Oh my lord, I've dropped off the face of the musical world again. Not good.
This space feels very like the one I was in when I started this blog: it's a rather dark, dreary place where I continue to practise to keep myself up to scratch, but I start to wonder if that was it - if I must now, finally, admit that I'll not be much more than a slightly overweight programmer for the rest of my life, not really achieving much of note and definitely not spreading much happiness.
I suppose it was rather naive of me to think I could just slide back behind a desk after the first few months of this year and think that I'd be happy... As ever, I'm torn, split down the middle between the "honest job" which I know I can do (and do pretty well) which brings in good wages (even for the UK) but isn't what you'd call socially fulfilling (especially compared to my hobby) and the "hobby" of the last 19 years which is awe-inspiringly fulfilling but has little financial stability. These are not tradeoffs you can really discuss with anybody on a level playing field either. Ever tried telling your wife ( who actually hoped you'd go for your hobby ) that the reason you can't is in no small part that it would change everything so badly that she can't realised what she's asking?
I've been listening to the UK zeitgest again as well, which is always a bad idea. The current frenzy of reported stabbings, shootings, square mile financial sector bonuses (obscene!), public sector pay wranglings and sudden interest in emigration of Australia just makes me shake my head and want to do the Keanu thing - stick up a hand and just say "stop."
I thought about this on the way in this morning. I heard a Tory who vociferously maintained that violence was getting worse, on the basis of stuff he'd read in the papers and heard from his constituents. The (government) minister was counteracting with remarkably reasonable sounding assertions that it simply wsn't true - apparently the head of the chief constables' assoc in the UK was on earlier saying that firearms offences were down, etc etc etc.
At one point, the "white elephant" entered the room again - just as it has in discussions I've heard on the radio in the last few days - where someone mentioned society and family breakdown. The irony was it was the Tory, levelling accusations that the current government were ignoring this worrying phenomenon. And still, nobody suggested that we revalue how our society works, what it strives for, how it measures success... we seem to be reaching away from human contact (single parent families, single person housing, singletons, single...) and ever more towards "double digit growth"... when will someone say "stop."?
The irony is (and it pains me to reduce this rather tired diatribe to something so predictable) that the Tories' unbridled addiction to munitarism in the years they were in power prior to 1997 must have laid the foundations for the breakdown you see before you.
If 1974 was apparently the happiest the UK has been, is it surprising that the 80s are reviled as the era of the upwardly mobile oik (remember loadsamoney)? And that we now finally find ourselves bankrupt as a nation, both financially, morally, parentally...
I'm reflecting on the irony of the Tory idiot this morning, rather than blaming them exclusively. As V said in V for Vendetta (forgive me for using the quote from the film) -
Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine- the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, thereby those important events of the past usually associated with someone's death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, a celebration of a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat. There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night I sought to end that silence. Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives. So if you've seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you then I would suggest you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot.
The part I find interesting is "Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid." because, in the end, we still buy the papers, believe the hype, and now 47% of us are apprently scared to go out at night. The BBC regularly appears to regurgitate whatever A4 they're handed by whatever political organisation without checking it for authenticity (or, indeed, bias)... and we all grow ever more paranoid.
Try a google trends afternoon. I tried the UK trend search "mortgage rate", "house price crash" and it's an interesting view into the national psyche...
Time to close this post. Time to close my efforts? No. Not yet.