The Impossible Banality Of Everyday Life

What type of horror stories might there be waiting to unfold right at this very moment?’ I ask myself somberly. What sort of horror stories indeed! Who can tell? It is always very hard to tell in advance, I muse. Almost impossible, generally speaking. Very nearly impossible. Life continues  – one might say – with its usual impossible banality. Nothing I see or hear stands out in any way from the type of mundane occurrences I witness a hundred times every day (and will no doubt continue to witness many more times) and yet I know that sudden horror can erupt from beneath that deceptively placid surface at any moment. The deceptively placid surface of everyday life, beneath which many unclean things lurk. Unclean things that no one else ever seems to see apart from me, it seems! For some reason I can see the unclean things. I’m not saying that I want to, but I do…


Sometimes I wonder if perhaps there could be a doorway hidden within us that leads to some sort of larger, better personality. A less corrupt and indolent personality; a nobler, more expansive (by which I mean less trivial) type of personality. Although perhaps ‘personality’ is the wrong word to use here; I don’t mean personality as ‘in the personality of a chat show host’ or ‘the personality of a radio DJ’ or anything like that. There’s something odious about that commonplace notion of ‘personality,’ isn’t there? ‘He’s a real personality’ they say, meaning of course that he’s a bit of a freak. That type of personality is a thing you get stuck in, a thing you get saddled with. You are obliged to live up to it, you are obliged to fulfil the role and so you do. People expect it of you, after all, so what else can you do?


I remember once when I was living, for a month or two whilst on placement as a student, somewhere in North London a little way out from the N. Circular Rd. The estate was maybe half a mile from Wood Green tube station. I can’t say why but for me that particular estate embodied more than any other place I know what I like to call ‘the impossible banality of everyday life’. Suffice to say, it’s always the very same story. It’s always the same story as far as I’m concerned, but sometimes it hits you in the face more! Sometimes it’s more obvious. I remember sitting there in the living room and suddenly perceiving that the whole estate was suffused with suffering, thoroughly saturated with suffering. It was like some sort of carnival of horrors, and I’m not messing when I say that. The placid unremarkable details of everyday life can give no hint what lies beneath it and that’s a very peculiar thing, don’t you think? You can’t tell a thing by looking at the expressions on people’s faces or by listening to what they have to say, or by observing the run-of-the-mill details of their lives – that kind of stuff tells us nothing, nothing at all. It gives no clue, gives no hint, as to the horrors which exists beneath all that. We are divorced in some fundamental way from the nightmare of our own superficial lives you see and it is that divorce (or dissociation) that creates the particular intensity of the horror of which I speak. And that’s what you get for living in a materialistic society, as I’m sure you’d be only too happy to agree. What else would one expect?






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