Saturday, 29 October 2016

I Escape From Hell

I've been to hell and back.  Let me tell you about it.
This is the entrance to hell: an eternal conundrum of false choices and vanishing points, of concrete and staircases, Escher-esque in its confusing circularities, but without the graphic style and precision you'd hoped for.

I don't believe in hell, but I entered because I wanted something, felt a need.  Of course, like most people, I didn't set about going there, but I was tired and a sign said 'Costa' so, prompted to think about a cappuccino, I followed it.
It would seem that the road to hell is paved with what could be, under extreme circumstances, temptations.

If hell exists at all, then the opposite of hell must be heaven, or paradise.  If paradise is pleasure and contentment, then it's an autumn wood lit by sunlight; wood smoke; a view of the sea; travelling by train; laughing till it hurts; Beethoven's piano sonatas; chatting to a beloved one over a drink at a pavement café on a Friday afternoon. 

Hell must feel threatened by heaven, as it is dead set on passing itself off as paradise.  It smells of sulphur, makes a mockery of a pavement café on a Friday afternoon.

Hell is a place without concern for anything like love: a place which wraps up despair and tries to sell it to us as a sense of humour failure. 

Like Dante's Inferno, hell has many circles, each with its own sense of disorientation, intensities, and unpleasant characteristics.  No one can say what someone else's version of hell is - we must listen to what they have to say about it.

Whenever I've been to hell and sat amongst its contents, the more pointless life has seemed.  Fortunately, I've had a strong instinct to escape.

Despite mythologies perpetuated by those with a vested interest, it is possible to escape hell.  There is always a stairway, if not exactly to heaven, then at least towards something approximately Out of Hell.

What I've learnt about escape is to trust my instincts, follow my sense of direction, and the signs, which in this case, some devil has tried to erase.

And so, I escaped hell, and this is what I learnt: 

Hell is a metaphor, and in this case, the metaphor was Bridgwater Services, just off the car park that is the M5 on a Friday afternoon in the school holidays.


  1. Hideous place. The electric charge point is situated in an area of the car park where the drains are blocked. So if it has been raining it is nearly ankle deep in water. Hell it seems is hell bent on providing us a lethal obstacle course. By stark contrast, Gloucester Services M5 is where angels play and cherubs skateboard on rainbows. Road Beef x

    1. I popped into Gloucester services, Beef, on my way back up the M5 recently. You're right! Angels everywhere selling farm produce. Amazing contrast x