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Nov 2012
It’s been three years since I took my last photograph. Photography had lost its appeal and there were no longer moments I wanted to capture, to freeze in time. I only wanted to move on, just to walk... Besides, my camera’s broken and I can’t for the life of me be bothered to get a new one. I’d rather spend the money on a trip to Brussels, that’s next on the list.

I suppose I’d say I have one true fear in the world and that’s staying still. My mother used to say “Oh Alfie, you’re like one of them AHDD children” and after I correcting her, I’d usually just shrug as if to say “Well, what do you expect me to do about it?” It could be said that my mother was one of those people who just had no time for the world, society was not her priority. One time a member of a local charity knocked on our door asking for a donation. My mother stood there, cemented like a gargoyle and poured out a flurry of very high decibel palaver about how her husband was in the marines and how she owed the world nothing because of it. I have to admit, it was a pseudo-logic that I’ve, to this day, not quite decoded.

My father made the decision to enter the Royal Marines at the age of 19 and my mother hasn’t forgiven him for it since. Perhaps that’s why she’s so sensitive about the whole “I owe society nothing” thing. I used to argue with her about it, about how it seemed right that he made his own decision to fight on behalf of his countrymen, but part of me has always despised his decision. I’ve gradually developed a cliché, but not inaccurate, view that soldiers are merely puppets for rich men’s wars and that glorifying the armed forces is just a sickening way to try and justify ******. Of course, I never shared this view with my father, even if I had, he’d have long forgotten. Whenever he comes back from service, I’m usually in some other part of the world, sitting in an outdoor café, preferring my life. It’s thoughts like this make me feel that I'm more like my mother than I primarily thought. I suppose some may call it selfish, but I merely believe it to be good observation, and therefore an intelligent alternative to what society wants me to believe. We’ll stick with arrogant.

My excuse is that arrogance was part of my job; I had to be correct, all the time. I was in that awkward career position, where I wasn't quite high up enough to be able to fully express my own views and so I had to stick to the hard-line “everything has to be extremely left-wing” approach. Journalism: the home to those who mould the minds of the world; or the breeding ground of *******, if you will. Personally, I was lucky enough to have no permanent boss; essentially I was my own. I wrote my columns for Liberal newspapers all across Europe and they edited them at their own will. It paid the bills, but like my views on my father’s military situation, I still possessed that distaste for the immorality of it all. I still remember my first article. I was 17 at the time, the writing type, enjoyed all things politics. It was for a moderately popular newspaper/magazine company in Western France, named “La Quotidienne”. I’d written a piece on local traders not receiving fair deals for their produce and as a result, the editor had asked me if I’d like to have my own regular column. The column was named “Teen Activist”, which nowadays I deem to be relatively patronising, but it was rather humbling all the same.    

I probably ought to explain some geography. I was born in Surrey, England in 1981 and lived there until my mother decided to move us to France in 1985. The military weren't too pleased with the move, because of course, this made us spies. The whole ordeal was a bit messy, but not really worth noting. We moved to Rennes, which is where today, I would consider home; although I haven’t actually seen home for a good 5 years. I guess the important thing is where I am and where I've been, but as I said before, I’d rather concentrate now on where I'm going. To Belgium, my suitcase is packed once more and my tired passport taped like an extra vital ***** to my wrist (because despite my relentless travelling, I always manage to leave my passport in some unsuspecting hotel room by accident). Blame the occupied mind of a ceaseless traveller.
This is NOT a poem - please feel free, however, to read and comment - every opinion is valued :)
Tom Orr
Written by
Tom Orr  UK
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