A great – and terrible – thing about the internet is that you’re only a few clicks away from complete distraction. Two corners turned from the road you were on and you’re enjoying a coffee in a little speakeasy you had no idea existed. Or suddenly in a park you used to frequent, sat on a bench inhaling the smells of summer and feeling that the universe is a kindly place with designs on making your life good.

Then, like an episode of the Twilight Zone or a book in the Chronicles of Narnia, you rise and return to your original route to discover that hours, days, years have passed and all your friends, family and those you hold dear are ages gone. Time has wasted.

“Civ II. We meet again.”

Lordy. Nearly 10 years ago, I was getting through university with the aid of marathon Civilization II sessions. Attempting to best the Romans, Persians, etc. Developing metallurgy, unleashing barbarian hordes, quelling civil unrest in Laudanum or Boventry (Dear me, such metanerdery… I always liked to give the towns whimsical Pythonesque/Asterixish names). So, in a quick series of links this Saturday last, I found myself sat in Red Lion Square, trying to remember what I’d popped out for. Someone, it emerges, has been sustaining a game of Civ II for 10 years.

Apparently, it all goes wrong. Well, it’s bound to. It strikes me as just a reflection of one’s life when one installs the game.

Reader, I downloaded it. There may, possibly, be something written here in the next few years. I expect it will be “Create entertainers.”

(“We can write what we wanna write… we gotta make ends meet before we get much older.”

Yes, reader, yes. The title and opening quote of this post come from “You’re The Voice”. Perhaps, after gigoid, a pearl from aural grit.

I quite like it, though, really. Bit of a ‘God’s jukebox’ thing, I think it was, the other morning, tunes bustling into earshot with an important message, “talking here to me alone”. John Farnham (and four-person songsmith committee)’s monster triumph of the spirit hit features lyrics that might be “really about” self-expression, world peace, or just trying to create a pop song, with metaphorical guns being held in people’s faces, demands of the (highway)Man, this “you”, these “we”.

It has been a long-standing understanding of mine that all writing can be interpreted as being about wrestling with the act of writing in some way. Well, words can be interpreted as being “about” pretty much anything, obvs. Linguistic ambiguity, like beer, is cause of and solution to the world’s problems.

I mean, though, the nub of my crux, what am I actually on about? I write about writing a lot. I write, when not posting here, about how much “writing” I’m not doing, or think I’m not doing, when I am, in fact, writing. I get stuck. I agree quite a lot with BS Johnson’s assertion that ‘Telling stories is telling lies.’ I’m fascinated by writing in itself, not so much by content, a lot of the time. I love the way words work, that people like to work with words. I love when people think they’re being really clever with words, sentence structures. I love when they manage it and when they fall on their arses. I love how different concerns can be foregrounded so vehemently, or drily, or comically/badly, subtly. I love and hate the absurd consequences of words, personally and globally. Words, these weird collections of glyphs, strings of sounds or characters, that people take so seriously, that are used to justify or excuse, or predict or prevent, command, forbid, caress and charm.

Words stop me writing, a lot of the time.

The writer Will Self is enjoying an opinion gig at the BBC, where he’s undertaking a project to introduce greater lexical variety to the populace through his postulates. I agree with what he says in a lot of ways, but then I’ve always been a bit of a Word Babcock, adjusting my glasses at the knowing reference, digging the sesquipedalian shuffle. Anyway, Self has been among the recent input – with the teaching – getting me thinking about gigs, about my interests, about writing, what I want or need to write about. This activity that, when I let it, helps me work out meaning in life.

For the first time in as long as I can remember, I am writing happily, without as much of the self-consciousness, apathy or loathing that stops me from bothering. Just getting it out, y’know? As the Pope said to JFK.)

So, yes, that, and, I’m going to be a dad in October.