Thursday, 16 April 2015

An alternative manifesto

But this weather is lovely and I can't be bothered, so here's something from a book called Where Did You Go? Out. What Did You Do? Nothing by Robert Paul Smith:

That was the main thing about kids then: we spent an awful lot of time doing nothing. There was an occupation called ‘just running around’. It was no game. It had no rules. It didn’t start and it didn’t stop. Maybe we were all idiots, but a good deal of time we just plain ran around.
Many many hours of my childhood were spent in learning how to whistle. In learning how to snap my fingers. In hanging from the branch of a tree. In looking in an ants’ nest. In digging holes. Making piles. Tearing things down. Throwing rocks at things.
We strung beads on strings; we strung spools on strings; we tied each other up with string, and belts and clothesline.
We sat in boxes; we sat under porches; we sat on roofs; we sat on limbs of trees.
We stood on boards over excavations; we stood on top of piles of leaves; we stood under rain dripping from the eaves; we stood up to our ears in snow.
We looked at things like knives and immies and pig nuts and grasshoppers and clouds and dogs and people.
We skipped and hopped and jumped. Not going anywhere – just skipping and hopping and jumping and galloping.
We sang and whistled and hummed and screamed.
What I mean is, Jack, we did a lot of nothing.


billoo said...

Doing nothing! Sounds like a Kashmiri manifesto!

Thanks for this excerpt, Charles. Reminds me a bit of 'A London Child of the 1870s' which my mother said reminded her a bit of her childhood days (in Lahore, in the '40s). I suspect we were all a bit more similar *before* globalisation.

Best wishes,


Poetry Pleases! said...

Dear Charles

I can't help thinking that in many ways things are rather better now. At my old school, for example, there was one solitary computer which only the A Level Science kids were allowed to use. Little wonder it took me so long to become computer literate!

Best wishes from Simon R. Gladdish