The Unbearable Lightness of Robert Garnham

I’ve been busy writing a lot during the last twelve months and the upshot of this is that I have a lot of material which doesn’t fit in with the any of the projects I’ve been working on. The idea came after a conversation with film maker John Tomkins to make a short mini web series.

The hardest part was coming up with a title, and after exhausting Plop, Whimsy, or just Series, and every other one word idea, I came up with the Unbearable Lightness of Brian. Humorous as this was, the main problem was that my name is not Brian. So I settled on the rather less colourful, but rather more meaningful, The Unbearable Lightness of Robert Garnham.

It was a joy to make the series and we’ve optimistically called it Season One.

And here’s the first one! There’ll be one a week now for the next seven weeks.

The most significant full stop (part five)

A few years ago I flew from Vancouver back to London having just caught a train from one side of Canada to the other. It was an amazing time with a lot of travelling and a lot of connections. With about ten minutes to go before the boarding was announced, I went to the toilet in the Vancouver terminal and, while I was enjoying a wee, I noticed a very small dot on the otherwise spotless cubicle wall. I remembered thinking, ‘That wall is not spotless’. But then I came over all profound and thought, ‘I will never see that tiny dot again. In a few hours I will be thousands of miles from that small dot. That insignificant dot’.
And do you know what happened? The plane developed a fault in one of its own toilets and we all had to get off and wait four hours for a new plane. I went for another wee a couple of hours later, and saw that tiny insignificant dot once again. Which meant that it wasn’t quite so insignificant any more. In fact, of all the dots in the world, it was now probably one of the most significant, because what were the chances of me ever seeing it again?
Here I am writing this at Manchester airport waiting for a flight to Exeter. It’s a 25 minute flight and it’s just been delayed by three hours.
I don’t want to repeat the significant dot experiment again because I don’t want to take precedence away from the dot that I saw in Vancouver, yet my mind is not so developed as I’d like it to be, and I’m seeing significant dots everywhere. Just look at this floor. It’s full of them.
This brings me back to the significant full stop experiment and how elements of the Vancouver Dot have been playing at the back of my mind these intervening years. Im wondering, of course, what has happened to the dot and whether the toilet in the terminal has been redecorated. It’s quite possible.

There. That one. There.