♫ Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫
 Dizzee Rascal “Bonkers (Instrumental)”
 Madness “One Step Beyond”
 Pat Benatar “All Fired Up”
 Gang Starr “Conscience Be Free”
 Frank Sinatra “My Way”
 Kiss “Crazy Crazy Nights”
Having just received the results back on a recent brain scan, I simply had to share them with you. And this is me on an uneventful day in case you were wondering. It’s a small bloody miracle that I get anything done with this kind of midsummer madness playing out inside my cranium 24/7/365. It’s a nuthouse in there and, what’s more, I have a tendency to allow this lunacy to spill over whenever I put pen to paper. Indeed, it is like a tick, and requires every last smidgen of my composure not to veer into the ridiculous whenever the mood takes me. How does one even contemplate keeping a lid on this kind of madness? Don’t ask me as I’m buggered if I can provide you an answer. I’ve tried everything – listening to Radiohead, reading War & Peace, watching Angela’s Ashes, pulling off band-aids slowly – yet still I cannot resist the urge to break out the jazz hands at every opportunity, whether given or otherwise. You want proof? Then get a load of these apples.
When I was but seventeen, I had a friend. Don’t act so surprised, I wasn’t always a pariah you know. Indeed, some even went as far as proclaiming me a live wire, and I happened to be rather popular amongst my peers. Anyhoots, this particular acquaintance despised being made to look ridiculous in public, and cared way too much about his profile to be granted immunity from opportunist hijinks. Thus, when we went shopping together, ordinarily in the most populated locale imaginable, I would try my level best to embarrass the living shit out of him. If this sounds vaguely mean-spirited then please let me assure you that I was the one making an absolute plum of myself and he was free to walk away in disgust whenever it all got too much to bear. During one instance of retail therapy, I decided it might be fun to drop in a prone position in full view of the entire shopping centre, place a shoebox on my back, use two digits to mimic tentacles, and cry out “look at me, I’m a snail” at my lungs’ uppermost setting. Needless to say, he was utterly appalled.
Had he feigned indifference, then perhaps I wouldn’t have seen fit to make such a spectacle of myself. However, by taking things far too seriously, he made himself a target too tantalizing to pass up, and I was powerless to resist playing the fool just to gauge his reaction. The funny thing is that I was actually trying to do the poor guy a favor as, despite the opposite sex finding him reasonably easy on the eye, they would say stuff like “he’d be kinda hot if he hadn’t had a personality bypass” or “how far is that stick lodged up his ass?” and it seemed the kindest manner in which to help him overcome his dour affliction. I didn’t give a cross-dressing monkey what others thought of me for mimicking a gastropod outside Gap as I’ll gladly play the fool as long as someone wins at the end of it. Indeed, my indifference towards such acts actually wound up obtaining a phone number that day. Granted when I called it excitedly the very same evening, I was greeted by a dead line, and that likely had something to do with it being two digits short of kosher. But it was certainly an ice-breaker.
Then I grew up and my father had always warned me this would happen eventually so I guess it was only inevitable. Working 9-5 in a job I vaguely loathed managed to curb my enthusiasm for a while at least but it was still all going off inside my head. And when you are presented fewer opportunities to channel this inner loon, it begins to metamorphose into something way less moreish. Throw in a few of those low blows that our twentysomethings see fit to provide us and harmless old doolally swiftly transformed into severely damaged. If I didn’t let my inner bonkers out and fast, then I was a shoe-in for mid-life crisis or a debilitating stroke, whatever showed up first. So I released the Kraken right? That’s a negative, I hoarded it up until which time as the decision was made for me and, lo-and-behold, the dreaded forties were looming larger than Friar Tuck in a patisserie. Talk about predictable. Given that I habitually favored the underdog, placing my bets on a sure thing like midpoint madness never occurred to me until the bough broke and I was sent tumbling headlong into emotional limbo. Yay.
So here’s what happened, only not quite 100% authentically. Let’s not torment the terrapin here, I shall not be spouting a solitary mistruth when recounting the events of early 2013 in Technicolor. But names may have changed, certain key items may have altered, and the odd fact may have been massaged with fictitious fingers for artistic effect. It’s the best I can do I’m afraid as, inside my thought tank currently, there’s a whole lot of bonking going down and, while whack-a-mole is a pleasing enough diversion for ten minutes or so, nobody spares a thought for poor monty and his similarly concussed entourage. The moral of this story? Never send a mole to do a vole’s job. The sub-moral of this story? Don’t go harming any of God’s little creatures as word travels fast in the animal kingdom and mankind won’t be laughing when whack-a-human takes off.
That’s quite enough digression, let’s return to the unlikely yarn I was about to spin shall we? Unless I’m gaga, we were last seen mincing about in emotional limbo, and my midlife crisis had finally come to a head. Years of pent-up frustration had gradually taken their toll and I was just about ready to be shipped off to the funny farm. Now the funny thing about the funny farm is that it really ain’t all that funny, funnily enough. Ever since James Cameron had the bright idea of giving piranha wings, peril had only ever been one fly-by chomp away, and these tropical terrors had been waiting in the wings for the ideal opportunity to strike. Even more dishearteningly, the nuthouse in question was but a couple of clicks away from a freshwater lake and I’d heard all manner of horror stories about inmates being relieved of their epidermises while strolling about the institution’s grounds so didn’t fancy booking a stopover there.
However one afternoon, after necking my meds, I decided to take a short jaunt to the meadow nearby to my house and here I happened across a curious piece of kit that proposed to be a game changer. On first appearance, there was little out of the ordinary about the crimson flute that was tucked away inside a bramble bush just off the beaten track. Indeed, I very nearly passed it by as I had no idea whatsoever where it had been or what kind of tropical diseases it may have been carrying. The thing is, when your mind is as fragmented as mine was at that point, there is precious little reason not to throw caution to the wind and I needed a dash of cheering up after months of teetering over a chasm that appeared to have no bottom. I was an emotional cripple, unable to navigate the maze before me, and dangerously close to throwing in the towel. Tell you what, the eyes tell no lies, so allow me to elucidate my turmoil by way of pictorial.
So you see, I had nothing to lose by dusting off said musical instrument, checking that there was no excrement spread across the mouthpiece, and giving it a random toot. To my astonishment, the black rain clouds above my head began to clear, and natural sunlight seeped through for the first time in an absolute age. Granted, my recital may have been a little off-key as I started out, but that’s what untapped potential is for right? Thus I commenced with fashioning some sheet music, practised hard during every free period, and my compositions started to show distinct signs of improvement. Moreover, all that imprisoned bonkers translated into nimble notes, the likes of which offered music to my ears and, in turn, my long marooned soul. These medleys were an acquired taste for sure, but Miles Davis did well enough for himself by appealing to a niche audience, so why not I? Suddenly I felt revitalized for the first time in many years and, while my first album may not have achieved triple platinum sales, I did manage to turn the heads of those who truly mattered and they wound up being every bit as bonkers.
The thing about playing mysterious flutes in open meadows is that it allows for the most glorious acoustics. I had not an inkling as to where this rousing reverb was originating but interestingly all signs pointed within. Notes were played, complex arrangements composed, ears seduced, and I knew it would be merely a matter of time until talent scouts came a sniffing if I continued at my current sprightly tempo. Thus I advertised for band members and others too dusted off their own musical flutes and parped ’em in unison. That said, while the big band sound was a whole dung pile of fun at the offset, I simply hadn’t the faintest idea how to orchestrate such a collective. Given that I still hadn’t fathomed where these boisterous bursts of birdsong heralded from, others needed to suss out their own origins as stage fright is a bitch and her backing singers and I wasn’t prepared to take this shit on tour just yet. Hell, levitating from my bed each morning was proving conundrum enough at that point.
I request that you cast your minds make to my good friends, the moles, as they make up for what they evidently lack in common sense with burrowing skills that know pretty much no parallel. I liken my retreat to locking oneself down in a studio for months on end while attempting to conjure up and fine tune their magnum opus. Naturally, my band mates soon became a tad restless after my failure to show up to band practise for the tenth time in rapid succession. This eventually led to many flying the nest and here is where I feel compelled to dispel an illusion or two. You see, some of my favorite people spread their wings during this uncertain period and, not only do I not harbor ill feelings, but I wish them every health and happiness in all their future endeavors, whether affiliated with me or not. I have the magical flute to thank for this sunny outlook as this instrument reaches deep and claims each jingle from my very soul cage and that happens to be precisely where the brightest light resides.
In many ways, I’m similar to a domestic cat. You see, while fiercely independent creatures and prone to disappearing acts, often for days at a time, eventually they find their way home albeit usually once their stomachs start growling. With the flute as my guide, I have embarked on many outlandish adventures, learning more about myself than I have at any other point during my life and not a solitary second of that time has proved wasteful. This is not to suggest that there haven’t been significant blunders along the way and utilizing the flute for its secondary function of snorting contraband fairy dust was one such monumental error in judgement. However, I’ve never once professed to being a saint and sometimes the greatest learning comes from straying from the well trodden path and being required to find your way home on the return journey. With a little luck, those around me still have a modicum of belief in me, and we can get straight back to the real important issues facing us.
My numero uno is fun which ties in rather nicely with the purpose for this very piece of harebrained literature. I’d rather leave the long faces to any hopefuls for the Kentucky Derby and focus instead on spreading a little cheer. God knows we need it right now with the U.S. presidential election looking to go right down to the wire and neither candidate filling the people with any great degree of hope for the future. While they’re mass debating, I’m exploring its namesake, and using every last one of my bonkers to lighten the load for all of us while I’m at it. We tend to forget just how far our imaginations can take us and trust me when I say, mine has clocked up some considerable air miles over the past few years. But the current audio gets it pretty much on the money as, for better or worse, I’ve done it my way and that’s ownership right there.
Things have changed considerably since my latest re-emergence and a number of formerly proud Grueheads have began to distance themselves from the carnival due to a number of unfortunate episodes that are well in our slipstream now. I’d be lying straight if I suggested that this didn’t smart some as I haven’t lost my belief in what we stand for and wish everybody could just come together and begin to look forward instead of back. However I accept my considerable part in this loss of faith and flat refuse to give up the ghost, regardless of how long it takes to get past this. That’s where those bonkers come in as we could be strapped onto a rocket and about to be fired into the stars, never to be seen again, but that won’t stop us laughing if some smarty-pants decides to tickle our feet with a feather. Take it from one such wise guy, it’s a darn sight less distressing than focusing our sole attention on the imminent launch.
I used to suspect that my sanity was fading, whereas now I’m feeling far more compo mentis. My brain may well be something of a battlefield but who amongst us can claim any different? A creative mind may sometimes feel like a hefty cross to bear, but I’d take it over a vacant lot any day of the week and have long since learned to accept its many quirks and use them to my advantage through prose. Those true to the Grue understand that, as with any family unit, there will be times when you may wish only to throttle me. That said, strangulation isn’t easy when your opposite number seems intent on turning such murder attempts into snuggles. What do I have to say in my defence? Well it may appear that there’s some childhood detachment issues going on here but really I’m just a blatant hugger and would hold up my hands on that count if I had any. Will a nod of the head suffice?
A little too restrictive huh? Well the field mouse didn’t seem to mind. At any rate, I’ll never cease praising the lord for every last bonker that delivered me here or for all the other bonkers I’ve been introduced to en route. Recently I posted a typically irreverent piece named Boys Have A Penis, Girls Have A Vagina. and one of my dear friends commented that a dash of smut was just what the doctor ordered. That one succinct comment thrilled me to my starter motor as I love few things more than pushing the envelope, while causing no grievous harm to anyone whatsoever of course. Granted, I can be a crude motherfucker when I’m feeling churlish, but I’m nowhere near the deviant it may seem and merely accentuate certain sides of my psyche for the purpose of harmless hijinks. My bonkers are your bonkers Grueheads and that needn’t be a cross to bear if we all carry on bonking together. Fuck it, let’s make this one large bonkathon, and raise cash for some worthwhile charities while we’re at it. Who is to tell us we can’t? One day I’ll suss out how to bonk my way to the bank and when I do, mark my words, I’ll do something worthwhile with the proceeds dagnabbit. And until that time comes, I’ll just keep on bonking.