Friday, 21 September 2007


My drive from Hikkaduwa to Aragam Bay was remarkable for two things.

Firstly it was remarkable how the climate changed from winter on the west coast to summer on the east coast. As soon as we crossed the mountains running down the spine of Sri Lanka the sun shone and the temperature increased by 5 degrees. It’s only 300 miles from coast to coast yet the difference is more like travelling from the northern to southern hemishphere.

The second transformation on this crossing was more profound. The journey began brightly enough with Udara my driver pumping the sounds of Shaggy at full volume. A couple of hours in it became apparent that the van was only equipped with one Shaggy tape. My smile faded as I endured rotation after rotation of sunny ragga-pop, the imbecilic choruses and banal lyrics grating deeper and deeper into my mind. After the 10th rotation, however, a remarkable thing happened. The braided nincompoop’s lyrics begin to reveal hidden depths. The, once tinny, digital reggae began to resonate on an altogether more spiritual plane. By the 20th repetition Shaggy revealed himself as a true shamanic guide for the modern-day male. “It wasn’t me” recalls ancient Sparta’s testosterone fuelled code of ‘take no prisoners, give no quarter’ — admit nothing, deny everything. The rhythmic pulse lifts the soul, on a molecular level, up to a celestial plane to become one with the very fabric of the universe. By the 21st listen this farbic is thrown over the table of consciousness and nirvana is close.

Once my ‘self’, my ego, had seeped into and become consumed by the omniverse the once distinct boundaries between ‘I’ and the ‘other’ had been broken down by the hypnotic, mesmerising pop-ragga beats and Shaggys bewitching mantras, then and only then did Udara drop the bomb… BOOOM! — UB40.

The world exploded in shimmering translucent shards of joy. It was then I realised Udara had been leading me on this ‘journey’ as my spirit guide. Opening my eyes to that which adolescence closed….

The drive was otherwise uneventful apart from seeing an elephant by the side of the road.


Emma said...

Wow - this is a really great bit of writing Ed. Arent you the clever one? shall I purchase a Shaggy Cd for your return? xxxx

sam said...

Made me laugh out loud, esp the ending...