Tag: Holidays

Five hours of Mario Kart and NOFX

(they don’t want visitors in … Rainbow Road?)

Today I had a day off. No studying, no work, no flat admin-sorting, no blog-launching, no article-writing, no food-buying, nothing but this post, a walk, and five hours of playing Mario Kart: Double Dash!! while listening to NOFX.

I could make some lofty-ass point about the juxtaposition of an often-political, always-offensive American hardcore band and a fictional realm basically designed for children where the greatest problem is a terrible movie tie-in that no-one mentions, but I don’t want to. I’ve spent today sitting on my arse and trying to avoid making grandiose points about nothing, which is important considering that so much of my life (i.e. my writing projects) is about finding interesting things to say about the mundane, deriving complex pleasures from stuff that’s just a bit of a laugh.

But today was all about those laughs. I don’t get many of these any more, but frak I enjoyed it today.

The Weird Cliff People Of Bexhill

(somewhere high on the south coast near an ocean of blue, James’ references are stupidly obscure…)

Last week I went to Bexhill, as quite a few of you probably realised by the fact that those four photos got more likes and views than anything I’ve written with words in like five months, which I must admit unsettles me slightly, that on a writing blog photos are the more popular medium. Regardless, one thing I didn’t capture with my phone – because of a lack of light and the social weirdness of this all – were the Weird Cliff People Of Bexhill.

First, you must realise that, without making unfair generalisations, Bexhill is a town of older people: it’s a sleepy, relaxed town right on the coast, with a nice art gallery and a good few coffee shops and ice cream places. There’s also no obvious nightlife to speak of; I know central London isn’t the best comparison, but you can hardly move for shitty clubs and dingy underground bars playing The Smiths at two in the morning here in Camden. So imagine my surprise when I saw that Bexhillians were not only active after the gallery closing time of 8pm, but that they were doing interesting things!

One of the Weird Cliff People Of Bexhill – so-called because all these oddities took place on Galley Hill and the surrounding cliffs, just beyond the edge of Bexhill – was a young man sitting in his car, with the lights turned down enough to be relatively inconspicuous, but bright enough that someone looking for the car would notice it without too much trouble. And I don’t want to presume too much here, because a man sitting alone on a cliff in a car with electronic music slowly pumping out of his radio could be doing any number of things, but I think I stumbled across the Bexhill dogging scene completely by accident. I didn’t realise this likelihood until my walk back home, when I passed the still-alone man in his car, which made the few seconds I walked past his door that little more awkward.

Then there were the two people atop the cliffs themselves, a young man and woman. I didn’t even realise they were living creatures because it was pitch black, and the only light came from my phone’s torch, which I shone on them relentlessly trying to determine just how big those rocks really were; then the bloke turned around and I realised my intrusiveness. But while the first Weird Cliff Person Of Bexhill can be linked to other, more mainstream variants of secretive midnight double-lives (i.e. dogging), these two can’t be – they sat at the edge of the cliff, simply talking to each other. Sure, they might have had sex later, or had just finished banging in the most romantic of places, atop a big rock, but the fact that the woman called me over as I walked back past them has confused me no end.

They had to be doing something generic enough for them to think a total stranger would want to be interested in joining them, so it could have been drugs, or planning a series of gruesome murders across the rural south coast, or playing a particularly competitive game of Battleship, to the extent that they needed an audience to validate their daring, endlessly complex moves. But I simply don’t know.

And that’s why I’m calling these folks ‘weird’: not because being awake at night is inherently strange – I myself was walking around at like eleven for God’s sake – but because I simply don’t know what they were doing, and don’t have the information to make a judgement. But don’t think I’m dismissing a thing I don’t know as being in some way odd or wrong – normality is boring, weirdness is human, and apparently found on cliffs beside sleepy seaside towns.

Photo Blogging

(phlogging? I think that’s a portmanteau too far)

I’m going on holiday tomorrow; after visiting glamorous Ireland last week, I’m jetting (except with a train) down to the south coast (of England) for a trip to sexy Bexhill (very much the Monte Carlo of northern Europe). And having discovered, much to my surprise, that taking the occasional picture of a thing I’m doing might not necessarily make me a self-centred bastard, I think I’ll take some photos of the trip, and upload them here. Specifically, one photo a day, for the four days I’m away (Wednesday to Sunday).

Part of this is honestly so that I can take a break; I’m becoming increasingly obsessed with uploading 365 posts this year, and this allows me to continue my pointless yet upsettingly important streak without having to engage my brain too much: I have exams in almost exactly a month, and while I don’t intend to suspend the blog for their sake, it’d be nice to not have to worry about writing about non-Beowulf things for a bit. But honestly, I think you guys might be getting tired of me. I don’t blame you, I link to this thing on Facebook every day, to the point that my friends are definitely sick of me, but in rereading some recent posts I’m realising that my style of ‘humour’ (such as it is) is a bit of a one-trick pony – once you’ve read one of my posts, you’ve kinda read them all, save for a few more thoughtful ones on gender or something.

This is part of a wider overhaul of this blog; this Summer I plan to change my writing style, having come to the realisation that I’m getting rather good at writing rambling, self-centred blog posts, but 500 of them later I struggle to write anything else, like university essays, or exams. I want to write in a shorter, punchier style, like I used to when I was powering through exam essays back at AS, which will honestly take quite a conscious effort, which is why I’m delaying the change until after exams and whatnot. I also want to make this blog less me-centred; there’s that Poll button at the top of the writer I’ve ignored for a year and a half now, and even long comment threads on some of these posts are based entirely on what I want to talk about, like I’m a god deciding what is appropriate for discussion on the hallowed pages of jamespatrickcasey.wordpress.com, whereas in reality the communal bit of this site has been the main reason I’ve stuck at this for so long.

It’ll start with pictures, then maybe suggestions for posts or series, more collaborative stuff outside the ZPD, and a greater engagement with things like awards and groups on WordPress; it’s taken me almost two years, but I’ll finally start treating this social network masquerading as a writing platform as such, instead of a soapbox for me to selfishly bitch about things, expect people to read it and love it, then get confused and upset when they don’t.

But first – shitty holiday snaps.