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Monday, January 17, 2005  
The God Man

The God Man intrigues me more than almost any other passenger, I think. Certainly more than big-nose kid, whose nose is so desperate to get away from his head that it appears to be mere seconds away from jumping off his face. I’m sure, in a few years, when his countenance has found the measure of his head and adjusted accordingly, when he’s worn it in a touch more, it won’t look like it doesn’t belong there as much as it does now. But anyway. The God Man.

The God Man has a slight bounce to his walk, but it’s not a buoyancy born of arrogance; his feet splay slightly outwards, and he wears exceedingly sensible shoes that are probably waterproof and an exceedingly sensible green anorak thing that’s not a kagoule or a Berghaus walking jacket or something Liam Gallagher would wear, but the kind of thing your dad might have worn at some point in 1987 when he’d completely given up all hope of ever being anything but a parent again. The God Man wears a shirt and tie to work, and has a wife, who you might describe as comely, if that means “roundish, with chubby fingers”. They have a child. She sometimes picks him up from the train station in a knackered old Fiesta. The God Man wears glasses and has short, curly, fair hair which would be messy if it was long enough. This morning he seemed to fall asleep on the train while reading. He often reads. Sometimes he talks to the blonde girl of dubious morality who may have gone to public school and who is going out with someone I was at school with (@l3x R@msd3n, fyi – I saw them on NYE*), which is an odd combination, because he is The God Man.

A while ago he was reading Paul; A Man of Grit and Grace. I couldn’t properly catch the title of whatever he was reading today, but it was another book about Christianity in one way or another – not a Religious Book, or even a Book About Religion, but a book about people from religious books. A biography of a religious figure? I’ve never been impelled to read biographies anyway, because I’m not really interested in people’s lives in that way (biographies seem to be something that people get into reading when they’re older, as if you start reading about other people’s lives when you give up on your own), but reading a biography of a religious figure… even though, you know, Paul existed, it strikes me as being more like reading a biography of a fictional character than of a real person. But that’s not the most intriguing thing about The God Man – when he’s not reading books about religious figures, he reads magazines about making electronic music, about synthesizers and weird computer boxes and gizmos and flashing lights and nodules and modulators and wurlitzers and stuff. I find it odd to ally the religion with the electronic music. Because… The God Man… I get the impression that he draws a lot of strength from reading books like Paul; A Man of Grit and Grace. He looks like he draws strength from them. He looks like he doesn’t find it easy dealing with getting on the train in the morning, with walking along the platform, with whatever he does at his job. He looks… defeated. He looks like a librarian. He may bounce as he walks but his shoulders and stooped and he holds the straps of his satchel as if he couldn’t cope if he didn’t. Not dramatically so, like you see some people who look as if they can’t face life at all… but he looks… weary. I’m not explaining this very well. He almost looks as if he would resent living here and now, if he ever felt anything as strong as resentment; he looks as if all his feelings are mediated by… belief? I don’t know. That seems very patronising. But… what the hell. I do think that religious people are irrational. I do think faith is a coping mechanism. The God Man looks like he needs help coping. That he might also make baning drill n bass in a Aphex stylee intrigues me. How does he know the dubious blonde girl? Has he been religious all his life? Is Paul a role-model for him? Does he wish he was gritty? Does he like Mouse On Mars?

Also I saw an old friend in the pub on Saturday, very briefly. He works for the Environment Agency. Good man. He was with a woman who might have been a bit older than him (he being slightly younger than me), and she was the same “type” of woman (in a physical sense) as his mother. I don’t know if they were “together” together. Is that a sign of defeat, when you start finding yourself with women who resemble your mother?

*NYE being another story, you see. Did I already mention it? Last year, maybe. I hate New Year’s Eve. Emma does too but she won’t admit it; because we’re young she feels impelled to be out and about and doing something, having fun. So we went out. We lasted an hour before the whole hideous thing, the entire spectacle, was too much. Large men wearing only pants because they’re dressed as The Ultimate Warrior, women in blonde wigs who are so ugly they look like men in drag. Boys dressed as fairies. Queuing for half an hour to get a lukewarm drink. The awful compulsion to Be Seen To Be Having Fun. An hour, and we went to get a pizza and then returned home and drank wine and played Trivial Pursuit.

Today’s blog post is bought to you by the numbers 17, 1 and 5, and by the concept of defeat.


1/17/2005 11:56:00 am


Anonymous Anonymous - 8:18 pm

Nick, you're a hoot.

Blogger Ian - 8:34 pm

Geeze, man. Not everything is defeat. You sound like you've been reading Sartre or something.


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Nick Southall is Contributing Editor at Stylus Magazine and occasionally writes for various other places on and offline. You can contact him by emailing auspiciousfishNO@SPAMgmail.com

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