I have been waiting for a while now to get my mojo back and, with no sightings of the perishing thing anywhere, I decided that I ought to try and check out what it is, exactly, that I have been looking for…
Well, as ever, my first recall is to Google, from which I discover that mojo is ‘a magic charm, talisman or spell’, ‘influence, especially magic power’ and a bar in Nottingham. As I have never before had any of the above, I doubt that I stand much chance of getting them back, so I think I probably need to look for something else.
Firstly, I have to ask myself, what is it that I hope to find? What is it that I think I have lost? When did I last have it? And was it insured? If so, is its loss through Act of God (not covered), political unrest (also not covered) or personal incompetence (also not covered when I finally get down to checking the small print)? I think that what I am seeking is some kind of spark, some whatever-it-is that makes my fractured and uncertain prose something over which you might choose to linger. Something that marks me out from all of the other navel-gazers that inhabit this platform: something that, like a useless metal strip along the wing of a car, marks me out as ‘special’. Sadly, I fear, that I am destined merely to skulk in the shadows, unremarkable, un-noticed, like a Romanian spy with a loaded umbrella and only the vaguest idea of whose ankle to prod. What formerly stopped me blending into the background? What was it that I once had? If, indeed, I ever did – have it, that is. Maybe this absent mojo is nothing more than a fantasy, a distant aspiration: something that I saw in me that was not seen by anybody else. Like the feeling that people are happy to spend time with me, when really they just don’t have the bus fare home. Perhaps my mojo exists only in my mind – or out of it even. What, exactly is my mojo, if nothing more than vanity? Surely a man with my talents cannot be so vain*.
Of course, like everybody else, I can’t help but think how much easier it would be if I could just contact Mr Bezos and have one – albeit of the wrong size – delivered to the wrong house three days after it was due, in a box that could easily contain a cathedral. Sadly, life is not so easy. You cannot buy an off-the-peg mojo – they do not come w ith one sleeve longer than the other, a zip where there should be a button, unrequested turn-ups. Nor is there any point in taking a trip into town to find one: most of that has passed away under a layer of whitewash and blockboard during the pandemic and, anyway, I do not suspect that I’d be able to pick up a single mojo at Wilkinson’s: they will all be blister-packed in threes, and I don’t have room to store the other two in the garage. It’s doubtful that Poundland will have recently received a batch of slightly shop-soiled models, so I would probably be forced to rake through the boxes in the charity shops, and I’m pretty unlikely to find anything to lift the spirits there – unless, of course, it’s a tenner in a £2 pair of jeans.
Ideally, I would persuade somebody to search with me, but it’s not that easy when you don’t know exactly what it is that you are looking for: ‘It’s my essential spark, I think. It might be quite small. It used to flicker – a bit – now and then, but I suspect it might have gone out now…’ Not easy to admit that even if you find it, it might not be up to much. Like the little toy in a Kinder Egg, it is likely to take an unreasonably long time to put together, only to be, ultimately, deeply disappointing – but without the chocolate.
I am told that I shouldn’t worry about it; that like the family cat, it will come back to me when it is ready. Providing, of course, that it doesn’t find somebody that feeds it better: possibly still twitching, none of that tinned rubbish. And, anyway will it come back the same as it left? Will it return with a world-weary shrug; disappointed that it was not able to do better for itself; tired, flabby and lethargic, like the sales assistant at the health food store in a motorway service station? I’m not entirely certain that I even want it back if it’s going to smell of mung beans.
Maybe I should just give up searching myself and place an advert in the local paper shop instead: ‘Lost, one mojo. If found, please return to Colin McQueen. There is absolutely no reward for its safe return.’ After all, I can’t think why anybody else might want it and anyway, if nothing else, the phone calls are sure to pep me up…
*If I was writing this in a text, I would include a little emoji here to indicate that I am joking and not actually that vain. After all, what narcissist would use an emoji, right?