And clenching your fist for the ones like us
who are oppressed by the figures of beauty,
you fixed yourself, you said, "Well never mind,
we are ugly but we have the music."

Leonard Cohen

Preparations are being made, research is being done. It has started and with each passing day, I am preparing for a 5 day hike through Scotland. Already I am €330 lighter, and that only covered my rucksack (backpack for the Americans) and sleeping bag.
With every purchase, every step of the way, I wish, from the bottom of my heart, that the motherfucker who stole my gear, tripped over it while dragging it, impaled himself on my GPS and went into shock, choking in his own vomit. After having yoghurt and lasagna for lunch.

I am equally excited and worried about this trip. After boot camp, going solo through Norway and my last 2-month escape, I am still far from confident in my skills. Not only did I have something to fall back on each time, but all in all I never spent more than 2 successive nights in a tent like this, and I did make a few crucial mistakes here and there. This, ignoring yearly music festivals and group camping, of course.

The thing I fear most is the weather. Scotland has an extremely wet climate (I’ve been told their weather sucks because they’re so fucking close to England) and if I’m not mistaken, we’re headed out smack in the middle of the rainy season. I expect to get soaked. There are plenty of ways to keep your gear dry but in the end, we are screwed. Tents and rucksacks are one thing, but having to crawl into a wet sleeping bag is a plain nightmare. Not to mention the fact that goose fluff, although the best material available to my outdated knowledge, no longer insulates when wet. Wet socks kill your feet, humid clothes suck the warmth out of you and make your pack weigh several kilo’s more.

As much as I am hesitant, I am excited to go. There will be 5 of us, all guys. I can see the movie trailer before me:

Five men.
”Scotland. Are you up for it?”
Five days.
”We go by plane, get dropped of… here. And walk up to here.”
One challenge.
”Scared yet?”
-”Of flying, yes.”
Will they make it?
Don’t worry Vince, we can zip up bags and spoon if you get cold". *chuckles all around*
Will their friendship last?
No FUCK YOU! You’ve had it so easy all your fucking life!”
Inspired by the award-winning novel, “Five men and a piglet”…
”It’s sacrilege, is what it is. All this will be gone soon.”
Comes the story of an epic journey…
”I can’t do this anymore…”
Into the unknown.
”I love you, man.”
-“You would.”
Now that… Is beautiful…”

Heh. I enjoyed that.

Seriously though, this could make for some rather nice movie material. The five of us probably couldn’t come from a more different background. In fact, it were our girlfriends (or ex, in my case) who brought us together, bringing their man to the occasional playdate they had. Most of us have various kinds of experience, while others hardly ever slept in a tent before. Although I am the only laborer, we are all quite fit and strong young men, at least physically. So what this will mostly be, is a mental challenge. We’ll clash, without a doubt. But I’m hoping that we can also complete each other, and find our way inside the group.

The reason why I so eagerly agreed to join was that I’ve become rather addicted to this kind of challenge. I also know exactly why that is: Because I’m good at them. In fact, mentally and physically I have much more to offer than socially, and I can only shine in situations where the latter is kept to a minimum.
Let me rephrase: It doesn’t matter how slick you are, how articulate, or how easy you are with the ladies. If you don’t know how to fit a rucksack, you will break. If your strengths can’t contribute to the group, you are useless. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying anyone should be left behind or that only the fittest matter, but they won’t get the chance to stand out, just like I will fade in a social environment.

This is what I’m good at, so this is what I love. I wish there was more, like anyone will, but it’s a start.


With a new found attitude towards life, interpretations of its facets shift. One of those is music, the aggression within, and the impulse to vent it physically.

Power beyond containing
Are you going to remain a slave for
The rest of your life
Give in to the night

Lyrics in the music I prefer seldomly have actual meaning. What makes them so powerful is the fact that they are barked. The thing David Draiman, Maynard James Keenan, James Hetfield and so many others have in common is the power to project anger, or at least the image of it, straight into the listeners’ minds. In other words, accompanied by distorted guitar, double bass drum and spewing the anger they do, they make me want to break shit.

With my feet upon the ground I move myself between the sounds and open wide to suck it in.
I feel it move across my skin.
I’m reaching up and reaching out. I’m reaching for the random or what ever will bewilder me.
what ever will bewilder me.
And following our will and wind we may just go where no one’s been.
We’ll ride the spiral to the end and may just go where no one’s been.

Anyone who loves music will agree that it only takes the right words and the right notes to make you feel indestructible and overconfident. Music unites us that way, and it seems that for a few moments, our self images and the strength within is combined to a thread that runs through all of us.

Hoppe hoppe Reiter
Eine Melodie im Wind
Mein Herz schlägt nicht mehr weiter
Und aus der Erde singt das Kind

I miss the parties I used to go to when I was still finding my way. I never belonged there (my taste of music is broad but an unusual mix) but at least I could, for that night, join in with the others and charge myself a whiplash through the constant, deafening music. Now that this particular, raging confidence has returned, there is little more for me to do but to thank heavens for music each passing day, and hope that I run into a decent fucking metal gig soon.


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