When I was at school and struggling with spelling, I could not spell complicated words such as ‘Armaggeddon’. This inability fed my young anxiety and I tried to cover it up so that others would not ridicule me. My RE teacher looked at my attempt and saw the concern upon my face.
“Don’t worry, Matthew, it’s not the end of the world.”
My love of all things apocalyptical was the springboard for my evolving religiosity and political beliefs. The end was a clean sheet, a time to wipe away and start again, a second chance. It was a world that had shed its cares and dreads. It was the real deal.
There is a book that I return to every five years or so and I have been doing this since I was in my late teens. The book is by Stephen King and is called The Stand and each time I set out on its adventure I am in a dual world of King’s post Captain Trips survivors and in the world of the novel’s soundtrack, the stuff I was listening to as I first read it: Murray Head, Pink Floyd, Kate Bush and Billy Joel. Okay, that took some balls to admit to Billy who appears to have been shorn of popular friendships since Uptown Girl. Nevertheless, the soundtrack is still playing as I remember the novel which I still hold as one of my favourite reads of all time.