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Stones Unturned

“Why is it when you have a puncture the wheel is always flat at the bottom? It’s never flat at the top, its odd isn’t it”. Prince

Life for most you can be sure is an endless quest for answers; an infinite series of events shrouded in the what’s why’s when’s and where’s. While some look to god, some seek a friend, and while some search their heart or their mind, some you will find scouring desperately at the bottom of the bottle. And although there are those who claim to care less, for others however this quest is compulsory, an innate force that compels them to poke and prod at anything that takes their interest, and Prince, you need not question has such, inquisitive mind.

Consequently for myself, with an inherent fascination in the workings of such muse it is difficult not to wonder, from where does this inquisitiveness stem? Did Prince, like many inherit his spirit of enquiry from those of his bloodline; had this been the way he was taught; was it his childhood experience and that of those by whom he was surrounded, or could it have been his education or lack of should we say, that inspired an incessant need to learn about the wrangling ways of the round about everything.

“Your father is not his best self these days, but yet he’s out mowing the neighbour’s lawn this morning. I mean, what the fuck, say the truth that’s just silly in his condition. It knocked the stuffing out of him didn’t it. He wont listen, he puts fucking years on me. He’s been like this since he was a kid, he was door-to-door back then calling in everyone’s houses to visit and help out. I remember him taking the old boys home from the Pub on the back of his motorbike, because they were too pissed to walk. More often than not he had drunk more than them but that wouldn’t stop him”. Pearl

Expelled to a fate similar to that of a nosey parker it is widely know that curiosity killed the cat, but to be curious is a far cry from being nosey, and mustn’t be confused with the busying of ones body, or the poking of ones nose into that which it is not concerned. It is argued that we are all inquisitive to an extent and some far more than others. However, through fear of a pursuit that could cost ones snout or shallow ones pride it is easy to pay caution to the consequence of curiosity, although, for some it is far easier to relish in its reward, and of this it is said is in plenty.

Curiosity, without the reaffirmation of science it is clear leads to knowledge, letting us experience and discover, thus providing an understanding, which allows us to learn from our mistakes and ultimately ensuring the prospect of survival. That said, put this prospect in the hands of a jester and it will only lead to mischief.

“Wedross and Kenyon, now they were two characters for you. I remember Wed’ was in the garage one day, and Kenyon had come back with a sign from the open cast. Enquiries, it said. These two only lived a couple of doors away, so they were always playing the goat on each other. Kenyon hung this sign outside Wed’s house, and everyone was knocking on his door. Wed could hear all this noise, but he was up at the top of the garden. So after a while he thought, fuck it, and went round to see what all the commotion was about.

When he got to the front of the house there were about three people waiting in a queue at the door. “What the fuck are you doing?” he said. “Well, it says here, enquiries”. Wed knew who the culprit was, he didn’t have to ask, “Oh, right what are you after then” he said calmly. “Well, a man told me that you have timber to sell and I should enquire here”.

It turned out, Kenyon had been telling everyone in the Village that if they were after some wood, there was a house in High Street packed to the rafters with the stuff and he was giving it away. You can’t miss it he had told them, there’s a sign on the front. Wed’s face was a picture. Agar and me were watching from the corner, fuck we were laughing. He only had enough to burn on the fire, and that was fuck all to talk about”. Prince

Clearly an advocate of analysis Prince has never shied from that which needs to be questioned, endorsed with a little caution he has however always subscribed to the adage that “you should never believe what you hear and only half what you see”, but to many for fear of error, confusion, intrusion, ridicule or dispute, to question is to be scathed by foolishness. Although, according to Charles Proteus Steinmetz, “There are no foolish questions, and no man becomes a fool until he has stopped asking them”.

It is also said that of these who enquire are the thinkers that drive the future forward. They are the scientists, the theorists and philosophers that create the modern world; the artists, designers, writers and poets that realise its vision. It is believed they live longer, socialise better, gain a far wider knowledge, and have a greater meaning for life. According to studies they are expressive, humorous, playful, and above all, happy. And although many of these things could be true of Prince, it is his unconventional thinking and his willingness to ask over caution that I am convinced are the greatest assets of his curious ways, for this is the key that inspires change.

“There’s funny, I was reading the paper today and there was a piece about the school kids in the seventies that saw Martians in Pembroke. This was seventy-seven. I was working there at the time I remember it well. There were about thirty kids, and they had all done drawings of what they had seen, and every one of them had seen a tall green man walk from a flying object. Apart from one, who drew a kite or some fucking thing?

I was working the night shift. Every one was shitting them selves thinking that the Martians were coming. I didn’t give a fuck, I was more concerned about the snowdrifts and where I was going to have a pint, it was pretty bad that evening. I remember leaving the banks-man in the cab of the machine with the engine running, so that I could go and find a payphone and phone the boss. The banks-man was going nowhere boy, no way. There were fucking aliens out there; he was staying where he was. So off I went.

There wasn’t a phone-box in sight, but I could see a light in the distance. So I followed it down the small country lane where I reached the farm. I had been there a few times to track the snow. The little old lady had seen me through window and came to meet me at the door. She seemed happy to see me calling. I didn’t want to frighten her, but the first thing I asked her was, whether she had seen what the kids had been saying on telly. “Hang on John bach” she said, “let me get us a little whisky and I’ll tell you all about it”.

Well, that was it then. Fuck the banks-man and fuck the boss and all. Once that bottle was on the table, we yapped for hours. But she insisted that those children had seen what they had, as she’d seen them herself. Apparently one had walked passed her kitchen window. I looked at the whiskey then I looked out the kitchen window. There must have been an eight-foot drop easy. She said she was at the sink when she saw a tall bald man walk passed the window he had big eyes and funny colour skin, see. I asked her if she had been drinking, but she never drunk a drop unless she has company.

I don’t know, those kids apparently all saw the same thing see. They can’t all be wrong, can they? And if she had seen them too… then, who knows. I do know one thing though, if I hadn’t asked about the aliens I don’t think we would have seen that whiskey”. Prince

Influenced or genetic; be it family or friend or simply life. Where my father acquired his incurable quest for answers may never be understood. It is arguable however, that many of us spend far too much of our time looking for answers that are just not there, or matter less if learned. Some answers are simple, and sometimes we look so hard that we miss the ones that are staring us right in the face.

Whichever way you look at it, as the old saying goes, or as I have often heard Prince singing “there are more questions than answers”, and as much as this is the bitter pill to swallow, it is better to know that some questions are more important than their answer, on the other hand as my mother would have it, “some stones are better left unturned”. But a stone unturned is a lesson unlearned; curiosity may have killed the Cat but, it is said that satisfaction brought it back again.

“I was taking the dog for a walk a while back, on the tips. This car came in off the main road see. He jumped on the breaks. Then a car came in behind him, he jumped on his breaks, well, it looked like they were on ball bearings. Clatch, it went straight into the back of the other car. I thought to my self what a fucking clown.

Next thing they were off again, I looked at one of the drivers and I was sure he couldn’t have been more than twelve. In seconds they were gone. So off I went minding my own business. Well, when I got back to where I had parked, so were they and the two cars where chilssed (wrecked). “What the fuck happened to those cars? An hour ago they were immaculate” I said to the youngster. “I know”, he said. “Bloody hell”, I said “look at the state of it now”. “I know”, he said again.

Apparently he had bought it for a hundred pounds. I told him he looked too young to drive. He said he was fifteen. They had driven all the way from Llanelli, him and his mate, and he looked even younger. “What’s happening now then?” I said to him, there were about ten of them there altogether. With that said, they tipped the cars, stripped them of their wheels and cat’ and torched them in front of me. Seconds later a van pulled in, they loaded it up and off they went. Fucking hell I thought, I called the dog and I was off before they nicked my car and took that fucker back to Llanelli too”. Prince

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