This post will enter dangerous new territory to consider a world without the author. The whole ethos of this blog is structured around the centrality of the author to his own little world and the implicit assumption that this view is shared by a wider demographic. The unexpected number (i.e. the fact it exceeds zero) of visitors to my digital domain has only worked to reinforce my opinion that my life, ramblings and bad jokes are far more important than could be justified by a more reasonable, objective measure. The last post (not the Bb bugle call, but the post whose production directly preceded this one when viewed from the light-cone of the author) has proved alarmingly popular: though I would explain this by reference to its sharing be a young(er) person, rather than by ascribing any particular merit to it.
I cannot be alone, among those who have accepted that they are not (and would not wish to be) immortal, in wondering how the world (and indeed, the wider multi-verse) will muddle along without my presence. I strongly suspect it will be fine (or at least largely unaffected for good or ill – fine might be overstating matters given recent current affairs) when the long awaited decree absolute in the divorce between me and my mortal coil is finally granted. I have worked hard to ensure (OK, have wandered through life in such a way) that any ripples that I make in the pond of existence have minimal amplitude and soon dissipate. The odd pub, cake shop and cultural venue may notice a brief dip in income but I like to imagine that they will survive my demise. Though, frankly, once I’ve paid by obols to Charon and taken my terminal boat trip, you’re on your own folks! My responsibilities (and insomnia) will be at an end!
Obviously, as part of my departure I shall be establishing a series of amusing (hopefully, flaming) hoops for those who wish to inherit my billions (currency to be confirmed) to jump through. I fully intend for my will and funeral to be as far from plain vanilla as I can legally accomplish: is a tontine still possible? I want them to be discussed for years to come as simultaneously a high and low watermark in the art of dying. I want Hollywood to be fighting over the 18 certificate movie rights! I want outrage in the Daily Mail and the Socialist Worker! Actually, I’m making this sound rather good: I may have to fake my own death just to enjoy my funeral and the reading of my will. I knew there was a good reason for moving closer to the sea!
You may wonder why GofdDM has suddenly taken a turn to the macabre or morbid. Others may, long ago, have decided that beneath the shallow veneer of self-obsessed whimsy it is darkness all the way down. I couldn’t possibly comment on this theory, but am quite pleased that you might imagine that anything at all lies below intellectual shallows displayed in this forum. However, there have been a couple of recent events which have made me realise that elements of my life continue without me. Also, the previous post considered my position if a huge proportion of humanity were to be wiped out, so it only seemed fair to consider the position of the rest of humanity if it should (contrary to all natural justice) be that me that bites the bullet!
A much earlier post established that one of my nicknames appeared to by living an existence independent of me – and I like to imagine that this has continued. However, this was merely a world 2 object (to mis-use the work of Karl Popper) and recent events relate to world 1 objects.
Of late, the National Blood Service has started to send me texts identifying where my blood goes after it has been donated. To be honest, I’d prefer a postcard – but I will admit that their budget is probably better spend on their core business of blood collection and distribution. When I say where it goes, they don’t send me the name, address and vital statistics of the recipient, merely the hospital where it was returned to a human host (or, depending on your point of view, first introduced to a human host). Donation 92 went to Frimley Park – I place the rest of me has never visited – and donation 93 to Stafford (which I have visited but once). It has been good to see that once it has left its fleshy prison (something which it seems increasingly keen to do given the rapidity with which my lie-down is overtaken by lemon squash and biscuits), my blood is getting out and about and exploring the country. If only it retained some psychic link to its original home, I could deal with the challenge of too many gigs to attend and only one body to do the attending. Equally, were it to be given to an EU national (something I would encourage, it would be nice to think a small part of me is living in Paris or Barcelona), could I reverse-inherit an EU passport? Would any of the new host’s skills somehow rub off on me? I fear I may have jumped the Lamarkian shark here and will stop before my scientific credentials are completed destroyed.
I am (tomorrow) going off to the Cambridge Folk Festival. This will be my first, real multi-day festival which is likely to involve a field and mud: though I do feel a muddy field makes a more appropriate substrate for folk music than it does for grime or emo (to name but two). Wish me luck, I may need it! I am not camping, but staying in the relative luxury of student halls – and if it all gets too much for me, I can easily retreat into the city and its own cultural delights. So, I like to think this is very much a halfway house to full festival-going and an approach commensurate with the dignity of a man of my advanced years (though clearly not to me, I have largely outlived both my dignity and my shame by this point. They have very much played the same sacrificial role in my life that a painting did in that of Dorian Gray).
While I am away, my guitar will be gigging without me. Interestingly, it has never gigged with me – though today I did use a capo for the first time (and my capo is very fine, a real capo di tutti capi) and learned to bend. Nevertheless, I am far from ready to take to the stage – unless you wish to clear a venue – so I am leaving it the hands of a far more capable performer. I feel that it is good for my instrument to get some proper gig experience in -well before its owner. It’s probably best if we don’t both have first gig nerves at the same time – and I’m pretty sure I can internalise enough stress for the both of us.
So, even while I’m very much alive (or am I?) my possessions and even my very substance are already learning to live without me. I suspect there is an important lesson here about our own unimportance – even in our own home and as its sole resident. But I shall leave that for my readers to draw, I’m having fun here in the shallows!