Sunday, 19 June 2011

A Song, Birds, Tunnels

A Song

So, music's great, isn't it? In general. Radiohead, they're a good band, right? Varied, interesting musically, a bit mad and angry and beautiful. I'm a fan. In general. I like Paranoid Android, it's a good song. It's been in my head all day. But not the Radiohead version. I prefer this one - not because it's better, but because it was this version that made me actually listen to it. It's this one that I hear in my head when anyone mentions the song, not the original. It's this one I sing along to. It's very clever and I like it. If you like it too, you might like Tripod's original stuff. Or you might not. If you feel inclined to look, I recommend "Fabian" or "Gonna Make You Happy".



Birds unnerve me. They don't seem to need shelter. I love shelter, me. A nice duvet and a roof and a cup of tea. Birds build nests when they have to lay eggs. Otherwise, they're perfectly happy to sleep in the middle of a path, or as they fly, or sitting on the end of a branch, or floating in the water. Don't they get cold?! I'd get cold. Their entire existence is just as they are, no clothes, no hot drinks, no houses. Even Christopher McCandless lived in a bus.

Herons are funny ones, too. They don't particularly like people, but they're a bit stubborn. They will find a place to sit, within sight of fish so they know when to swoop. They will not move. They'll wait until you're two feet away, then they'll fly away somewhere nearby. You'd think they would go the opposite direction but no, they continue in the same way as you're going, then get all huffy and fly off when you inevitably approach again.


We're going through two long tunnels this week. One is just over 2000 metres and the other is just over 3000. They take about half an hour and forty five minutes to get through, respectively. I LOVE going through tunnels in a boat. Imagine a bright sunny day, not a cloud in the sky, pretty green trees waving in a slight breeze. Then imagine going into a darkened tunnel, the end of which isn't visible. The air gets cooler. The breeze suddenly stills. You've got a hood up - the ceiling drips, and your engine smoke disturbs the spiders and other insects enough for them to descend towards your head to find out what's going on. You can make out the brickwork, for a while, but as you get further and further in, all light vanishes aside from the faint glowing from the windows of your boat. This dim yellow picks out crooked stones and the chains just above water level. If you fall in, you can use these chains to feel your way towards the nearest end. In some tunnels are glow-in-the-dark arrows stuck to the wall to show the halfway point. When you get towards the centre, all you can see is the occasional repeated pattern of stonework in the wall. It feels like time has vanished, you're in a loop and you can't remember how you got there. This carries on for a while. Ten minutes, maybe. Ten minutes of silence and damp darkness and no sign of life. You can't even tell if you're moving any more. Then it begins to get lighter and your eyes are shaken from their trance. The exit is a pinprick in the distance, but is nonetheless visible. It slowly gets bigger, and all you can do is stare at it, waiting for it to reach you. All of a sudden you are out in the bright sunlight again, trees flickering around you, a warmth on your face, and your brain wakes up as you return to real life.

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