Lawns & Lifeforce (1985)

Everybody has a nemesis. Mine just happens to be about forty feet long and about twenty feet across. It’s also green…

I’m approximating. I have no idea how big the lawn is. I could go out and measure it, but I don’t like going near the damn thing. It makes me ill. I’m also not sure it’s green rather than a patchwork of colours, which is why it’s such a problem.

I’ve never been a man who finds lawns interesting. I inherited this one from my dad who was much more interested in maintaining it than I am (and even he wasn’t that bothered). I can’t fathom why I’ve never bought into the greenery cult. Is it a primal struggle? A metaphor for something else? Holding back the weeds feels like holding back time so is this about getting old? In which case, what a morbid thing to do with your time. After all, it’s inevitable the weeds win. No sooner do you turn your back on a lawn than it’s invaded by those weird species that you’re not sure you’re meant to pull up by the roots, kill with poison, or shoot with a crossbow. Maybe I just need sheep, but I can also see how that spirals into greater complications. I mean: dingleberries. Would I really swap mowing the lawn for dealing with dingleberries?

I’m currently struggling with thistles and a strange-large leafed thing which is spreading and I don’t like going near. It looks like ivy and I get a seriously fucked-up allergy to ivy that resembles Dengue Fever or something equally exotic involve pustules. I keep hope mowing it back is sending the right messages, but it always returns after a couple of rainy days.

I also have a problem with the different kinds of grass. Yes, that’s another bit of this whole lawn business that addles my brain. There are whole textbooks about which kind of grass is right for which kind of soil. Most of the law has some kind of slow growing wide-bladed grass, good for stretching between your thumbs to turn into a makeshift wind instrument. It makes for a lush and heavy lawn but only needs terminating a couple of times a year. It’s the quick-growing stuff that shoots up like single fronds of bamboo that cause my problems. I think it’s called rye grass. It’s the lawn’s equivalent to that nine o’clock shadow that particularly hirsute men get the moment they’ve finished shaving. I can mow the lawn and think I’ve done a decent job until I turn around and notice that fuzz of rye has already developed. Bastards.

In a different timeline, I could be one of those people who might obsess over this stuff but I hate to think what kind of man I’d also be. I grew up with neighbours like that. Men with combovers and who liked to wear vests in public. They dedicated their later years to doing nothing but keeping the weeds at bay. “Lawn like a bowing green” is how people would praise them. I hardly see the point unless you are going to use the lawn for crown green bowling.

Anyway, the upshot of this long rant is that I didn’t mow the lawn today. Nor was I planning to. I did, however, put on my shoes when I noticed the weird ivy stuff is now the size of rhubarb. But when I went for the mower, I found a shrub was blocking the door to the shed. I attacked it in an unmotivated flurry of tools inappropriate to the job at hand. Then I realised there was another shrub that needed carefully pruning / wanton slashing. By the time I’d completely decimated the entire flowerbed and pulled down some rotten trellis (yes, I really don’t keep on top of this stuff), the green bin was full and my eyes felt like they’d been licked by an alien. And not even the good kind of alien. Certainly not the one from Lifeforce (1985), which is a film you sadly no longer see on TV…

But I digress. The bin will now be full for two weeks, meaning the lawn will have to wait. That is very pleasing. Butterflies were living in it and I could hear the sound of crickets. So, if anybody asks, it’s now a “nature meadow” and I’m doing this because I believe in the environment. Which is true. My neighbours have plastic grass and pebbles. They never have to mow the law but, much as I’m envious, it doesn’t seem right. I guess lawns are a metaphor for something, even if that’s only that no person is born free. Eventually, everybody has to mow something. Which is a grim thought. I should have ended this with Lifeforce (1985).

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It’s a cool domain name and it was available. Yes, I know. Available. Crazy, isn’t it?


Yes. It also helps that it’s also my favourite satire written by Alexander Pope, one of the most metrically pure English poets who also knew his way around a crude insult or two. If you’ve not read it, you should give it a try.

So this is satire, right?

Can’t deny it. There will be some. But it’s also an experiment in writing and drawing, giving work away for free in order to see how many people are willing to support a writer doing his thing. It’s the weird stuff that I wouldn’t get published elsewhere in this word of diminishing demands and cookie-cutter tastes.