: 21.01.2011




A short conversation about something that happened this morning in Delft



A: What is a young boy of 13 or 14 who wears a shiny black stuffed jacket with the words HOOLIGAN written across his back in gothic letters and who wears camouflage trousers and a black woolen cap adorned with a broad, machine knitted band of white skulls and who cycles in front of me at seven o’clock in the morning swaying like an excited gorilla?

B: Someone busy making meaning and spraying it about him like an excited…. Animal that does that sort of thing

A: But what meaning is he making and spraying about him?

B: I don’t know.

A: I’m going to keep an eye out for him.

B: Ah, well that’s that then, that is what he is: someone to keep an eye out for.

A: Is that all?

B: For you I suppose it is; for his mum there’s more and for the people who know him there’ll be more.

A: There is more even for me, he is now also part of a story, a discussion about meaning and the ownership of meaning.

B: That is true.

A: And if I write this story down it will be a written down story which people will read and make up their mind about, perhaps: they will decide what the story is about to them and they may or may not have made up their mind about the boy or indeed about us.

B: us?

A: yeah, us.

B: But we are no us. You and I are the same person pretending to be two people.

A: wow.

B: meaning proliferates wildly.

A: yes but most of it sinks away again, leaving just a few illegible signs.

B: Which then become new stories.

A: Or not.

B: Do you like meaning?

A: I find some of it useful.

B: What about the boy?

A: Which boy?

B: The one we started with, the one that swayed.

A: He will go out tonight and have fun with his mates.

B: And if you meet him?

A: I am boring to him, and too big and strong. He wasn’t very big, even if he did want to be a HOOLIGAN.

B: His friends might be bigger.

A: Yeah, but maybe it is all just bluff and image. This chap just likes the idea of hating and destruction. It’s a phase. I used to like playing cowboys and Indians, they destroyed and killed too.

B: Yeah, I suppose so.

A: Mind you, I did at the time feel I should keep an eye out for him, they do pose a threat, hooligans.

B: His meaning seems to have had effect. His image is a warning to others about himself.

A: Even if he isn’t what he has written across his back he is still a walking sign of what he has written across his back and he confirms it with his way of cycling and his cap, even at seven o’clock in the morning.

B: So if he is just the sign he already has us reacting to him as if he is what the sign refers to.

A: yes.

B: What a mess

A: Yes.

B: Would a real HOOLIGAN wear jackets like that?

A: Yes.

B: Yes, I suppose they would.

A: I think so.

B: Sort of like a joke.

A: Yes.

B: But it might just be a joke, perhaps the boy is not a HOOLIGAN

A: Perhaps he just wants to be.

B: Perhaps he just wants to worry his mum.

A: Or his dad, don’t forget his dad.

B: Do you think his dad is a HOOLIGAN?

A: Meaning proliferates as myth, gossamer possibilities

B: Can one do anything about that?

A: No, it’s just the way it is.

B: Yeah.

A: Nothing to be done

B: I wonder where they sell such jackets and such caps.

A: I wonder whether his mum bought them for him.

B: Together with a sturdy bike.

A: The bike might be stolen.

B: Oh! Did you ever steal a bike?

A: Did you?

B: We are the same person silly.

A: Yeah, but if you are my conscience, you should know.

B: I don’t think I ever did.

A: Good. Neither did I.

B: Good.

A: Maybe our HOOLIGAN didn’t either

B: No, maybe he didn’t.

A: Do you think its fun being a HOOLIGAN?

B: Must be, otherwise he wouldn’t be telling everyone that he is one.

A: He might not be one.

B: We’ve been there.

A: Yeah we’re beginning to repeat ourselves.

B: You are!

A: Sorry, I’ll shut up now and read the paper.




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