Synthetic-on-Sea

Corn Field 12k beyond La Tranche-sur-Mer to the Coast around L’Houmeau [Part 1]: Saturday 19 August 2017

6:52. France isn’t all: ‘my-camera-isn’t-good-enough-for-these vistas’, ‘insouciant chic’, and ‘effortless cool’.

As we made our way along the much-longer-than-it-appeared-on-our-mapping-application D747, our in-union-with-our-sense-of-self-within-the-world-around-us was torn asunder, as every crevice of calm was assailed and invaded by the monotone roar of machines belligerently missioning from there to there, regardless and heedless, oblivious and dangerous – to life.

To all life,
That is all.

Cars, cars, and more cars, and trucks, and lorries, and camper-vans, and caravans, and engines, and wheels, rowing and rolling and pushing, racing, bursting great holes through the fabric eternal; no longer eternal, but victim to the cold caprice of disinterested cogs in the wheels that steal anything life.

Finally, we got off the main thoroughfare of coastal dashers to enjoy the paths, lanes and trails running along the dikes threaded through this land once reclaimed from the sea.

Lovely.

Even here, though, sanctuary was shattered by the sound of holiday camps pumping manufactured enthusiasm through inadequate systems, creating that perfect sense of jarring disharmony you feel when something is out of synch with the Living World.

Camps where kids are sent for a fortnight of enforced frivolity and fun-by-numbers, which must be fun for some – but is clearly none for some.

Definitions of ‘fun’ are as varied as those of ‘interesting’, ‘tasty’, ‘quality’, ‘beautiful’, ‘ugly’, ‘sexy’. They’re just words invested with meaning by the speaker, then invested with a slightly different meaning by the beholder.

Other words announce themselves as I reflect upon yesterday.

Plastic.

Synthetic.

Again, two words that hadn’t applied to our French sojourn so far.

We exited the marshland and continued along a lonely lane, tailwinds enthusiastically assisting us along our way.

And,

lost in a breeze

We got lost.

Well, not lost, but off track,

so we had to re-route

Back on the 747.

Caravan parks to the left of me. Caravan parks to the right. No-one allowed in or out. Concentration camps of conformity, where fun is synthesised down to its lowest common denominator and mass-produced on cost-effective scales out of garish materials born not of this Natural World; and born never to return to it either.

Hollow sounds, which ring tragic in the ear, carrying within them the absence of feeling that fills a joyful expression announced of spontaneity and free-wills expressing themselves.

“We are on holiday.
We are here to have fun now.
And fun we shall have. Goddammit.”

And they are everywhere around the Le Tranche area. People farmed out here en masse, deprived of the money they have worked hard for, to spend on this idea they have bought into, which seems to rob most all of their dignity and virtue, as they are subject to bombardment by the slightly off-colour, slightly out-of-tune, not-quite-the-same-tasting world; where individuality is quashed and a human becomes a mob; where frustration is released through enforced hilarity; where cries are released as alcohol numbs; infusing these simulacra of happiness with strains of terror, of anger, frustration and anguish, and a self-consciousness that this is a situation not really born of one’s own desires, but of choices made by another – and not really for your own benefit.

And it saddens me.
And it’s tragic.
And it’s sad.

which is why I’m here, and not over there,
where we all are

Who am I
the judge?

~~~~~~~~~~

next entry>>

<<previous entry

Window Screens

Le Riot du Plessis (Le Plessis Bergeret) to La Roche-sur-Yon [Part 3]: Wednesday 16 August 2017

11:30am. Sitting outside a typical E.Leclerc, after a light-and-easy 10k from our beautiful overnight spot beside the Lake/River Le Riot du Plessis. We were both awake and up around 7am, having fallen to sleep accompanied by the haunting-yet-soothing hoots of an owl or three.

No real urgency today. We’ve just got a hotel-check-in at 2pm for our rest-day. On some level, it’s reassuring to know we’ve got everything there waiting, without having to cycle from here to here, dependent on various weather conditions or shopping opportunities for what we eat, or when we eat, or even how. A bed is there, also not susceptible to the caprice of the weather.

And that’s nice. It is. The reliable. The sense it’s always there, almost exactly as you left it – and maybe exactly as you wish. It’s what you can have in day-to-day life, with convenience on your doorstep, if you’re willing to pay the price – of your labour; of your life; of most of your time on this Earth; to consume the fruits of your labour at prices higher than those at which you were paid; to keep a cycle going for those unknowns elsewhere, who we see on our screens, wishing that that was us. And life ticks by as we aspire to live someone else’s dream; a dream at the expense of our own. And the Earth spins on, vastly unknown, viewed through windows presented by others.

Inevitably, we tire, our vigour fades, and our market value declines. We’re put out to pasture – to do as we might, though a little too broken to do what we once could have done. So through those same windows we continue to follow the lives – those lives that we chose not to live.

And that’s nice, if vicarious is all that you need, and virtual is real enough. But as the heart breathes and life warmly flows, I want more than simulacra of being.

As one day turns to next, we all head the same way and leave some light footprints behind, so it doesn’t matter so much – your way or mine – as long as it’s the one that you choose.

~~~~~~~~~~

next entry>>

<<previous entry

What’s Good for the Economy

Brno to Těšetice [Part 2]: Tuesday 11 July 2017

14:30. Second break in Syrovice. Not many k on the clock – 25.1 – for just over two hours of riding, but it was a bit of a puzzle to piece together getting out of Brno, not only because of the streets that change names but don’t change, not only because it’s sometimes difficult to know which street you’re on due to a lack of signs, not only because, when you do find a sign, you discover that each street has two names – why is that? – and not only because it’s a city; but a combination of those factors does tend to hinder you a tad 🙃

We exited Brno to the South, taking us through the quirky town of Modřice, with its eclectic mix of modern architecture and uniformly low buildings – is there a reason for that? We then passed by, through and next to a network of soulless business parks and logistics hubs, strategically situated alongside some major motorways, looking to serve the insatiable needs consumer culture identifies for us.

The employees sit outside sucking on their fags, exchanging gossip from their other virtual lives, seemingly devoid of any sparks that indicate a soul alive. They’re sad empty gazes that feel instantly recognisable to me from my time as component number 101 in a factory conveyor-belt machine. It is also here that we encounter in quite rapid succession two impatient drivers betraying signs of frustrated masculinity; and some of the other driving indicates an impatience of humans ruled more by machines than by the emotions that unite flesh to flesh. In this highly commercial area you get a very real sense of where people lose the connect with their humanity, as their life-force is claimed to serve the money machine.

It’s nice to be through that brief encounter, sitting in this serviceably sweet centre of Syrovice.

~~~~~~~~~~

next entry>>

<<previous entry