Good Energy

The guys at Good Energy have been really supportive and excited about the expedition, so much so that they have made a contribution which allows me to keep the blog regularly updated during the expedition, so they and everyone else can follow the journey. Good Energy supplies 100% renewable electricity sourced from wind, water, sun and sustainable biomass. CO2 from coal-fired electricity generation is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Switch your electricity supply to Good Energy using this link and not only will you be supporting the pioneering community of independent green generators, but for every sign up they get they’ll make another donation to help get the bus around the world. It helps you cut your personal CO2 emissions, helps them grow a great business, and helps me get round the world.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Goa aint goin' on.

Readers from the UK will remember the series of Gold Blend TV commercials in which an I-can-have-it-all feminist yuppie and an I’m-a-devilishly-handsome-new-man-from-next-door have coitus non-startus despite being regularly brought precariously close to nookie by their shared love of instant coffee. The ads were a classy documentary statement on Thatcher’s children of the early 90’s. The cringing dialogue was delivered with atrocious eyebrow acting, affirming, lest there was any doubt, that this couple was terribly clever and terribly in charge of their destiny. I wasn't the only viewer left hopping they’d both be engulfed in a dry roasted fire.

Now 20 years on, imagine he’s a bare chested, leather skinned 60 yearold playing with his silver pony tail in a cheap Mexican restaurant in Goa, bragging about his past travels in a faded Aussie accent, while she is a fresh skinned slender 23 year old German girl with thick matted dreads, and beads and bells on the hem of her long tie-dyed skirt.

Him [offering her a joint with a furtive eyebrow flick]: Would you like a smoke?
Her [raising an eyebrow]: I don’t do drugs, I prefer reality.
Him [raising an eyebrow back]: Reality is for people that can’t handle drugs.
Her [raising her other eyebrow to meet the first]: I don’t like to alter my perception on reality when I’m travelling.
Him [trying to raise his first eyebrow higher, but giving up and opting instead to furrow it downwards]: Drugs don’t alter my perception on reality, they just alter how I deal with reality.

And so it went on for a good hour. By the end they both had eyebrow exhaustion and thankfully had to shut up. As to the will-they-won’t-they? No granddad, never in a month of Sundays was she coming back to yours to smoke your gold blend. Ironically their conversation did finish up on the best filter coffee in town.

That was my table company for lunch. For dinner I was in Arambol's cheapest restaurant surrounded by dreadheads playing didgeridoos and gushing about what a great party last night was and tonight would be. They were already giving me suspicious looks when my phone rang from home and I had to discuss my company accounts submission, directors report and corporation tax filing. It was a bad line so I may have been quite loud. By the time I’d put the phone down I was surrounded by pursed lipped evil hippy stares. Thankfully before being burned at the the joss-stick, someone remembered that sunset was only a few minutes away and everyone urgently left with their guitars and bongos, for the beach to stare adoringly, and pursed lipped, at the sun dipping into the sea, again.

Everyone here is desperate to appear interesting. Everyone has their unique angle; locks, tattoos, Enfields, guitars, yoga, nudity, sequin dresses on the beach... and ironically no one is interested in anyone else’s interesting angle, apart from the sexagenarian nudity; we all stare purse lipped at that.

It’s all disappointingly insincere and unoriginal. The art here is commercial tat, the live music is great but the ambience is so dead it kills the music. I was expecting 1000 people, hands in the air on the beach at 3am under lasers and banging trance, but maybe it’s the end of the season so instead there are 50 people stood round the walls head bobbing while the German 23 year old frees her perception of reallity the dance floor alone.

Actually I think it’s more like the end of Goa. Arambol, Agonda, Palolem, they all have the feel of places that were interesting but are now just morphing into Clacton-on-Ganges . Five, 10, 15 years ago I bet this place really meant something and dished out ideas that changed the people that came here, sending waves propagating around the world when they left. Now the ideas are stale, and the place is a Russian holiday resort waiting to happen, but prevented from happening by planning laws which keep it locked in this hippy-happy state of tumble-down shacks. There’s a lot of good in that, the world is fine without another string of Club-Med resorts and adjoining golf courses. But equally, is there any need for this centre of phoney or old ideas?

The visitors here are trustafarians, who can go back to easy money in their home countries any time. Fledgling consumers, training to join the rat race of yuppie yoga mums and office workers that had a colourful past. I’d have more respect for them if they were aware they are just on an extended cheap 18-30's holiday and behaved more hedonisticly, rather than reciting this empty fantasy of connectedness, and spirituality. Like the couple from the Gold Blend commercial, they are so introspective, they’re not even shagging.


  1. I went to India years ago and got similarly pissed off with goa fashion.

    At the end of the day though it is just a lazy racism - we are all individuals. Generalisations are often right, sometimes wrong.

    Trance has always been shite anyway. Free parties in UK ftw!

  2. True enough Gav, but everything I'd heard about Goa made me think that there was some radical ideas and open thinking going on beyond the beaches and coconut sellers.

    Maybe I was just in a bad mood...

  3. Guardian seems to agree with you Andy...

  4. No, it wasn't the a bad mood, Andy. It's the reality of Goa, altered perception or not.

  5. And to add... there is nothing at all romantic about India. One only needs to spend a bit of time here to realize that.

  6. Check out the coffee adds on youtube. So painful.


What do you think?