Archive for May, 2010

100 degrees of separation

Monday, May 24th, 2010

100 degrees of separation
Just 100 degrees of the Celsius scale separates us from oblivion.

On a weekend break we visited the coast. As I stood and watched the play of the waves on the sandy beach and felt the warm sunshine on my body I realised what a razor edge of existence we thoughtlessly enjoy.

The temperature range of the universe is beyond comprehension. Physicists calculate the coolest temperature to be -273 degrees Celsius. The hottest is still being investigated. Liquid water only exists in an infinitesimal part of that spectrum, one hundred degrees out of many, many billions. The chances of our being here at all are beyond our imaginations. We should either be a ball of ice (as the earth has been in the past) or a ball of rock and gas. It is no wonder scientists are having sleepless nights as they contemplate a humankind interference with the natural balances of our atmosphere.

The earth is performing a tightrope act of the highest skill, a miracle of astonishing balance and poise, and we insist on shaking the wire. If the earth falls, there is no coming back.

Cooking programmes on TV

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

If ever a programme pitch for a TV series should have been thrown out at the, scribbled on a napkin in the wine bar after several bottles of chateau du crazy stage, a cooking programme is it.

Rationally, it’s stupid. Everything that is pleasurable about cooking – the texture of the food as we prepare it, the smells of the ingredients as we cook it, and the taste sensations as we eat it – is missing from television. You might as well have contortionists on the radio. But there are scores of cooking programmes on the television.


Because of the power of ideas. An idea is more powerful than an artefact.

When we passively watch the food being prepared on television, it stimulates our imaginations, “Hmm, yes, I would like to try that,” we think. If we could actually have a taste or even smell the food, the desire would be lessened (it could taste awful, don’t forget). It is precisely because we can’t smell or taste the food, that we continue to watch the programmes and imagine how good it might be.

This is what makes them so popular. It is a piece of temptation that is just out of reach, we can see it, but we can’t taste it.

What we are left with, at the end of the programme, is the idea of a meal.

Money plays the same trick. It is only an idea, a menu. We continue to put up with an impoverished reality, and watch the world go by as we passively put up with jobs that lack the vital ingredients of talent, passion and purpose. We do this because the idea of enjoying the fruits of our labour is so strong, and our imaginations so powerful, we persist with mistaking the menu for the food.

To a starving man, a menu is not enough, the food itself is needed.


Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Upon hearing some of my ideas, a radio host asked me if I had seen this film. I said I hadn’t. He said I ought to, I would absolutely love it. So I watched it and I did.

Be warned, it is disturbing. It is Bambi being slaughtered, diced and sliced and sold off in the supermarkets; it is Uncle Sam being quizzed in the asylum and being declared insane; it is Mickey Mouse dealing crack cocaine on the street corners and whacking any wannabe stupid enough to want some of the action.

Er, enjoy.