Saturday, 26 June 2010

The death and resurrection show.

A long time ago in the refectory of a college, eating a cheese and pickle sandwich, a thought came to mind. “Sometimes there is no option other than to be an unmitigated bastard”, and then Diana died a few weeks later. Not that the event in itself particularly affected me, though I was really upset when told, as there was a woman that worked with me called Diana and I thought all the fuss was over her and not the princess; nascent seeds were being sown.

The press that one week before had been calling her a slut, the worst princess to have ever disgraced the monarchy, the cheater, the deserter, the one who should lose her title and stop bringing so much shame to the country and so on and so forth, all of a sudden had a revelation. She wasn't really an attention seeking whore at all, or even a disgrace of a person, and how on earth could the monarchy be so cruel to someone who was obviously a saint?

Here I choose to sit firmly on the fence. It is sad when someone dies, particularly the mother of two young children, and even more so when it was due to abject stupidity as in this case. It is sad when it is someone who has done charitable work, who has represented causes and brought them to the attention of the masses. It is also true that public figures need to be careful about what they say and what they do, as this is a part of the duty that comes with the enormous amount of wealth left at their disposal. Many of their actions are staged, and many are being told what to do at different times and on different occasions. It is probably also a large part of the reason that we are so shocked when we find someone away from the public eye captured doing things that other human beings do, and receive no criticism for doing. It isn't rare for someone to have an affair, or for someone to do one thing and say another, but it suddenly becomes a lot more important when that person is famous or a public figure of great responsibility.

Where there is no sense at all is in the reaction of the press (both gutter and broadsheet) at one moment calling the woman the devil incarnate, and the next using “English rose” as a description. People who one week were calling Diana a whore were in the same breath, and not more than two days later, calling her the greatest woman ever to grace the royal family.

Never had this been more apparent than today, one year after the death of Michael Jackson. Once again we are looking at a public figure who was at one moment accused of being a child molesting freak who drugged and raped children under the guise of love and affection: upon his premature death in very sad circumstances society all of a sudden re-crown him the King of Pop, adulate him, love him again and recognise all of his genius with an “I knew the truth all along” attitude.

Many of us dream of being remembered for many years after our death, for people to still talk about us, for people to still wonder at our great works – (Ozymandias anyone?) and many would like to be permitted into the pantheon of the never forgotten heroes that will survive in popular memory for as long as memory permits. I would suggest, however, that perhaps some people deserve to be remembered whilst still alive. That in this age where information is so available worldwide, not just local backwater press where Mrs Dunstable's prize winning marrows are all anyone can talk about, we need to be more informed, to perhaps let the crimes be sorted by professionals, and maybe recognise talent where it exists and when it is still in existence.

Human beings are precisely that. Human. Just because someone is capable of doing incredible things, doesn't mean they're a nice person to know, or a person you can admire for their grand personality. Equally well, it doesn't mean that they are walking examples for contraception. None of us are totally evil, nor are we saints; we all fall pretty much in between the two, though there are obviously exceptions (I suppose even Jeffrey Dhamer's mum thought he was a lovely boy).
So, just maybe, sometimes, there is indeed no other option to be an unmitigated bastard,
“Oh how ingenious the centuries of lies,
Ezekiel's chariots streak across the skies.
Holy books and history texts forget,
Because we know,
Souls are resurrected in the death and resurrection show.” (Killing Joke)

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Wisps and feathers

Dreams are really an unrealistic expectation. Through popular sayings, refrains and the different idioms we are regularly told that this night time hallucination is one of the most important things in our lives. "Dare to Dream" shouts out the television with the latest advertising jargon. “Drive the car of your dreams”, “dreams will come true”, “a dream is a wish your heart makes”. All of this sold to us through one hundred thousand different ideas and concepts to make us think that this supposed substance which runs through our heads, this stream of consciousness, perhaps the closest anyone ever has to a religious experience these days, is something that can be attained and held on to, some sort of tangible cloud that we can skip on to and get down from at will.

Perhaps with time I'm becoming nihilistic, a sociopathic disgruntled misanthropist, and thus the reason for the making of this move towards the destruction of one of the more beautiful things that happens to us all. Though again, writing this I find myself torn between the imagery and the basic fact that this is no great unifying experience, because the entire human race has blood, skin and bones, but this has never stopped anyone going for an all out annihilation of their friends, Romans and countrymen after their ears have metaphorically been lent to whomsoever should be speaking.

There is no unifying force in a dream; a dream is just that, a dream. A late night trip through the brain's murkier areas, where the small ray of hope says 'just maybe'. Though, the barriers are ever changing and ever moving. I once hoped to be taken seriously as a musician or a writer. These days it would be nice just to be taken seriously; and so the dream moves on.

As the barriers move, so does the expectation of the person at the other end of it all. So their thoughts and feelings are continually expressed through what they have in their head, or at least the four cheese pizza leads them to believe that there are talking snails riding the backs of unicorns and all of them conveniently living under the office photocopier.

Mine left a long time ago and I don't dream any more, though perhaps that may change again, given the nature of the beast at hand. Don't expect anything from a confessional other than a confession, a dream is a wisp of smoke and no matter how hard you try to keep it, the smoke dissipates even in the smallest of glass bottles.

Goodnight everyone. Sweet dreams

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Don't mind him, he's English...

MP3 player set firmly on shuffle, I'm currently being rather weirded out by a Skeletal Family version of Stand By Me. I'm not sure what to think, and that really sets the tone for yet another entry into the world that surrounds me.

To be here is to be odd. In general anything English is considered slightly eccentric, a jarring note in the general smooth running of a very chaotic society. All of my weirdness is excused under the moniker of 'Don't mind him, he's English'. In fact, in the first few weeks of living here, and still in full flung weirdy beardy, I often heard the set phrase of 'No, he isn't a druggie / rapist / murderer / leper, he's English' to which there was a standard reply of a deep and understanding 'Ahhh'.

People here are fascinated by everything that comes from outside, as Spain hasn't, at least in recent history, been a place of mass migrations, they aren't really used to having anyone from outside living and integrated here. There is a running myth that everything that is from outside has to be much better (thanks to very many years as a very poor country living under a dictator) and they are very intensely interested in everything that you do, and how you do it. The funny thing is that there is almost a sort of expectation of being slightly weird, and people almost seem let down if it isn't there. I am supposed to drink copious amounts of tea, and the fact that I prefer coffee is often greeted with surprise and almost disappointment by some. They are really shocked when I say that there are things here I really love, and they love the fact that someone can be so overtly happy with the thought of something they really wouldn't pay any attention to. Compliments are often met with strange looks, there really does seem to be incomprehension at why you would want to learn Gallego, why would you want to go and sit in a bar full of old people and have a chat? Why would you get excited about a plate of lentejas? First it is surprise, and then delight that someone is appreciating the things that are here, when the people who are here often criticise them and don't think they are worth anything at all.

So people, I invite you all to come and appreciate a country where no one sleeps, where people still touch each other, where no one flinches about overt smooching in the street, where you can still put your arm around someone and fool around and the pressure is all off, where an arm around you, a hug, two kisses is the rule and not the exception.

If no one else sings your glory, then let me sing it for you, even though it's sad that it had to come from 'el g├╝iri'.