Posts Tagged ‘ hopes ’

Curragh Camp (Clarke Warrant Officers Homes)

 

Blood red brick walls slowly crumbling
like megaliths of a long dead empire.
We, the children of a poets dream,
make them our own.
Sun-faded kitchens, smoke washed wallpaper
and worn down carpets that seem to whisper
‘We are.’ No more.No less.

 

Women watch the work of this world unfold
like the sheets that flutter on the backyard line.
Granite steps and sills are scrubbed
to signify ‘this home is ours’.
Tank tracks rumble on down the road
as they pass they roar
‘We are’. No more. No less.

Soon the winter rain will wash the dust
away and autumn shall weaken and fade.
The dead shall speak in strange and secret
tongues our homes will no longer bear the young
then who will write of the life that we made
if nothing now is to remain?
‘We are.’ No more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We lived in dreams always.

There was something in the night
it seemed alive, you could almost feel it breathe
the animal mind of my age, afraid to rest, to sleep
for in stopping it might miss, moments that may never be.
A deep hurt ran through the dark
silent eyes watching for a movement, waiting
ready to pounce upon the weak.
All is lust, blood, venality and the stink of corruption
it seems that nothing can break out.
Where are the words that lift the soul?
Where are the songs to make a hand a fist?
Where can the restless run?
Why are the ignorant content to wallow in the filth
and the piss of all that is profane?
Oh it seems that hope can flounder in the debris that remains.
And yet….and yet…a spark can make a flame
and love can grow in the light her fire creates
and in that way nothing has ever changed
and in strange ways we lived in dreams…always.

The sound and the fury.

The growth of the digital age has changed the face of music. Not a bold pronouncement by any means but rather a cold statement of fact. The means of production and consumption has altered and like any epoch there are good and bad aspects. One thing I’ve been pondering over the last few weeks is the production. Digital recording has allowed for a cleaner, more uniform sound. Ostensibly this should be a good thing however, it presents two problems namely uniformity and also it highlights the ‘bad’ sound quality of older recordings.

These recordings can range from the old Delta blues masters, jazz classics, big bands, show tunes, garage rock etc. Within the punk rock fraternity the rawness of the recording was part of the aesthetic. The DIY nature of the movement often necessitated working outside and against the mainstream. Underground bands from Minor Threat, Subhumans, Crass, Black Flag, Minutemen (the list is endless) represented a rawness of sound where the message and energy was king, the medium less so. Here is the song, take it or leave it. Some of my favourite tunes and albums are less than pristine and less then polished. Those bands were chipping away from the outside and their lack of aural finesse, often necessitated by lack of funds, became part of the whole.

Today bands are often too packaged for my liking. To well put together. One eye is on getting the audiences money. The experience of listening to music has become, in many ways, less pleasurable. The medium has become more important than the message. With the advent of grunge the underground went overground and in that process the underground disappeared. The digital revolution has, in a very real sense, removed the raw, unbridled sexual energy of music and in it’s wake left a pristine almost antiseptic landscape. Don’t get me wrong it isn’t all bad as digital quality recordings can be made in anyone’s bedroom and as the breakdown of the wall between artist and audience has occurred. However, call me an old romantic but I sometimes yearn for the Lo-Fi thrill of a cheap recording one that may not be nuanced but has a heart as big as a whale!

Yeats (again) and music.

Yeats once famously wrote the immortal line ‘too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart’ and it is a line I constantly turn to in times of trouble or doubt (indeed it is another of my posts). It is sage advice from the master and like the best of Yeats it is simple and straight to the point. Anyone that knows me, knows the importance of music in my life. I play music but I think it is more important than just playing, music is an aural experience and a feeling that can transcend strictures such as class, time and space. Back in the long, long ago before Wi-Fi crushed all sense, proportion and accountability out of our everyday life, listening, buying, owning, finding, playing and cherishing music was a commonplace pastime. It was a sociology all onto itself and the joy of meeting a fellow connoisseur was intoxicatingly exciting. It made one feel all shiny and new, just like a virgin, in fact like being touched for the very first time! Thinking of the consumption of music now I realise I am a Luddite in this regard, I like the times before the great serfdom when musicians got paid (yes we recorded onto tape but the quality was poop). Who would have thought that the Dane (you know the one) would be right? But today as music turgidly staggers into ever increasing oh so emotive twinges of a folk shite harmony crapfest and we exist in a world where bands are increasingly not allowed to grow and be paid, the old guy was right.

Anyway enough about the Dane let’s get back to the Paddy. Why Yeats? Well I made many sacrifices for music right from the get go. I was obsessed and obsessional, dysfunctional and disillusioned. So much so that I genuinely believed that playing music could pull me from the depths of grief brought on by losing my mother (yes her again). It didn’t, it couldn’t. I lied and pretended it did but you see the pattern was set way before that I compromised myself for music, in the vain hope it would cure all. It doesn’t, it can’t. You see for me it was the fucking sacrifice, I know I lost two relationships to music (one a teenage love, the other? Well let’s just say it was a shipwreck), on top of that I have lost friendships (funny thing is that adult males spending their time in a confined space together for oh, let’s say years causes a tad bit of tension including calling each other fuckers, bastards, etc etc) but most importantly I lost proportion and perspective.

Now, there are musicians reading this thinking ‘well once you’re jamming it’ll be all good man’ yes indeed, all good. However, music is played by humans and humans are political. Since the very first time one of our ancestors beat the life out of another ancestor our species has been ‘politically’ or in layman’s terms relational or to distill it further we all have moods ( moods are for cattle and lovemaking said a famous musician funnily enough). In prison no one is guilty and in music there is not one person with an ego. Freud would be fucked if he had musicians on the couch. Of course, musicians have egos, other musicians. (NB: I actually don’t have an ego but then I am great).

I am, of course, being deadly serious. Don’t sacrifice everything to end up with nothing but a heart of stone and for the love of God be the living stream and not the rock. Yes, music is brilliant but you know what? The older I get the more rounded I become, the more family matter, the more friends matter and the more I matter. Punk rock did change our lives D. Boon but punk is dead, it became another cheap product for the consumers head. You know what I love to do with my bass every now and then? Leave it in the corner and don’t touch it because when I go and live with normal people, ya know the ones with healthy relationships and shock! horror! balanced egos I can’t wait to get back to playing. ( I do actually love my bass btw not more than family and the love of my life and good friends but more than everyone else). All this was started by a friend when I was discussing Anvil (the movie) I said to her; ‘ Oh it was the triumph in the face of adversity and they were so great to stick to the dream’ and she replied ‘I don’t know they put their family through shit and seemed pretty selfish’. She was right (she is annoying like that). The next time you look at that film, just look at the faces of the family members and witness those without egos and the effect their selflessness has on those beneath them (I jest). Right, I’m off to listen to nothing but the sound of silence.

Us

On the gable end of the block
there ‘stood’ painted goalposts,
two dimensional, just like our lives were meant to be.
Inconsequential and insubstantial to those that did not understand
but they were the gateway to our culture
speaking more than any political proclamation.
That block was our island, our very own nation.
It was neatly bookended with the words Leeds Utd
a daily reminder of all those that had gone to other shores
to etch out a future free of predestined narratives.
Outside authority was alien to us and when we rubbed up against it
it screeched like some horrible language.
Bitterness was the true mother tongue
and dead hearted men would drown their self-loathing in pints
and then they would keen underneath the moon for their lost youth
and the love that had alluded them.
The women would weep or else join them
and in those dark cramped halls lives were broken.
On our road pain was buried deep
waves of desperate longing left unspoken.
From underneath a grey generation of patriots we struggled,
strangled by sentiments as foreign to us as any oppressor’s tongue.
History whored about as cheap commodity, a catch all opiate to placate
the common hoards.
We were Free-state bastards, told that we were living beyond our means.
We were sinners told that we were living with venal disease.
We were an economy gone wrong, a doleful death rattling scream.
We were us…faded but beautiful as vivid as a living dream.

37.

 

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Age is more than a number. The body eventually changes. With that comes the realisation that some of the dreams you once had must be consigned to history. Dreams are the hope of better things to come and the failure to live up to them is the cold reality of the passage of time. We make narratives of our life, we socialize members of society into the belief that life will pan out a certain way. Boy will meet girl, fall in love, have a family and all will be well in the world. God is in his heaven. However, there comes a point in one’s life were expectation must be tempered by sobering thoughts.I am now in my late thirties, I am single and the dream of happy families recedes as the days pass. It is now likely that I will never be a husband, it is now likely that I will never be a father and by extension a grandfather. In many ways there is a profound sadness in writing that as it is an acknowledgement that, in many ways, love has passed me by but there are millions like me. Have we failed? It is possible that we have. We (and by we I really mean I) won’t get to pass on my experience, my wisdom and my love. Depressing isn’t it? Yes, but that is what being an adult is all about, dealing with the dreams that pass us by and in the end I am reminded of the words of Joseph Conrad “No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one’s existence–that which makes its truth, its meaning–its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream–alone.”

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