Thursday, October 29, 2009

This Is What It's Like

Deliberately providing no context creates ambiguity and forces us to question ourselves.

If the context is an individual's culture, where does that leave a person's experience of being alive?

“I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.”
Mahatma Gandhi

"Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals"
Oscar Wilde

"Reality is merely an illusion, although a very persistent one."
Albert Einstein

Sunday, October 25, 2009

In the Beginning was the Word...

...but the Word didn't mean shit because no-one was listening.

If a tree falls in a forest and no-one is around to hear it does it make a sound?

I've read/ heard/ experienced that our word is the most precious thing we own. The only thing we can be truly responsible for are the things we say - so it goes. It would seem as if talk is cheap - everywhere we seem to be surrounded by examples of lots of hot air. I think politicians are the best example of hot air. Watching the (now infamous) episode of Question Time on iPlayer was an example of cheap talk.

But maybe their talk is only cheap because of how we listen to it?

Surely without listening, the words people speak mean nothing? That idea seems pretty simple.

But I think there's a more complicated situation: when someone says something, people hear it, think something - but say nothing back.

It ends up being the 'elephant in the room.'

I've outlined my reasons for writing a blog in a previous post. I have all sorts of opinions about everything (as anyone who knows me knows). Whether people are reading it or not is irrelevant. If no-one was reading my blog or whatever I was really wouldn't mean much. The more people read it, the greater the effect. Of course what's wonderful about the internet is the unfettered freedom. I have my own little place on the internet!

What's even more wonderful is that if people don't like it - they don't have to read it.*

That's not to say I don't like to know that people are reading the things I write. That's part of the reason for encouraging commenting etc. as I would do on a regular basis in earlier posts. (Even being deliberately offensive - perish the thought - check out my Surfacing post for further evidence) The integration with MyFace is an easy way to encourage commenting - and as evidenced by the last few posts - quite effective.

Or perhaps the stuff I was writing provoked a response?

Most of what I write is designed to provoke a response and get people thinking. Actually most of what I do and say is designed to get some sort of reaction. Hence my profession of choice.

But it's so hard to predict what strikes a chord with people and what doesn't. I can rant and scream at the top of my voice. It's mostly what I do on this blog. The seven words crop up regularly!

But it doesn't mean shit if no-one's listening.

Which is what makes the whole political/ mass-media thing even more interesting.

I mean Nick Griffin was being listened to (regardless of how he came across and what people thought). His words were being allowed to breathe in the oxygen of listening. That's what we have in a democracy right? Freedom of speech? And the BBC was doing its bit for this democracy by allowing him to appear on Question Time.

Right on!

But is that how the mass media works? Some guy called Noam Chomksy co-authored a book called Manufacturing Consent. He outlines how the mass media is used to actually intentionally create consent in a so-called democratic society.

The stuff that's spoken into being by the mass media is given life by the oxygen of our listening.

Never mind the shit that's actually being spoken!

I've always wondered what percentage of the electorate vote in X-Factor or Big Brother versus the General Election? And even if there were much more during a General Election, you can bet that the age profile of voters would be different on both.

So it's not actually what's being said that's important. It's whether it's being listened to. And if the media is controlled does that mean you control the people? I'm not sure if people are that easily influenced...all that money spend on advertising can't be that effective? Surely the amount of money someone has couldn't influence something major? Could it?

I mean is it a coincidence that the Presidential Candidate with the most money during the last election in the US won it?

I don't know what to think about what people say. I don't personally know these people I see on TV or read about in newspapers. Is what I'm seeing or reading about what they're really like? Is Nick Griffin really like that in real life? What does he really think? Can I judge that from seeing him on television for an hour?

Going even further, can I listen to what I hear/ see from the mass media like it's the truth?** Is consent being manufactured like a mass-produced product? Do I take it as gospel or do I question it?

I know which option to choose for an easy life.

I've noticed from my own experience that when I do what I say I'll do, life tends to work pretty well. I've also noticed that when people think what I'm saying is a bunch of rubbish or can't take me seriously (even if they don't tell me directly) life tends to suck.

My word is precious. And so is my listening.

If a tree falls in a forest and no-one is around to hear it does it make a sound?

* They can fuck off. I mean go forth and multiply.

** Were there planes that crashed into the Twin Towers on September 11 2001?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Iran 2

Facilities have been discovered in Iran for enriching uranium and plutonium.

Iran: that undemocratic country; that economically protectionist country; that shelter for terrorists - it must be brought to heel.

What's the West going to do to deal with this potential threat to global stability?

Is there going to be a Pre-emptive Interventionist Strategic Strike (PISS) leading to an end to The War Against Terror (TWAT) by Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) with the United States (US) leading the way?

The top four global oil producers are: Saudi-Arabia (tick), Iraq (in-progress, but basically, tick), Kuwait (tick), and Iran (hmm...needs work).

Starting a war increases a country's Gross Domestic Product. Manufacturing and selling weapons contributes to the economy of a country. We have a way out of the recession! Joy!

What are we being prepared for by the mass-media?

I had some similar musings earlier in the year in a related post: Iran.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I'm not sure I have that many real friends.

I mean I have people I've got to know over the years.

I was thinking about all the groups as I grew up. First there was St. Joe's. Couldn’t really give a shit about this lot much - except maybe John Smith. Then there was Warrington Grammar. This group I do like – they know me. They saw me change and mature – we all did it together…but we’ve all spread out all over the place and it’s stopped. Apart from Wittering and Zigo…there’s no-one that local I’d like to see (except maybe John Smith but he’s properly disappeared). People like John Ebony went all religious and did their own thing so went off. Peter Webb and Alex Max are still in touch living in the Cheshire area – but I don’t see them much. Jim Bobbis is being religious down South. And they don’t really get it – they’re a bunch of (lazy? white) middle-class intellectuals.

They don’t get headbanging to 'Master of Puppets' in TJ's.

Then there’s university. These people are cool. They saw a whole other side of me emerge – and me of them. Joanne said at Bonnie’s wedding that she didn’t know she could be friends with a bloke until she met me! Mark, Nick, Larry and me…we know each other well – but just don’t get to see each other. Maybe that’s our own fault because we’re shit – but we all seem to be doing our own thing quite happily. When we do see each other it’s as if no time has passed…apart from people looking like they have less hair and they’ve put on weight…it’s not that different. I miss these guys not only because we shared good times, but they know me.

The people in TJ's know the whole metal thing. From chatting about music and the virtues of rap and metal and should the Prodigy be on the cover of Kerrang they know me from the dancefloor. But do they even think beyond beer and leather? Could they listen to Bjork or DJ Shadow the way I do?

There were all the other extra randoms at home…Nick Forrester, the whole Stockton Crew (Peter, Olly, Mani). Round Ronnie. And all those people: Geoff, Marky, DC etc. Nick Forrester understood and understands. But he’s got his own issues to deal with. Marky’s a nice guy, but he’s always been less my friend and more other people's. Seeing Des and everyone was really cool…but there’s a whole chunk of evolving I’ve done that they haven’t necessarily…

Of course Pioneering was in there somewhere. Without whom all of this would have been possible. Well who knows. I met a lot of cool people and lot of not-so-cool people. Eli is the only person I met there who I’m in regular touch with. That’s it. Having said that – people there understood people in general. They were interested in the kind of stuff I read about – about stuff they talk about in the Matrix and Fight Club. About things being made up. About not being so cynical. About making something useful happen.

After that…well working…Tarc…hmm only few people worth keeping in touch with – and even then only really over Facebook. They got to know me, but not really a sense of me outside work. Colleagues, professional associates rather than friends.

Then of course it’s the infamous Ingsoc. Now all these people don’t really know me. I mean, I know they would not have even given me a second glance when I was a teenager at the working men's club. Suddenly they want to speak to me. Suddenly the older ones want to speak to me…I’m Damien’s grandson. I’m the future.

Truth is – as much as I love Carrie, Samantha, Gene, Ravi, Tom – all those people. They don’t REALLY know me. I mean they know my opinions, they understand how I feel about things and the community and all its bullshit. But they don’t really know how I get goose-bumps in a hot sweaty club when I hear ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ or 'Raining Blood'. They don’t know how I spent six hours trying to work out ‘Under the Bridge’. They don’t know how I bleached my hair and dyed it blue…then red...They don’t get the significance of playing Jimi Hendrix’s guitar. They might understand it intellectually, but they don’t feel it (except maybe Ravi…but even then he’s young…)

You understand without words.

Others took the time to listen and learn. They love me too.

But there’s a whole world of being a bloke that'll never, ever be understood.

So there I am on Saturday; with a headache; noticing my spots; thinking about the dumb fact it’s my birthday and I’m 33. And I’m unable to shake this niggling fact that there’s maybe only one other bloke, one other friend who understands: who gets the energy of Pantera in a club, understands Pioneering, likes to read and engage with the world, and who’d be equally comfortable chatting to a bunch of Eurasians as he would a bunch of teachers. And he’s miles away...


That’s all I want really. I know I’ve changed: I’m older or whatever-the-fuck. But I miss having a mate who gets it: who’d be equally at home listening to metal and pop; who’d debate the importance of Monty Python in influencing 21st century comedy; who’d remember what a good teacher Mr. Farthingale was.

Perhaps I’ve isolated myself and lost touch with people because I do too much and don’t keep up with friends and don’t make the effort and all that. But sometimes I can’t help feeling it’s other people too. It’s about them making the effort.

So sometimes I say: fuck everyone.

If they can’t be bothered, then neither can I. If they can’t be arsed to get to know and find out how I feel or what I think, then fuck them.

But you know what the biggest and scariest realisation is? That I’ve become like my father. I lose my temper and get angry far more frequently than I used to (that’s linked to spots btw). I lose my friends. I’m getting more controlling. I smile less. I’m more uptight. I get upset quicker etc. etc.

Or maybe I'm just getting older.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but this is what I’m thinking and feeling. It was all going to come out - but my birthday has made me think about myself a lot. I’ll work it out. It just could get a bit messy.

Is it a downward spiral then?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

And For What?

Attempt. For a second.
For a while.
Go on. Give it a go.
Give yourself. 
And For What?

Spend. The Time. 
With Important People. 
The Time.
Phone A Friend. 
Serve All
And For What?

Create Romance. 
A Chance. 
Feel. The Dance. 
And For What?

Do Something for Someone Else.
Contribute. A little.
Make A Difference.
And For What?

Listen for a Small Greatness.
Hear the Other Human.
Acknowledge their Spirit.
Be the Bigger Person.
And For What?

Be The Change You Want To See.
Think of Others - Not Yourself.
Show How Much You Love.
The World.
And For What?

Do the things you said you'd do.
Keep your promises - know the truth.
Honour. Love. Obey.
And For What? 

And For What?
A Place In The Fire.
Burning. Forever.