With the spare time I've earned from giving Facebook a miss - I went back and read a few old journal entries. I do like the concept of writing for an audience of 10 people that understand me, rather than 10 billion people that don't.
Everything is supposed to happen for a reason. Right?
Well, the longer I live, the longer I think this is the worst idea.
The concept gives my actions, and to a larger extent, the actions of others, a deeper meaning.
Well as far as I can tell, the deeper meaning ... isn't good.
Anything I am involved in, anything I try to help in, ends in tears.
Mine, yours, theirs. The outcome is the same.
Am I then to conclude that the common denominator begins and ends ... with me?
So if this common pearl of wisdom is to stand, then I am to blame, for my depression, for my wife's anxiety, for my best friends lethargy, my brother's divorce, for my team's demise, to my pasts disintegration, and to my friendships end?
Before I start, I am not a DJ, am not aspiring to be one, my beat mixing sounds like train tracks before a pile up. My opinion comes from a fan, an appreciator of all things electronic music. However I respect DJs, and have been shuffling on dance floors since I was old enough to go to bush raves, and snuck into nightclubs in the mid 90s. While I don't want to come off like a condescending old fart, I do believe I've been around, heard a few tracks (sometimes 3 or 4 rehashes over time), and have a small authority on the subject.
I don't get excited about the latest MoS release any more, however I still obtain a copy of the Annual every year .. eventually. See I'm not an elitist, I actually happen to think that the multi national conglomerate that is now Ministry of Sound, has been and continues to be relevant to dance floors over the last 20 years. DJs wouldn't have the recognition for their mixing and production abilities, had it not been for them.
So anyway, I cycle through the twists and turns of the three disc set (I liked it better when it was two - too long!), and something is missing when I listen to it. Could it be me? Have I reached my thirties, and lost the love for the beat? Is it because I don't like going to festivals anymore? These days it feels like there's more festivals than marquee club events, and therefore lost their impact. It's not enough to jump around with your friends all night, you've got to do it all day as well? Ask any old school raver - daytime is for work and sleeping. It could be part of the problem, but that wasn't quite it. As I progressed into the third disc several hours later, it finally hit me...
The uplifting feeling of these U2-esque chords, the soothing voice of a soul diva telling us that 'everything is going to be alright', the lyrics - chant worthy of a winning football team, as you hug your new best friend and belt it out loud together ... had no effect whatsoever. I found myself feeling the need to find the 'next track' button, something I NEVER do (I am a firm believer in listening to a whole section of music - as it was meant to be appreciated).
Why? Because I already did the same thing to Track 1, and 2, and 3, and every other fucking track thereafter! I was over it.
See the thing about festivals, is the set that you play is meant to suit a variety of different people, in a shorter space of time. Festival sets last about an hour, two at the most. You play the hits in the same way a rock band plays all their well known stuff, but rock bands also play their extended sets during their own shows, and the die hard fans see their show, and buy their studio albums, a much different experience.
The art of crafting a club set is dying, because the unwritten rules of etiquette among DJs are being largely ignored. This means DJ's are not warming up the crowd anymore, the first DJ of the night is playing their festival or podcast set, still drunk on the fact they were probably playing to a 50,000 strong crowd the night before. And I can sympathise to a degree, it's hard to read the crowd when they're small paint blobs on a mural, separated by about 3 lines of metal, fluro shirted security, and the click of a thousand photographers.
Still. You're probably thinking what the fuck has this got to do with a mix CD?
Well this mix CD feels like... Radio, Channel [V], VH1, MTV, and all the things I used to go to a club to escape. DJs used to rebel against these machines, finding new and unique ways to produce beats, hooks and grooves, now it feels like every track produced is just a copy of a remix of a copy of a copy. I'm watching the homogenisation of dance music happening in front of my eyes, and it's really sad to think where we might end up.
So DJ's, before you push the button, think about the big picture here. The thousands of button pushers before you, had no aspirations of rock style stardom, they just wanted to spend several hours taking a precious few hardcore fans on a musical journey, actually seeing the twinkle in they're eye as they get excited about a frequency turn, or the subtle drop of a high hat, the likes of which they have never heard before. Because if they wanted chart toppers and karaoke, they could have just gotten up early and gone to work. Don't shit in the bed, and fuck it up for those who have worked so hard to get it to where it was when you first started.
Oh reality, why do you stalk me? I understand that those around me are in pain, are lost, and hurting. But I've been toiling for such a long time, and with the idea of having a week off from the world, I'm finding it hard to detach myself without feeling like a bastard. I mean, it's tough yunno. It's not like I don't care, it's not like I haven't asked if there's anything I can do. Despite all my offerings, there's really nothing I can do to help. So then do I kick back, enjoy the fruits of my labour, enjoy the remainder of 2012 knowing that it was a fucking tough year, but I stuck it out, and I'm doing just fine. Do I?
You know what, fuck it. I've worked too hard not to enjoy this. So I'm gonna put on some music and grab another drink. I could do without the guilt though.
I decided to take it easy this weekend, because I'm off to Sydney the Saturday next. Fun? Yes! Exciting? Not so much. I guess when the trips to Sydney start to mount, the polish wears off. There are no longer fresh experiences, just the re-kindling of old memories. And if you know me these days, I'm all about the memories (although I wish I wasn't as much a condescending old fart), but I'm split in two ways. The young rebel in me wants to break free of the self imposed excile from Clubland, take drugs, cut loose, talk shit to strangers, throw caution to the wind. I try to get that kind of shock and awe from Newcastle, but the population just isn't as diverse. And the good people of this town don't want to hear me rubbish them, but it's just the way it is. The old cynical reformist wants to remind me, that all those friends I once had, are no longer friends. For you are steadfast and strong willed, and you have been through some intense shit with friends lost over the last 3 years, and the reason for this was that you would not back down from what you truly believe. And so he asks, do you really want to put yourself through that shit again? The answer, as it always seems, lies within the music. You see, i've been taking stock lately. I'm back on the meds, seeking therapy, been spending that much needed time with my own thoughts. And as that goes, the one thing that remains strong, my thoughts are guided by my gut feelings, and my gut is driven by the music. Corny I know, but I can't escape from that one and only truth. If the music sucks, I close up, drink more, feel sorry for myself and I just want to escape. But if the music is good, I open up, confess my soul, others do the same, I have faith in people, and the world spins on the right axis again. Here's hoping that the right music and the right beats make me feel at home, come next Saturday.
Can I call you Timmy? I'm not sure if you'd take offense to this, not that you normally would, but you might be a little annoyed that the guy that is ten years older than you might have some condescending things to say, and I know what you can get like sometimes (you're probably more pissed off with that one, but get over it, I know you will).
The first thing I want to tell you is that you're still here, shocked? I know I am. But we did it! I went to the doctor not just the other month, and my blood pressure is good, I don't have cancer or anything like that, I'm not dying of anything at all. You look good, those visits to the gym have kept you at a good weight (but a few kilos heavier than you are now you anorexic fuck - snap out of it will you!) and you don't look bad naked. You do have to wear glasses now, who knew those headaches were coming from that (well mostly). You do have a couple of grey hairs coming through, and no you're still not coping with that very well, even after many years, but your wife insists it's no big deal.
Oh shit, yes, you're married, and she's amazing. I won't go into the details, as I don't want you to expect anything, and I really want to see the look on your face when you're shocked to realise that she really is 'the one', and you're shitting yourself on a hire bus up to a cable car in Christchurch, wondering if she's seen the ring through your jacket pocket or not. Trust me, its priceless! And to be honest, so is your marriage. Even when you wonder if it's 'worth it', I will tell you now, it is.
You'll be shocked to know that your raving days are not over. It'll be massive, trust me, and remember when you used to rock up in Sydney by yourself, you won't be doing that much anymore, you'll be right in the thick of it, high as a kite, and having the time of your life. But don't expect these things, timing is everything, timing is key, and we both know what you're like with timing, don't we?
Everybody loves you right now. C'mon, you can admit it to me. I've been where you've been, and trust me, I hold onto those memories really tight, even more to this day. Sometimes I lament those days, and they're what you hate right now. You really shouldn't complain too much though, honestly, you have nothing to kill yourself over, and yes I know that's fresh in your mind too. Just don't.
So now that we have that straight, I have to tell you the bad news. Friends will get fewer, and you wont be as loveable as you are now. Why? I think you know why. You're already angry at the world, you're just too pussy to admit it, you think there's something to gain from hiding your feelings from the world. You think that manners are the glue that holds the world together, and civility is what will ultimately get you through these tough times. Well, sorry to say my dear friend, they didn't. All those things you feared would happen, happened. The world is at war, sex rules the airwaves, and that reality TV concept that you hate so much, has choked every network, and there's no escape from it. The Internet didn't free the music industry, it just reduced it down to pop music, yes, everything!
You know this already, although I think you're still in shock about your friends. You see, the thing is, you started to grow a backbone, you started to fight back, and while I know you're thinking that this will be a disaster, it really wasn't. You're gonna piss off a lot of people, you're going to be inappropriate, rude, obnoxious, even violent. But don't worry, it won't be malevolent, and it wont be deliberate. But in spite of this, everything will work out. Because the lesson to learn is, there will be a time when you realise that being happy is more important than being right. I'm not sure when that will be, as I'm currently battling that concept, right here, right now. But I know it will.
Because you see, I'm currently going through a crisis of faith. I need some help trying to believe, and I know that while you're very angry and cynical with the world, you still have faith. In humanity, in music, in civility, and deep down, in yourself. So above all else I'm writing to you, in the hope that will understand, that despite all that you'll go through, all the memories that you'll cherish, all the moments that you will have, and all the drugs you will take, that the one thing to prevail will be your human spirit.
So in the end, all I ask from you, is not to lose that little child inside you. You know, the one that plans their day out loud in a room with no one in it, those stories that take forever to get to the point, those analogies that are so abstract that only a select few can even understand them, and those discussions that are so in depth that only one person in the entire room feels comfortable talking about, because fuck everybody else in the room, fuck convention and fuck the rules. Above all else hold onto that, because while lots of things will happen to you in the next ten years, there will be a day when you'll miss those things, and you'll wonder how to get them back. So get them back.
Yours truly, Timmy! 33
PS - You eventually grow a beard, and it looks awesome ;)
The holidays are just about over. They were nice. I said I needed time to think, and I think I achieved that. And the result... I have no fucking idea! But at least I know that I don't know, and that's a step in the right direction. A lot better than trying to fake an opinion, or happiness. It did see an end to some things. The realisation that certain parts of my life, choices of lifestyle, music stylings, types of friends ... have got to go. I love my wife, I love my cat, my family, and my hobbies. There's no room for anything else. The moment that I pick up anything else, or try to re-kindle old memories, one of those things suffers, and it kills me to see that. I have been trying to cheat that proposition for years now. There's simply no way around that. As they say, as you stop becoming a child, you have to put away childish things. And I'm not getting any younger. Right? Right. So from now on, parties are on headphones in my study, adventures are in books and photographs, and music conversations are in blog entries, or I just mumble them to myself. I guess it's not that bad, but I still feel like I have to mourn their passing. So there you go.
I can't say New York makes everything better, but this place has a habit of giving it to me straight, and sometimes the truth hurts.
The break has done me a world of good. I wake up and forget what day it is, we've been visiting a lot of sights, seeing family, and I've been taking a heap of photos. You know, the usual holiday stuff. But there is the inevitable bubble bursting feeling, when what you expect to return to, isn't there any more. Now this comes in two ways, what is there, and the less obvious how you feel about it.
I walk into all the shops I used to work at, five years has passed, and I don't see anyone that recognises me. It's becoming really difficult to even arrange a single night in three weeks, to catch up with those that I stayed in contact with. The plans that I came with to stay longer in the USA, started fading from the moment I arrived, at customs, again, when arrived in LA. It continued to fade as it came to pass, that what I thought I had to offer, wasn't really valued in any practical way. In short, it's a great time to come back for a holiday, but living here, is useless. And even if we did, it wouldn't be the same as last time, too much time has passed.
Which brings me to how I feel. As the days turns into weeks, and more things get crossed off the list, the really important shit remains, and that awaits me when I return home. I have a mental illness to deal with, a wife and a family to spend much needed time repairing, a body to get back in shape, a debt to pay off, and most importantly, a new life to find, shaking off the shackles of those who have kept me down.
I've outgrown my past, but I have no idea what holds for me in the future. I'm scared.
Syntax. Nah fuck that, I'll be plain. I'm scared. I forget things. Ordinary things. I do it a lot. Whole sentences. Statements that I have responded to. Not misinterpret, forget, gone, out of thin air. I've had head scans, I'm on meds, on taking regular visits to the GP. I thought it was helping, now I'm not so sure. I don't worry about going crazy, I like crazy. I'm scared that I will forget, myself, my loved ones, the stories I have, the things I think I know. Is this old age? Surely not, I'm only 33. Stress? Most likely, but what do I sacrifice? What can be sacrificed? The only thing I could lose is one of my passions, and everyone tells me I can't, and I don't really want to. It's one of the few things that gives me so much joy. My girl is brave. She tells me just wait until September, when we'll be on holiday. And all I can think of is .. a month? Can't it be a year? Two years? After all, I have so much I want to do. Most of it involves simply standing still. I used be a deep thinker, now that is only seen as a distraction, from the things I forget in front of me. It might be ordinary, but I used to handle that shit. In fact, I used to handle ten times the amount of pressure I'm feeling now. So what next? Oh well, no time, gotta get some sleep. Big day tomorrow.
Tomorrow I travel to Sydney Tomorrow I see the people I had the most fun with Tomorrow I see the people I had the most in common with Tomorrow I see the people I haven't seen In a long time Tomorrow, I'm not nervous, for the first time In a long time So I'll take my meds, pack my bag, finish my wine It's time I got some sleep I haven't seemed to do that In a long time