When it comes, the moment you've been dreading all your life, it's curiously light and airy; not dark and heavy as you'd supposed it would be. As with most other tragedies, there's something of the absurd about it. In much the same way as the sight of that normal, everyday aircraft poised to connect with the tall tower of glass is so surreal it almost gouges out an involuntary laugh, so you now feel more inclined to laughter than tears. The effect is not dissimilar to looking at one of those Dada portraits; huge eyes and lips ballooning out of an otherwise well-proportioned face. In some ways, everything is pretty much the same as it was before. Only now, one detail looms and makes the rest of the components look so silly. Little has really changed, but somehow, suddenly everything is ugly.
So there you are, back in the waiting room. The results have been analysed and they have called you back. You thought that you were well but you are not well. You are no longer full of life. Or rather, you are full of too much life; you are being consumed by the very force that generates the flame within you. And so begins another inquest, this one your own into the root cause of this imminent extinction. Was it the fags? Or the booze? Or has nature just run its course with you? Perhaps some youthful indiscretion has caught up with you at last, is busy tearing down your barriers to disease. Whatever it is, your body is now a parody of itself just as that cut and pasted German collage makes mockery of a face.
They call you in, but this is one result you feel deep down you know already. No need for replays, and there will be no late night highlights show. This is it now; sudden death. Then you remember something Philip Larkin said and shudder. An interviwer had asked him what his problem was with death and he'd replied along the lines of "well, it's just the idea of my consciousness being completely extinguished for ever that I have a problem with, if you must know" and then you see it stark and clear. That is your problem too. Soon all that you knew will become black, as black as the charred remains of the match wood once its flame has been blown out. You, gone; your Universe gone and nothing left of you but a week or two of tears and so many darkened inky markings on a sheet.
So now they call your name, you hear it booming through the surgery. It's time for you to leave the waiting room and go into another room, this one tidy, sparse and panelled, and there you'll wait some more. But not for too long; the news is coming soon. They don't like to keep you waiting any longer than they need these days. They have so many more to see. Not long enough, at any rate, as far as you're concerned. Because you'd want to wait forever for this news.
L.U.V. on y'all,
Hear Bob read extracts from his diary of the 2007-08 season, "The Road to Moscow"!!
Bobcasts now available at Jellycast!!