Wednesday, 30 September 2009


I read a review in the Sunday papers that described the film Big River Man ‘as if Werner Herzog had made Borat’ and went straight out to see it.
The documentary follows Martin Strel, a huge Slovenian who swam the entire length of the Amazon - from Peru to the Brazilian coast: 3,375 miles in 66 days - that’s longer than the width of the Atlantic - & he goes completely stark, raving psycho in the process.

In the headwaters terrifies some of the riverine tribes , who won't let Strel stay with them, fearing he is an evil pistachio - and this before his son Borat [really]
makes him a hideous white mask to protect him from sunburn, which makes him look like the The Elephant Man doing the crawl. The incredibly honest, loving, exasperated commentary is voiced by Borat who acts as his father’s manager, publicist & nanny-minder. We lean that the Amazon is not the first river Martin Strel has swum; he has already done the Danube, the Yangtze & the Mississippi. His vague motive for the Amazon swim was, in Strel’s words, " for peace, friendship & clean waters." although the film also reveals that lurking below the water level there is a deep psychological drive, as swimming was the only effective way Strel as a boy, had to escape his violent, drunken father.
What’s also revealed is that Martin Strel is himself a drunk; tortured by his inability to swim away from himself, exhausted by the miles of river, but unable to cope with life back on land, he ends up putting electric clamps on his goose-larded head, unable to speak.
Big River Man is funny, sad & without saying much about ecology, paints a horrifying picture our destruction of the Amazon with shots of vast swathes of burning jungle as loggers seek out a single mahogany tree to satisfy our craving for chic dining room furniture.

Martin Strel ends up a mess and the adventure is a personal disaster for him, he ends up a mess, but the incredible accomplishment makes one thrilled witness and also succeeds in making one think long and hard about the larger mess the
planet is in.
It strikes me that really, the only way any of it is going to stop is with the death of a large majority of the human race. Here we are, at the beginning
of the end of a civilization that we hasten by storing all our information on machines that will no longer be accessible when electricity grids grind to a halt. Such critical times and yet nothing at all seems to happen on a civic level & therefore I am steeping up & taking over. Someone has to do it.

In London, just for starters, anyone with a paved-over drive
should immediately dig it up & turf or gravel it to allow rain to enter the soil. We all need to limit our meat eating to once a week, and bicycles should be compulsorily if our work is within five miles of our homes…
The talking heads in the press are constantly coming a
t it from the wrong angle.
A typical example: in a recent article in The Times, brainbox Marcus du Sautoy, Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford writing about a possible interplantary trainwreck, concluded by saying, ‘but before we abandon ship, the simulations show that it will take several billion years before Mercury might start to misbehave. For the time being, human interaction and not Mercury poses the most serious threat to the planet’s survival.'
[pictured above right, Prof Marcus Du Sautoy. Much to admire, aside from his wardrobe]
What the hell is he on about? 'The Planet’s survival'?
Why do people keep saying the planet is in danger?
The planet is inert, it doesn’t give a shit, it’ll just adjust to no ozone, more carbon or whatever.
It is not in danger [unless Mercury comes at it like a billiard ball} it is man who is in danger. We are facing the end of humanity & frankly we probably deserve to go.
Give moss a chance, I say.

I think I’m in this apocalyptic mood because I have RSI in my thumb from the way I use my computer & yet, guess what, I cannot goddamn well stop myself from using it. If I can't even control my thumb, what hope is there for the rest of my behaviour? was my birthday last week, a significant birthday, the anticipation of which had the occasional power to bring me (absurdly) to the brink of tears. It felt like I was strapped into a plunging funfair ride, hair streaming out behind, mouth open in a silent scream, heading for the hell of decrepitude.
In moments of calm - when my the G-force of my dread briefly stopped squishing my brain against the back of my skull like a sherry trifle - I assessed my life to date and found a minute scattering of achievements, victories - mostly Pyrrhic; the mistakes calamitous. In all this existential gloom the only things I feel remotely proud of are my two children. Having succumbed to my genetic pre-programming to procreate,
these poor darlings have reached young adulthood in a world of filth, poverty, corruption, Ricky Gervaise as a bone fide Hollywood movie star and the threat of another world war fought between two opposing ideologies based on identical superstitions.
While waiting for the end of life as we know it, I will lard my head with goose fat, attach electrical clamps & distract myself by heading to the Intelligence Squared interview with Werner Herzog at the Royal Festival Hall this weekend, where we are promised he will ‘explain why a real man should know how to milk cows & why chickens are such hateful animals’. One of Big River Man's many highlights is Martin Strel explaining that Slovenia is shaped like a chicken..... Poor chickens, we've bred them so they can't do what birds are designed to do & we keep them in gulags where they stand in so much of their own shit that the ammonia burns their feet and now we hate them for it...

Oh pass me the happy pills someone.....