Dispatch from the Razor's Edge, the Blog of Michael Stephen Fuchs
2005.01.04 : A Melancholy Blue
"I had just started to feel the pull of the expanding universe. The life that starts in the heart of London gradually drifts outward."
                - Quentin Crisp

     I returned to work to, unsurprisingly, bedlam. The IT non-professional who wrote the application upon which I am currently performing emergency resuscitation left yet another time-bomb – his code doesn't work in any year other than 2004. Presumably, he figured the system would not live out the year. (Admittedly, a not unreasonable assumption.) I've also learned that it doesn't work in January (of any year). But I haven't even gotten started about this guy or his code – and shouldn't do.

I left the office shortly after 6pm – an hour after the last civil servant had melted away – and walked the streets of Soho. I headed north then west, bouncing pinball-like through the brilliant rectangle of Soho, then Mayfair, bounded by Oxford Street on the north and Piccadilly on the south. I've realised my grooves are getting a bit too well-worn in central London and I need to wear some new paths. It used to be gratifying just to know where I was and recognise familiar landmarks and to chart a path. Now I want to get into the unfamiliar crannies and make more landmarks familiar – and know where I am even when I don't know where I am.

As I walked, I was plugged into my new device: a Gmini XS200 from Archos. It's a little-known brand, but perhaps the best overall MP3 player on the market: 20 gigabyte capacity – in about the size of a (4 gig) iPod mini. Great interface, both hardware and software (though these things are necessarily subjective). And, mainly, mainly, fantastic sound. I took a listen to some of the micro-hard-drive players (Creative MuVo, Rio Carbon), and was insufficiently whelmed. And you can pick one of these up for USD$200.00. This is what you get when you decline to pay the trendy-white-earphone tax. Cost to me, however, was actually $00.00 – it was a Christmas gift from Pops. Thanks, Pops! Sara took him out to guide his purchase – and then on Christmas morning plugged it into her iBook to set me up with 600 or so tracks to tide me over. Thanks, Sara! You two are co-rulers of the universe I see.

I had today finally loaded all of my own music onto the thing. Now, as I wandered the still-Christmas-lit streets, I did so to the soundtrack of my life set on shuffle play. It was mighty nice stuff to hear, as I've been largely tune-less since my laptop went in for repairs and my old MP3 player finally gave up the ghost. Moreover, it was pleasantly, strangely moody. The storefront windows reflected the constellations of lights and the cold air seemed comforting, enveloping. I walked without purpose or, really, much motivation, moving forward in a sort of hypnotized peregrination. I walked only to walk. I crossed Regent Street, where Pixar had collaborated with the London Authority to have the Incredibles dashing around, casting force fields, etc. overhead in full colour. Lovely stuff.

Earlier in the day, I saw a woman I'd like to ask out – naked. There's a new one for our age of web exhibitionism. We haven't met yet and I've seen her naked. Arguably, she was nakeder (or naked in a more important sense) in the prose on her blog. I'm intrigued. She'll probably read this, Googling me even as I Google her. Modernity, my my.

Dickens used obsessively to walk the night-time streets of London. It kept his melancholy at bay. It may also have kept his friends at bay – he would sometimes invite them out for a stroll and they would return 15 miles later, stunned and sore-footed. Anyway, I'm starting to see the appeal. More night-time strolls for me. *

A touch of post-holiday blues, I think. Or, really, postpartum depression. I so adore my family. Both my father and my mother are the loveliest, cutest, givingest people. (I even like their spouses. ;^) Moreover, I spent almost the whole week drowning in sisters. We laughed, and cuddled, and commented on one another's Friendster profiles, and browsed Nerve personals on one another's behalf, and played lots and lots and lots of Scrabble, and cooked, and baked Unbelievably Great Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies®, and ate and ate and ate (including at that Atlanta institution, the Mellow Mushroom), and worked out, and rolled in the grass with cats and a dog, and laughed some more – laughed a whole awful lot. It was the best. My sisters are the best.

I guessed I'd had enough walking tonight – melancholy more or less at bay – so I hopped the Piccadilly line at Green Park, back to South Ken. Back in my flat, I sat in the near-dark with my Gmini and worked on my workout playlist. Then I went to bed, with the music, and some Evelyn Waugh. Soon I put down the Waugh and simply lay still beneath the covers, the player on top, listening to the songs and memories go by until past midnight, the Gmini's display light making a rolling ocean shadow on the wall with the motion of my breathing; and painting the ceiling a melancholy blue.

My heart is not all here. My heart seems always to be heading for some horizon – while multifold other hearts plaintively tug at it from around the sweep of Earth's blue curves. I think my heart would like a home.

  interwebs     food     london     mp3 players     music     sisters     work  
close photo of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Fuchs is the author of the novels The Manuscript and Pandora's Sisters, both published worldwide by Macmillan in hardback, paperback and all e-book formats (and in translation); the D-Boys series of high-tech, high-concept, spec-ops military adventure novels – D-Boys, Counter-Assault, and Close Quarters Battle (coming in 2016); and is co-author, with Glynn James, of the bestselling Arisen series of special-operations military ZA novels. The second nicest thing anyone has ever said about his work was: "Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt put in a firefight'." (Kirkus Reviews, more here.)

Fuchs was born in New York; schooled in Virginia (UVa); and later emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived through the dot-com boom. Subsequently he decamped for an extended period of tramping before finally rocking up in London, where he now makes his home. He does a lot of travel blogging, most recently of some very  long  walks around the British Isles. He's been writing and developing for the web since 1994 and shows no particularly hopeful signs of stopping.

You can reach him on .

THE MANUSCRIPT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
PANDORA'S SISTERS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
D-BOYS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
COUNTER-ASSAULT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book One - Fortress Britain, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Two - Mogadishu of the Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : Genesis, by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Three - Three Parts Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Four - Maximum Violence, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Five - EXODUS, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Six - The Horizon, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Seven - Death of Empires, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Eight - Empire of the Dead by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : NEMESIS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Nine - Cataclysm by Michael Stephen Fuchs

ARISEN, Book Ten - The Flood by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Eleven - Deathmatch by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Twelve - Carnage by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Thirteen - The Siege by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Fourteen - Endgame by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : Fickisms
ARISEN : Odyssey
ARISEN : Last Stand
ARISEN : Raiders, Volume 1 - The Collapse
ARISEN : Raiders, Volume 2 - Tribes
Black Squadron
ARISEN : Raiders, Volume 3 - Dead Men Walking
ARISEN : Raiders, Volume 4 - Duty
ARISEN : Raiders, Volume 5 - The Last Raid
ARISEN : Fickisms ][ – This Time, It's Personal
ARISEN : Operators, Volume I - The Fall of the Third Temple
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