RIP Dominic Raoul Lucas

In memoriam immortal of MSN, and the genre of ‘adult alternative rock’ with quarter speed scrubbing and Dave Matthews ‘Crash into me’, the best album ever*. *Alongside the rise and fall of Ziggy, and other great albums.

I would like to share some words of a dear friend, and my response, some  six years late, to them. Before I continue, I should put a trigger warning for depression, suicide, and caring for those who are depressive and/or suicidal.

The person in question is Dom  Lucas, someone I liked greatly from when I met him in my first philosophy class in 6th form. It was apparent at his funeral, that a deep and lasting impression was a response he often evoked, even in those who had counted him only as an acquaintance. Continue reading

hoping for a revolution

  1. When a revolutionary moment arrives may you not gather to spectate

    the swarms of vultures are already foretold and they do not raise the dead they document.

    Fling yourselves far and wide

    to carry onwards and bring home the good tidings.

    Seek out the fertile soil in which to grow

    but also in the stony soil pass over as tumbleweed;

    scatter seed as the wind blows you and hope someday a shower will follow close on your heels to perform the alchemy of dust to green shoots to gold…

    2. When there is hope don’t smother it-

    draw it out even to the breaking point;

    shattered hope still dews the pavements on Monday morning

    when the carnival is over a hangover is not too heavy a burden to bear.

    There is sometimes some cause for hope

    some hope for a cause

    some cause

    some hope

    because if there is not,

    what is there?

Spring Cleaning

Metaphors in this song were first jotted down in spring 2012, my first in London. I lived sparsely, in the attic of a friend’s father’s house, and worked 9 – 3.30pm in a special needs school 10 minutes down a quiet road on a bike. Aspirational lifestyle – I had more time on my hands than I yet knew what to do with. A year later I had the opposite time problem, as I juggled three part-time jobs, and I picked up the pieces and made them into a song.

It’s my most reliable song to perform, and actually has a catchy tune and regular chord structure that other musicians can pick up. And I’ve stuck up a BANDCAMP. Woohooo. The quality of the recording is pretty grim, shall redo when I have some decent headphones. Also I need to address the buzzes in my guitar from when I lowered the bridge from laziness about building my hand strength.

Spring cleaning

When I lose touch with the moment I live in/ scum settles in my mind/scum and dirt and clutter, gets pretty obscene/I can’t see what’s before me til I scrub it clean

So much to untangle to much to say/all of these thoughts keep getting in my way/I’ll line them all up at the surface/cause then I can pack ’em away

 

Won’t you help me get my  tidy on? I got some spring cleaning to do

though in the end I’ve got to get down to it I’d appreciate some help from you

 

If I get into a scrub a dub dub I’ll stick at it til the task is through

but right up til I get into that zone it looks so hard to do

 

Dust down those cobwebs they’ve been shutting out the light/ take a deep breath’ sort out those piles of shite/ let the light shine onto that skeleton in the cupboard/once it’s seen the light of day I can put it away

A bit of tangled wool can chill in the corner/ I’ll unpick the knots some rainy day/it’s ok to have some shit that’s not sorted/as long as I can pack it away.

So won’t you…..

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The life-changing magic of tidying: book review

The Life-Changing-Magic of Tidying up: a book review

Marie Kondo is the most endearing guru I have ever had the pleasure to read, and ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying’ is her bible. Cathy Hirano translates from the Japanese for Vermilion books (pub 2014). Her Capitalisation Of Every Word in the contents does not come across as trite and patronising,  instead it prefaces Kondo’s direct, clear style.

Honouring the teacher is a widely acknowledged Japanese value, and Marie Kondo quickly convinces that she is an expert and an individual worth listening to. There is no Gilian Keith style pseudoscience, rather Marie notes an observation and proposes an explanation. Her ideas come from her childhood passion for housewifery, which developed into a ‘serious’ pursuit of tidying aged 15. This is not just another inbred descendent of Lakein’s 1973 classic ‘How to get control ofyour time and your life’ with a thread of softeness from Brene Brown’s ‘Gifts of Imperfection’.

In a nutshell, the Mariekon method consists of handling each possession, and considering whether it is a positive or negative emotional relationship by asking the intuitive question ‘does this spark joy?’. Joy is not widely used in contemporary English, which I think is fortunate, as it asks the reader to define for themselves what ‘joy’ may be in this context. My mind goes to Alice Walker’s ‘Possessing the secret of joy’ and considers what breadth and complexity of feelings may inhabit long disused objects.

I was evangelised on Marie Kondo by my sister in law while I lived in a house with a horrific ex-casino carpet and chronic damp problems under the bed. I bought the book, and read it with an initially skeptical eye before leaving for the summer. In the autumn I descended on my childhood bedroom with a vigor I have never before brought to tidying. Before, the end point was always a clear floor, which I could hoover, and a clear desk that I could wipe. This time it was to resolve my tortuous relationship with objects, and spring clean my soul.

One aspect of her language grated with me: her use of the term ‘feminine’ to designate a life lived elegantly. This is a knee jerk reaction on my part as an individual dedicated to queering gender concepts, and resisting all binaries. In act her book is based entirely on binaries, which are all connected to the replacement of mess with tidyness. This book is a manifesto for correctness from chaos. My family slogan was ‘Nature (and my family) abhore a vacuum’ and this was used to justify the absence of clear surfaces as a constant of life.

Looking around my room right now, there aren’t so many clear surfaces. But I am wearing a jacket that was disused by my friend, as it is a funny linen shape ‘Well, it’s good for writing in, but not really practical’ they explained as I handled it at their house-clearing party. And I am writing  on an impulsively downloaded app called ‘calmly’, and I have written an appropriate length of text that is roughly coherent, and it is now time to get breakfast before I tidy my room properly, for the sake of my mental health.

And it appears that light jazz is the appropriate soundtrack. Actually, scrap that, I’m putting on First Aid Kit. Or maybe I’ll do some gardening.