It’s hot today and set to get hotter as the week goes on. I would talk about how this thoroughly displeases me, but I’ve done so in the past and no one seems to have done anything about it. Usually, I try to keep my blogs informative and offer an analysis of a particular aspect of modern life. If not that, I tend to offer newly found works of Hubert J Watergipridget. I try to refrain from talking about myself on a specific level. I do so for several reasons. One is that I’m not prone to vanity like everyone else on the interwebs, posting inane drivel about their trips to the shop or sticking up selfies of them walking through town, slurping a drink that’s far too colourful to be the drink of an adult.
What happened before smartphones? Were we more modest and more focused on the outside world? I honestly can’t remember. It could be that we all secretly harboured thoughts that we would love a platform to post the same picture of our heads over and over again, and it was the world’s loss that the technology for us to do so just didn’t exist.
Alas, we’re in an age of self-obsession. Some time ago, society fought for the noble cause of freedom of speech. Inevitably, this gave way to people thinking they had to speak their mind, not thinking for a second whether their mind had anything worthwhile to say. I can fight against this. Or I can give in.
As I decide this, I shall talk about my beard.
This is my beard, there are many other beards like it…you know the rest.
I have a complicated relationship with facial hair. Having grown up reading books about wizards and watching Star Wars, I associated the beard with wise and complicated old men. In the many books I read, if a man with a beard turned up you could be damned sure that some exciting shit was going to kick off. Unless the exciting shit kicker offer was female, in which case she’d be stern and thin-lipped, but kindly and clever. The beard was the mark of wonder. It spoke of an experienced man who had seen much of the world and been on many adventures. He would never express such in simple words. He would allude to it. He would guide the younger generation on their own adventures, only ever stepping in when absolutely necessary (unless it’s Dumbledore, in which case he turns out to be a massive bellend).
Then, there were a number of years (quite recently) when everyone went mad for the beard. Beards of all ‘quirky’ styles adorned the faces of young, generally well-groomed men. Men who were not wise nor kindly, but vain and prickish. Men who had beards because apparently, that’s what men did. Men who thought a mass of facial hair was an adequate stand-in for a personality. The beard became another fad, another branded jacket that everyone must wear. The bigger the better.
Like this man, sporting the timeless look that says ‘I don’t care what others think, as long as they think that I don’t care.’
Fortunately, that fad has died a death, like all fads. We’ve woken up from a mad and bewildering dream and returned to reality, where a beard is just hair sprouting from a face.
I currently have a beard… sort of.
The main reason for this beard is one of laziness. Just like the main reason for WWII was Hitler and his band of merry Nazis. But also, like WWII there are a number of other contributing factors that allowed Hitler and his merry band of Nazis to gain power in the first place.
Am I still talking about my beard? Yes, I believe so. Like the world-wide atrocity that was WWII, there are many contributing factors to my facial hair.
I have always been a somewhat ambitious person. I have always striven for greatness beyond measure yet have accrued nothing but failure. Since I was about 8 years of age, I have wanted to write a book. I would forever start things, but they would never take off distracted as I was by other things, like pigeons or small pieces of string. Then at the age of 11… ish. After forcing my imagination to work overdrive and instilling an iron discipline in myself, I sat down and typed. I typed and typed and then typed some more. I got type fingers and had to undergo a strenuous period of physiotherapy. Then I typed some more. After years of endless typing, I finished my first novel.
This turned out to be Lord of the Rings. Very soon after realising this, I remembered the Lord of the Rings already existed and was much better than my shameless knock off The Crystal of Doom. I still remember the adventures of the Chain Knights, Lord Syndus and Blakemere setting off with Martin, Keeper of the Dragon Pearls to acquire that damned crystal. So, I threw it aside – figuratively speaking of course, it was on the family desktop. Had I thrown that I would have been in serious trouble. But I had to accept I was a talentless hack. A plagiarist. A copycat, a smelly fat copycat!
The original copycat, copying everything that cats had previously done. The uninspired hack!
I briefly had the idea that I could be an actor and got no further than an extra role in The Theory of Everything, which to this day I still have not watched. I assume Hawking has a theory regarding all things at one point. At university, I got the delusion that maybe I could a comedian. After 5 fairly successful gigs and one disastrous one, I concluded that spending £24 on a railcard and then travelling 50+ minutes on various trains and getting lost in London for 5 minutes of stage time was probably not a good career choice.
But, throughout all of this, I have been writing. I have written a multitude of novels across numerous genres for various audiences. The one thing this diverse collection of works has in common is that they are all shit and remain unpublished. For my latest novel, I have thus far received 4 rejection letters from literary agents, the shrivelled leeches of the world of books. It’s their continued existence that makes me question these alarmist reports like this one that suggests that the publishing industry is dying. For starters that was written 2 years ago, and they are still going, so if they are it’s a laboured death Shakespeare would be proud of. If these odd middlepeople earning their 10% on each author can afford to reject me, it either means the industry is alive and well, or I’m just a terrible terrible writer. I’ve invested far too much time to accept the latter.
For my next novel ‘The Big Book of Meaningless Shite’
Yes. So, a friend of mine also harbours ambition. We regularly communicate electronically. We’re like the modern-day Tolkien and C.S Lewis, just minus the Christianity bollox… and the Oxford education and writing ability. In frustration of our lack of critical acclaim, we declared that neither of us would shave until we become successful. The logic being twisting and numerous, like the roots of an old oak. For starters, seeing our increasingly hairy faces in the mirror each morning will inspire us to work harder, or remove our mirrors. Secondly, all good writers have a writer beard. They can stroke it whilst looking stoic and thoughtful. Thirdly, shaving it off will come with such a relief when the event comes with hard-earned success. The faces lurking underneath will be renewed with a lust for life and the smiles of satisfied men.
The Portrait of the Artist When Doing a Poo
My friend has already shaved. Not because he’s successful, but because he’s a fickle shit who wastes words like a rich man throwing pennies hard into the face of an old blind woman. Though his blog is getting more views than mine on a daily basis, so he has more right to shave than I do.
I, however, am a man of my word. If we do not do as we say, then words will start to lose all meaning and this blog will just be a handful of indecipherable shapes, typed out by someone with too much time on his hands. Despite the obvious bald patches and its ginger colouring, I will continue to sport my face fuzz in the hope that I soon may be rid of it. The alternative is I die with knee-length beard, moistened and matted by the bitter tears of failure.
But at least I’ll die looking a bit like this guy…
Which makes me think… maybe the bearded men of those old books weren’t that wise. Maybe they were all failures too.