Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Secretaries of Incursive Corruption,

One sunny morning last week, I gave thanks; thanks to no one in particular. I was thankful that I could be so absorbent, that I could cope with the frustrations and the failure to always see excellence in front of me. I’d like to think that I reached this condition of my own accord; I’d be more ashamed if it was beaten or driven out of me, maybe it was. I’ve been called a perfectionist, but I’m not. I know where order is required and in those places, I’ll strive for and maintain discipline. Elsewhere, I am content just not to make a mess. I’m just very rational, I can’t be impulsive, and I reason long with every choice. Seeing a need for order and being presented with constant disorder and disparity between the truth and the ideal, I should be in a permanent state of rage, I see people who are (but the one who is closest to me is a hypocrite and is perhaps deserving of such unease); undeniably, I am discontent but to be uneconomical with emotional energy is unbecoming. To absorb is to last.

I started the week in a low mood, I had absorbed the insanity of the needless human suffering that I read about in The Forgotten Highlander by Alistair Urquhart. The book tells of his experience of being deployed to Singapore during World War II. He didn’t carry out any fighting, he only fought a mental battle against the indignity of capture and the inhumanity of slavery, torture and Japanese brutality. I saw a documentary on BBC4 which featured veterans of the war in Southeast Asia; some of the veterans seemed to have mellowed with time, but to me, Alistair harboured the most anger – after reading the book, I sympathise completely. As absorbent as I can be with the failures in my day; equipment breakdowns, late deliveries, mess; I cannot see how I’d survive. The question I was left with regarded human behaviour, how could someone inflict pain on someone else, why do people behave ‘like that’. The natural thing for selfish me is to extend and scale down the mysteries of needless human suffering to modern, daily life of blocked fire exits, rude salesmen and thankless customers and ask why do people behave ‘like that’.

Of course, the song goes ‘when nothing goes right and the future’s dark as night, what you need is a sunny, sunny day’, so it can be easy to stop the morbid dwelling and be slightly thankful for the ability to sustain the immediate present. Art can lift my spirits, and to a musical event I went that evening, a show by Ezra Furman and The Boy-friends. I didn’t know how well attended this was going to be, I wouldn’t have been surprised if I was a crowd of one. I arrived just at the last effort of a one-man band looper (it seemed reasonably big once built up), the ten-strong crowd delivered applause. Next on were Happyness, they seemed pretty good despite my inability to understand any words, I shall consult the website for clarification, the fifteen-strong crowd delivered applause. At 2200 hrs, Ezra Furman appeared with the Boy-friends. I know ‘Day of the Dog’ is an amazing album and I can happily play it in the car at sound level 12-15. Seeing Ezra live, playing the songs with such perfection and at high energy, makes sound level 25 now necessary to prevent the album seeming flat to me. I couldn’t have predicted myself and 50 others in a basement being treated to such a wonderful performance by a man in a dress. His songs are sharp to the point on today’s social situation, his chat is amusing and he seems just to have real fun performing, I felt privileged to be among the small crowd. After his cover of ‘Train in Vain’,out into the fog I went, the hour was too late, but despite this, on my return to the house, I picked up a book and read into the small hours of the next day, until the ringing in my ears subsided.

Knowing that things can change rapidly and, often, not being able to see beyond the next half hour can be tough, but sometimes, when something nice happens, it can seem worth it. The pain is part of the joy. Sometimes the moments of greatest serenity can be pretty noisy. I moved on.


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