Look out! cried Derek. You're heading towards the abyss! John didn't even flinch as the vehicle carrying Derek, Nigel, Katie and himself went over the edge and plummeted into the unknown. There was nothing in front of them but a black emptiness. Impossible to tell how fast or how far they went, Derek and Katie huddled together in the back. John and Nigel pressed on with a strange calmness across their face as if they already knew what was going to happen.
Katie, a beautiful twenty-nine year old biologist, sat in her red and black overall with an expression on her face that made her look thirty years older. She was petrified and found little comfort in Derek sitting next to her. Derek was far too busy panicking! As their vehicle went over Derek was convinced he had seen death standing on the ledge laughing at them. The time spent below and the depth they were at was beginning to take its toil on this normally calm scholar. Derek would normally spend a Thursday at the local drama- society’s poetry evenings at The Five n Dime around the corner from where he rented a loft-space. Although a keen writer himself, he had never been able to summon the strength to read something of his own. He had always considered the risk to great.
Considering where he was at the moment, he realised what danger really was.
Nigel was no stranger to danger. In fact "No Stranger to Danger" had become his motto after having looked death in the eye on several occasions. Nigel was an adventurer and had traveled the world in search of hot-spots and natural disasters for over twenty-five years. Nearing the big five-o, he had been near killed so many times he had stopped counting. Scars and metal operated into his body bore witness to his dramatic life.
Two years ago, Nigel had been holding a lecture on life forms living at extreme conditions - a topic Nigel was particularly fond of - when John had approached him for the first time. John was somewhat of an adventurer himself, but at only half Nigel’s age he had not yet been out on a real-life expedition and his adventures had mostly been rummaging through books and antiques. He had traveled a great deal and spoken to a great many people, but unlike Nigel, he led a safe life.
John and Nigel had spoken for hours that day. Despite their backgrounds they discovered that they had a great many things in common.
At first, the experienced Nigel was apprehensive about the young man, but when John produced drawings he had discovered of creatures unlike anything Nigel had ever seen, his professional curiosity got the best of him.
John had on that first meeting described to Nigel how he had come across these drawings and from whom he had gotten the information. From that day on, John and Nigel had been working together to gather more information about the creatures from the drawings. After almost two years of work, John and Nigel found themselves convinced that the drawings were based on actual observations and decided to launch an expedition.
John was calmly at the controls of the vehicle pushing buttons and pulling levers. Derek was not impressed. After nearly ten minutes plummeting into the emptiness, Nigel had still not said a word or even looked up from the book in his lap. He seemed to be as much at ease with the situation as he was engulfed in the text. Not even Derek’s whimpering had caused his gaze to move from the book, but when Katie screamed as a flickering light appeared in front of them, Nigel lay the book down and said casually: Good. We're here.
To be continued
In order to keep you all sufficiently jealous, I have set up a blog to regale you all with stories from my Chinese adventures.
Should some of you be tempted to comment on my tales from the other side, you will need an invitation, but please do not hesitate to ask. I am more than happy to give you one. Check out the blog at
June 2007 marks the end of the second year for Mr. Madsen and his attempt at being a student. Second year exams have all been completed - results pending.
Only one minor obstacle remains before total completion, China.
As the more perceptive of the readers probably will have realised by now, The Madness is moving to China for about a year. Incidentally the same time as Mr Madsen has left on his degree.
International marketing is becoming increasingly interesting to Mr Madsen, although he finds himself once again with the world on his shoulders.
Have you ever really listened to Bruce Springsteen? You probably go around thinking you don't like him or his music. How dumb are you??
For those of you unfamiliar with the work of the Boss, pick up a copy of The Essential Bruce Springsteen. This album spans his entire career, from Thunder Road to The Rising. Make sure you buy the three disc edition with some rare and previously unreleased tracks, such as Trapped!
The sun is here and summer is once again upon us. It is early in the morning as I am writing this, sitting on my veranda getting a tan.
For those of you who have not experienced Bergen in summertime, I suggest you do something about it. Of all the places in all the lands, Bergen, Norway, is The place to be.
Norwegians may very well be the palest people in the world, the author of this is certainly a good example, but we have so much to offer the less fortunate residents of elsewhere.
Come to Bergen my friends - Before it's too late!
Norway's leading Brass Band, Krohnengen, just completed a tour of the Hinterlands. This season has been one of the best ones for the band, probably topped only by winning the World Championship some years back.
This years highlight was definately the medieval inspired concert An Age of Kings. Performed in the medieval great hall in Bergen, it provided the perfect atmosphere for an unforgettable evening of musical grandeur.