When I left university in 1982, I was of the unswerving conviction that all occupations were pointless. Forty years later, I still hold to that view, with the crucial difference that I now see it in a positive light. Jobs really are pointless per se, but that’s alright: you can have a laugh about it and find satisfaction in performing well and even spread a little happiness. There’s no need to ascribe to a job an earnest importance that it doesn’t have. If you treat diners with respect but the waiting job itself as a game, you are more likely to enjoy it and to do it better.
Back then, strung out on existential malaise and emotionally tangled up, viewing existence itself as absurd, I made no effort to look for a job and bummed around Oxford on the dole, drinking too much and smoking dope, washed up on the shore of my own meaninglessness, while university friends went off and got on with life.
Afterwards, I managed to hold down a company job for two and a half years, but it just wasn’t me. My tie wouldn’t stay tied, my shirt always wanted to free itself from the formal trousers, and I ended up quitting.
Death of a Beastie, Mar '85. If you rotate the diagram, the story of the beastie's demise is told. 1. Open house (allowing beastie to get in) 2. The Insect (portrait of the beastie) 3. Stalk of the householder (who wears an Asian paper hat) 4. Death of the beastie (as the householder's foot stomps down on it)
I moved to London, did the easiest work I could find, made some beautiful off-beat friends, and a little freedom worked itself into my life.
In 1987, with the proceeds from my tin pot Ford Fiesta, I bought a ticket to South America. I was still shiftless and travelling was never going to be a settling experience, but I was at last doing something that I had always wanted to do: go out there and have adventures and explore.