Sunday, January 11, 2015


The events in France over the past few days have made an impression on my middle aged mind. I can understand struggles that people have for freedom, equality, self determination etc, but I'm becoming more and more disgusted with what I consider to be wanton violence in the name of the cause. It doesn't matter who's inflicting the pain, whether it be soldiers from a foreign land invading, or suicide squads infiltrating foreign countries, or anything in between, it always seems to be innocent people, who suffer. And to me, that's wrong.

A strong image in the aftermath of the French terror killings
I guess when I was younger and was impressionable in a different way, trying to make sense of the World, I'd have tried to show more understanding with the terrorists. I grew up in England during heavy IRA activities, in a World polarised by the Cold War, in a time of Apartheid in South Africa and Communism in Afghanistan. I'm not saying that things are any easier now, especially with the amount of information and misinformation that is available especially on the internet. I'm just trying to remember that time when my idealism would argue with my sense of right, and I would become a devil's advocate trying to understand circumstances that would allow for people to commit terrible acts. Like I said earlier, nowadays it doesn't matter whether those acts are state sponsored, or anti-statist  in nature, all I see are the sufferings of the innocents.

Funnily enough I very nearly had a run in with my past recently. Actually, it turned into a very surreal experience. I was contacted via facebook by someone who I hadn't seen in over 25 years, who said they were in Melbourne briefly and could we meet up. I agreed and we arranged a meet on Friday night in the shabby-chic suburb of Fitzroy. I went to meet my friend Ian with Caroline and at one point she asked me what was he like? I have lived with Caroline for the past 22 years and she has never met Ian, which goes to show how long ago it was I knew him. I thought for a moment and then replied that I didn't know what he was like because I hadn't seen him for at least 25 years! Actually, I know very little about Ian except that he enjoys diving, but we spent quite some time as friends when we were at university in Hull in the mid 1980's. I assumed that like myself he would be an older version of what he had been like at university.

Waiting for a friend from 25 years ago in Baxter's Lot

In a bizarre twist of fate instead of meeting someone for the first time in over 25 years on the other side of the world, Ian was caught out by internal flights and while I was sitting in Fitzroy waiting for him, he was sitting in Sydney waiting for a flight that had been delayed. We never did meet up, as he had to fly to Cairns early the next day, but hopefully we will one day.

In the meantime, I had a very pleasant evening out with Caroline. First we had a meal in Joe's Garage, then went for a drink at the Little Creature's Dining Hall, and finally found ourselves lounging in the comfortable surrounds of a bar called Baxter's Lot. I had the pleasure of trying a Japanese whiskey for the first time in my life, and really enjoying it. Long gone are the beer swilling days of my youth! In fact, I'd usually prefer a coffee to alcohol these days, and I recently had one of the best coffee's I've ever had.

Waiting in The League of Honest Coffee for an excellent long black

Last week I went to Melbourne CBD for the first time in a long time and went on the look out for a good coffee. I found a place called The League of Honest Coffee on Little Lonsdale Street near Exhibition and I was taken to coffee heaven. Selling and using Padre coffee, they somehow made a long black that was sweet in a liquorice way, was smooth but earthy with a very subtle fruity flavour, possibly blackcurrant or plum. The only coffee I've had that rivalled this over the holiday period was just before Christmas at the Maling Room in Canterbury though that coffee had more of an apricot flavour.

It's interesting trying to compare the person I was. say 25 years ago, to the one I am now. And probably impossible for myself to do it. I would hope that my outlook on life hasn't changed too much, though perhaps it may have modified somewhat. Although in some respects I am more vehement now in my beliefs and feelings than I was when I was younger. In the end it really makes little difference. I am what I am, the sum of my life experiences up to this point. Although I still keep in touch with a few people from the past, I am the sort of person that doesn't go out of their way to maintain friendships, but rather I move on from one place to another. Saying that, I am always happy to renew a friendship , or at least to try to renew a friendship that has lapsed over time. I've moved a fair bit in my adult life, and have become adept at finding friends in new places. I guess a sense of adventure and exploration are in my bones, which is another reason The League of Honest Coffee appealed to me, as it was situated on the corner of Exploration Lane.

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