Musical chairs

Porthcurno Bay and Logan Rock Headland taken f...
Image via Wikipedia

Awful lot going on at the moment, in both my world and the real world. In the real world, London is burning with the  fury of a generation unwilling to accept that hard work reaps rewards eventually, and in an ingenious scorched earth policy, they both steal goods and then set fire to commercial real estate, thus ensuring that they can’t even get jobs working in local shops.

Perhaps more importantly, the market volatility means my existing shareholdings are pretty worthless, so I’d better start buying some more at these bargain prices. I’ll do what everyone else does, and invest in the Far East, where all the jobs and growth are. That growth depends on demand from a Western economy that is steadily declining as a result of the wholesale outsourcing of almost all manufacturing jobs to the Far East. I’m not entirely sure who will be left standing when the music stops, but I suspect it’ll be between a very small number of players fighting over the one remaining metaphorical chair.

In my own world, I’ve resigned from my job to start a new life as a contractor in the “proper” City of London, so this week will be my last in Canary Wharf. Part of me will miss its purpose-built artifice. It is that disjointed glass bubble that I think has really driven me in all the outdoor stuff I’ve got so keen on. Marble floors and mirrors seem to make me desperate to get dirt under my fingernails at weekends, dragging my large backside up some slabs in the Peak District, or more recently Cornwall and back for the weekend, where I seconded (i.e. followed the rope) on a nice “V Diff ” (i.e. not very hard) at Sennen, and then sat on a beach in Porthcurno wistfully daydreaming about family holidays. There has always beeen something a little eerie about Cornwall, but with the passing of time it has taken on a rather nostalgic looking-glass quality, peering back at a skinny 17 year old, sitting on a similar beach and thinking about the promise of a life that still feels like it hasn’t done a whole lot in the intervening 16 years.

On the book front, I have got half way through Jonathan Franzen‘s Freedom, which is about American family life and politics. He is a remarkably uncynical writer, considering the cynical characters that populate his novels. His fundamental theme is always that a life of broken dreams, betrayal and dysfunction is still a life worth living. The human flaws and failures that make our experiences rather more lopsided than a movie romance are also the reason we are more resilient to adversity over time. Eventually we carve out a little niche for ourselves, pursuing our hobbies and social lives without any grander plan than the next holiday. I used to find that Truman Show sort of life hugely depressing, but I have instead started to be grateful that I even have the luxury of leisure time in which to totally overthink all these topics. Once I have to start worrying about how to hunt and kill my own food, I’m sure the emotional angst of urban life won’t seem quite so pressing.

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