Thursday, June 15, 2006

At Home He Feels Like A Tourist

I find myself in a curious spot, Dear Readers. Very curious. I warn you this may not be particularly linear. You see, this week has been a week of connections. I don't mean capital-C Connections with Very Important Persons (though there have been a couple of those too, if truth be told) . I'm talking about lots of lower-key connections. Lower-key, but each wonderful and portentious in its own small way.

With Jack the Bear (about which more in the future, I promise).
With the person who cleans the loos at the office.
With co-workers.
With the baristas here (mmm, wish I could buy you each a cup of their luurvely coffee)
With cyber-friends.

It has also been a week of re-connections, largely due to the flurry of e-correspondence surrounding my high-school reunion. Mails exchanged with people who I've not thought of in two decades. Connections also continue to be re-forged in the wake of my father's death.

All this forward and backward connecting has drawn me hither and yon. I've been doing much travelling to past times and locations, as well as to those that I want to visit. And sometimes if I think too hard I confuse myself. Like with the place pictured above. Husab. In the Namib desert. I find myself thinking: Was I really there? Or do I want to go? (Answer: yes, and yes).

Then there's cyberspace. Oh, let's not even go there. Too late of course, I'm floating right through it (and so are you).

And home. Where is home? A question that springs from one posed by Colin (yes, him again). Born in New York, raised there by parents who never considered it home. So neither did I. Then a stint in Washington DC. Too transitory to root. Then just shy of fifteen (fifteen!) years in England. Tight friendships forged, a family started. But always in the background the thought: not home, will leave. And we did, last year. Where is home? Perhaps more appropriately: What is home??

The truth is I'm not sure where I am. Or where I'm going. But I am thoroughly enjoying the journey, and the connections I am making along the way.

And the soundtrack, of course:

Dead Can Dance - Frontier (buy here)
This Mortal Coil - Song To The Siren (buy here)
Pale Saints - Time Thief (buy here)
Gang Of Four - At Home He's A Tourist (buy here)
Joe Topping - Two Bottles of Red (buy "Love, Loss & alcohol" here) . Joe was in the Namib with me. I'm sure of that.
Talking Heads - This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) (buy here)


Codicil: I must, must point you again towards Colin (no, don't groan, he's splendid and worth frequent visits) because he's posted a most wonderful Public Image Limited track: "Careering" live on the Old Grey Whistle Test. And to complement said posting, here is a glorious 1980 performance by PiL of "Poptones" and "Careering" on American Bandstand. It's a big file, but worth downloading for its pure, unalloyed brilliance.


Mentok the Mind-taker said...

That explains it. Your writing seems very British, right down to the spelling, yet you talked about your NYC background. Diplomatic family, then? None of my business, of course.

How appropriate that you have come to Canada, a country that never seems to feel comfortable with notions of nationalism. And you've picked Vancouver, a city that on film usually poses as other cities!

It's pure karma, baby! ;-)

FiL said...

No, no diplomats in my family. I'm just a mongreloid.

Indeed, it does seem rather karmic now that you point it out...


Bishakh said...

Oooh! Pale Saints! "Cathedral of sound"! Take me back to those gauzy, shimmery days of yore when boys were pretty and shy and girls created hurricanes with their guitars.

coxon le woof said...

Home is the people you're with, not the place you are, so maybe you're searching for somewhere you've already found.

I dunno, I'm attempting to be deep and profound, but am actully hungover and unable to think clearly.

Anyway I digress, I meant to ask, where on this great Isle I call home did you find yourself for 15 years?

unknown said...


i look forward to downloading that 1980 PIL performance... will do so at work where speeds are faster :)

places + peoples + memories + faces i'd venture - (jeezo... is that not a Deacon Blue lyric?!? shoot me!)

what i mean is: it's all about attachments to whom-ever and what-ever. and, importantly, seeing a future.

a sense of shared destiny (before we fuck it all up... ignore me, in a mood with myself, again...)

FiL said...

My Dear Coxon, sometimes in hangover comes great insight. Indeed, I do subscribe to the "people as home" view. However, many of those folks upon which the foundations of my home rests are distant and scattered. Sigh.

I spent the first four years of my English sojourn in the city of Cambridge. The remainder I spent in Greater London, though during one of those years I lived a strange, bifurcated life between London and Leeds. I tell you, arriving at Leeds Train Station at 11:30 on a Friday night is NOT pleasant...

And Colin, I do agree: it is about connecting. But I'd add that it's also about dealing with and accepting changes to those attachments.

If I hear Deacon Blue are looking for a songwiter, I'll most certainly let you know (though methinks they're beneath you) ;)


A. B. Chairiet said...

Hi FiL,

From seeing your comments at Colin's and on my photoblog, not to mention the one you left on my deathblog...I've been telling myself for over a week now, Go. Read FiL's blog. See what he's all about...

And I love it.

Your writing is wonderful!

The picture on this entry? It's killing me in the best possible way.

As for home: I don't know...I can see why it's an issue for you.

I've lived in the same town my entire life, and I don't feel its my home...see? I have no reason.

I just feel misplaced.


Really, truly like it here. The background is oceanic and your writing, as I said, is great.

Happy Monday,
~ Ash

FiL said...

Hi Ash! Lovely to hear from you. And coincidentally on the same day as I added you to my blogroll.

Thanks so much for the kind words. I'm glad you like it here - I certainly enjoy my visits round your way. You're most welcome to drop by anytime you fancy!

And indeed, wouldn't it be so much easier if the reasons were obvious...???

And now, sleep...


bethanne said...


i love "at home he's a tourist". love love love that song.