Ant Cule Reviews... Being Alive

An Extremely Subjective View of Being A Human

Tag: People

Ant Cule Reviews… Seeing Someone Taking A Note On Public Transport

A cool man with slicked back hair, thick rimmed glasses, and a finely kept goatee was on the bus when he reached into his bag and took out a notebook. He wrote something in it. Then he stared out of the window, watching the world roll past. He might have written something else, I didn’t notice. Because I was too busy thinking:

Yes mate! You’re having ideas! You’re having a discussion with yourself about what to note down! What a rich inner life you have! You’re awesome!

The bus looked passingly like this. (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0c/London_Bus_route_249_interior.jpg)

The bus looked passingly like this. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0c/London_Bus_route_249_interior.jpg

I was sitting behind him, by the way.

What a great feeling, seeing evidence that another person thinks, and deems their thought write-downable. It’s not that I don’t think other people think at all. I do think they think unthinkingly, though. I think.

When I see another person with a notebook and pen, or a notetaking app open on their phone, I am struck with admiration. I am reminded that we all have our own inner lives, and we’re constantly in dialogue with ourselves. It’s a real sign of belief in yourself, that your thoughts are worthy of writing down.

Pen and paper note taking in particular gets me going. So much in our world today is stored in The Cloud, wherever that is. Putting a thought to paper is a real act of commitment in a world of Twitter Streams and Blog Rolls and Facebook Algorithms. It’s saying, this will stay in this one place for ever. It’s making a mark. It’s a fundamentally human thing to do.

This post has turned out to be a bit less goofy than my other ones, but there we go. Sometimes seeing people being people makes me feel like not being glib.

Overall I highly recommend watching someone else take a note. Admire them. Nod at them. Touch their leg softly, to reassure them that their thoughts are worthwhile.

Ant Cule Reviews… Sitting in a Coffee Shop

Hi there, Ant here, just apologising for the lateness of this. Normally I post Monday – Wednesday – Friday, as you well know. However, I was out all day yesterday so couldn’t publish it. I promise, though, that I wrote this yesterday, whilst sitting in a coffee shop. Thanks bye!

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I’m sitting in the corner of a well known coffee chain, watching and listening to what’s going on. There are wooden, or at least wood-effect, seats at matching tables. The tables are small and round.

A man with a goatee and a bald man with a stubble-beard shake hands. I don’t know if they’ve just concluded a business deal or a meeting, or if they’re just good friends. The man with the goatee has walked out, and the bald man with the beard is now wearing headphones.

A man and a woman sit at a table by the toilet door reading something off their phones and noting it on paper. A marriage of the modern and the timeless, bound by two silent parties across a table strewn with white paper cups. He is wearing a baseball cap indoors. I don’t mind that.

Two Asian men sit at right angles to them, chatting and relaxed. Any silences between them are comfortable and well-worn. I can’t hear what they’re saying over the jazz coming from the speaker in the corner.

I know I shouldn’t come to this coffee-chain, and I know I should support independent coffee shops, but I have a soft spot for this place. It was where I first defined myself as a coffee drinker. In my teenage years, I got impossibly sweet and milky coffee from here. Gradually I grew to like the underlying taste of the coffee more and more. This place was my gateway into actually enjoying coffee for the taste and experience of coffee. I don’t think that’s to be knocked. I know they don’t pay their taxes, and I know that they should. But I’m a sucker for a nostalgia trip.

There’s an ever-changing cast of characters rotating on and off the empty tables around me. There’s an endless stream of people wandering in and out of the toilets. Certainly not all life is here. In fact, only a very thin sliver of life is here. Yet, I can’t help but feel like wherever some life is present, then in some way all life is present. All life is held in some life. In the specific things they do, and the specific ways they hold themselves, and interact with where they are, and with each other. Connected by the space we share, and separated by social spheres we inhabit.

Overall, I recommend just sitting and watching people in a coffee shop to feel that stomach churning excitement that all of these people will never again be in the same space at the same time, and that that’s what makes life so magical.

Ant Cule Reviews… Staring Out of the Window

Morning. Kettle boiling. Head still bleary with sleep. I stare out of the window.

It’s one of those kind of unfocussed stares, where I’m simultaneously taking in the cars rushing by and I’m inside my head thinking “My god I wish I was still in bed.”

Where I live the view is a constantly shifting kaleidoscope of cars and people. I can see a bridge over a road, basically.

The traffic isn’t too bad this morning. Yet still I wonder how so many people have already woken up and got behind the wheel of a two tonne death machine. Do they feel as foggy as I do? And these people crossing the bridge over the traffic. On their way to the train station. On their way to work. What are they thinking of?

People zooming underneath other people rushing as quickly as their feet will carry them – everyone on the way to somewhere.

Every person in this scene has a headful of thoughts.

Every car here has at least one person in it. How are there this many people in this city?

On the bridge a man in a black coat overtakes a woman pushing a pram. Is it cold out there?

Three traffic cones sit at the far side of the dual carriageway, and make me think of Toy Story 2. Just waiting for their chance to cross.

The author stares out of the window (a reconstruction of the events)

The author stares out of the window (reconstruction of the events)

The kettle clicks off the boil and I come back to the room. Make the tea. Head still bleary.

Overall, I would recommend staring out of the window of a morning and watching the world go by for a pensive start to the day. For a similar effect hide around a corner and spy on people going about their everyday business.