Wednesday, January 04, 2012

As told to my big brother when I got some clothes from the end room

My brother is bedding down in the end room. The end room is technically the master bedroom but we kitted it out with the desk top computer, a fold-out (actually comfortable) couch bed, and our library of four large Ikea bookshelves. The room is the shizzle. It's also where we get dressed as the walk-thru wardrobes that service our wearing-of-clothes needs is also located there, connecting the bathroom with the master bedroom.

As I passed Bod (1) I had in hand my black tracksuit pants and collared sports-esq black T-shirt.

'It's my Balkans' war criminal outfit,' I burled happily. 'I mean if you can't ethnic cleanse in comfort, why ethnic cleanse?' (2)

My problem of over-stepping-the-line is clearly a deeply ingrained one. Though in truth, wrongness aside, it was gold.

(1) I glommed onto my big brother's far more exciting life of undergrad uni attending by hanging around his group-house whenever possible. They lived in a somewhat hedonistic manner of drinking lots, partying, and testing the moral fibre of their fellow female students. His flatmate, E, called my brother 'The Body' one Summer when my brother got all fit-serious. He was looking fine. Eventually it was shortened to 'Bod'. I started calling him that because my love of his life was so great. It is awesome having a cool brother, there's no doubt. Which is why I sat at the band chicks' table whenever his group was playing. Me and a bevy of assorted 'bitches'. Nice. (1a)
(1a) They were not 'bitches'. Most were long-term or live-in girlfriends and were music students or performers themselves. I should point out that as far as preening for girls went my status as the brother of the bass-player in no way improved any access to lady-tasty at all. I was and remain a sad, laughable figure.    
(2) And also in truth I said one of the former members of Yugoslavia by name but I won't say which one. After-all when the Balkans conflict kicked off there was mutual slaughter against and by all sides. Though some, of course, were worse than others. Chris Hedges' book War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2a) was a real eye-opener about what it was like to experience that conflict, and how as a westerner the experience was a toxic combination of adrenaline, danger -seeking, and lust. And how easily people slipped into total barbarity;  sometimes against neighbours of 30 or more years. It also savages the then ruling party in Serbia who used nationalistic fervour to entrench political control and this, combined with the economy's collapse, utterly rent the fabric of society and made that barbarity more likely. 
(2a) I confess I love first-person accounts by war correspondents. The psychotic experiences they enjoy and endure are like an LSD trip meets guns. What's not to like? Michael Herr's Dispatches and Orwell's Homage to Catalonia are two of my favourites.

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