I'm in Bristol now. Here's the info on the talk I'm giving tonight:
• September 14, 2009 (Mon) 7 PM Oddfellows Hall, West Park, Cliffton, Bristol for details contact firstname.lastname@example.org
I rode the train here last night with Mike Leutchford, an old friend and one of Nishijima Roshi's Dharma Heirs. At train stations all over England there are posters for some insurance company featuring either Iggy Pop or someone who looks just like Iggy Pop. I've put a photo of one on the top of this article. Anyone know about this? And why would you choose Iggy to advertise insurance?
Oh! And I have a big beef with Britain! When I was a child in Kenya I used to read British comic books obsessively. My favourites were "Shiver and Shake," "Whizzer and Chips," "Cor!!" and "Knockout." So I went to a lot of comic book shops (see photo below) searching for old issues of these or reprints. NOTHING! The comic book shops in England carry only American and Japanese comics. There are hardly any English comic books at all in England except for "2000 AD Featuring Judge Dread," which, to me, looks like an American comic anyway. You had such a rich comic book culture here and you surrendered it all! The only evidence that anyone even remembers the great age of British comics is a book called Great British Comics: Celebrating a Century of Ripping Yarns and Wizard Wheezes. And even that is hard to find over here! Oh the shame...
But I was glad to find The Goodies on DVD. Hoo-ray! And yum yum...
It's fun being here because I'm such a nerd for English rock music. All my top favourite bands are English, The Who, The Beatles, Robyn Hitchcock, The Kinks, Syd's Pink Floyd, The Yardbirds, The Sex Pistols, PiL, The Clash... It's amazing to go through train stations like Sheppard's Bush (home of The Who) and (No Sleep Til) Hammersmith. Yesterday I walked down Denmark Street and went, "Gawsh! This is where the Sex Pistols first rehearsed!"
Yesterday in London, the group I sat with got to talking about this blog. One guy said it's great that I allow anyone to comment here because it's one of the few places on the web where people can discuss Buddhism in a totally free and unrestricted way. I guess it's true. The other Buddhist forums are all heavily monitored and people are routinely booted off for expressing the wrong views. Whereas here, even assholes masquerading as my ex-wife are allowed to say whatever idiotic things they please (Yuka never read these posts even when we were together and she certainly would never comment on them -- We communicate with each other quite frequently if you must know -- Her mom was in the hospital having a clogged artery repaired when that post showed up here, so I can guarantee you she was in no mood to be on blogs that day!). And a few people say good things too.
I replied by agreeing it was nice, I suppose. But Zen seems like another thing for nerds to latch on to. I see the same things happening here that I used to see in chat forums related to Godzilla and Ultraman that I monitored for my old job. When I read the posts here I often imagine the same kinds of nerdy guys in their parents' basements spending way too much time munching potato crisps and surfing the 'net as who post on the Godzilla forums. Perhaps I'm wrong.
I also started talking about how Dogen Sangha may be a group for people who hate being in groups but still want to be in a group. I'd like to keep it that way, which is why it will always remain horribly unstructured and rule-free.
Alas, though, tonight is my last gig in the U.K. I shall shortly bid your Isles goodbye until next time. When "next time" will be is anybody's guess. So if you want to see me on my Euro Tour today's the last chance for the foreseeable future ("War is unforeseeable" -- a line from a great English film called "In The Loop").