The Next Big Sensation

I was stuck in a terrible, terrible place but I didn’t know it. I hadn’t a clue. I had inadvertently departed from the main thoroughfare of life a long, long time ago and had branched off in some meaningless, pointless direction of my own. A direction of my own that wasn’t actually a direction at all! It wasn’t anything. So everything was okay and yet at the same time everything was far from okay and that’s just the way it was. What you don’t know won’t hurt you – isn’t that what they say? But then again, maybe it will! Maybe it’ll hurt you a lot…


I was the Game Maker and people came to see me from far and wide hoping that I would sell them some new game they could play. Something fresh, something different, something zany, something exciting. The next Big Sensation, perhaps. God knows it’s been long enough since the last Big Sensation’! What was it after all – can anyone even remember? Oh yes, that was it – the invention of the space-time continuum. Well yes that was a big enough thing at the time, I admit. It was something we all got quite excited about it. It was a pretty neat trick, I admit, but it was still only a trick at the end of the day, and now it’s all starting to wear just a little bit thin.


Entropy sets in you see and you don’t need me to tell you about that! You certainly don’t. It would be like me making a big deal of introducing you to your oldest friend, someone that you have known the age of eight. ‘Have you met so-and-so,’ I would say, and you’d look at me as if I were some kind of fool. We all know about entropy. Things lose their zing. Life becomes dull and predictable – life becomes a tedious routine that you feel you have to go through with because you don’t know what the alternative is. You’ve forgotten the point but you act as if you still know it – it’s embarrassing to have to admit that you have forgotten the point of life and that you are carrying on just out of pure force of habit, after all.


People come to see me from far and wide but I have nothing to offer them anymore. Not even a smile – I just look at them, as if to say ‘What you want? Why are you bothering me?’ I’m too tired to actually say anything. I’m too tired and too jaded with the whole sorry business. I’m tired of the game of being the Game Maker. I have nothing to offer any more. All my games have gone stale, and there’s nothing worse than a stale game. That’s not just mere ‘word play’ either – there really isn’t anything worse than a stale game. I really do mean that! Imagine playing a game that you are very, very tired of – a game that has no spark, no freshness left in it any more. You play it anywhere because you don’t know what else to do. You play it anyway out of pure force of habit, but you don’t know why you’re doing it.


You do the thing you’re supposed to do, even though you’ve done it a billion times before. You do the thing, and then the thing that always happens when you do the thing happens, just as it always does. You always knew it would happen and it did. You always knew that it would happen and that knowledge is pure suffering for you. That knowledge is torment itself.







I Knew No Other Existence

I existed as a kind of made-up thing within the tortured confines of my own cruel head, a kind of grotesquely half-imagined homunculus. I lived a life of a crude and unpleasant simulation therefore, but I thought nothing of it. I thought nothing of it because I knew no better. I knew no other existence and so had no intimation of just how vile and squalid in existence this was! Strange as it may sound, I was content and not at all troubled by anything. I got by, doing the sort of things that I did in order to get by, absurd though I now know those things to have been. The things I used to do to pass the time back then now seem vague and nonsensical to me and I know that they must have been so, for it was all pure fantasy anyway. It was all pure fantasy from beginning to end, which was only to be expected since my existence (my squalid pseudo-existence, as I should probably call it) was only made-up stuff happening inside my own head. I imagined myself to have this life – this life of a badly imagined homunculus and then – on this basis – I exercised whatever poor semblance of freedom I had allotted to myself to eek out some kind of existence for myself, an existence within which I did certain sorts of imaginary things, and then felt either vague satisfaction or an equally vague dissatisfaction according to the imaginary outcome of these imaginary actions that I had seen fit to undertake. And to cap it all, I myself was some kind or species of a hallucination, stumbling along through its own bizarre fantasy world, blindly grasping out for the things that did not exist and never could. What kind of outcomes are real to a creature that itself isn’t real? What kind of outcomes would be meaningful to a creature that has itself only an imaginary existence? I can’t even begin to answer these questions. I don’t know what I was thinking back then; I don’t know how I understood myself or my world to be. A thrill of pure horror passes through me as I think of these things – people sometimes say light-heartedly of themselves “Oh, I don’t know what I was thinking when I did that!” Similarly, I don’t know what I was thinking either (only I’m not so light-hearted about it). I don’t know how that life which I had back then was meaningful to me. Do you know that way in which one human being – out of pure incalculable malice – can create a world for another person to exist within, a world that is purely malevolent in nature, which they – the victim – get helplessly sucked into it, not realising the nature of the cruel trick that has been played upon them? That kind of thing happens all the time, by the way – just in case you didn’t know. It’s just that no one ever talks about it. But anyway that’s what I did to myself – I tricked myself into living up in a made-up universe – a vile, crude, unwholesome mean-spirited type of a made-up universe. I created an avatar of myself to abuse. I was my own gimp. Well, that could happen to anyone, I hear you reply flippantly. That’s life. These things happen. But I know the real reason you say this you see. I’ve grown wise at this stage. I know that the only reason you say this is because you don’t really want to hear any more on the subject. I know that the truth is that you simply don’t want to know…





I Was Trapped In The Simulation Of Myself

Mine is not a particularly happy story but I want to tell it nonetheless: I had spent the best part of my life – the largest part of it, at any rate – working away in secret on what I like to call my ‘magnum opus’, which  – to put it as briefly as possible – is an elaborate proof that Piddle-Doodley-Frigglepop–Gumbel-Poon-Scollop-Pat-7 (a thing of my own invention, which I say in all modesty) is sometimes, but not always – equal to Neymar-Nimos-Fartwangle-Muttamoon-Zebrog-Ruumborg-6 (again, an entity of my own invention). I was to be awarded the Nobel Prize for extreme theoretical excellence in the field of Pure and Applied Speculation and I had already composed my speech of gracious acceptance. I was to appear on all the usual chat shows and morning TV slots. I had given Channel Four permission to make a documentary of my life. New Scientist magazine had approached me to write a series of articles. Only that’s not true. None of the stuff that I just said is true. Nothing of the sort is going to happen either now or at any other time. There’s no acclaim, no recognition of any sort – absolutely nothing, zilch, nada. The academic world doesn’t have the slightest interest in my work; I can’t get an article published even by the most disreputable half-arsed type of pseudo-scientific crackpot journal, never mind anything actually respectable. No one will touch my work with a barge pole – people back away when they see me at conferences, muttering incoherent apologies. So you see my situation, you get a bit of a glimpse of what I’m going through here. Perhaps you can grasp something of the unbelievable frustration that I’m feeling right now! Only none of this is actually true – I made it all up! It’s pure poppycock. It’s pure fiction from beginning to end. It’s utter howling balderdash. Or maybe it is true – I don’t actually know! I’m just trying to reach out, I guess. I’m just trying to open up a dialogue. Do know that thing where you’re hallucinating like crazy and you’re hallucinating that you are a person and everyone is telling you to cop on and stop being such a space cadet but it all seems so real – it has so much internal consistency that you can’t understand how it could possibly be unreal? Anything with that much internal consistency can’t be unreal – what is reality anyway but 100% internal logical consistency? What does it mean when an hallucination has more internal consistency than reality itself, I wondered – lost in the maze of my own rapidly decaying thoughts. Only I didn’t really wonder that at all. I only hallucinated that I did. I was trapped in the simulation of myself.






A Little Bit Of Eternity

Everywhere I look I see well-worn tracks. Tracks in the air, tracks in people’s faces. Tracks in their eyes. Tracks everywhere… I’m the tracker, I thought – I’m tracking the tracks. Because there is nothing else but the tracks. This world is made of tracks. There’s nothing ‘off-road’ anymore, no way to get off the grid…


I was rich in time but poor in space – it’s always one either one way or the other isn’t it? It’s always a trade-off, like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Relation. When you get one thing you always want the other. Isn’t that it? We’re never satisfied, I suppose. That’s just the human condition – we are always looking for something we can’t have. We want to have our cake and eat it.


When the Space-Like Universe collapses you are left with nothing but time. You got time on your hands, then. You’ve got time and plenty of it. We always say that we want more time, but do we really know what we are asking for? Time is not what we think it is, you see – it’s not what we think it is at all! Time is thought like Krishnamurti says, and we can’t see thought but only what thought tells us…


Time races onwards like an express train; it goes faster and faster and faster but never gets anywhere. There’s nowhere left to go, you see. In the Time-Like Universe there is nothing else but time and time is like water running out of a bath – emptying out into nowhere. ‘Yes but have we got time?’ you ask. The truth is that we have got plenty of it but it won’t get us anywhere. The truth is that time is all we have. It’s like pulling on a long, long length of string – when you get to the end of it there’s nothing there. There’s never anything there.


You’re fishing away in the creek and you think you’ve got a big one but then the line goes slack and there’s nothing there. You must have got your hook snagged on a rock, or on a clump of seaweed. All the mangrove crabs are looking at you, their little eyes swivelling to one side in unison. They’re wondering what you’re doing. Or maybe they’re not wondering. Maybe they know. Maybe the crabs know. Maybe they know what you’re doing and they’re feeling sorry for you…


The sun is very low in the sky – it’s a big red swollen disk, slowly softening as it merges with the horizon. You can hear seabirds calling out in the distance. You can hear the lap of the waves. It’s a timeless moment – a little bit of eternity is peeking out at you. You know that the Space-Like Universe is out there somewhere. It’s out there somewhere behind the veil, but you never see it. You are always in your head. You are always too busy chasing shadows; you are always too busy dreaming of better things. Only there aren’t any better things. Not in the Time-Like Universe there aren’t! Time unfolds with agonizing slowness, and then – in the ‘Grand Gesture’ – proceeds to reveal nothing, as Jean Paul says…


I can see the tracks as clear as day. Tracks in the air. Tracks in people’s faces, tracks in their eyes. Tracks everywhere. Well-worn tracks – the type of tracks you can never get out of! The type of tracks you can never leave. These are the type of tracks you don’t even know to be there – you are always too busy to notice them! You’re always too busy scanning for escape routes. You are always too busy trying to escape from the Time-Like Universe. You’re in your head and your head is full of tracks…





The Seamless Universe Of Self

‘Glitch Doctor has encountered a problem and needs to close’ spelled out the pink fluorescent letters forming in the central field of my vision. This was an ongoing situation – every time I look they are there, spelling out their simple but nevertheless very final message.’ ‘All of society’s structures are games of course,’ I commented in a knowledgeable tone. I was talking to myself. I was always talking to myself. I was everywhere. I was everyone and everything. I was in ‘The Seamless Universe of Self’. I read that phrase in a book and had never forgotten it. If the hat fits then wear it, I always say. I never say that. ‘You’re all alone in the seamless universe of self and there’s no way out and no way in’, I informed myself glibly. I’d booked into the hotel. The Glitch Doctor had encountered an anomaly and it had to close down. The glitch was me, it occurred to me then. I was the glitch. I was everywhere. I was everyone and everything. There was no way out of the state of being me. There was no way in, either. I was trapped in the seamless universe of me and I was all alone, I told myself. Self-referentiality had set in when no one was looking and the system had run away with itself. I was up on the MindCloud and something had gone wrong with the process. An anomaly had set in. I’ve been uploaded onto the MindCloud, I told myself. I’m on the MindCloud and the Sky Rabbits have taken over. No one saw them come – they boiled up over the horizon. Self-referentiality had set in and there was no way out. There never is a way out. I knew I had to consult the Geek Guru – the Geek Guru had all the answers. I was in search of the Game Maker but no one had ever heard of him. ‘The Glitch Doctor has encountered a problem and needs to close down!’ said the voice in my head. The Geek Guru was rewriting my neural pathways for me but now he had vanished leaving me all alone. No one knew where he had gone. No one had ever heard of him. There was no one here but me and I didn’t recognise myself any more. I was in search of the Game Maker and the Game Maker was me. Everything was me but I didn’t know it.





Secret Sorrow

Find out about our secrets and our lies, promised the book cover. Open the pages and dive in, open the pages and dive in, open the pages and dive in. Find out about our secrets and our lies, find out about our secrets and our lies, promised the book cover. Well there’s a book and a half, I said to myself. I was sitting at the table next to the lady who was engrossed in reading it. Well, there’s a book and a half, I said to myself again. Who could possibly resist the temptation to dive straight in and become fully immersed in all of those secrets, all of those lies? Who could possibly resist, I asked myself again, feeling positively giddy at the prospect. My head was spinning – all of those secrets, all of those lies! So much temptation – the richest and most succulent of all possible temptations, I realised. My heart was beating faster than usual at the very thought of it. Life’s a funny old thing I thought then, suddenly overcome by nostalgia for a past which I have never had. I felt the prick of tears starting and I had to blink rapidly to keep them back. Life’s a funny old thing, I said to myself again. Find out about the life you never had, I told myself – the life you never could have had, the life you never would have had. It’s all intertwined in a complicated ball of secrets and lies, secrets and lies. Secrets we have no business finding out about, and lies we would be better off not questioning. But I already found out. I had already questioned and I didn’t like the answer. It was now too late to turn back – the ball of secrets was coming undone before my very eyes! It was like a giant ball of twine that had all come unravelled so that now there was no more ball. Only a big unruly mess of twine everywhere. I felt nostalgia for that ball – I experienced a pervasive sense of loss and longing for what it had represented. I realised then that I wanted more than anything else in the world to return to that place, that secret place within me which existed no more. Which never had existed. I was coming undone, I realized. I was visibly unravelling. Find out about our secrets and lies, enticed the book cover. Come and find out – dip in and be surprised. By all those scandalous lies, by all those sordid secrets. But it was no use to me – I wouldn’t be let in. It was too late for me now; all I could do was sit here sipping my flat white, feeling pang after pang of unbearable nostalgia and longing for a past that I had never had, and never would have. There is a secret sadness in me I realised, but it belongs to no one.





Many Mouths

The summer air was full of the ripe, full bodies of flying insects. Not one but many mouths I had and I was hungry for this bounty of the skies. I was hungry for the ripe, tender bodies of all these flying creatures. Not one but many mouths did I have, and all of them were hungry. My hunger is legendary.


The air was ripe with the sweet corpuscular bodies of summer insects – each one was a luscious plump fruit just asking to be picked. My whole body was shuddering with joy. Many fingers had I, and each and every one of them was busy picking fruit. The fruit of the air I call them, and no tree-borne fruit ever tasted as good. I shed tears of ineffable happiness as I fly.


If I were a poet I would compose verses in honour of those sweet plump bodies upon which I feast so gladly, but poetry eludes me. The sweet plump bodies upon which I feast do not. They cannot elude my mouths for I have so many of them. The air is full of my mouths and there is no way to avoid them.


Many mouths have I and all of them are hungry! The fruit of the skies I call them. The little plump bodies explode softly in my mouths, releasing the purest of nectars as they do so. I shed tears of joy as I swoop through the air, harvesting the rich, rich bounty of the summer skies. I am like a giant invisible manta ray. I am like a vast metal wing cutting through the sky. Soft, ripe bodies burst against me in their untold tens of thousands. ‘None can escape me’, I cry out soundlessly as I fly. I am a silent wing of death.


I have many mouths, yet only one mouth – I am a giant manta of the skies, and I am a shadow on a summer evening. I am the flea that jumps, the worm that tunnels in the blackness. I am the man who cannot speak his name. I am the sound of a dry twig breaking underfoot in the dark deep forest. I am the wind. I am the old dog who twitches restlessly in his sleep and I am the little silvery fish that leap out of the ocean to avoid the steely blue jaws of the predator. I am both the dreamer and the dream. Today I joyfully feast – tomorrow I will be feasted upon.