Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Them flowers

It all began with a nice old man who lived on our street, talking to me about some flowers that he’d grown in his garden. I think over time I have perhaps, if not sanitized this old man, at least Disney- field him. For now, in my mind’s eye, when I cast my thoughts back, I see a twinkle-eyed Geppetto character, smoking a pipe and wearing lederhosen as he tends to his nasturtiums. They beam back at him and grin – perhaps even jigging about like the battery –operated dancing flowers that were to become popular a decade or so later. The passage of time has also allowed me to lacquer the memory with the old man’s unexpressed suspicion that I were in need of a patriarch, a father figure, and him being all kind and guiding me toward an understanding of nature. As I recall it now, he put a fatherly arm around me, and what he said next could almost be a song from The Lion King about the cycle of life. “And all these flowers grow, and one day they die, but they’ll grow again. These flowers are perennial. Their seed is eternal. Flower begets flower and on we must go- from now until the end of time. Always it were thus, like a line of human bellybuttons stretching back to Adam and Eve.” Then, the old man paused. “Oh well,” he said, “I’ll just pop into the toilet for a wee… Don’t stamp on those flowers, will you?” “Don’t stamp on those flowers… “Why say that? Had he not parted with the words, “Don’t stamp on those flowers,” I wouldn’t have. It just wouldn’t’ve occurred to me. I might have stamped on one to make an example of it. But in the sentence, “Don’t stamp on those flowers,” the word “don’t” is feeble, important and easy to ignore. Whereas “STAMP ON THOSE FLOWERS” has a real linguistic verve; “stamp on those flowers” could be a slogan, a catchphrase, a banner under which nations could unite. So the moment he shuffled out of view, all old and friendly, I stamped on them flowers. I stampeded till there was naught but mush, till they were but a memory of flowers; I stamped with a ferocity that meant that flowers everywhere would never again feel safe. It was a floral 9/11. I knew it was bad but I couldn’t deny the urge; I know why them medieval loons were so keen to believe in demonic possession because I gave vent in that moment to a timeless darkness, the parameters of which extend beyond my being and transgress the very borders of evil itself. I was angry toward them flowers – just growing there, thinking they were better than us.
Russel Brand, "My booky wook"

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