‘Watcha gonna do when you get outta jail?’
‘I’m gonna have some fun.’
‘What do you consider fun?’
‘Fun, natural fun!’
Listening to the Tom Tom Club lit the synapses. Ah, memories... remember fun? Once upon a time, fun was one of the most enjoyable of all the three letter words. Better than bat, stickier than bun, more valuable than oil. Fun could be anything, and eveything was fun. That was then. I just don’t feel the same way about fun as I used to. Ever since... Oh God, it was heartbreaking. I came home from the disco, and there on the couch, copping it the ol’ fashioned way from the law of diminishing returns, was my most beloved concept.
Why fun, why?
Fun’s been sleeping on the couch it so sordidly soiled ever since, and although we’re on speaking terms, it’s only so I can call fun horrible names. Here goes:
Fun, you’re a limp, stale crumpet, a shrivelled abstraction - and a lousy root.
It’s a crisis that’s taken a while to come to a head. I should have read the signs. Some people have even told me that it serves me right for attempting to have a meaningful relationship with a concept. But I don’t care what they think, ‘cos the truth is that fun just isn’t as much fun as it used to be, hasn’t been for a long time. And fun doesn’t seem to wanna have fun with me anymore, or when I wanna have fun, fun has a headache (and vice versa).
It’s me, too, I think I bear some responsibility. I’ve changed. I began having my doubts, and spent many a sigh-filled languid afternoon tootling around from amusement to amusement, jealous of the kiddies down the local park or disco with their bouncey balls and their unbridled, shrieking joys. I began to feel sorry for myself and my creeping numbness, caused by the deadening weight of carrying around that growing shitlist of things I can no longer enjoy. The heaviest addition to the list was only three loved letters long.
I miss fun, I do. Fun was my main squeeze, my big banana, my ripe, rosy tomato. But now there’s no juice in the fruit (aint it pithy). And meanwhile, fun doesn’t have any time for leisure, being too busy earning its keep. You don’t want to know how it earns its bickies...
... And that smile that used to be a joke, that I found so endearing, now it just reminds me of synchronised swimmers. Fun’s whole repertoire is wan and calloused, and its formeerly charming patter holds nothing of value or charm, just the laboured, grunting humourlessness of porno. Like all XXX these days, it’s all so horribly earnest. With all the mystery gone, and us just going through the motions, it was a matter of time before one of us either ended up dumped, or even worse, dumped on.
So I’ve left fun, trapped in its rigor mortis of cool and forever trying for happiness, and started seeing other concepts. Not for good, but for play. Yes, rather than focussing on squeezing the last drops of juice from those saggy old fruits, I’ve decided to take up juggling them, or planting their seeds where something might grow. I’m not talking about uphill gardening or running away with the circus, but I am playing with play again, and I’m loving it. Me and my old pirennially pert sweetheart of yore. It’s a beautiful thing. Play likes to experiment, fool around. Play focuses on the act, rather than the outcome. Play, leading me to the floor, says, ‘Fuck art, let’s dance!’ Play even reminds me of all the things I liked about fun, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously or demand that I spend all my money and time on it. Play, I love you!
To whoever of you is with fun now, my sympathies, and the best of luck. Just be honest with yourself, and don’t forget for a moment what fun is, and what it will always be.
I just don’t want you to get hurt.
© Peter Chambers 2005 (from the archives)
in which the naked chimp is unmasked, his machines debugged, and his bugbears debunked
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