Friday, 24 October 2014

My life, My Death!

7 days 20 hours and 12 mins to go...

I have been thinking about all the people I have needed to work with, in one way or another, to make my 'kuJenga Society' album happen. Many of them have been brilliant but the toughest part of anything one undertakes, is the people that let you down! They make the hardest work, they make it difficult for everyone else, they squeeze the fun out of excitement until only anxiety is left.

I am coming up for being sixty and yet I am, for the most part comfortable in the online world and I am trying to make the most of this communications medium. I hate the loss of privacy this can bring but I love the reach that the internet can give me.

However, I grew up at a time when our house had no telephone at all, I remember the little green trim-phone that was finally installed in my home, and once the engineer left I sat and stared at it and thought, “I could ring anyone in the world with that” (but I didn't know anyone’s number) and then I thought, “anyone in the world could ring us, why are they not doing that?”

Once the telephone had become a normal part of our existence and ‘last number redial’ was made available, we absorbed a sort of unspoken etiquette, and that was, if someone rang you and you were not in, you would ring them back asap. If you agreed to ring someone on a certain date, you would ring them on that agreed day.

I don’t know if my age is anything to do with it, but if I ring people and they do not pick up, I leave a voicemail. I may have started by texting and then not getting a reply, so I then ring. Then nothing. You think, hmmm they could be on holiday, they could be at work, they could be busy. These are all valid possibilities and I am very forgiving, within reason.
But there are some people who, time and time again, need constant texts, voicemails, Facebooking to get the smallest bit of information from them. I don’t know how many times I heard the excuse that ”I lost all my texts and voicemails on my phone, I didn't know you rang”. That works once but not several occasions from the same person/s. 
I know that when talking face to face with someone and our phone goes off, is it common courtesy to reject the call but you should get back to the caller as soon as you can.
However, for some people, they seem either to respond only to the last few calls that shows on the screen, meaning, that if they don’t get back to you before more missed calls come in, you are never going to get the call back.
Or, you are so low priority to them that they can’t even bother to talk to you.

Going back to my age and the early telephone days, I still carry the expectation that it is common courtesy return calls in a reasonable time. I can’t put a finger on what that timeframe is, but we all have an expectation in our heads. As I said earlier, I am easy going regarding most delays, this is a busy world and sometimes I take a while to get back to people, but I make sure I eventually do. When I end up texting and ringing and leaving voicemails for information or conversations that are vital to me and the same people pull the same tricks, you know then that you are being blanked and that you are low priority to them.

Going back to my age again, this may not be the feelings of younger people who grew up in 'information overload' right from the start. But if you consistently do not get back to me, I feel slighted, I feel you have 'low' prioritised me, I feel you lack common courtesy and are forcing me to have to constantly exert my energy, and waste my busy time, trying to get the smallest bit of response back from you. And the weird thing is, these people complain when others do not respond to their calls, yet they cannot take a look at themselves and realise how much frustration they are causing people.

So these slights, have an accumulative effect, not big enough to have a argument over, but it builds up, so for the worst culprits of this, I can, over a couple of years, go from geniality to outright loathing of them without us ever having a row.

Is this me being neurotic or do others find this failure to respond driving them mad?

Talking of neurosis…

My Death

At a time in the eighties when most punk bands were singing about ‘having a laugh and having a say’ and other similar moronic reactionary claptrap, I delighted in trying to bend a few minutes of punk rock to some sort of introspection of the human condition. In My Death, I invoke the philosophical by including in the lyric’s imagery ,Camus’s “The myth of Sisyphus” 

The Myth of Sisyphus is a philosophical essay by Albert Camus. It comprises about 119 pages and was published originally in 1942 in French as Le Mythe de Sisyphe; the English translation by Justin O'Brien followed in 1955.

In the essay, Camus introduces his philosophy of the absurd: man's futile search for meaning, unity, and clarity in the face of an unintelligible world devoid of God and eternal truths or values. Does the realization of the absurd require suicide? Camus answers: "No. It requires revolt."
Sisyphus, is a figure of Greek mythology who was condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a boulder up a mountain, only to see it roll down again. The essay concludes, "The struggle itself is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."

How about that? Of-course those words are not from the lyric, but with My Death, I took on an intellectual discourse in 3 mins and 17 seconds, who else has ever taken on a task like that in song?

I must admit here, that I am somewhat undecided about where I sit on two strains of thought. On the one side is the intellectual and ‘head up his own arse Will Self’ that writes in such a complicated manner that I tire of his point of view, after struggling to understand it for ten minutes or so. On the other side is George Orwell who believed that the lexicon of words to express yourself should be greatly reduced so that we all wrote and spoke more plainly, supposedly so that the mind, it’s concepts and ideas could be appreciated easily by the masses.

I once had a promoter ask me why I used certain words in my songs when simpler ones would make my lyrics easier to understand. I was horrified that I was being asked why I don’t dumb down my lyrics to the level of a bonehead Oi band so as to better communicate. 

I challenged him that if I did that, I would effectively be classifying the working class and unemployed to be too thick to understand ideas expressed in song, as though they were in some way retarded. I have always aspired to write lyrics that deliberately made people think, that was the whole Idea. If you are not clear about what I am trying to say, then think about it for a while and draw a conclusion. Dumbing down ideas into easy to understand chunks, is mind control, it is the language of tyrants, it is the language of the Sun, of the Murdoch empire, of unfettered capitalism.

Do you understand this…

“it’s greed that creates the scum that rules a land and imprisons it’s people as slaves, I’ve seen your future, I’ve seen your future, a generation with nothing left to lose”.  Fighting Times – Newtown Neurotics 1985

You should do, because you are living it.

Think about that!

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