Put your hands in the air

Two flights later (and many free shots at bars) I’m about to have my last night in Agia Napa, Cyprus. Flew in on a very empty flight from Newark to Heathrow, hung out in London for a night, then got up WAY too early to fly on to Larnaca, Cyprus. And now I’m in Agia Napa.

Agia Napa is a mad, clubbing, pubbing place. A strange mix of Brits, Europeans and Russians as far as I can tell. The bars stay open until 1.30, the weather’s gorgeous if a little sweaty, and clubs are free if you ask Keith, the barman at Club Titanic, nicely. Me and Stephen have made club Titantic our main home for the week, with the Castle Club the late night venue. Much cheap drinking, betting on how many times ‘Starlight’ is played (never as many as you think) watching the world go by.Kiris and Keith at club Titanic have been a laff, both having been here for 7/10 years respectively. Keith does a very impressive line in flipping out of the outside bar area into the street when he’s not busy chucking straws or ice cubes at passers by. A good laff – and excellent music.

The music has been much more important to me than the cheap an plentiful booze and people watching. I’ve been catching up on a lack of Glastonbury fuelled Brit-dance out here, plus the residuals of 3.5 years out in the dance drought that is New York. Old classics, new toonz. Lots of dancing, and I’ve even been drunk enough to have a couple of goes at ‘Dance, Dance Revolution’ (apparently, I’m a great dancer…) Now I’m aching and tired after 4 days of self-exhaustion and multiple time zones. We’re about to move on to Limasol which is calmer – let’s see how that goes. May even start taking some pictures.

Oh, and big thanks to everyone in London for a great Friday night catching up. I had a wonderful time in all three venues – Chiswick, Soho and Brixton. Seeing everyone again made me remember, yet again, what I really love about England – friends and family. Oh, and the great Trance Techno that is Sands of Sansara at the Fridge in Brizxton! See you all again soon, but it won’t be soon enough.

Now the bars beckon me back… I must do my patriotic duty as a Brit out no the piss in a foreign country and drink more than is wise and dance more flailingly than most by-standers like. Nice one.

I can see you…

A while ago talks of automated face recognition systems in London would have caused a lot of heated debate. Now the debate has changed to “why haven’t these been in place at airports?”. The comment about the stocks of companies that produce biometrics software, software that can recognise people based on physical characteristics, was interesting – another article yesterday was commenting that they are trying to track down people affiliated with the terrorists through some irregular stock movements prior to the bombing. There was some speculation that this might have even been the chief suspect himself using the terror attack as a way to generate more funds. Sounds like Die Hard to me – maybe we should levy the blame on Hollywood for giving terrorists all these ideas?

Stupid fucking people

Just got forwarded this. Apparently a mob attacked an Indian guy in SoMa, San Francisco (near to the Quidnunc SF offices) and ended up stabbing his friend who tried to protect him. They thought he was Arabic.

I was about to launch into a tirade about Americans, but then I realized there are people like this all over the world. Even by singling out Americans for intolerance to race is being just as bad myself. Most people are nice. A lot of people are extremely pissed off and angry about what’s happened, but an attack like this is so wrong. It boils down to one thing – we’re all people. I can’t even find the words to express how angry this makes me. Argh!

Lest we forget

I just put up the last photo I took of the World Trade Center. It will stay as a link in the main bar at the top of this spiel for those times when things seem too much.

Leaving New York this morning was a strain, both physically and mentally. Due to the Holland Tunnel still being closed the Lincoln tunnel took two hours instead of the usual 20 minutes. That was nothing compared to the mental anguish I felt driving away from the city again. The desire to stay and be near my friends was overwhelming. I didn’t manage to see everyone I wanted to see over the weekend and doubt I will for a while yet. I am, in theory, off on holiday on Thursday night, flying back to the UK, but flights are still in disarray and I’m not sure what will happen. I’ll take the holiday whatever, just not sure where it will be.

It’s been interesting a) how different people cope and b) how people are already starting to joke about things. Maybe it’s because I was out of the city for so long, but I just wanted to be with friends as opposed to volunteering for something, anything, as many people have been. I feel guilty for not doing enough, but then I realize that just being there for people is often the best thing you can do.

As for the joking, even Guiliani made a remark that now it might even be possible to get tickets for The Producers (hit musical on Broadway). The magnitude of this event is hard to take in. Even only being a few miles away in Brooklyn it has seemed unreal. A gap in the skyline with a faint plume of smoke. Jokes make it seem less scary, less real, safer. The discussions about repurcussions and the knock on effects end up being depressing. Noone wants things to get worse than they are. Biological warfare is on everyone’s minds, as is the possibility of WWIII.

The most poignant moment for me was in one of my daily cartoons. User Friendly ran this strip. Sneaking passed by defences and making me cry for the first time since I saw the towers hit. Thank you for that moment of reality.

A call for sanity

I’m now back in New York, having completed a relatively uneventful trip back from State College. Everything seems pretty much the same as usual apart from a scarred skyline with a light plume of smoke where two towers used to stand. The city is fairly quiet, last night was more like a Wednesday night than a Saturday. People are pretty much going about their business as usual north of Canal – going on dates, chatting to friends (although there’s only one topic of conversation still), shopping.

My biggest concern at the moment is escalation. I’m working on the supposition at the moment that all this jinogistic war talk that’s happening is not, in general, a good thing. Thousands of innocent people have died and if we kill millions of innocent people in ‘retaliation’ then surely we’re just as bad as the people who did this originally? Colin Powell talking about how America is glad to have its allies, but if push comes to shove America will call the shots and do what it has to do. Surely if America does not answer to the rest of the world they are just being the same as whoever did this? What if another ‘Timothy McVeigh’ did this? And they are based in the heartland of America? Would America bomb the shit out of its own towns to kill the families that would be sheltering their loved ones? Even if they knew what they had done? This concept of ‘associated guilt’ – you are protecting them therefore you are guilty is pretty scary. It simplifies things for people bombing other places, but surely it just makes things worse?

I hope it never comes to this. I believe that New Yorkers, having being the worst hit and being, in general, more aware of the rest of the world’s attitudes than the rest of America, need to take a stand and say “What happened was awful. But we must not kill innocent people to try and make it right!”. Let us all hope for that peace to come for the world, not create more fighting.

No news is bad news

There was an article on BBC Online talking about how 600 staff of Marsh McLennan are still unaccounted for. This is the company I used to work for on the GINA project when I was in the WTC, and I’m still thanking my lucky stars that I wasn’t still there. I’ve heard new that many people I worked with (John, Noel, Hans, Steve and Phil) are OK, but there are still many more I’ve not heard about, some who I knew more than others. Roberta, John U, Telilah, Elaine, Surin, Timothy and the others – I hope you’re out there somewhere and I just haven’t heard about you yet. Be safe.

And then I start to wonder about Max and Kelle, currently off travelling in Nepal. They both worked in the area and had friends. Max knows many more people who were working at Marsh on a project that we got thrown off of (thanks to Tricia for that – at the time it seemed like standing up for what you believed in was causing trouble but now it’s caused so much happiness as we didn’t have a team from our company there). How will they react to all this when they find out? Not having been as near it as us?

The same thought occurs to me now as I prepare to head back into the city… Everyone I know there has been living through this for the last few days. I already feel like a tourist in my own town. How will I react to the carnage? The roadblocks? The looks and tears on people’s faces? The unfamiliar skyline? Holding people who’ve been living this day in and day out since it happened? What can I do to help make it better?

Friends.net

It’s times like this when you really appreciate the power of the Internet to bring people together. The ability to mail/instant message/phone/post to my friends and let them know everything’s OK with me and find out that everything’s OK with them is a wonderful thing. People using their cell phones to tell their rescuers where they are in the rubble.

The Day After the Beginning of the End of the World?

Nope, not really that pessimistic. I’d like to believe that World War III won’t break out, even with Dubya at the helm.

Things are starting to sink in now. Every now and again I just stare off into space and imagine the New York skyline without the Twin Towers. The final few people I’ve been worried about have turned up safe and sound – thank you all for lying in bed that extra half hour. Noone can believe what’s happened. I was talking to a friend in Israel and she was saying that all the people who’ve died in Israel total 20,000 – not just from one tragedy like this. I still hope and believe that the figures won’t be that high from the stories I’ve heard, but it will be in the thousands. Why are some people so fucking stupid? What has this achieved? How does this help? I can’t even understand how someone can think like this!