One year. 100 articles. So we're having a Reader's Party. Come along to Upsidecrown.

Upsideclown banner

Fresh Mondays and Thursdays   ARCHIVE   US


This Way

31 August 2000
George is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

We've been in Europe for over a week now, and my sense of direction has let me down once, allowing us (me, Sarah and Rachael) to get lost in Amsterdam. For some, this one lack of judgement might be considered an achievement; you could spend the entire holiday wandering past unfamiliar landmarks and familiar shopkeepers who have seen you treading this stretch of road for the third time in fifteen minutes. "Only once?" the chattering throngs may chorus, "Why, when I was a fresh-faced backpacker in Istanbul, I never knew where I was; I got sold into slavery for three months and never realised it."

But not this fresh-faced backpacker. That treachery in my internal east-west compass that drove me away from the main straat and towards the amstel was shameful. I have a good sense of direction, a damn fine sense of direction to be sure; to lose it for any small space of time is embarassing, and implies further mental rifts within. I may lose my wallet at every given opportunity and fall over lego bricks and small toys with gay impunity, but I know where I am and where I'm going when I do it.

This is something I've been thinking about since the three of us arrived in Yuurp and had to start translating the maps, and I think that it's a self-found space thing. Being lead by the hand through the back alleys of some small middle-European town will not help to develop a sense of direction; finding your own way through those same back alleys to the kidnappers den will. If you can learn to navigate those treacherous paths by night, then even better. Some may think that landmarks help to define a route, but they only act as a starting point. For the person with a true sixth sense, it's the shape and direction of the space around them that defines their position, not the rusting "MacDonalds 50m a la derecha" sign. That's just too obvious; a "Banana - peel this end" sticker on a banana.

Having a strong sense of direction is maptastic; losing it is scary. Example - the circular shopping mall I encountered, with ring-shaped floors rising above and around a circular ground level. We wandered around the Lingerie ring and arrived back at the lift we'd got out of before I knew what was happening. I was thrown - the space that had been so neatly curving around me leading to halfway across the ring had warped and twisted and shoved me 180 degrees from where I wanted to be. I needed to sit down but didn't know where I'd end up if I did. Equally, travelling by train, plane or automobile has the same effect; being cooped up in a tin can with (today, at least) loud frisky Italian students denies you any idea of the space around you and where it's going. Instead, you stagger off at the end having been magically taken to a new and shiny space-area.

It's Budapest tomorrow and, although none of us can speak Hungarian, we'll get to the steam baths without trouble. I do know where I'm going.


Previously on upsideclown


Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
10 November 2003. George writes: Dead beat
20 October 2003. George writes: Shortening
29 September 2003. George writes: Manhattanites are Cleavage-Starved
11 September 2003. George writes: How to Bring Us in Line With the Future
18 August 2003. George writes: Slashtastic
28 July 2003. George writes: Underground Independent Small Press Comic Fight Club
7 July 2003. George writes: Careering
16 June 2003. George writes: Choose your own adventure
26 May 2003. George writes: Revelations
8 May 2003. George writes: Picture Perfect
14 April 2003. George writes: MetaPirate
24 March 2003. George writes: Preparation X
3 March 2003. George writes: F of x
13 February 2003. George writes: Three is the magic number
23 January 2003. George writes: Recorded Delivery
30 December 2002. George writes: Meat Bingo or Death
12 December 2002. George writes: Royal Inquisitor
21 November 2002. George writes: This Clown is Cancelled
28 October 2002. George writes: Shopping with God
3 October 2002. George writes: SaferSpoony
16 September 2002. George writes: Supercalanthropomorphicexpealidocious
26 August 2002. George writes: The deformed animal menagerie
5 August 2002. George writes: Plaice that Funky Music, Whitebait
15 July 2002. George writes: Safe as Houses
24 June 2002. George writes: Two Lions (DB/DS)
30 May 2002. George writes: Series 8
9 May 2002. George writes: Market Stall
11 April 2002. George writes: I, the Enlargened, Crunchy Product
18 March 2002. George writes: Cakexterminator
21 February 2002. George writes: Fiction Suit
28 January 2002. George writes: Spunk Gunk
31 December 2001. George writes: Fairytale of New Pork
10 December 2001. George writes: Circular
15 November 2001. George writes: A Man With No Ass Is No Man At All
22 October 2001. George writes: One Night in Heaven
27 September 2001. George writes: Uncut
3 September 2001. George writes: Porn Pants
9 August 2001. George writes: Names of the Roses
19 July 2001. George writes: No Fun Here
21 June 2001. George writes: All Your Elections are Belong to Us
28 May 2001. George writes: Pierced as Fuck
3 May 2001. George writes: My Lovely Horse
9 April 2001. George writes: Eight Hundred and Forty-Three
12 March 2001. George writes: Kill 'Em All
19 February 2001. George writes: Formal
25 January 2001. George writes: Sticks and stones
11 January 2001. George writes: A Thought on Morality
11 December 2000. George writes: You can't put that into a soufflé
13 November 2000. George writes: Lyrical Genius
19 October 2000. George writes: Wet wet wet wet wet
25 September 2000. George writes: Built on an Indian burial ground
31 August 2000. George writes: This Way
31 July 2000. George writes: Runt of the Litter

Let meeeeee entertain you


We are all Upsideclown: Dan, George, James, Jamie, Matt, Neil, Victor.

Material is (c) respective authors. For everything else, there's

And weeeeeee can entertain you by email too. Get fresh steaming Upsideclown in your inbox Mondays and Thursdays. To subscribe, send the word subscribe in the body of your mail to (To unsubscribe, send the word unsubscribe instead.)