Brighton Rock by Alex James
And I dream of being a writer. Two weeks of bedlam. Insanity. I'm not normal, I live in a bubble. We're tearing round the seasides on tour. We are desirable, we are pursued, we are screamed at. Squealing louder than the 16000 watt PA system, deafening, scary teenage girls realising the myth of pop music. Fantastic. Eat as much as you want, money in your pocket, sex when you want it. On the radio, on the telly. We can't do anything without getting a police escort, not even go and get plastered. You'd think getting everything you'd dreamed of would make you happy. That's the basis of wanting it in the first place, eh? And it's definitely recommended, I'm not a maudlin one, but when everything, the stuff of adverts, the precious stuff, becomes freely available, it gets ordinary. Of course if does; it's a cliche, but cliches are the only truths those of us in altered states deserve. We have everything we're supposed to want, even fame. I'm addicted to fame and so are you. Let me show you a famous person you won't talk to. You won't? OK, get someone more famous until you will. Fame is irresistable, sucker. I generally feel utterly shit all day and invincible all night, it's a recursive thing. Of course we're ridiculously busy. Perpetually en route, devoured by the mass media, devoured by the masses. Four hours sleep a night and no tea breaks. I love it. You can't enjoy idle moments unless they're stolen, there's got to be some voltage, otherwise you just sit there meaninglessly. I'm holding a pebble that fits nicely in my hand. A worthless, useless, round, round pebble. An ergonomic piece of eternity. A Zen launch pad, a subconscious diving board. A cosmic blob that no one's put there. There's something of the ink blot about the pebble, surely. I mean, they're just pebbles, you're projecting yourself when you talk about them, dull lumps with no capacity for fractal behaviour. I collect them. I've got loads. Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head. I nearly bought a meteorite in Osaka. I'd always wanted one, you know, a piece of outer space. And there they were: small and spikey and expensive, in collect-and-keep plinth presentation cases, and I had one of those lovely turnaround moments that change your whole perspective forever, a paradigm-shift job. It went: they don't look as nice as pebbles, and then I suppose pebbles are from space in a way, and we're from space in the same way, and this is outer space, this is outer space anyway. Gorgeous. A rush of vision: pebbles are our cosmic neighbours. Sand's a little bit pretty and intangible, gold's a tart, diamonds are whores. They're more man-made than a Linda McCartney "Chicken" Kiev, smelted and cut and polished and set and oh so expensive. Overtures of overtones, they stink of status, superficial shiny ephemera. They're not from space, they're from the shops. So I'm back on the beach with all these really really pebbles, a million zillion really really pebbles, thinking where do they come from, and even more, where do they go? Where do they go? The first thing you think is that these quiet restful round things are all surface, a mysterious surface hiding the inside, the covert essence of the thing. But the whole thing about pebbles, the nice round thing, only happens because they are perpetually being ground down, I mean, having their surface removed. So in scientific terms you could argue there's probably no such thing as a pebble, just a big lump and then a dynamic and then nothing. The pebble gradually realises its insides. So I remove a palm-sized pebble from its journey down the plughole, hold it for a moment and think: Where do you go? And another marvellous turnaround thingy. I mean, they don't just disappear, they must form some necessary mineral element in some necessary food chain, and a monster big feeling of unity of all these pebbles in all this sea and sunshine and little splishy ripples and what it all looks like and how much a part of me it is and how gentle and round overwhelms me. I'm holding a piece of forever, a piece of me and you and everything. I have the outside inside me, and I'm in outer space. How they belong where they are, these blobs, they're as precious as orchids. So I hurl the thing back into the sea as hard as I can, it makes a Zen-fibrous Zen-fabulous parabolic straight line and changes the remote future completely with a splash.