All genes are selfish, but some people’s selfish genes are more selfish than others!

 

Leaving Moon city-autobiographical flash fiction


maltabus by doodle_juice
maltabus, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

A day earlier in Abadan our passports and tickets were ready for collection. Dad spoke to this guy in the ticket office who dropped the word OK in every one of his Persian sentences.  He had a poster of palm trees on the wall. Who puts posters of palm trees of some other city in a city full of palm trees? He was what we called Gharb-Zadeh which meant western wannabe. On that last day I was keen to keep my daily ritual and cycled under the heat of the Sun, in our city of Mahshahr. Mahshar meant moon city. I passed Mahnaz’s house and peeked through the mesh wire  window. She wasn’t there, shame. Why was it that when things were getting better something always changed? Only a fortnight earlier I wrote her a note, sat next to her in the cinema and dropped it in her lap. When she saw me next she blushed. Her cheeks turned red like inside a cherry pie and I’m guessing they probably tasted the same. I knew then that if I persisted I could get a taste of her. I put my best shirt on. It was a lost cause but it wasn’t just for her I was saying goodbye to the neighbourhood. The heat  melted the road and left my tyre track behind. At least the road kept a trace of me. You could fry an omelet on that asphalt but I was used to that heat even though my skin had turned deep brown and peeled like a potato. The swimming pool chlorine had lightened my hair and I thought I looked cool!  I passed the market. The vegetable market had fresh coriander and the mechanic’s shop smelled of diesel and grease. My friend Ali was home.  Unlike me he was a town boy. At school I  hanged out with the town kids just as much as I knew the kids from our part of town. Town kids called us the refinery kids. I didn’t care much for such differences. Ali went puppy faced but kept quiet and just wished me luck.  Ali’s Mum offered me lunch, smiled and wished me luck, but I didn’t stay. I passed the fishmongers and the  smell of  freshly backed bread further up market made me hungry so I headed home. I reached the rose gardens of the English houses  of our road and circled the Helipad where the king had once landed for his visit. On his visit I’d peeked inside the Helicopter now I was going round the H three times for good luck. I had my lunch and had a short nap. The summer days were long but that day was going too quickly and I was slightly disappointed. My life was about to change and I expected a bit more fuss from friends and family. Surely someone cared that I wouldn’t be there the next day?  Then it happened. Ali hadn’t gone puppy face  because  he was keeping a secret. He wasn’t good at keeping secrets but that day he did a good job. The kids had organised a surprise visit. They all turned up at once, or at least the best of my friends the seven of them came to say goodbye. Mohsen the eldest of all of us was a poor kid who along his education had started to be a coach driver’s assistant. This had caused a bit of interruption so he’d repeated the year but otherwise that kid was a really bright. His favourite occupation was to make bamboo shoots burn a few holes and turn it to a flute for his buddies. He was a great musician but that day he was a coach driver. He’d borrowed his uncle’s coach, picked each one of them at their homes and beautifully parked the coach in the col-de-sac where we lived. It wasn’t just for me, it was for them too. They wanted to look me in the eyes and see how it felt to be going somewhere and living a dream. I should had kept in touch but didn’t. A lot happened after that point. A war swallowed up a million kids. Rich or poor many people left the country but I hope my magnificent seven, the seven friends, the town boys that I once had as genuine friends had grown to be happy men and I hope wherever they are that they had a good life. Life did turn out to be like a dream. The thirty-six years have gone fast and nothing like what I expected.

Regained Grandour


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Regained Grandour, a set on Flickr.

Back in 1977 when I was 13, I was fortunate enough to be awarded this comic book titled “Azemat-e Baazyaafteh” (“Restored Grandeur”) by my school. It is perhaps now a collector’s item as it was not sold in shops and I doubt if many copies have survived in Iran. Irrespective of your views on the late king, it is a fun book to read. I will try to scan and send the 62 pages bit by bit.

It just shows that whilst other kids read Superman and Batman comics, we were being nurtured on the milk of politics from an early . I recently saw an exhibition of Soviet Propaganda posters in Tate Modern, London and it was great. It is a shame that with our regular regime change, we destroy a lot of history but If someone ever opens a Museum of Iranian Propaganda in Iran, I might be tempted to donate this book after I’m dead.

My father in a new suit aged 15 and uncle aged 12


baba_amoo by doodle_juice
baba_amoo, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

He had started working in the Abadan refinery when he was 11. By 15 he was a competent lathe worker. He bought this suit as a present for himself.

Shakespeare


shakespeare by doodle_juice
shakespeare, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

I bought this antique book when I was 20. I bought it for £4.50.
The book must had been published around 1895. It is signed by J Elogen 1899, perhaps someone with a German Jewish immigrant ancestry.
The publishers F. Warne ( Famous for their Beatrix Potter children books) were also based in New York as well as in London, so it is possible the book had been back and forth there?
I showed the book to my daughter and said to her this is my most precious book, this is also your book and one day you have to pass it on to someone you love.

Fancy bumping into you again Professor Hawking


220px-Stephen_Hawking_in_Cambridge by doodle_juice
220px-Stephen_Hawking_in_Cambridge, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

Living in Cambridge, we’ve bumped into Professor Stephen Hawking a few times.

Often wheeled around by his family, from the side he is like any other wheelchair bound individual, with one exception that you are seeing a living legend.

Two nights ago, we went to see “Beautiful lies” in Picturehouse Cinema. Being in a hurry as soon as the film finished we tried to do a quick get away, only to find that a wheelchair had beaten us to the door. My daughter held the door so that the chair could be maneuvered out. It was Professor Hawking.

It was a surreal moment!

Then his companion asked “did you enjoy the film?” and in that magic electronic synthesized voice he answered “very much”.

The Orchard, Granchester


The Orchid, Granchester by doodle_juice
The Orchard, Granchester, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

The Orchard is a Tea Garden in Grantchester, Cambridgeshire. It is a place that looks frozen in time.
In 1868, it became a Tea Garden purely by chance. A group of Cambridge students asked Mrs Stevenson of Orchard House if she would serve them tea beneath the blossoming fruit trees rather than, as was usual, on the front lawn of the House. They were unaware that, on that

Rupert Brooke

Image via Wikipedia

spring morning in 1897, they had started a great Cambridge tradition.
The Orchard soon became a popular ‘up-river resort’.
The owners started to take lodgers and one particular lodger was Rupert Brooke who brought his circle of friends later dubbed by Virginia Woolf as ‘Neo-Pagans’.
In March 1915, he embarked on a troop-ship bound for Gallipoli. Tragically, he was never to return. He became very ill on board, and on 23rd April 1915, aged 27, he died from blood poisoning.
The Grantchester group:
E.M. Forster, Rupert Brooke, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russell, Augustus John, Maynard Keynes, and Virginia Woolf ( from left to right).
We visited the Orchid from time to time.
In the summer before I our marriage, I used to bring my wife here.
I brought my daughter who is 16 now and wants to one day read English at Cambridge here.
I wanted to give her a sense of History. Who knows perhaps one day they’ll have her picture among these pe

Portrait of Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)

Image via Wikipedia

ople?

Lytton Strachey and Virginia Woolf.

Image via Wikipedia

Tallulah and Augustus John with her famous por...

Image via Wikipedia

The 1913 Dreadnought hoax

Image via Wikipedia

Rupert Brooke posing as Comus.

Image via Wikipedia

Noel Olivier; Maitland Radford; Virginia Woolf...

Image via Wikipedia

Silver Chinese Lion


DSC04136 by doodle_juice
DSC04136, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

I cast this in resin and painted it silver and gave it as a birthday present.
When I was 17 ( before the revolution when I had money in my pocket) I went to a Kensington antiques market and bought a pair of Chinese lions for £20.00 and later found that I was seriously ripped off. I saw the lions in almost every second hand shop selling for £5.00 and my friend who had followed this saga used to take the piss but we would have a good laugh over it.
Years later I made a cast and started making replicas of one of the lions and the first person to get a replica was that old friend who used to laugh. So as fate or time had it I’m getting my money back in gift value!
What is more, I’m planning to make 14 of these and use it as one of my DaGod pieces.

The traveller


Arriving from Luton airport, I walked through long corridors, stood in many queues passed the Passport control.
I took the coach and going through the town I could see the same H&M eye catching Swim wear posters that you see in every city in Europe. I smiled as I reached the familiar landscape of my home village.
She was standing by the door, with a big smile, I didn’t have to ring the door. I came in and hugged her for five minutes. Then my baby arrived, well she is 16 but still my baby! and I hugged her too. Dinner was ready for me but they had eaten. A nice cup of tea afterwards, and we watched recorded episodes of Dr House, and one episode of Graham Norton and then we went to bed. The next day I started revising English with my daughter. I read all her GCSE revision poems and short stories. We read “Miracle on St. David’s day” by Gillian Clarke, read “The Barn” and “Death of a Naturalist” by Seamus Heaney. What a delight. Isn’t it funny why such pleasures seem like a chore when you are a teenager?
The next few days were similar, we just enjoyed hanging out together. I did some gardening, there is such a pleasure in burning leaves! Why do we make life so difficult when simple things can bring such Zen like pleasure?
Episodes of In treatment was saved for last. A few phone calls here and there and catching up with paper work, and before I knew it the long weekend was gone and I was standing again at the bus stop waiting for my coach back to Luton. The coach was late, she stood there for fifteen minutes to watch me go. A replacement service was there, a young nervous driver explained that the regular coach had broken down. He was lost a few times and the other passengers were getting nervous about being late for almost 45 minutes.
Got on the plane and a draconian flight attendant told me to unbuckle my safety belt because the plane was still refuelling.
Back to Zurich, and a ride on the electric tram which has images of Heidi throwing you a kiss, followed by cow bell sounds.
I came back to my service apartment, put the frozen food that she had lovingly prepared and defrosted one and ate it.
Started blogging, and kept myself amused. A few weeks of this and I don’t want to spend a day away from her, ever!

It is past midnight and she sends me a message on Skype  “Its lateeeee!” she worries I might lose sleep and have to go to work, so I’m going to bed. Good night.

Unexpected look at Art


Zurich sculpture by doodle_juice
Zurich sculpture, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

I worked for 15 hours on Saturday and on Sunday I decided I would do a lot of walking to make up for sitting at a desk for such long hours. So I made one of my regular visits to Kunsthaus Zürich. Today many sections were closed and there was just me and a man in a blue anorak looking like a homeless person who had cleaned up. We were looking at one of Bacon’s triptychs. The man unexpectedly engaged me in a conversation. First he started speaking Italian thinking that I must be Italian, and very quickly he switched to Swiss German but after a few responses he switched to English. “Don’t you hate it?” he said. Modern Art is the biggest swindle of our Modern times. Look at this and compare it to an Italian classic. He turned out to be rather eccentric but certainly new his stuff. He mentioned so many modern Artists and their history and sometimes he would switch to French when he started talking about French Artists. He wasn’t an academic and didn’t strike me as an Artist and I could smell alcohol on his breath but I was lost at dealing with such an adversary even though I pride myself on my knowledge of Art. It was like arguing with a homeless version of Brian Sewell! He went on about Dadaists, a few mediocre painters who had switched to photography because they couldn’t draw etc. I was trapped, I left, I wasn’t planning to stay too long as I had seen the permanent gallery so many times so I left the old town heading for Zürich lake. Passing by an Italian restaurant the man was engaged in a conversation with waiters who appeared to know him. He turned to me poked me and said hello gain! Actually it wasn’t like a horror movie I like eccentrics like this man, in fact the world is a better place for it, and if he has a board where he ticks off modern-art-lover victims he now has a tick for me!
eventually when I reached the lake I sat on a bench and watched a toddler with his young father. The kid first pointed at a little bird, then reached the sculpture of the woman ( pictured here). He kept pointing at the breasts of the female figure. He must have been hungry.
Here I thought there are so many ways of looking at Art. Art as booby-trap for knowledgeable eccentrics who make us face or question what we seek in modern Art, then a little kid who looks at bronze breasts and wants to be fed.

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