can’t imagine doing this without risks. Let’s take that a step further, I can’t imagine wanting do this without risks. I’m not saying that I plan on seeking out brawls with giant slavic psycopaths, or that I’m trawling the streets of Moscow looking for the next race riot. I’m simply saying that there has to be a risk of failure for any of this to mean anything. It’s a critical aspect. Think about anything that’s worth doing, take it apart and really consider it. Nine times out of ten, the one thing that made it worth doing was the risk of failure. Failure isn’t always something to be feared. Sometimes – just to know that you’re alive – you need to place yourself directly in its path. What’s more, the greater the risk and the greater the degree of failure, sometimes the greater the argument for placing yourself in its way. Continue reading

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Happy people don’t create anything.

In some ways, I’m back where I started, sat around in an old cricket jersey and shorts and looking out of the window. However, this time it’s a radically different landscape, one whose peak temperature today is predicted to be a giddy – 19, and that’s going to be about it ’till well into next year. Continue reading

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I don’t know why you say good-bye, I say good-bye

You see, as well as the loss of belongings, is the loss of, let’s call it, ‘tangible memory’. Yes, I know exactly how pretentious that sounds, just bear with me. I’ll give you a ‘for instance’. Take, for instance, the sofa that, until this morning, sat just two metres behind me. Well, that had some pretty powerful memories invested in it. A lot of conversations passed between me and others on that sofa. It was the sofa that I sat on as I wrestled with what was, at that time, the very real prospect of going blind. Later, it was the sofa I sat on as I reconciled myself to being forever blind in one eye. It was also the sofa I was sat on when I decided that it was time I was in charge of events, rather than events be in charge of me. There was even a time when that was ‘our’ sofa, and not just my sofa. I think that’s what I meant by tangible memories. I don’t care what it cost, or how it looked, it was all the memories that been created around it that mattered. It’s that our belongings become far more than the sum of their parts, it’s that they become the physical embodiment of all the memories associated with them. Maybe it’s their continued presence that helps keep those memories alive. Continue reading

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