Freedom From The Mundane - A Writer's Blog

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Bells And Whistles

I saw Star Wars: Episode III last night. No matter what age I am, when I see and hear the 20th Century Fox introduction my metabolism knows only one thing is about to happen; "A long time ago...".

Seeing Vader being born and masked, then breathing his first life-supportive breath brought the hairs on my neck standing to attention. All those unanswered links from the two sets of movies came clear in a film I got totally lost in.

To some it is childish nonsense, but to others it forms part of the fabric of their lives. Bravo on a wonderful set of films.

Busy day today. I attended the Doc's for a check-up on my burn. Everything is fine and the skin is healing nicely - but slowly. It still looks freakishly odd to first-sighters - I can tell by their glances - but I'm getting used to it.

I took the opportunity of the morning off work to head up to the West end and book my kilt out for next Thursday's wedding. My best mate's brother is getting married in Ayrshire and Gail and I are going to the evening reception. I selected my favourite tartan (outside my family tartan) - Black Watch.

Time for a moan: to the bloke who walks about my office allowing his right heel to catch the ground first as he strides forward, before landing heavily on his left foot as if to compensate, thus giving off an irregular and annoying walking sound pattern to anyone within ear shot. It's a kind of titty-boom sound, and it is really quite irritating.

It's not cool and you are not a VIP for doing so. I know you think you are, but please spare us this display of higher staff grade bravado. Nobody is impressed.

It was 8 years ago today I made my first trip to London to see Madness. It was the summer of 1996 and it was Madstock 3 - a festival that saw several bands play during the day and Madness topping the bill at around 9pm. If memory serves me correctly, that day we saw King Prawn, Space, Wilko Johnson, Mike Flowers Pops a little-known band called Catatonia, Squeeze and the James Taylor Quartet.

The sun beat mercilessly down on Finsbury Park as thousands of Madness fans and a few Scots left over from the England v Scotland match at Wembley the week before, piled in through the gates and made for the sanctuary of the beer tents.

I remember listening to England beating Spain on penalties in the QF of Euro '96 and you couldn't help but get into the mood. When Madness came on it was the highlight of my Madness career to date, although since then, things only got better and better.

When I have bad writing weeks - weeks where I am prevented from writing and not that what I write is crap - I don't enjoy going to play snooker on a Wednesday. I feel like I should be in making up for it with every spare minute. I squeeze in what I can but in relation to some advice I received on this blog yesterday, I have made a decision to try and balance this out.

Weather permitting, at lunchtimes I am going to get my lunch and eat it in the Botanic Gardens along with my notebook and pencil. It doesn't need to be there - it can be anywhere - I just need some peace and quiet. No wait; that's not strong enough. I need - solitude. There is too many things around me annoying me that normally wouldn't and I need to clear everything out my head and reassemble it in order.

I often get like this when I am taken from writing. I start to feel ratty and irritable and like a drug, I must get my hit in the form of words.

This is me.

So the short of it is I couldn't be bothered with snooker with Ian tonight; my heart was not in it and I was glad to get home. When I did get home, Gail was already in bed and the house lay in darkness.

Then something very strange then happened.

I made a nice cup of strong hot tea and a bread roll with beef slices, took it into the conservatory and sat in the dim light with only my thoughts. It felt good to be alone and surrounded by silence.

One of the windows was slightly open and it allowed a welcome breeze to swirl around my skin, cooling it after what had been a very hot day. In the distance I could make out the sound of what appeared to be a large aircraft approaching. Our house is under the flight path of planes approaching from the south before the circle the Forth Bridge and land at Edinburgh Airport.

The rolling noise slowly got louder and seemed to be crawling through the sky causing me to doubt whether it was even an aircraft. I thought it might be some kind of security vehicle being brought to town in preparation for the G8 summit but when a horn sounded and bells started ringing I knew there was no way this was a plane.

The nearest main road to us is Seafield, but that was too far away for the sound of this vehicle. It was coming from over the other side of the hedge towards the walkway, and the glass in the conservatory windows started to vibrate under the enormity of the beast's tremors as it trundle past close by.

I went out into the garden and realised it sounded more like a train or a large convoy of those kind of trucks that carry cranes or large machinery about. But with no main road nearby or in that direction, I stood under the moon's glow confused. The only possible explanation was the disused railway track, now used as a bicycle track/walkway.

The bells on the monster rang, the horn sounded loud and the metal crunched and screeched as it rumbled by and began to disappear as slowly as it had came into ear-shot.

Something stirred inside the house and when I went in Gail was standing in the kitchen getting a drink of water.

"Did you hear that?" I said.


"That noise - something going past the house with bells and stuff. It sounded like a train."

"No. I'm tired; see you when you come to bed."

"You never heard it? The house was shaking?"

"Maybe you imagined it," she said and left the room.

I went back outside and heard the beast disappear into the blackness and suddenly it was gone. I was alone again, standing with the sound of the city night gathering around me and making me shiver.

I went back inside and finished my tea, contemplated what had just transpired and decided to use it in a story somewhere.

I still have no idea what it was.
Colin 11:42 am


Was it the Polar Express?

That is very strange, no doubt.
My hubba hubba is a Sci Fi fan, so as soon as he doesn't travel as much we'll check out this film.
Enjoy the wedding. Best wishes to your friend!
CREEPY, Colin! For sure use it in a story.

I haven't seen Episode III yet and I'm dying to. I love those movies, have since the first time I saw Star Wars in a crowded theater with my big sister (I was 5 at the time). I still remember it to this day...her whispering in my ear as the words rolled up the screen...the amazing fight at the beginning and just trying to figure out what as going on. Love it.
Hi Colin. What a coincidence. Did you check out my rather cheesy blog entry for Star Wars that I published yesterday?

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