As my mind opened so did the world in front of me Even as a child I sensed things were not as should be So it is now I look up to the biggest sky I ever saw Where love and cooperation must trump violence and war
“the biggest sky I ever saw” is taken from a Robert Plant interview used in the Led Zeppelin biography by Mick Wall, hence the title.
Both on our way By the end of the day – A feeling we’ll no longer miss It’s been a while Since sharing our smile – And feeling so gentle a kiss When we are not there We know we still care – Each other we’re thinking of Wrapped in each other Like arms of a mother – The comforts of deepest love
There’s no problem between us I’d never tell you you have to stay We are always together at heart Even after you’ve gone away Our dreams are sometimes different And other times they are the same We push each other to realise them Cause our love will always remain With the latest technology We are merely a whisper apart It may be a while ’til we meet again But you always remain in my heart
This forbidden love wasn’t designed to last We both realise that now it’s gone The savage betrayals a reflection As the threads of hope all come undone It’s a timeless story, always repeated Because passions cannot be denied Dreams of forever just fall apart Ever quicker the more it’s tried The victims suffer the recognition As their cities of dreams are burned Eyes open to once blinding mistakes A war from which much was learned
When love has gone wrong Run off to dark spaces Desperately clinging to hope Remembering those embraces Butterflied chest and tears And seething like a viper In the car for 20 hours Wearing an adult diaper A last romantic gesture To mend your broken heart May push away with vigour Forever to be apart Don’t laugh at their madness When Eros too was your sniper At one time or another We’ve all worn the diaper
Inspired by We Learn Nothing by Tim Kreider, recalling bad reactions to broken hearts
A youthful head full of fantasies Love songs sung out of bedroom windows Piercing dark eyes staring into mine I study every contour of the dimples ’round your nose Desperately seeking the warmth and comfort To learn the secrets of your touch Six more aching hearts on the other side The urges of desire are too much
I highlighted these quotes as I was reading, as they struck me for some reason. Now as I sit and reflect on them I sometimes wonder exactly what it was that stood out and if it’s not obvious I guess that the truth I saw in these words is not as deep as I thought. Quotes that remain obvious for their inclusion would seem to highlight a deeper belief I have about the world.
Extracts from White Nights (Dostoyevsky)
…you’re sorry that the ephemeral beauty has faded so rapidly, so irretrievably, that is flashed so deceptively and pointlessly before your eyes – you’re sorry, for you didn’t even have time to fall in love with her…
When I was a teenager or twenty something I would often look at people in the distance and try to see through their eyes at that moment in time and wonder what they were experiencing in their head. Could I jump, movie-like, from this life experience into a totally new one? Would it be better? Did I feel an urge to escape my own life?
Other times I would see a pretty girl and pretend to fall in love in that moment, hear her breath leave her mouth as I softly kissed her neck, then live a lifetime together in blissful happiness. In an instant these thoughts would disappear back behind other inane thoughts I might have. But, for that brief moment, I lived entire lives.
…moments like this are so rare in my existence that I must repeat them again and again in my thoughts.
These are happy thoughts and memories and as I’ve gotten older I realise they are not as rare as I thought. The more I have been writing and remembering, the big transformative negative events have given way to the smaller transformative positive ones. And as there have been less negative events in the last decade or two I feel like I must be getting somewhere. Repeating thoughts of positive memories must surely have the equal opposite benefit of continued negative ones. This could be a valid use of the word exponential.
…deep down the queer fish really means well.
Just call me ‘the queer fish’.
At any moment, I see more clearly than ever before that I’ve wasted my best years.
Everyone must feel this to some degree. It’s kind of relative. I wish I was as wise as I am now when I was a teenager. I’m envious of those who seem to have a level head at that age, yet also jealous of those crazy mad dogs charging into everything without thought and getting away with it. I consider everything that happened to me has gotten me to where I am now. Ok, I’m not as fit and healthy as when I was a teenager but inside I don’t feel any different, especially when it comes to the possibilities….I feel much more capable now, capable of learning new things and persisting. Though falling off a skateboard aged 40 taught me some things are probably too late to take up.
In the end, you feel that your much-vaunted, inexhaustible fantasy is growing tired, debilitated, exhausted, because you’re bound to grow out of your old ideals; they’re smashed to splinters and turn to dust, and if you have no other life, you have no choice but to keep rebuilding your dreams from the splinters and dust, But the heart longs for something different!
I’m not sure why I specifically highlighted this but it is giving me several ideas. Those ‘much-vaunted inexhaustible fantasies’ smashed; due to maturity, due to change, due to circumstance. I think I’ve been quite flexible in this regard and been able to accept changes and moving on as they happened. ‘Rebuilding your dreams’… is nothing to be afraid of.
I was struck by a passage in Sam McPheeters book ‘Mutations’ where he says he suddenly changed from going to see shows many times a week to not being interested in seeing live music at all – like a switch that went off for him. My circumstances in 2013 suddenly meant that I could no longer afford (or choose to afford) going to shows after about 8 years of being out every weekend. I missed the thrill and the camaraderie, meeting friends, frenzied noise and the joys of working together but ultimately I easily accepted this new situation. Perhaps because I had a higher goal at the time – to move myself to Thailand.
‘Grow out of your ideals’….this, I feel, is something that didn’t change for me. I still carry the same ideals – even useless ones. I am an idealist more than a realist. It’s source of personal unhappiness but by itself a virtue.
‘But the heart longs for something different’…the grass is always greener. I’m learning now to be satisfied. My brain is not switched off to new ideas and possibilities and I don’t wish to become an old man stuck in his ways but I am learning to relax into a peaceful rhythm of life, sitting in my own comfortable space within a beautiful house with a beautiful garden, in a strange otherworld of a foreign country and in the comfort of my own mind. This is what I wanted, this is what I got, so now I must enjoy the reward.
I know exactly why I highlighted this yet I think I only agree the first clause of this sentence. I have some very vivid memories of certain places that contributed to a great passionate love that sticks with me to this day. It was a very special time that I hope I can put into words one day. I would often revisit those places, searching for that brief passion within me, ultimately knowing that it won’t be found again. I have accepted that and even feel happier without that high, because those kinds of highs were always followed by lows, whether the following week, month, year or decade. I am much more at peace these days. I do still wish I was more mature at the time. I would’ve hurt less people, including myself.
It has been a sad, drizzly day, without relief – just like my future senility. I am oppressed by strange thoughts and dark sensations; throngs of vague questions obsess me, but I have neither the strength nor the desire to cope with them.
“…just like my future senility’ made me chuckle. What about my current senility? Although not this day, I am often oppressed by throngs of vague questions. Some days I love them and others I don’t have the strength for them. On those days I usually accept the situation and watch TV. I am trying to be kind to myself, waiting on my future senility.
…our own unhappiness makes us more sensitive to the unhappiness of others.
I can feel this deeply sometimes and the effort to take other people out of their funk may help my own depressions yet the advice I can give others is much more difficult to follow myself. This is a common experience for most people and I have tried to practice talking less and trying to find other ways to pick people up. This is particularly interesting where there’s little point in talking to ESL students or friends as they don’t have the vocabulary to understand anyway. Cultural differences often stand in the way too. I don’t want to come across as being some kind of expert or having the right way but can only try to offer suggestions.
Tell me, why aren’t we all like brothers? Why does even the best person hold something from another?
What a crazy world it would be if we never held anything back. All truths were told. There must be science fiction stories about this. A utopia or a place where humans completely destroyed each other? This concept is too huge for my tiny little brain right now. Is it even worth thinking about?
Naval Ravikant suggested that asking the question ‘what is the meaning of life’ is pointless, at least in the purpose of producing an answer, but the process of trying to answer the question will still provide worthwhile results.
…we won’t resent for long a wound inflicted by those we love..
I’m reminded of a recent time when a friend offered me advice along with the statement that “I’m only saying this because I love and care about you.” I forget what the advice was now but considered this statement. I took it at face value at the time though also felt a little strange about it – what was the real purpose of the statement?
A few months later and for one reason or another I had done something to upset this friend and now they no longer talk with me. Of course, I could have behaved better in though it’s not exactly clear to me what it was that triggered this change in friendship status. Then I thought back to this statement and I realised that it was said without sincerity. It was said just to make them feel good.
Now, that’s ok. Because I’m sure I do this all the time. But I try not to. I want to be completely sincere (or obviously insincere – that’s the English in me again!). I would be a terrible poker player – I cannot hide my feelings on my face and I don’t care to learn.
As to those I love, all wounds are forgiven but I also don’t spread my love so deep and far. Maybe I should. But I’m afraid. What am I really afraid of?
Now I’m getting to vague questions that I may not have the strength to contemplate.
“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”
– attributed to Buddha
In the end (what end?) none of this matters, but I played along anyway.
How much you loved.
Sometimes I loved too much, other times, not enough. I have loved different people but shown it in different ways. Does that mean the love was different? I have become more careful and selective with my love, perhaps to the point that I don’t love anyone or anything deeply anymore. This is a countermeasure against loss. The extreme loves of youth are more tempered now. I don’t feel like this was a conscious decision but a naturally evolving one. It has come with stronger self-confidence and self-esteem but also at a loss of close connections with people.
I grew up with a strong independent single mother who was already tired of dealing with other people and their bullshit. I have become like her. We are loners but not lonely and not lone wolfs. We are just happy by ourselves or, in my case, with one very special person around. All my acquaintances I still call friends, I just don’t interact with them so much. This sometimes gives me a false sense of understanding as, in my mind, they are the same person as the last time I met them and nothing should be different. I still have this feeling after what could be years without speaking. Obviously, that’s unrealistic.
I could dream about meeting an old girlfriend as if it was just a current continuation of that relationship from that time. Never mind, we would be twenty years older, married with kids since. Those feelings are still in my memories but reality is much cooler.
I’m surprised sometimes that I know I won’t have those butterfly feelings again. Experience and understanding (and time) has calmed them. I am no longer crazed and tempestuous but I am still alive and capable. It’s a double-edged sword. Those feelings were special and wild, extreme highs, but dampened by such extreme lows. Perhaps some of my father’s manic depression got passed on.
Now that I have balance I guess I’m somewhat boring.
How much I have loved? I loved myself selfishly 100%. I loved others occasionally, but 100%.
How gently you lived.
My memories of youth don’t seem particularly gentle but the deeper I go, under the piss and vinegar, there is a big softy. I was a teenage asshole, sometimes even to my best friends. I was less an early 20s asshole but still could be a mean son-of-a-bitch. Having now lived in other countries around the world I believe I was very well suited to the typical British contrarian and sarcastic humour. I can fall back into it instantly I meet an ex-pat, sometimes so obviously I kick myself for it. It does, however, still make me laugh.
So whether with the simple act of aging or with growth and understanding, I am living much more gently these days. I gave up eating meat when I was 14, something that I believe inspires a gentler life. I was quite aggressive about it at the beginning but don’t even think about it anymore and thankfully it’s so acceptable these days that it’s barely a topic for discussion. There was always a tension about it before, having to constantly provide justification for what was perceived as different.
I was mostly thoughtful on the inside but could let my emotions get out of control. I’m still envious of more balanced people I grew up with, especially some who had to deal with me. I know we’re all a little fucked up in some way but I do often wish I knew then what I know now (and was able to act on it). It’s ironic that folks said that I was mature for my age. I must have been a very good deceiver.
When I was 30 and getting divorced I went to the psychiatrist and got diagnosed with mild depression and started to take a low dose of medication that stabilised a lot of my out of control emotions. When I revealed this to my mother, she then revealed to me that my father had suffered from manic depression (now known as bipolar disorder). I guess things started falling into place.
It still took me another 10 years or so of growth to get to a point where I was mostly and consistently happy and this reflected in my attitudes and behaviors. Of course, by this time a lot of small unique habits had developed which often have me reflecting how much like my mother I have become. It’s neither good nor bad, it just is.
I saw an online post about how we spend our second 40 years dealing with our first 40 years. I certainly spend a lot of time reflecting on those first 40 years. I also feel that, despite being 13 past the mark, my first 40 years haven’t been completed yet.
Looking back over these words I wonder if I even know what living gently means in the context of my life. Living gently feels like I should be a monk who is careful not to step on an ant, something I was reminded of this morning when I crunched a snail under foot in my driveway – those damn snails are everywhere.
How gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.
I’ve been thinking about this one for a few days already. Letting go was always difficult when I was younger though something I seem to have improved at. However, when I think deeply about this the only ‘things’ I consider in my life (in connection to this subject) are people. After having moved across the world a couple of times already, things such as books, albums, videos, comics, furniture, clothes etc are all replaceable. Sometimes the fun in having (and losing) those things is more about the search and discovery of them again.
The ‘things’ I feel more attached too have personal meaning, such as old letters or photos but in consideration, I haven’t looked at my old letters since I left England in 1994. They are in the pile of things that I do want to go through again and perhaps document before I shuffle off.
So, that leaves people, particularly friends and girlfriends. With that I can only say that I have gotten better at it over time. Teenage/early 20s are typically messy and I was not mature and confident enough in myself to deal with letting go. Possibly this relates to a subconscious search for a mother figure to replace my mom and not having a father around to learn from.
Letting go also sometimes meant pushing away, and that is not graceful at all. I tried my best at the time.
I’m finding it hard to write more about this without going into painful detail. Perhaps considering things that I don’t wish to share about other people as much as about myself. I have few, if any, regrets but also can be nostalgic for certain times and places with certain people.
Finally, we cannot hold onto anything, nothing is actually meant for us, it is just our internal impression of it.
Say goodbye to your buffoons in power. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Highly curated, carefully selected and specifically ordered* for your listening edification by world-renowned DJtenzenmen, who has over 1 year of experience in this business.
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Intro and background music by Utotem, Phantom Tollbooth, Daniel Striped Tiger and someone else I forgot.
Incidentals taken from the Church of the Sub Genius Hour of Slack.
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One of the very few nights I managed to sleep the recommended amount of hours and so far, I feel suitably alert. That could soon change after a couple of hours staring numbly at this computer screen.
It’s Monday morning and it’s been a while since I was working a regular day shift. Night times and weekends it’s so quiet here it makes you nervous to even sneeze. It’s somewhat comforting to hear the bustle of work and the earnestness of people discussing technical solutions.
One thing that I have developed as a pet peeve though is the absolute authoritative statement. There are a few folks here who talk as if their word is definitive and their tone implies that there is no point to discuss anything further. How can people be so secure in their knowledge of the world, of everything, that they already know that they cannot be convinced otherwise? This shows me a stagnant mind. No room to grow, no room to learn.
These people are usually men and usually older. Though it’s even more excruciating to hear younger men talking like this, you can almost hear their minds closing up already, sealing shut. The older men’s voices sound authoritative and dead. A resignation that things just won’t get better. ‘Things were better in my day’. Maybe it’s the work environment, some kind of unsaid competition. I never want to subscribe to this thinking, despite sometimes catching myself doing the same. I think I avoid it mostly and it is a reason little kids like me so much, they can recognise the essentially childish wonder I have, the interest in the details, the awe of the world.
This attitude seems less prevalent in women and the one or two times I have come across it, it has been scary. I’m not a macho kind of person. I was raised by my mother after my father died when I was 18 months old. I naturally learned the female perspective, a different view of things. I fought against this as a teenager, trying to put my own stamp on my personality and eventually on the other side of it, became more comfortable in a more feminine environment. I generally prefer the less competitive company of females. I’m not into cars, muscles, action movies and getting pissed with the boys. Not that I have rejected everything masculine – I can still be a beer drinking, sports-loving yahoo from time to time but mostly I enjoy these things alone where I can make an ass of myself, just to myself.
The Crass album ‘Penis Envy’ also made a big impression on my developing teenage mind too.
Sordid sequences in brilliant life!
Supports, and props, and punctuation
To our flowing realities and realisations
We’re talking with words that have been used before
To describe us as goddesses, mothers and whores
Describe us as women, to describe us as men
Set out the rules of this ludicrous game
And then it’s played very carefully, a delicate balance;
A masculine/feminine perfect alliance
Does the winner take all? What love in your grasping?
What vision is left, and is anyone asking?
I still had lots of growing pains when it came to love, sex and relationships with women though. I could be a master manipulator when I wanted to be. There are things I have done in the past that I now wish I hadn’t but I must acknowledge they were part of my own learning process and got me here where I am today. It takes a lot of effort to be 100% true to your convictions and there are times when we fail. Things aren’t always black and white.
The last few days my phone calls with Amy have been pretty short. There’s never much to report on my side and work on our house has slowed somewhat now.
I’ve been thinking about this period of time that I’ve been in Adelaide, away from Amy. It’s never felt like you imagine a long distance relationship to be. The goal we are working towards keeps us bound together completely. Just because we don’t see each other every day doesn’t mean we are not together. This is helped by our own securities, something that I may not have had the strength to contemplate when I was younger though.
I am already visualising looking back on this time as some kind of dream. It’s just something I’m doing rather than something I’m being. It was a bit of struggle before and during Christmas but with the turn of the new year, it finally feels like a countdown to the realisation of our plans.
Writing up the diary entries for 1994 has made me think about why I don’t really enjoy Christmas and new year celebrations. I’m not a big birthday or holiday celebrator in the first place and have often been alone at these times but looking back at the events at the end of 1993 I wonder how much of an impact they have made on my psyche. It’s not something I’ve really consciously considered for a long time. It’s also not that I mind joining in celebrations either, though I don’t find anything particularly special about certain dates to participate in them – let’s enjoy ourselves every day. A cliche, I know.