Genesis of a nature lover 1
Image by LHG Creative Photography
"You have camera, me want! Pointy finger demands you bring now!"
This must be 1974 being read to by my Pa, small wonder I turned out a nature lover, being read nothing but books about animals. Hats off to the folks though, I could read properly aged 2 years old. I realise that was probably a bit precocious of me, but when I hear of people leaving school still unable to read, if they aint dysleksic (fair enough) you have to wonder what the hell the people all around them have been doing for 16 years!
Read the kid a damn book you freaks! Your kid should be able to read before it goes to fuckin school, not 20 years after! What else have you got to do, get pissed , work yourself to death, watch soaps, be a yuppie? Get fuckin real! Do something real for your kids, make them read with you!
Admittedly I wasnt into TV when very small , primarily because my eye frame rate is very fast indeed, still is, probably something to do with genes and a very premature birth indeed, and when I was about three all I could see in a tv was the pixels, and the electomagnic colour waves when you ran your finger over it, and up close the pixels changing colour. I still have to relax and slow down in my head not to see crt’s and striplights flash.
But when I could see the TV though, it was great because there was "SURVIVAL" narrated by leonard nemoy, I loved the marine episodes, but the advert breaks drove me insane, (advert breaks take a fucking eternity when your 3 or four ) god knows how kids manage with their concentration broken from subject every 10-15 minutes, no wonder people have concentration span issues.
Personally I like to put a "life" dvd series on and watch it all in one go, (I’ve got one of those 48 hour attention spans ,lol – for god sake man get up have dinner and take a shit ,lol) ) then there was gerald durrell and dave attenboroughs stuff. I actually preferred that because I found bagpuss and the klangers totally unfathomable( well to be fair I understood them perfectly, but just couldn’t see the fuckin point).
Then there was johhny morris and animal magic (oooaaaawwww hello, I’m a puffin, lol), and you can moan about anthropomorphisation all you like, but when your five its fuckin great 😉 , Terry nutkins, and tony soper, I was hooked, with only occassional forays into thunderbirds , and for some strange reason I thought jamie and the magic torch was the best theme tune ever. The dinosaur craze hit, and since there wasnt much in the way of actual dinosaurs on TV, godzilla shows, especially the ones screened as "creatures from another planet" in english translation were highlights of my day, as were the oddly rare episodes of "battle of the planets" which I believe the asians out there will know as the uncensored "space ninja gatchaman?" . I must have driven my parents mad for a good year transmuting and piloting the phoenix around the house. Princess was the hottest woman I’d ever seen, at least until I saw Sally James. So I like em lookin a bit slutty on occassion. That was not a popular crush of mine in a resoundingly middle class household lol. I think mum would have been much happier if I’d have fancied julie andrews or penelope keith.
I remember the weird thing about going to school, aged four , mum got pulled into some sort of PTA meeting, with my dumbass teachers being concerned that I wouldnt read jack and jill books, "he might have reading problems", they said.
Mum thankfully told them the truth, that frankly I was being a booksnob, in that I had already read the entire encyclopedia britannica, and was just getting into wilbur smith books, kipling, and tolkien and was reading durrel and attenborough books too, having already exhausted just aboutevery dinosaur book in print, and having memorised the latin names of er -all of them. She expressed to them it was probably a waste of time to get me to read out loud because I could speed read and would lose the other kids in about a minute flat, and that elecution lessons were a waste of time because I’d just start taking the piss in about 6 regional accents.
I remeber there was a golden moment though, i’d had time life books with a different animal theme every month, and they were great, nice pictures everthing, a story of great litarature in the middle section from excerpts from "Jaws" to "the rhyme of the ancient mariner" , and my first awareness of the kontiki expedition, which I thought was magic. The biggest deal that decade was though, without word of a lie, that moment when my sister saved up and bought me the deluxe edition of "Life on earth". I had toys galore, but damn I loved that book. The dinosaurs, the images from all the wildlife specials on tv, it all tied up, and while evolution was a vague concept to me, it took hold, and it led to an epiphanous moment. I saw the commonalities and links in well, everything. The last vestiges of taught religion (I wasnt really buying it anyway in my heart of hearts) died, and was replaced by something, that has for me always been infinitely less human, and far, far , more magical. Life itself.
A year later, still not in my teens I read the evolution of species, and the way I saw the world changed forever. It became deep, accurate, precise. So I take my hat off not only to my sister and my mum for facilitating that moment, but most of all to charles darwin, and david attenborough, to whom I will be forever grateful.
At school, (that very epicentre of blind mediocrity and conformism ) they still made me read the jack and jill books though, having relented to pressure I found that was a tawdry hour or two for the entire series. Teacher (A certain Mrs Agg if I remember correctly) looked staggered when she asked me questions and I answered them correctly. They really weren’t expecting a kid to do a whole years corriculum in little over an hour.
Then I (being a snotty little child) accused my teacher of being "moody and on the change" and that could I just go to the adult library section and choose some books sometime before my head caved in from total boredom. As it was "Lion Adventure" , a dramatisation about the maneaters of tsavo, was the best I could find, it was either that or books about hairy caterpillars. I can’t believe my parents paid good money for that school.
People talk about dumbing down like its a new phenomena, i’ve been dodging it all my life!
Shame that enthusiasm didnt survive my teens, I went a bit "kevin and perry" like everyone else, just the heavy metal version. In fact I think "dumbing down" made my teens happen , but 10 times worse. It gave me a severe bout of dissillusionment. I could see the mechanism of conformity, of drudgery , of dogma, and like hell was I playing. I think aged 13 the thought entered my head "qualifications or not, reputation or not, fuck it, I can catch up on this in a few hours." I’ll take the consequences just to grab some freedom time.
I could and I did. Thank god I did , because if I hadn’t depression would have hit much earlier. I apologise for nothing. A life has not reached any kind of conclusion by merely your teens.
That was school for me. 14 solid years of doging bullying, mindless social convention, out of date knowledge, preventing as much shit as possible from rolling downhill, and dealing with the confusions of finding girls cute. I gave it the effort it deserved , and that wasn’t much. School didnt teach me about education or academia, I surpassed anything it had to offer in a few hours of private study, hobbies and interests and by thinking in pure logic without the dogma. It taught me about people, and just how many of them know nothing, how many of them stand on the shoulders of geniuses , and then degrade what the genius set out in the first place. If you have worked out a good educational principle for yourself you don’t surrender it to someone else, promise of qualification or jobs or anything else. If your quick you have to do what you can tolerate, end of story. You have to live, especially when your a little different. Conformism and slavery to the capitalist system is what gave me the nervous breakdown and ruined 6 years of my life, took me close to insanity. With hindsight and retrospect I should have seen it coming. But I didn’t. Too stressed living it to see the third person objective.
Ok, so I was a demon child. But I know I should have stuck to my guns and gone my own way even more.
If only the adult I am now could have taken the special child that I was under his wing before the damage was done. I know I will never be all I could have been.
Things could have been so, so different. The curse of a photographic long term memory is in seeing yourself with clarity, and knowing that you stood not one fucking chance without running into an older you. In a few sentances I could have turned my entire life around. You need those agenda-free words from someone in life. Just someone to say from the heart, "This is how you fly kid.". Thats why I hate school corriculums and the capitalist system of parenting, it does not and never will give you that. The truth of life is harder to see and harder to say. Almost no-one manages it.
Small wonder people turn to religion to make sense of it, but I never will. In my last languishing day on this earth if I give god an even ironic credence , I will just stick my middle finger up at him and say "Fuck you, I could have done a better job of governing a human society when I was five, you are at best, one lazy, conformist, no influence, ineffective, no miracle, no magic, no fairness, pointless, slave-producing, self -adoring, power hungry, dogmatic mother fucker" and hurl myself to whatever oblivion.
Me and mama nature, thats all there is. I’d rather be in the winds of chance and pure evolution every time.
All I know now, is its between me and the wildlife. The only place I feel right, and can offer something useful. Its the only place I feel alive, and can work without feeling like a soulless machine. Its the last safe place for me.
You have to be where you love.