It turns out, it’s custom in France to not big bags into supermarkets. I figured this out early in my travels, because, my bag never really leaves my back – so the security would always approach and hassle me a little. I suppose the security are very wary of one stuffing the bag with baguettes before running out of the shop. At least, I assume it’s running they fear. Yet the following did cross my mind: maybe it’s because if you bury an item deep enough among other clutter, it won’t set off the shop’s alarm when you pass through the scanners.

So I tested it, and I can attest: running would have been better.

^ This is a total lie. But one time as a child I stole from a shop because I forgot to pay for some skittles. I think shops, to children, is just a home of things that you can take; money’s a difficult concept and all that. This is why children make such good lil’ capitalists.


Actually I’ve been wondering about those scanners. Most mechanisms, one can, with some measure of accuracy, deconstruct in one’s mind. I have no idea how to build a computer, or a screen. I really know nothing on the subject, however, if I look close enough, I can figure out that a screen is just a collection of pixels. At the most basic level, 0 means a pixel is off, and 1 means on. And there, you get your image. The device is infinitely more complex, I’m very sure of that, but at least I can figure out the roots well enough.

But shop scanners? Really, what is there to know? Okay, so they must be sending out signals. Radio-waves, that much is certain. And the item in your bag, has to have some attribute that will be recognised by the radio-wave, which will then sound the alarm.

But, that attribute... Surely it would have to be another form of a radio-wave. It must be emitting something to be detected by the scanners, no? 

But no way could it be emitting anything… Or every shop would be constantly emitting some barrage of random signals. That couldn’t be so. Possibly.

Or maybe that’s the case, but what’s emitted is… Natural? Therefore cheap? Magnetism, right? But we carry all sorts of magnetic items around us. Surely a dozen things and more on your person would set off those alarms? And to complicate things further, something must deactivate this ‘attribute’ as I’ve been calling it once you buy the item. You can’t be deactivating magnetism at shop tills…

I couldn’t get the question out of my mind, so during my early days in France, I sought a library to research this: Médiathèque Jean Lévy, Lille. My god, that place was incredible. On the third floor, there’s a section dedicated to ‘musique’, with a Fender bass behind the counter. I struggled to get myself a library card (thanks to my almost non-existent French vocabulary), then took a Bob Dylan CD, and set up my trusty laptop (‘Ol Rusty) in the study area nearby.

So let me tell you what I’ve found.

It turns out,

Bob Dylan’s still alive.

Maybe this was obvious to you, but honestly, I had always assumed he was dead. His time was way back when. For such a legendary figure to have little to no mention of him in the media today – he must be dead, right? Of course not, he’s alive.

Actually he had his own radio show a little while back. ‘Theme Time Radio Hour’. You can find an archive online. So he’s not only alive, he’s been active. Dylan’s legendary for a handful of albums. Two, really – maybe three? Yet he has 38 studio albums total. And he’s… Still creating more.

Am I the only one who assumed he was dead? Is it a freak accident that any of this information came to me as a surprise?

Further research showed he was a born-again Christian for some part of his life, and he apparently preached quite a bit during interviews… Could this be how he ‘died’ to the media?.. But really, a born-again Christian… Almost seems anti Dylan? Maybe we’ve all just built some false image of him. Or maybe people really do change. I’ve never witnessed one change, so I’m quick to doubt it.

I’ve spent the later number of my years trying to force change in people. At some point, I think I became dogmatic. In fact, in the last year, my most significant relationship was spent trying to convince the other to take to the path of rationality. Have you ever tried that, by the way? Preach to someone rationality? Sometimes it feels like preaching. My opponent, who functioned well – no, better than most, including me – in normal society, didn’t believe in the moon. This wasn’t some kind of solipsistic ‘don’t believe’, but, sincerely, she theorised that what we think is the moon is actually some constructed object – potentially a shelter for an alien race. Or even, a weapon?

So I talked her through the scientific method. Step by step, very logically.

Feh, she laughed, you think the government can’t manipulate facts like this?


You, reader. In a complex debate, if you notice yourself giving very broad and basic statements as answers, please consider the possibility that you are wrong.

Or, under any other circumstances. Please. You are wrong. Right now. Whatever you’re thinking. You are wrong.

Did you think that through? You, being wrong?

See, this is why I can’t imagine people really changing. Because me, writing that ‘you’re wrong’ thing? All I’m thinking of is, Aha, but see – I’m safe from this! Because I stick to basic logic. Or, because I don’t believe in anything! Yes, nothing – I believe in nothing!

Or, whatever. Everyone has some excuse. Everyone. Me also, especially me. I am the master of excuses; of adapting.

Do you have faith?

In anything?

Have you considered how absurd a notion faith is? Who do you trust in this world? John says: ‘Hey, you know, the colour green isn’t real?’ (This is a thing someone once said to me. I think he read it from a Vice article. Or maybe ‘I Fucking Love Science’. God, I hate them both).

‘So fucking TELL ME, John, how do you know it isn’t real?’

‘Oh well, see, I just know.’

‘I asked you, “how”, John.’

‘I have faith.’

‘So you don’t know?’

‘I do.’



^ And WHAT I JUST WROTE, why, o – WHY, is it not the greatest piece of writing in human history? Why is it, HOW is it that people don’t read all the above and agree with me? Maybe you agree, but consider – someone could, and perhaps will, write a comment explaining how I don’t understand faith on some fundamental, or spiritual level. Someone might even deny that faith is ‘inner’, to them it is fact. That much is true for the no-moon lady I spoke with.

So why are we so different? How can you not see you are wrong.

Can you not hear me?




Can anybody hear me?..






Hmm? What? Security scanners? Don’t they just have tags or something?