A Little Peace…

Recently I have been told by a few people that I write very well. One suggested I contact a music magazine and lodge an application to work for them. This person had written articles themselves for the magazine in question and they gave me the email address of the editor.

I didn’t do anything about it. I would fear pursuing it. It is one thing to write at one’s own leisure your own thoughts and feelings or to write your own musical reviews and share that content on a blog that you have sole say over. It’s quite a different thing to work for someone else and work to a deadline. I’m not sure I could do it.

Just today a person asked me if I write professionally. The answer is no I don’t. There is one minor thing I do in which I write small pieces of text, but I don’t work to a deadline and my “boss” for the most part gives me free rein over what is written.

But could I ever write like this?

That, I strongly doubt. Granted, I have not spent over 40 years of my life writing professionally. And for many years prior to that most likely being quite good at English, enjoying the language and writing stories. Jim did.

I never had the imagination to create imaginary places. Never felt I had “the gift” for that kind of thing. Compared to what I’d hear from others in class, my stories sucked. So as a consequence I guess I felt like writing was just “not my bag”.

Until I read Anne Frank’s diary. To read her diary is to find that, no matter how insular you feel. No matter how insignificant your world may feel to you, you are living a life and you have your own dramas, hopes, fears and dreams. And yes, ultimately her story was so much bigger than what was going on in that tiny annex…but the way she made the minutiae of that circumstance feel is just SSOOO compelling!

Could I have worded how I felt about her diary like that as a 13 year old reading it for the first time? NO WAY! But it was an impetus for me to keep a diary myself. And YES, my life was far, FAR more insignificant (in no way suggesting Frank’s was). BUT…I was writing. I was using language. Trying hard to teach myself a level of expression that was escaping me from not being at school. I just kept wanting to teach myself.

I read books. Not sweeping epics of prose, just regular novels. I tried with Shakespeare. Lord knows I tried. But I attached myself more to James Joyce and Oscar Wilde. I read the poetry of Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson and children’s books by May Gibbs and read the 87th Precinct detective novels of Ed McBain. I read “trash” too. Sidney Sheldon novels and Anne Rice vampire novels. I went from Anne Frank to Anne Rice.

I asked for a concise dictionary for my 15th birthday and read it like a novel.

At the library, I would look at the encyclopaedias and VOLUMES of dictionaries and wish to have them at home. You weren’t allowed to borrow reference books. I could never understand why.

To be asked in recent times whether I write for a living is amazing. To be told by others that I have some kind of “flair” or “way” is wonderful. And just maybe on the odd occasion I allow myself to accept such compliments and think I am worthy of them. But for the most part? No.

Beyond Jim’s beautiful way with words and expressing himself was this…

How could someone believe “an eye for an eye” is good? Because, isn’t that ultimately what war is? An eye for an eye? Fighting fire with fire? Two wrongs don’t make a right, do they?

Why is it such a childish thought to want peace? Not to have wars? And why do we never learn? Why are we destined to make the same mistakes over and over?

How is pacifism NOT the answer? How is love not the answer?

I want to end with this. Because it is just so beautiful in its simplicity. No big words. Just the basics and the question of “why”?

F.A.C.A.D.E

Put on your facade.
Wear it like a jacket.
Like false armour.
Let it mask your face.

Show your teeth.
Make your most convincing smile.
Never let anyone see what’s really behind it.

Don’t crack.
Don’t falter.
Don’t look weak.
Ungrateful.
Fed up.
Tired.

Keep wearing the mask.
Don’t let it slip!
Catch it before it falls.
Never let it drop.
Always smile.
Stay strong.

Keep acting.
Be Shakespearean in your manner.
Be Academy Award winning.
Have them saying, “Bravo! You always seem so happy.”
Get an Emmy.
A Tony.
Perhaps if you can whistle a tune even a Grammy.

Play the part.
Pretend.
Fakery is rewarded.
So fake it.

Fake
All
Corners
Around
Daily
Encounters

Slow News Sunday Summary – April 28th

Well, seeing as most days there is not much to report, I have decided to coin the SM “Slow News Sunday Summary”. A look at what morsels have been reported via SMO or other related avenues during the past seven days.

  • Cherisse on tour with Kelly Jones in June/July
  • Sir’s been to Sicily
  • Sarah’s Saturday night gig
  • Rejuvenation albums now available individually as singles

On Wednesday it was officially revealed by Cherisse on her social media that she will be playing with Kelly Jones (Stereophonics’ frontman) during his solo tour of the UK in June and July. A fan had heard an interview with Jones on radio saying that he was “interviewing” a drummer to tour with him and that SHE currently plays for Simple Minds. A rather large giveaway, but I was remaining nonplussed about it until word came from Cherisse herself.

I had a drumming lesson with her on Thursday and we talked about the news. She said some fans got into a panic, asking her whether it meant the end of her time with SM.

Have no fear, peeps! She’s just grabbing the opportunity for some gigging while there is SM downtime.

Also taking the opportunity to explore other musical avenues during the SM downtime is Sarah Brown, who was a guest of a group called Casca, playing a gig last night in Camden. I would have loved to have gone, but honestly, I cannot reiterate how skint I am right now. But I would have loved to have gone and shown some support.

Jim had a few days in Sicily earlier in the week. Some downtime for him from a busy schedule of writing, etc… all actually very elusive as to what else he’s doing other than him saying he’s “writing”.

Anyway…mustn’t dwell on how quiet it is, eh? And actually, I SHOULD be thankful because I have sod all money to do anything with … and that would be FAR worse! If they were touring around and I couldn’t do anything about it.

Speaking of things that cost money that I can’t really do anything about…
After now having released the Rejuvenation box sets and having had us all invest in those (well, those of us who could…), the albums and CDs are now available to purchase individually.

I am now in absolute dilemma mode. A huge part of me wants the box sets because of the packaging. Another part of me says it means I can invest in the vinyl that I was most interested in getting from the box set with a smaller outlay spread over time. The CD/DVD box set I definitely DO want to invest in. But it is going to have to wait.

Until next week, folks…keep it Simple x

Desiderata – Max Ehrmann

The opening line to this was read out in a question on a TV quiz…and…it just struck me as sounding like the chorus to The Signal And The Noise. I had never heard of it before! It’s amazing how these things fall into place. It’s a wonderful piece of prose, and something we could all do with reading daily…either as we retire for the night to have with us fresh in the morning, or when the new day begins for us each morning.

I know Jim said recently he gained a strength and resolve from reading the Indian classic Bhagavad Gita. I started it….but unlike his previous mention of Siddhartha (of which I read and enjoyed and saw empowering positives from)….I found the former tougher going….and that was just through the description of it going through translation from German and into English…and, just the description of the book through those passages made me wary of it. Akin to why I have avoided Sun Tzu’s The Art Of War. I know many people get philosophical positives from these works….Gandhi – possibly the world’s most renowned pacifist, is said to have derived strength from reading Bhagavad Gita. How this can be befuddles me…but it’s said he saw it as an allegory. So, perhaps I will try to finish reading it – well, BEGIN…as I have not actually got to the passages of text in the book, yet.

But, I do have to say that, for now, this passage of prose from Desiderata – esp. that first sentence of it, as read out in the quiz question, really threw me for six and got me looking into it. I think this is much more a mantra I could live by. Perhaps as it is not overly complex in its language, but simple, short and succinct.

I would love to ask Jim whether he knows it or is familiar with it…but I have posted to the SMO visitor wall a couple of times already, so I best not. Perhaps for a future time…

Click HERE to read the Wikipedia entry on Desiderata.

“Hunting Words I Sit All Night” – Trinity College and the Book of Kells

A bucket list dream was ticked off today with a visit to Trinity College. About 32 years it has been on the “must see” list…and finally! It happened. It was very surreal at one point and couldn’t quite believe I was there – standing, perhaps, where James Joyce himself may have stood. Just…wow!

Also went in to view the Book of Kells and was particularly taken with the writing of the monk in St Gallen. Beautiful words that really struck me. Strictly no photos inside (apart from in the Long Room), but thankfully the wonderful Pangur Bán was printed in a pamphlet. The “turning darkness into light” reminded me so much of what I say about Simple Minds’ music and Jim’s song writing. That “dark light” I talk of.

When I am home and rested, I will read more on the St Gallen monk(s). Much too far back in time for those guys to enjoy a Toblerone/two. Monastic life would have hardly allowed it anyway.