July 30, 2011 § Leave a comment
Some of the most important things I learnt in my life I took note of when I was 12 years old. I learnt them looking down the barrel of the long winding road at midnight that ran down a hill a mile from my house. The skinny road could barley handle two cars passing at a time. I was sat on my bike just looking at the way it twisted off and the way the trees hung over it pulling twisted shadows from little light there was. I could hear the wind light in the trees. The lack of noise added to it. I hadn’t come here through any ill judgement or poor planning on the part of a small child at the top of a hill at midnight. I was there because I wanted to be there, because I had snuck out of my house to be there. This would be my first act of serious rebelling, pretty innocent in comparison to the others but a landmark none the less. I looked down the road sat on the bike with my feet touching the floor at the top of that steep fucking hill. I obviously never had sex, taken any drugs, got drunk or achieved much in my then short life. Meaning that the feeling coursing through my veins was new to me. What I would learn on this night was that the moment before doing something dangerous or frightening is electric. The hard beat goes up you can hear it up in your ears, my palms went sweaty as they gripped the handlebars and I still remember the feeling as that little voice in the back of my head spoke up for the first time “Now.” it whispered. The whole body turns up. I pushed off aiming my bike at the bottom of the hill hoping to god that I can make every corner trying not to think of the painful alternative. The beautiful thing about push bikes is the low noise, just the quiet clicking on the gear cog every time the back wheel spins and the way the wind picks up around you as you pick up speed. Engines have their charm, I love the noise of a good combustion engine, but, sometimes that roar of tiny explosions can cloud the mind and the judgement, both are important at high speed. My right hand hovered over the break, the front break, it’s important to know what your doing at times like this, it is irresponsible to not. I knew that I couldn’t jam it on, then I would go over the bars onto the road face first, I would need to squeeze it gradually. The back would fuck my steering and I would loose control. I will never forget one corner, maybe the 4th or the 5th, a sharpe left-hander, I will never forget the way it made me feel as the bike wobbled as it couldn’t handle the speed, how I thought that I had gone in just a little too hot and would never be able to get the bike around the corner at such high speed. I squeezed on the old breaks scared to grip too hard, it wasn’t enough, I ran half a foot wide, rumbling on the grass, praying to stay on, narrowly avoiding a ditch in the dark. It made me out of breathe. It made me sweat. But jesus it made me happy. In that moment happier than I had ever been before.
I was in a bar in Chilhuahua Mexico today speaking to an Australian traveling student. Traveling students eh? I can’t remember who said they are like hippies but with less imagination, but they were right. Anyway, more intresting an important than him being a student is the fact that he is a veteran Sky Diver of what he estimated at around 600 jumps. The number was so high because his uncle owned a diving center and would let him go up free of charge. Anyway, he told me that the best thing that can happen to you on a jump is not for it to go well, but for it to go wrong. He told me of two occasions when his primary shoot hadn’t opened and he had struggled with his secondary. How the feeling was intense and gripped him like nothing he had ever felt before. He didn’t have to talk long because it became clear that we both knew the feeling.
I’m not saying jump off buildings and learn to fly on the way down, or play Russian roulette or drive too fast. I’m saying you need that feeling and it is important to get it anyway you can without putting other people at risk. If your sat there now and your thinking, this is just adrenaline junkie bullshit, I wager that you have never felt that twisted emotion that most feeling just moments before a sudden and loud death or a breathless redemption. No one gets away every time.
No Longer an Astronaut.
July 25, 2011 § Leave a comment
“Newspaper, newspaper, I can’t take much more.” – Milk thistle – Conor Oberst MVB.
It’s been an awful few days. Events in Norway have over shadowed the sun itself. I’ve been close to tears a lot. It still makes me sad that things like this can happen. That’s a good thing I suppose. I should be glad that I’m not cold to it. What has struck me the most is the way that, unlike Columbine or Virginia Tech or 9/11 or the July 7th bombings (in all of which the attacker died during the attack.), there has been no out pouring of hate from the Norwegian people. No effergees being burnt on street corners. No desperate attempts to claw out the eyes of that man as he went into the court house. When Lee Harvey Oswald shot John F. Kennedy his punishment came a few days later but not by the hands of the law of which he was in custody but by the hands of an extremely pissed off member of the public. When asked why he did Jack Ruby simply replied “Someone had to do it. That son of a bitch killed my President”. I don’t know if it’s wrong that I find this understandable and that was only one man. What I do know is that Norway carried itself with an incredible amount of dignity and courage after that bastard shot all those children. It shows how, when faced with such primitive acts, how a modern society is capable of responding in a level headed and calm respectful way.
It is also a footnote to mention that after the 9/11 and July 7th bombing certain right-wing papers started very negative press about Muslims often associating the large majority with terrorism and yet when an extremist christian goes mad and starts shooting kids it’s “because of politics not religion.”. We think we’re grown up. We think that we’re passed it. We are not.
In other news, look at me trying to sell this as a legitimate news venue, this is the longest I have gone on her without mentioning sex, drugs or myself, they found Amy Whinehouse dead in her flat a few days ago. Dear sweet Amy Whinehouse. People bitch and moan about her drugs and her problems but he’s a very clear message from me to you if you are one of those people. – ” Fuck you. Fuck off. If you keep keeping a talent like hers down don’t tut disapprovingly and smirk and say ” I told you so” and “Looks like she should have gone to rehab after all – sort – sort – sort.” when she winds up dead. She needed support and people like you let her down by throwing her to the dogs. I don’t remember you writing “Back to Black” one of the finest albums in recent years. Where’s your contribution? Nil. Nothing. 0. That girl had more soul in her beehive that you have in your whole body.” Far be from me to get emotional. I apologies that that was a lot more blunt and crude than I’m used too. But I’m sad she’s dead. Real sad. She meant a lot to a lot of people. I’m still sad Ryan Dunn is dead. Like so many I grew up with Jackass. The beauty of the show wasn’t in the stunts performed but in the friendship between all those involved. It was because of this friendship that the audience felt part of the group. A friendship that they could relate too. This is why when Dunn died, even though I had never met him, I felt I had lost a friend. A friend who had made me laugh a lot. A friend who, like Amy, will be missed dearly, by me and many more.
July 22, 2011 § Leave a comment
“They don’t have meetings about rainbows.” – The Sixth Sense.
I forget what it’s called, that exercise. The one they make crazy people do. Or at least to check if your minds not quite right. Where they make you put pen to paper and just right in the hope that that creepy sub-conscious will come out. It worries me, what would come should I try that. When I was very young I learnt that I considered ignorance bliss. I was a firm believer that not knowing something is there happening is as good as it not happening. My reasons for this was that I didn’t have to deal with it, I could just sit in my bubble and try and smile for the best part, nothing could get at me if I didn’t want it to. But as you grow. As you take note of your surroundings. You start to realise things. You start to consider the responsibility that comes with knowing information and weigh it up against how selfish it is to put your fingers in your ears and start humming. They are situations when it’s fine to be ignorant. Almost healthy to be ignorant. When it is information that will just hurt you.Information that you can’t learn anything from. It takes a strong person to shut off the mind and not listen to such material. But sometimes you have to be even braver. You have to puncher your bubble. You have to step out into the big wide world and learn information to help people. Sometimes it’s very selfish to be ignorant. Sometimes you have to do things in life that are a bit shit. The joy is not the same without the pain. I am rambling. I hope that made sense. It was much more messy than I intented.
I’m a little messy tonight. I try and make this blog as organic as possible. Something else I learnt when I was very young is that any form of art is valid if it is founded on meaning and truth. To me ability has little to do with art. Anyone can have ability and the best are born with it making it just the result of a gene pool lottery. If the artist means and expresses it in a pure form then that is the promised land. The most beautiful sentence I ever heard was from a very young boy (see “the father and son from exceter” post.) purely because he meant it. Maybe I’m just rambling. Maybe I’m just tired.
July 19, 2011 § 2 Comments
“Maybe he lost control fucking with the radio but I bet the stars seemed so close, at the end.” – Light Pollution – Bright Eyes.
The cars pulling a little over to the left on a long stretch of quiet empty motorway near Manchester. I love the road when it’s like this. Puts me in mind of the good times. The French back roads, the Rome inter-changes, that long winding section in Minnesota that I make an effort to visit whenever I’m driving in the state. It’s quiet, it’s dry, it’s how I like it. It’s a long away back down south from here but the roads are clean and my foots feeling heavy. Journalists are resigning and being arrested all over the place, the heads of the Met Police have resigned, the FBI are investigating the hacking of 9/11 victims phones and the former Showbiz editor of the News of the World is dead. It’s an extraordinary situation and there’s so much more to come. The cards are up in the air and let’s just see where they fall. It’s going to change everything, of that I am sure. The relationship between the media and the public will never be the same, neither will the law. I have grown, I think, until the next set back, yet they are starting to become few and far between. I’ve stopped. Calmed down. I’m not so drunk, mad, erratic. I miss it, I think. I think it will come back. I haven’t been this calm for years and years, before being a teenager. It makes for worse reading. Jim Morrison never slowed down. Hunter Thompson never slowed down. Hendrix, Cobain, Joplin and Moon never slowed down. My hero’s never slowed down. Maybe this is the calm before the storm. There’s just as much mystery but I just don’t seem to care. Am I happy? No, but I’m not sad. I think I might have become everything I hate and the fact that that doesn’t bother me should bother me even more. Still no relapse in being self indulgent. Maybe this is just some shit excuse for soul searching. Maybe I should have gone on a stupid fucking gap year fucking about getting drunk in other countries trying to “find myself” instead of working. Getting drunk on my daddy’s money with private school boys and double-barreled names who looked down their noses at people who live life slightly differently and have no money. Ask Connor Rooney, those people are nothing without their fathers. Writing is like sex but only in some ways. Not all, but some. The first time you do it’s awkward and not quiet right, it takes time to get better, some are more natural than others but the key is to persist. Outside factors will effect you. Sometimes you will feel you wrote a shitty article and your a no good writer. Sometimes you will write that article you know had an extraordinary effect on the reader. There are parraells in the satisfaction. There’s a saying where I come from, they say it’s all swings and roundabouts. It’s one of my favorite pieces of language. It’s like you have to take the rough with the smooth, or every cloud has a silver lining, but so much more subtle. Subtle is important in writing and in sex for that matter. But who cares? It’s all swings and roundabouts.
July 14, 2011 § 2 Comments
“In media tent where they spin and they slant, they just foam at the mouth and they chomp at the bit, those blood suckers can wait tell those vultures cool it.” The presidents dead – Okkervil River.
Journalism has got lazy and seedy. There’s no denying it. The most powerful news corporation in the world in under investigation after allegations that their papers tapped the phones of dead children’s family’s and dead solders, payed high ranking officials for confidential information and generally behaved like scumbags. The UK’s highest-selling paper has had to close due to this activity. New information about this scandal surfaces everyday. Pulling the corpse of respectable journalism through the shit. The public think we’re all like that, I don’t blame them. Splash after splash of scandal and scum and invasion of private life on the grounds that it’s in the public interest. But worse than the splash that an F1 chiefs like sado-masochistic orgies was the invasion on grieving families. Hunter Thompson once said before I was born that objective journalism is dead. Objective journalism is something I have never known. Imagine it though. Are we too stupid for it these days? Do we need to be told what to think about events? News Corporation thinks so. Rupert Murdoch thinks so. How did it come to this? I used to be proud, proud to be a journalist, proud to watch the world develop and unwind and be able to tell people about it through the written word, proud that I got to do something new every single day. Not anymore. I’m not proud. They’ve made me feel like those lawyers who smile greedily as they tail an ambulance on it’s way back to a hospital.
There was once, and still is, a satirical news website called newsgrind. They write articles that are supposed to be funny and clever and are in no way meant to be taken seriously. Last year a man called Raul Moat went mad with a shot gun in the North of England. Some people got shot, some people died. While Moat was on the run the police search for him got 24 hour coverage on BBC and Sky News. It was clear that they were both building to some sort of grand finale. Newsgrind wrote an article about how the whole nation was excited about the “shoot-off” climax to the event. About how people everywhere were gathering around their televisions excitedly. All very funny. But, it was picked up by a journalist on a major organisation, who, get this, honestly, put it on that organisations website. Can you fucking believe that? How fucking stupid do you have to be? Fucking lazy vultures.
But maybe this is the turning point. Maybe the sleaze and scum will be washed away in this river of controversy. Maybe they will put new laws in. Maybe Murdoch won’t be able to spin the investigation. Maybe this is the saving grace of UK journalism. Maybe in 30 years a young man will be proud to be a journalist.
So in the name of journalism I am conducting an experiment. A very clever one I must add. To put lazy journalists everywhere into check. It’s one you can get involved with as well. I have changed the Wikipedia article of the very talented Mike Mogis, music producer and guitarist in Bright Eyes. I have changed it to suggest that Mike appeared in the last ever episode of Friend. I have even provided a link on there. The actor looks a hell of a lot like Mogis so it has creditably BUT it is not him. A jot of research will prove this. So I’m going to wait a month or two and see if it surfaces in any interviews. This is a harmless lesson in journalism. Let’s see what happens.
p.s p.s – I was honored today by an email sent to me by one of you concerning some comments by Jann Wenner, editor of rolling stone magazine. If the comments are true then I am truely honored. She said as follows about yours truely –
“That rare breed of journalist who can portray that wild-eyed madness and still maintain the bond of normality with the reader. He finds the edge so the reader doesn’t have to. He has a large set of problems, but so does everyone, that’s what people relate too. And honesty, a breathtaking faith in the readership that all problems are relentlessly shared despite how personal they may be.” – I can feel my head growing already.
July 11, 2011 § Leave a comment
“And when times comes to claim me my friends and my family will gather around my grave, and pretend that they knew me and love me and miss and all call me by my first name.” -The Trees get wheeled away – Bright Eyes
If I knew what I wanted to hear I would have said it, quietly, to myself by now. I’m afraid this is going to be another of those piss poorly constructed posts. Fuck, when did I become so self-indulgent. Oh well, if I don’t give a fuck then no one will. Literally no one. The poor attendance will be noted by the priest. When did I get so morbid. Shit. I thought I was over this. These thoughts. Thank god I’m not drunk else this mood would be kicking me about. Sorry, loyal readers, for subjecting you to this. The fair-weather reader has turned off my sadness. As would I if I had a switch. Click.