Did I ever tell you about the time I went to Wales? Wow, are you in for some boredom. It mostly involves me sitting on a clifftop and staring at sheep ambling by. That was in 1999 so those sheep are probably long eaten by now. In conclusion, sheep are dull. I’m glad we had this little chat.
Oh right, also, I took that vacation to stare vacantly at sheep because I was at a crossroads in my life and I needed a few moments to sort it all out. The sheep and the sea beyond them were just a pleasant target for my eyeballs. My company had just been purchased, all my friends had been laid off, but somehow I had survived to get promoted to the next phase of my career. As Kylie Minogue would say, I was so lucky… lucky, lucky, lucky. But also, as Led Zeppelin, or rather Jake Holmes, would say, dazed and confused. Was I supposed to be happy or sad? Was I ready for a job where I’d have to make decisions rather than carry out other people’s decisions? Just why did they paint those sheep with streaks of fluorescent color? I never came to any conclusions, but just taking a couple of days to stare at sheep was really helpful. I came back feeling somewhat more ready and moved from the cubicle at Gutted Records to the office at Up & Coming Records a few days later.
Here is a helpful illustration to tell you what I was looking at. The sheep were afraid of the camera.
I did not take this picture, thanks for your understanding.
I never really thought of this vacation that way, more as a reward for hard work and a chance to relax and, frankly, the normal thing one does when one hasn’t had a vacation in three years and now finally have a job and the means to pay for one. It was somewhere around the seawall in Stanley Park, Vancouver that it all came to me. I should explain that Stanley Park is like Central Park in that it’s the place in the city for urbanites to experience nature and jog without worrying about cars. But bigger and wilder and with better views of mountains and sea. You have probably ascertained that I like mountains and sea.
I turned on my iPod and I don’t know what possessed me, but I had this urge to listen to Depeche Mode’s “Everything Counts,” maybe because it was stuck in my head or something. A few songs later on my “every DM song in order” playlist came the start of Some Great Reward with its sample of Blasphemous Rumours (I think.. I’ve always suspected) breaking into “Something To Do.” And then suddenly I was me in a summer 25 years before, sitting on the bus at camp, waiting to head out to some activity. I actually remember hitting the tactile play button and starting the tape as we pulled away. That was me, you see, always preferring to stare out the window with a walkman rather than talk to anyone. And in some ways, exactly 25 years after that summer where I first acquired Some Great Reward (my dubbing it from a friend then has probably been made up for by the 3 or 4 copies I’ve purchased since), I am still that person. But in lots of other ways, I could never have imagined the me I am now stopped at the station between one career and another. 1986 was such a big year in my life, it’s hard to believe it was a quarter century ago. I’m not sure I could have predicted that 2011 would be just as pivotal (the magic fortune ball is just for show, it has to be admitted). As the sheep would say, life is odd.
Then I proceeded to mis-read the map and be forced to walk eight miles all the way around the park and then some. Oops.
Here’s what I was looking at around the time of my revelation. You can see the seawall on the bottom left. Not pictured: my panic when I realized the seawall diverged from the inner pathway with a large cliff between them.
Spoiler: I made it out alive but have rarely been that tired in all my life.
Coming soon, some more pictures and then I guess we’ll return to posts about videos I came across on the Internet or what have you. This year also marks twenty years since my favorite album of all time was released. More on that some other day, too. Maybe in October closer to its anniversary.
The girl in the song is actually sixteen, but I wasn’t. Also, she commits suicide. But anyway, from the classic album, Some Great Reward, title comes from:
Depeche Mode – Blasphemous Rumours