Time Bandits

This week has left me pondering how pervasive and powerful one person’s fear can be. A would be butterfly on the West Coast of America gets their wings in a flap and a draft is felt in East London.

Friends we have built over decades of shared experiences we assume are solid and immutable. We tend to think that bonds forged over trauma endured or thousands of laughs and kindnesses exchanged are unshakeable – the rocks in our lives we can count on to be there no matter what. We think that because we have travelled through life’s most profound journeys with a person and emerged, survived together, no deed can unmake the past. What’s done is done and set in stone.
Therefore it is unsettling to suspect that, in fact, the past is fluid and unstable. Pull one thread and it unravels. Take for granted that understandings reached half a lifetime ago stand protected and sacrosanct and you will find they have to be renewed like a magazine subscription, fought for all over again with battles you imagined long ago won and buried.

I’m exasperated for two reasons.
Firstly because all the time spent building good will has been eroded, stained and stolen by the instant gratification of insecurity. Secondly, I’m disappointed with myself for falling prey to feeling cowed and self-conscious about a relationship I’ve always openly celebrated and been proud of. No matter how defiant I am regarding the principle that positive should always triumph over negative, the seed of doubt and fear of offence has crept in. It has sullied any joy and innocence in celebrating my own history, whomever may be a part of it, all for someone else’s perception, which I am now obligated to view through the warped prism of.                                                                                                                                               I can’t become unaware of it.

I’m reminded of Kevin in the film Time Bandits watching his parents approach the charred lump inside the oven. He yells, “Mum! Dad! Don’t touch it! It’s Evil!”
Of course they do and malignancy persists, spreads, infects everyone in contact with it, just as gossip, insults, fear and jealousy infect and mar a whole slew of people down the line from their origin.
Sides are taken, acrimony magnifies out of proportion. People shut themselves off instead of communicating with love and maturity.
Something good gets hidden away in the cupboard under the stairs, to be ignored and moulder, collecting dust. It’s as if you were suddenly informed that your Chiparus bronze was a deeply embarrassing wedding present of a Lladro figurine, allowed to be placed on the mantle in case of certain relatives visiting, then shuttled back into obscurity for the sake of diplomacy.

Someone said, peeved, “You love to stir shit. Why do you have to write about it?”
“Because I’m a writer. That’s what I do.”
“Yes, but you’re not a real writer.”

Maybe not. And friendship, loyalty and decades of love and truce are imaginary concepts we also fancy are real until a Time Bandit steals them away.

“Good one of Wally…” said Fidget, eyeing a Polaroid. At least that was one photo enjoyed for its own sake.


About alisonlouisehay

Assuming Alison was a cat, it would be safe to say she had already used up a fair proportion of her nine lives. Not long after leaving school as a disgraced convent girl she met a young hairdresser and became a canvas for multiple styles, cuts and colours as his model in competitions, but fortunately for her scalp he was to find fame as a founding member of a global phenomenon called Culture Club. Careening around the continents as Eighties Ambassadors For Excess was only part of the story as their relationship weathered a move from London to Los Angeles in what is commonly known in 12 Step circles as 'doing a geographic' in the erroneous hope that a) life will improve and b) the tax man will not catch up with you. They paused from their mission of world domination in 1986 to bring forth a daughter in an earnest bid to propagate the wildest offspring on the planet; would that every day could begin at 4 am with a voice on the telephone saying, "This is the LAPD - are you the mother of Sunny Hay?" Divorce followed in the mid-nineties and Alison embarked upon the wonder of American Men, including a former Playgirl Man of the Year, satisfying herself that everything is indeed, bigger in America, and occupying herself with the occasional spate of interior design for Sharon and Ozzy amongst others. Later she assumed the job of growing the company of English lingerie purveyors Agent Provocateur in the U.S, affording her the opportunity of seeing the world's most famous women naked and introducing her to the London based and married CEO with whom she eloped on a rashly considered two year stint in the Middle East as the only pink haired woman in the region while rearranging the face of Middle Eastern retail. Keen to fuck up her life on a fresh continent, she escaped back to London to spend a year living with her old friend Boy George as a refugee in his Gothic mansion until finding her own sanctuary. Alison is currently Nana Pink to LA's coolest kid, Lion, and resides in East London. Hobbies include collecting orange carrier bags and research into disposing of moths in ways that don't leave obvious scuffs on walls.
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1 Response to Time Bandits

  1. Margaret says:

    Malicious and unkind words carry more weight from those we love or respect because we have more invested in them. It doesn’t alter the truth, though; and that is that you are a brilliant writer, a real writer writing fearlessly with wit, insight and wisdom, A real writer is defined by the impact their words have on their readers; and I for one look forward to each new stroke of your pen. The one who uttered those words has an agenda that may never be revealed, but what has been is a lack of judgement and knowledge. Sticks and Stones may break your bones, but Words will ALWAYS hurt you because they are your currency and your artistic medium. Any good writer has to learn to deflect word attacks from others. Check them for the grains of truth that may be in them, then just carry on. Take what you like and leave the rest is true of everything in your life.

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