Tonight’s blog is written by Phil Shrewsday; Kate Shrewsday is otherwise engaged.
When does ambition finally die? It’s that moment in Fight Club when someone says: “we thought we we’re going to be movie stars and pop singers or racing drivers, and we aren’t, and we’re annoyed about it.” (I paraphrase).
I’m re-reading Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi novel Dune. It is only the second time I have read it. The previous occasion was exactly 30 years ago – I began it in April 1982 during an Easter break to the Algarve, the Portuguese resort on the Atlantic coast.
It was a perfect place to read it too – a lad growing up in Merseyside, I had never experienced such an exotic culture before (I’d only got as far as France previously). Our holiday apartment was thickly furnished in the heavy, dark wood of the peninsula, still influenced by Moorish occupation from over a thousand years earlier.
And while the Algarve is far more verdant than Arrakin (where isn’t?), it was still plenty hot and sandy enough for me to imagine trekking across the desiccated plains in a still-suit, Fremen-style.
I was a youngish 14 then – and the world, and the future, lay before me. I had a notion to become something or other – a rock star or a famous comedian.
Now I am reading Dune again – on the train on my commute to London or in the rare cracks that appear during an otherwise busy schedule. I never became a rock star or a famous comedian.
My copy of Dune lay undisturbed in a box in an attic while the years passed by, and now I re-tread the footsteps I left in the pages 30 years ago. My ambitions haven’t died but they are very different – important and – I hope – more achievable than those harbored at 14. I want to see the kids right through their school, continue to secure the home we live in, and forge a path to a comfortable if modest retirement.
And I know what I will do on the first day of that retirement – re-read Dune for the third time; possibly on a Portuguese beach, or perhaps among the sand-dunes of the northwestern coast where I grew up.
Yesterday’s tomorrow is today.