My loyal fans, all three of you, may have been wondering about the prolonged absence of the Jet-Set Hobo. Suffice to say, it has all gone pear-shaped here in Beirut.
As of tomorrow, I am once again a free agent, I am between engagements. Or to put in another way, unemployed. Probably it’s all my fault. Not in all honesty that I’ll be terribly sorry to leave the Lebanon. A bit of this place goes a looooooong way. The hobo has been routed, defeated, trounced, traduced, and put through the wringer. He has learned something about himself along the way however. In short, it is this. Without briefcases full of cash, a personal driver and an apartment with a uniformed doorman, he’s just not tough enough for day-to-day life in Beirut. And right now those kinds of accoutrements are somewhat out of reach. It has been a long, cold recession for this roving scribe and bon vivant, and on this rainy Sunday evening in Beirut, it’s hard to see the light at the tunnel except as a train heading towards us, as we struggle, tied to the tracks.
Whichever way you slice it, my implosion in Beirut represents another broken dream for the collection. Conventional wisdom has it that in life you only regret the things you don’t do, not the things you do. But that’s a load of tripe, I’m here to tell you.
The video link is to the trailer of A Cafe in the Sky, a little arthouse film I carried like a cross on my back for longer than I care to recall, but which of course has never made a dime. The tune is Gloomy Sunday, which is appropriate, and it’s the gloomiest possible version, which is also apposite.
Anyway, in a few days I fly to London. Oh my word. Whatever comes next, it will be a pleasant, initial change to be somewhere the electricity and hot water is reliable, internet speeds are faster than continental drift and I’m not regarded with something between bewilderment and suspicion when I walk the streets or into a cafe or bar. I have been trying to keep a brave face, at least in Facebook status updates, but it’s been getting to me.
Stiff upper lip and onwards and upwards. I do hope to send more chipper tidings from London, though too many of my pals over are there are writing me grim missives about job cuts and recession and you know, ‘broken bloody Britain’. For broken, they should try the Lebanon, where for example just this afternoon in the office, the electricity, gas, phone lines and internet have all cut off at various points. Spare me.