Friday, August 17, 2012

We Can Be Heroes Just For One Day

When I started this blog over eight years ago, many of the early posts were written in the stifling atmosphere of a former central London police station converted into rudimentary office space. Rumours persisted that it was one of the most haunted buildings in the UK, dating back to when a police officer had hung himself in one of the cells decades earlier. My desk wasn’t that far from the old cells...

Sitting opposite me for much of that time was Matt Phipps. We both sat there quietly despising our colleagues and tapping away on keyboards writing instead of doing what we were (poorly) paid to do. We both eventually got the fuck out of that job before it destroyed our souls, but we have kept in close touch ever since. The labyrinthine machinations of life will always ensure that the path ahead is strewn with people dumber than you, so you better make damn sure that when you meet people smarter than you, you hang on to them. And so I did.

A lot has happened in both our lives over the last eight years. Matt is now a father and writer living in São Paulo. We don’t see each other anywhere near as much as we would like (geography can be a motherfucker), but I suppose we are as close as two people separated by an equator can be. And I always like to keep tabs on anything and everything he writes, as he brings to bear a distinctive voice, an idiosyncratic curiosity and intellectual rigour to anything his mind alights on. And as an added bonus, there will often be dick jokes.

So when, a couple of weeks ago, he posted a blogpost partially inspired by the tragedy of the multiplex shootings in Aurora, Colorado, I paid attention. He mused that he “happened to be thinking about heroes a lot in the week before that night, in particular about how we keep returning to heroic narratives despite living in a decidedly unheroic world. Is it OK to like heroes? Or does it represent a failure to engage with reality? Worse, is it dangerous?”. His thoughts on Heroes are well-worth a read and I highly recommend clicking-through and digesting the lot.

His post started an email exchange in which I took his well-considered, thoughtful ideas as a jumping-off point and added my scattershot, half-baked witterings to the mix. Clearly, Matt thought that they had merit, as he has kindly requested that he could re-post my thoughts over on his blog. You can read my contribution to the debate here. We touch on cyphers, spandex, sonic screwdrivers and more. Go forth and read.

Matt can be found on Twitter here and you can read his wide-ranging array of blogposts here. There is also a light smattering of blatant Cliff Richard fetishism. So there’s something for everyone.