Masonic Boom

"Crazy" "Oversensitive" "Feminazi" "Bitch" bloggin' bout pop music, linguistics and mental health issues

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Crazy Lady On The Bus

God, I'm so shaken. Some woman just HIT ME upside the head on the 25.

She was quite well dressed, too, she didn't look like a crazy lady. I suppose it's mine own fault for getting involved, but she kept shouting in my ear.

She was sitting in the aisle seat, and another girl tried to get into the window seat - she wouldn't move, so the girl had to climb over her to get into it, and the bus lurched, so the girl kind of fell against her. Girl apologised, but this lady would not give it a rest, she just kept shouting at her (directly in my ear, as I was in front of them), to the point where the girl just put her iPod on and ignored her.

I turned around to kind of give this crazy lady that disapproving English kind of glance that says "stop making a performance of yourself", and she starts shouting at me (because the girl has her headphones on and is not listening to her) so I said, as camly as possible, "She apologised, give it a rest." She starts SCREAMING at me, telling me "OHMIGOD, YOU ARE A RACIST, YOU WOULD NEVER BE COMPLAINING IF I WASN'T BLACK". To which I told her "that's lazy thinking, I'm complaining because you're shouting in my ear". I tried to zone out and just ignore her, but she's railing away so loudly that the bus driver is making "calm down back there" announcements.

I get off the bus at the next stop, and she's glaring at me and clucking her tongue and starts making comments, so I just told her as I passed "you wanna do something about that anger problem of yours, have a nice day" - so she got up and she HIT ME, quite hard, enough to make my ear ring, upside the head and starts screaming again.

I threatened to call the police but that just starts her up again, and the whole bus is staring now, and she's screaming about racism again, so I started to get off the bus, quite shaken. Why didn't I call the police? Because everyone is just trying to get to work, and that would inconvenience everyone. Bus drivers act like it's your fault if they have to stop, even if you've been mugged, even if you've been stabbed. (This happened, on the 43 last year.)

And as soon as someone plays the race card, that's it, it's over. What can you say back to that? "I didn't even notice your race until you pointed it out so kindly by shouting 'is it because I'm black' at me, at the top of your lungs." Actually, *you're* the racist for assuming that my motives for asking you to be quiet are something sinister because I'm white, when I'm just another office slob trying to get to work without being shouted at.

I was so shaken, shocked and in pain, my ears ringing, so I reacted on a purely instinctual level, sinking to her level. I spat at her, big gobby spit all over the bus, just before the doors closed. I'm not proud. I'd have been in my legal rights to deck her, since she threw the first punch. But as I walked away down Newton Street, then I started to shake, and to cry.

You don't know what's going through people's heads. I've been the crazy lady on the bus before, (though I've never actually hit anyone) and it's about what's going on in their head, not what you're doing. Still, doesn't make it any more pleasant.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Keeping Busy

Well, I've got my meds adjusted and am trying to muddle through until it takes effect or doesn't or whatever. This weekend, it's been mainly a case of trying to keep busy, not allowing myself to sit in the flat and stew.

So on Saturday, I had been intending to walk up to the Rookery, but the weather was so inclement that I decided on a bus trip instead. The only bus in Streatham that I'd never been on is the 57. A strange, non-London looking bus with a white top on it, which claimed to go all the way to Kingston. Well, why not? One rolled up to the bus stop as I was looking for a bus, and I got on it.

And as I looked up Kingston on a map (I've been there once before, with the ex boyfriend who managed to make everything Not Fun) I realised that it was directly across the river from Hampton Court Palace. To which I'd never been as an adult, but which I'd always been fascinated by, due to the many articles about it by Mark Girouard and other Country Life types.

The bus took forever, fitting together bits of London I never understood how they fit together - the Tooting/Wimbledon intersection, for one. Coombe Hill, which was so utterly, completely Not London with its McMansions, that it scared me. And then Kingston, which looks pretty much like any other provincial town/small city in Not London, with its pedestrianised high street and its department stores.

Walked across the river, dropped off the main road into the Home Park, and suddenly it was like being out in the country. Even the traffic noise dropped away, endless grassland and rows of marching trees, both newly planted and ancient. Walking up the main avenue, with glimpses of brickwork in the background, my eye was caught by a pile of sandy coloured stuff I thought to be a dog. But no, there was no owner nearby, so I decided it must be a log. Then it raised its head and proved itself to be a STAG!!! And suddenly there were dozens of them, all around, me, dozing and grazing in the grass, cautious, but not unfriendly. Dappled, brown and tan and buckskin coloured, stags and does and babies. It was almost magical.

Went through huge iron gates (unlocked as there is no charge for the garden at this time of year) and into the formal gardens. I suppose it depends on how you feel about topiary, really. I love formal gardens, the order and beauty, the old fashioned hidey-holes that made me wish I had a lover to court there.

Walked all around the house, though I prefer the older, Tudor bits to the shining and grand William and Mary bits, but did not go in. Another day, perhaps. And though I did not go in the maze, either, it was enough of a maze finding my way out of the formal gardens back to the river. So I took the long way around, past Thames Ditton and Seething Wells, admiring the barges and cottages. I'd love to live on the Thames, especially on one of those islands.

Then on Sunday, the London Psychogeographical Rambling Assocation went to visit the Battersea Power Station:

But that will have to wait for another day, as it's nearly time for rehearsal. God, I'm not looking forward to dragging all my gear across town. I'm not sure I can carry on with weeknight rehearsals.

Friday, October 27, 2006

I Know, I Know, I Know

I've been neglecting my blog lately. I just kinda figured that no one wanted to read another post of "oh woe is me, I'm feeling rather listless and depressed" - least of all me. Still, I've done a few things over the past few days, maybe I'll talk about them.

Last night, I went to see Marie Antoinette. I was expecting an utterly vapid but immensely beautiful piece of fluff, with fabulous frock coats and a great soundtrack. Well, it was actually slightly less vapid than I was expecting (still superficial, but slightly deeper than I had been led to believe) in terms of political machinations. But let's face it, no one went into it expecting a treatise on the French Revolution. I was expecting shoes, wigs, frock coats and new wave classics. And even some Kevin Shields remixes! (How on earth does Coppola continue to tempt him out of the house?) Amusing and diverting frothy fun.

The night before, I went to a folk club - The Magpie's Nest. It's a proper folk club, in that between the support and headlining acts, they have half an hour to an hour of open mic. And it's the quality of these open mics which is what keeps me coming back. Of course, there are the usual serious young men with crap emo songs about how some girl done them wrong, but then some unpreposessing older person will get up, and reel off some traditional tune a capella, that sends shivers down my spine.

The other night was The Devil's Interval, who, in between singing almost unearthly harmonies, made cracks about how "young" their audience was. I suppose folk music does traditionally attract oldsters. I mean, traditions themselves are usually something that only appeal to the very very young and the rather to very old. Though, as I wrote in a Plan B article a few months ago, the huge folk revival among kids of hipster age is something quite remarkable - perhaps a desire to be connected to a tradition which is both timeless and un-cooptable by The Music Industry. Folk songs don't belong to Sony or Warner Brothers or the RIAA - they belong to everyone, to use, adapt and make your own, as you see fit. And that's something quite powerful where even our icons that would have been "folk heroes" in another age belong to corporations.

For me, it has a comforting sort of feeling, I associate folk clubs with my father, and the few intimate times we actually spent together.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Well, the weepy, crying jag painfulness has given way to just sort of a hollow, empty sense of pointlessness.

I've been having trouble getting out of bed. Not even because I'm tired, but because I can't see why getting out of bed would make any difference. Would I be missed at work? Yes, well, probably. Though I've not really got much to *do* at work at the moment, and bizarrely, their being terribly understanding about my depression removes the "ohmigod, I might get sacked" motivation. This morning, I just lay there, hugging a pillow, eyes open but not really looking at anything, until a man came to read the gas meter.

My stomach hurts and I realise I'm kinda hungry, so I eat breakfast. Pecans taste like something, which surprises me. I've read the magazines on the table about five times already, and I can't be bothered thinking of anything to do, so I might as well go to work. I can't think of anything to post on ILX, and half the posters there make me feel ill, so I don't bother. There's a gig we should be lining up and booking, but you know, I can't be bothered to chase anyone, so I just forget about it. This is the level I've been operating on for the past few days. Subsistence.

And it kinda scares me. I'm going through the motions, interacting with people, saying Kate-like things. But it feels like I'm watching myself dispassionately, like an observer reading a book about myself. I can't bring myself to care.

Is this a brain chemistry or other physical problem, or a psychological dip? I can't figure it out. Going to the doctor tomorrow to try and make sense of it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Going Solo

I've not been great lately. Been suffering from quite bad mood swings and terrible depression lately, to the point where I got sent home from work on Friday. I kinda feel like I'm going through the motions at the moment, but sometimes that's what you have to do to get through to a place where you're OK again. I go to see my doctor on Wednesday, and I'm going to ask to have my meds changed or increased.

Got through the weekend, did some recording with Marianna on Saturday, which was fun, and had a good old gossip/bitch session. And then Sunday was my first solo gig in a couple of years.

I was terrified. Yeah, I get horrible nerves before gigs anyway, and even though it was at my local (The Windmill) with loads of my mates up front cheering me on, it was still traumatic. Nothing ever goes according to plan. Changeovers and retunings which take 10 seconds at home seem to take *ages* when you're onstage. I forgot words left and right - even to songs which I've known for years. And to make it even worse, the stage was almost pitch dark, and I could barely see my guitar to play it - making for lots of unneccessarily flubbed notes.

And god, the empty black hole of silence when you're doing stuff between songs, and there's no one else there to pick up the slack and say something. I was too scared to look at the audience, so I spent a lot of the show with my eyes closed. (At least on the easy songs.) Eyes closed, not talking to the audience - it wasn't what I feel is right to do onstage. I guess I'll never be a proper Shoegazer, then.

But hey, it was a learning experience. I learned that I don't like playing shows by myself. Even if I'm the world's biggest control freak, I need other people there onstage with me. It was a good chance to debut new songs (and some ancient revivals) and work out whether they work in a live setting. Some did, some didn't. The ones that did will end up as Shimuras songs.

Ah, and one added bonus - there was a really lovely band that played after us, called The Bronsteins. Really gentle, pretty, K Records type stuff, naive pop with lovely harmonies and pretty melodies. So I went up to their singer after the show, and told her how much I liked her band - and she looked at me, and said "I know you from somewhere..." And it turned out that she was Melinda from The Channel Six! (I once wrote song about one of them.) So that was a wonderful blast from the past.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Do You Want To Hate Yourself (Even More)?

...then take up interweb dating.

Every time I sign up for one of these things, I say "never again!" and then a few months later, I find myself so lonely I find myself doing it again, spurred on by a couple of attractive sounding profiles.

I go on about how I'm strong, and self sufficient, and I don't need a man and how much all that Bridget Jones crap makes me feel ILL. But then the Skin Hunger - and more than that, the desire for *companionship* - strikes. And you get your smug married friends saying smug things like "Oh, You'll find *someone*! Look, I did, so anyone can!" which just isn't helpful at all, and makes you feel more and more like the freak weird nubbly carrot left at the back of the shelf because no one wants to buy it. Because they've just *forgotten* how shit it is.

And if you actually dare to say anything like "you know, I'm just so fed up with being so lonely" then you get these "Ooh, I never knew you were PATHETIC!" comments because people are sick of your whinging.

And these dating sites? They're even *more* demoralising than searching for a job - which is pretty much the most demoralising thing I can think of. You send off dozens, even hundreds of resumes, and no one calls you back. Or even if you get to the interview stage, you never hear from them again, and you're just left hanging, wondering if you smell or what.

I don't know it is. The competition? The fact that they just *look* like catalogues of hundreds of exciting singles, so why should you waste any time on one who doesn't immediately have a PMA (positive mental attitude) and On the other hand, high maintenance girls need not apply!! On beauty - I tend to go for the slimmer type with good legs, good skin, good eyes and a lovely smile. (Yeah, but not high maintainance beauty, of course, because everyone is just *naturally* slim with perfect skin.)

It's fucking disheartening when you send out message after message and don't even get so much as an answer. So when you *do* get an answer, and you start messaging a person who seems like they have a brain... of course you get your hopes up. Who doesn't? I'm only human. I can live with the despair - I can't live with the hope.

And that sense of anticipation - that sick, ulcerous feeling in the pit of your stomach - turns sour when they stop replying. And the Negative Automatic Thoughts start to win - "are you STUPID? Did you really think anyone would be attracted to you? You're fat, you're ugly, you're psychotic, AND, now you've got a NEGATIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE, OH NOES!!! There really is no one out there for you. So you should just give up looking because it hurts to much, this endless rejection."

And I hate myself for caring. I hate myself for being upset by it. That voice, that "I never knew you were PATHETIC!!!" echoes in my mind. And then I hate myself. (Even more.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


I always tell people "I don't need to take drugs, I am a drug!" but here's proof:

Your Personality Is Like Acid

A bit wacky, you're very difficult to predict.

One moment you're in your own little happy universe...

And the next, you're on a bad trip to your own personal hell!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

For Posterity

This is the blog entry I added to the One Day In History project at the British Library, so I might as well put it here to make it all official, like.


After slaving all day over a hot computer at work, I take the bus down to Shoreditch to slave all evening over a hot computer, albeit in a music studio. Turns out the sound engineer is someone I know from an internet messageboard, a Canadian living in London. For a moment, we both feel like celebrities, then we laugh at how small the world has become.

Miss AMP's sister, Lisa, has just joined the band, and it's her first rehearsal with Shimura Curves. There are four of us girls in a tiny sweaty room that smells of beer and boysweat, trying to sing complex shape-note harmonies on a PA that sounds like a cheap stereo. All around us, we can hear other bands, down under the railway arches, the sound bouncing around in the enclosed space. We're kinda quiet, because we're just laptop, guitar, keyboards and four voices. I used to be in a "real" band but I got sick of lugging around a drumkit and amps. Besides, with a laptop I can manipulate the soundwaves themselves, and create sounds I only ever dreamed of.

We're working on a new song - (Just Keep My Name) Out Of Your Blog. Supremely ironic, given AMP's and my interweb history, and we fall about laughing over it.

I keep a diary, I keep it on a shelf
The thing about a private life is you keep it to yourself
You got something to say, then write a bloody book
Don't write it like it's private, then invite the world to take a look

Just keep my name, out of your blog
I'm not your character, don't wanna be your dog
You can write your world the way you want it if you wish
But take it to your LiveJournal if you wanna just bitch

Are you gonna grade me, gonna give me five stars?
Or points out of ten like albums or cars?
I don't kiss and type because I got class
So you can take your comment box and stick it up your - woo!

I know what you're up to, I know that you kissed her
I seen the pictures on your sister's Flickr
Get out of my face, get off MySpace
Coz I gone and dumped you from my top 8

Get out of the studio, and Shoreditch High Street is being torn up again (bloody gentification) and they've moved the bus stop, so two 149s go charging past me without stopping. I hate those bendy busses, their drivers are like scary automotons who forget they're carrying people. I walk half a mile to the next one, and luckily manage to get the last train from London Bridge. Hurrah.

All Is Flux

Do I resist change? I don't know. I do rather fear it. Because I've been through an incredible amount of change in my life that was totally out of my control. I suppose it's made me a bit obsessive compulsive about ritual and control.

But change doesn't have to always be bad. Change is flux, change is growth. Nothing new gets created without something old being either destroyed or changed.

So, first rehearsal with Shimuras, Mark 3 last night. Anna has resigned - really the only workable way out of The Situation. And AMP's sister Lisa has stepped in. It's not a question of trying to fill someone else's shoes. (I mean, who could fill Anna's shoes? they were ridiculously tiny and ridiculously high heeled.) It's more a question of finding the new person's strengths, and fitting them into the music.

When Marianna joined, I was a bit scared - because her voice is *nothing* like Frances' - Frances is soprano while Marianna has a lovely, rich contralto. We had to rewrite a lot of harmonies, stack the voices in a different order. But it really worked, and now I can't imagine our songs without Marianna as the anchor at the bass of the scale. And I'm sure that Lisa will work in the same way. Her voice and AMP's voice just blend so beautifully, in the way that only sisters really can harmonise.

I miss Anna. There, I said it. It's weird, rehearsing without her, without her incessant jokes and giggle fits defusing the tension. But then, that makes me sad, realising that things aren't the same - and they can't be.

We're working on new songs, though, which is exciting, and the *fun* bit, to me. It's easier breaking in a new girl on new songs, because then she can work out her own part. Getting back to business, booking gigs, making plans and all that. Back to the future, then.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Simple Things

It's amazing, what makes a difference, when you're depressed. Just lunch, with a friend - who actually listens to you, and who you can listen to. It goes a long way.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

It Didn't Work

The floor just dropped a little lower.

I feel so isolated. I can't talk to anyone who *is* involved directly. I certainly can't talk to anyone who *thinks* they are somehow involved, through whatever friendship with whichever one of the parties. I try to contact friends who aren't involved at all, just for some kind of human reassurance, and it's always the same story from the same people. Too busy, too broke, too whatever, can't even find the time. And that drives me back down into myself, why should I bother reaching out again?

I feel like giving up, on friends as well as "lovers". I feel like never contacting anyone ever again, just waiting for people to contact me. If they do at all. Retreat a little further inside. Give up a little more hope.

Boots of Sex

The easiest way to cheer oneself up, obviously is retail therapy.

So I looked at the brown suede buckle boots in Clarks, and they weren't all that close up. So I walked to Jones Bootmaker on High Holborn. They were SOLD OUT (!!!!) of the brown chelsea boots in my size. But, on a whim (I REFUSE to leave this shop without boots!!!) I tried on a few knee-high riding boots, even though the bloody things *never* fit my fat calves.

And yet these...

...actually have enough give, in the laces, that I could not only get them on, but zip them up, fat calves and all.

I've been wandering about the office in them, slapping a ruler like a riding crop, and threatening people in a poor German accent if they muck with my data. I think I feel a lot better as a Nazi Dominatrix.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What This Blog Needs a bit less whinging, and a bit more Jane Austen. And so, I give you, Regency Rowr, Colonel Brandon.

With sword:

With boots:

And just generally smouldering:

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Good Kind Of Loss

OK, now for something completely different, I'm going to try and focus on something positive for a change.

I've been "detoxing" for about a month now. I refuse to use the word "d13t" with all its horrible connotations of self obession and self denial and the powerful influences of "Society" and Size Zero models (size 0? It even sounds horrible, like you're trying to negate yourself, erase your body). However, last month, just before my period, I found my scales touching 15 Stone.* 15 Stone! That's what my mum weighs! I'm tall, so it doesn't look it, but my BMI rose out of the merely overweight zone, and into medically obese.

I started to think quite hard about weight and self image. Although I was mostly the proverbial Fat Girl since I was a child, my body size has been very much a mirror of how I feel about myself. Overweight and underweight have both been expressions of mental distress. It's not a coincidence that I dropped to the lowest I've ever been - 10 Stone - after a traumatic series of events. Nor is my current weight a coincidence. I can whinge about stress and the changing habits of a deskbound job, but the truth is, it was a decision to no longer care about my appearnce.

A reaction to rejection. When I was the thin, blonde girl, everyone wanted my arse, but no one seemed to give a shit what was going on in my head, in my emotions. Put on weight, and goddammit, people - especially men - are going to *HAVE* to accept the real me, the mental me, if they want to be with me. I put the weight on to keep men at arms' (or belly's) length. And god damn, YEAH, it worked.

But this last heartbreak made me realise, it's time to take the Bear Suit off. You can't go around whinging about how shallow men are. (Especially when I'm just as shallow - after all, I expect the men I'm attracted to to look a certain way.) Who's going to love you if you don't love yourself? Oh wait, that's not neccessarily true. Boyfriends didn't *care* how much I hated my *self* when I had a good figure, so long as I didn't hate my *body*.

It's not a d13t, it's a complete about face in lifestyle, permanently. Cut out refined sugar and fats, cut down bouze (I don't even drink that much any more, but it's more about cutting out that relaxing weeknight glass of wine with dinner) and chocolate (only high quality, high cocoa content, when you have it). Powerwalk for half an hour every morning, rain or shine. Never take the bus for short distances when you can walk.

I'm resorting to bribery. I promised myself a new pair of boots when I hit 14st. At 13 and a half stone, a new Liberty print shirt. And at 13 stone, jodhpurs and riding lessons.

And in just over three weeks, the bottom of the scale now touches just under 14 stone, and the top touches 14st 4lbs. My trousers don't pinch. Belts have gone in another notch. Well done me!

Get yourself one new pair of boots! But which do I want? Clarks hippie brown suede boots, or Jones sleek, elegant Chelsea Boots? The choice is mine.

*OK, my scales are weird, as they are very ancient, inherited from my ex mother-in-law. Depending on how you stand on them, there can be a difference of nearly half a stone. The higher of the readings hit 15 Stone, the lower was still 14 and a half.


Trying to figure out why I feel so shit the last few days, I've suddenly realised that I've been going through the classic stages of grief.

  • Denial (this isn't happening to me!)

  • Anger (why is this happening to me?)

  • Bargaining (I promise I'll be a better person if...)

  • Depression (I don't care anymore)

  • Acceptance (I'm ready for whatever comes)

Denial, anger and bargaining have all swept through me, and now I'm left with the hollow, empty feeling of depression. I need to keep busy, I need to throw myself back into work. (Even though the work itself is a constant reminder of the loss.)

Monday, October 09, 2006

What's It Like, To Be Mad?

The question that wasn't asked yesterday, but I know was on your lips. We were talking about something rather innocently, and you just casually remarked "yes, but you don't react to things like other people." To which I replied, defensively, "Yes, well, other people can't just sit down at a weekend and write four songs. I'm *not* normal. Not better, not worse, just different."

The obvious answer is "I've no idea; what's it like, to be sane?" but that's not true. I see normal people all around me, read about them in books. And I'm well aware that I'm not entirely like them, I've been aware of the difference since I was quite young, around the first onset of puberty, really.

What's it like? I suppose it's a bit like having a broken leg, in a way. (Though the worst thing I've ever broken is only my ankle.) Yes, that's exactly what it's like. You can't always expect to be able to put any "weight" on your emotions. They behave in unexpected ways, you can feel your mind just slip out from underneath you when you expect it to hold you up and get you through. You can't always count on your emotions - and therefore your mind - to behave.

It's like your brain is lacking a thermostat that keeps your thoughts and emotions in the "everything's basically OK" range. Have you ever been in a shower with a faulty thermostat? One minute it's so cold you can't bare to stand in it, the next it's scalding. That's what my brain is like, it just can't regulate or control the serotonin, the "everything's OK" neurotransmitter. One day, I feel bleak and bereft like there is no hope, the utter blackness of the Deep Field between the galaxies. The next day, the world is hundreds, thousands of endless possibilities, glittering and beautiful and perfect, but so endless that it can become terrifying when it just doesn't stop.

Emotions can surge up like a spring tide, utterly out of control, sweeping you with them. Thoughts which seem innocent can circle round and round in your head until they destroy your ability to even function.

You have to learn, by hideous trial and error, which types of situations you can and can't handle. Like if your ankle is broken, you just have to accept that you can't "do stairs". And you may do yourself damage if you try to force yourself.

Medication helps, it cuts the highs and lows off, but anything that completely eliminates all moodswings will eliminate *all* emotions, and you cannot live as a zombie. CBT is helpful, it's almost like you construct some kind of tripod out of reason and logic, in order to hold your mind up, when your emotions go slipping out from under you. I know people often find it strange, when I go all super-logical and cold, but it's a defense against biochemistry that I can't control.

I suppose, it's a good thing that I've accepted it. In fact, it was almost a relief when I was diagnosed, because it meant that I wasn't wilfully being a horrible brat, (like my family and friends sometimes accused), it wasn't my imagination, it really was some kind of brain chemistry thing. And once you've accepted it, you can learn to live with it, a slow process of constant learning and adjustments.

So next time you stand up, and you put your weight on your leg, and remember the twinge that means it doesn't quite do what it used to, before it was broken - think about what it would mean to you, think about how it would feel if it was your mind instead that had been broken.

Friday, October 06, 2006


Andre Gide once wrote a wicked tale
About a ship that was lost at sea
A girl was saved when the lifeboat took sail
Women and children in emergencies

And on each boat there was an axe
A terrible purpose that enthralled
Chop off the fingers of those in the sea
So they couldn't climb in and swamp them all

And oh, your fingers are in my thoughts, my mind
Chop off those emotions I refuse to feel
Put out mine eyes so I'll be blind
So I can't see you're drowning me

That's Not What I Heard

Yeah, I know, I've been kinda neglecting this blog lately.

It kinda takes the fun out of it when you realise that everything you write will be read, digested, quoted, misunderstood, and used against you in a court of public opinion by people who do not understand that a blog like this is a journal, not necessarily a conversation.

I've been thinking about gossip lately, and its social function.

When I was younger, I believed that *all* gossip was inherently negative, mainly because I had been the focus of so much malicious gossip. I did not know that there could be another aspect.

But if gossip didn't have a positive social function, it wouldn't exist, it wouldn't be the focus of so much of our conversations, across every culture in the world. Gossip is not just about the information conveyed, but it also establishes and reinforces relationships between not just Gossiper A and Gossiper B but also Person C, the one being talked about. In a positive sense, it places A, B and C within a larger community or context, as being connected to one another.

(Though negative gossip serves a similar function in a more limited sense - A and B stress their relationship as being in opposition to C.)

Gossip happens. It's the lifeblood, the warp and weft, the ripple that fuels and animates communities. Doesn't make it any more unpleasant when it goes awry - or when people take hearsay or assumptions based thereon and use it as a critism to beat you with without being in full possession of the delicacy of the entire situation - but at least it explains where it came from in the first place.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Musical Monogamy

I can't stop writing. It's like being possessed. That moment that a "story" stops being a little wank fantasy, and takes off, the characters leaping to life, a simple plotline giving way to a grand story arc. Class, money, sex, revenge, hunting and a good dollop of rock'n'roll, ooh, it's like a Mills and Boon gone mental. Hurrah!

It's Monthend today, so I'm killing time, waiting for the conslutants to get off the database so I can start running the downloads and then the endless recs. I can't do the gig tonight, which is weird. Jealousy consumes me, as I read the others getting excited on MySpace and ILX, and I want to share that excitement, but I can't, and it just leaves me feeling slightly left out. But I have to remind myself, I wanted it this way. It's an experiment, a learning experience for them, to have to do it *all* themselves and not rely on me so much. And then the other half of the experiment happens in three weeks, when I do a solo show at The Windmill.

I'm terrified; it's been a long time since I got on a stage by myself. It's much harder than doing it with others, no one else to hide behind, you just feel naked and exposed. But I'm thinking of which songs I want to do, and wondering if maybe I should split my musical projects in two. I don't want to, I'm inherently monogamous, I want one band to give me everything, pop and bubblegum and motorik and shoegazing. Not sure it works that way, though.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Back In The Saddle

Well, I kinda took a little break from blogging, post-holiday and now I find I've got out of the habit.

What's there to report, anyway? The world still turns, I'm still Sad and Lonely, I'm starting to hate my job. (Countdown from return from holiday to status quo: 1 Week exactly.) But I've lost half a stone and have successfully given up refined sugar for good, and am a health-giving exercise regime to make me stop losing my breath after climbing some stairs.

I've been making more of an effort to be social, going to dinner with friends and the like. I even went to a folk open mic night last week for the first time in 15 years! (My dad would be proud.)

So why did I end up spending the majority of the weekend, back on the comfy Chesterfield sipping sherry and engaging in the literary equivalent of masturbation? I blew out plans four nights in a row. No shoegazing on Thursday, and decided not to go to Emsk's artmusicpolitics because I thought I'd be out every night of the weekend. But then I couldn't even be bothered to trek up to Stoke Newington to see The Heads, even with the promise of DDBs galore. And on Sunday, after Chrissy and Gaz were too sick to make their own party, well... Well, I did finally break my longstanding phobia of going to see films by myself, and saw Children of Men at the Streatham Odeon, since it's like 500 yards from my house.

But then I was too blasted and emotionally drained (it's a brilliant film, go and see it, and you'll understand what I mean) to bother going out barn-dancing that night. (Just as well, as Ed's train got stuck at Swindon.)

And why? Because I was being creative? Making music? No. Because I was too engaged in my self indulgent wank fantasy world of writing. I don't think it's healthy, in fact, I know it's probably not healthy. I think it does keep me from interacting with real people. And it's dead air, a labour of love that no one will ever share. But it's too damn addictive to stop.