27 10 2014

A Lesson Learned

27 10 2014

Two weeks ago I had a stunning realisation: I was dreamily, happily content. Life was good. Work was manageable, boyfriend was handsome and attentive and the torpid days of Summer had cooled to merely warm and sunny, perfect for breezy hikes and late-season beach trips. I loved my apartment. And to top it all off, I had a week of holidays coming up with which I planned to be healthy and active, swimming, hiking and jogging. I couldn’t wait.

And then, on the second day of my aforementioned holiday, I crashed my bike.

How fortunes change!

The day after my crash I woke up in pain. My left leg hurt. My right leg hurt. Both elbows hurt, and I had chipped a tooth. I had a patch of skin missing on my stomach, and on my left hand. To be sure, the pain wasn’t searing. I would not say I was in “agony”. But I was in discomfort. My body ached every time I moved a limb and I was wrapped in pus-filled bandages which took two hours every day to wrap and replace.

Suddenly, I was furious. Furious at life and the universe. My mobility wasn’t really affected. To be sure, I couldn’t swim but I could still walk, I could still move. But the will to do so had left me. So hikes were out, but what about all those cute cafes I had wanted to try? City sights I had wanted to explore? In a blaze of indignation I dismissed them all, to spend four days sitting sourly at home, dodging my boyfriend and friends (not wanting to unleash my snarling temper on anyone), reading, bleeding and cursing that damned bike.

Only over the last two days, a full eight days after the event, have I moved on. It has been an interesting life lesson – and in some ways a disappointing one. I thought I was stronger that this. So much for all my radiant positivity and contentment, ¬†all it took was a few scratches to bring it crashing down. I have learnt over the last week that I don’t like pain. And also I have been forced to reflect on the fact that I have experienced very little of it. I’ve been so lucky, so healthy and so risk-averse. I have never played extreme sports or been tackled head on at rugby. Never even broken a bone. And while I wouldn’t go recommending falling off bicycles at high speed just yet, it did make me think that maybe its time to push my body a little bit harder, experience my physical self a little bit more.

Just as soon as the damned skin grows back on my knees.

Somewhere in Soho

27 10 2014

Zombie Fight Club

27 10 2014

There is so ‘bad that its good’ and then ‘so all-over-the-place that it is mindboggling’ and Zombie Fight Club falls with aplomb into the second category. Featuring: the dreamy Andy On as a chiselled SWAT team member, Jessica C ( an ‘actress’ whose response to every scene is to make her eyes bulge out like an ostrich), girls whose first reaction to being chased by zombies is to take their tops off, a complete plot re-boot halfway through, blood everywhere, homoerotic shirtless kung fu fights, a chainsaw, zombie blowjob jokes and a Taiwanese rapper called MC Hotdog. The “bread eating” scene will stay with me until I die. Four out of five stars.

27 10 2014

From Ryu Murakami, with Love.

27 10 2014

Haruki Murakami’s latest may have been disappointing but the “other” Murakami is on fire this year with his new book – kind of. Ryu Murakami’s “From the Fatherland with Love” was originally published back in 2005 but has only just been released in English translation now. Written five years before Fukushima, the chillingly prescient tale describes a Japan fallen on such hard times that starvation stalks its cities and homeless encampments have sprung up all over its parks. Meanwhile, a squabbling, ineffectual government stands paralysed by its own indecision in the face of its greatest fear – not a nuclear meltdown, but a stealth North Korean invasion.

The book describes in eerily believable detail the ingenious Korean plan to capture the Southern island of Kyushu, starting with an army of just nine highly trained terrorists who seize the Fukuoka Dome baseball stadium in the first step towards total control. Its chilling – a virtual instruction manual for would-be terrorists, but also a great insight into the feverish, stunted minds of North Korea’s military elite.

This being Murakami, there are also trademark touches of the grotesque and the bizarre in the form of a ragtag ‘resistance’ of psychopathic outsiders, juvenile delinquents and troubled souls who plan to fight back with every bizarre method at their disposal.

Its a thrillingly exciting read and quite thought-provoking – especially when it touches on the perversity of the human mind: the Japanese who side with their invaders over petty grievances with Tokyo and each other, the willingness of bystanders to look the other way, the mindset of the underdog army, each member with his own bloody backstory and the harrowing realities of all-too-realistic North Korea.


26 10 2014


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