A heat wave of sorts has come over Princeton again and it has gone up beyond 30 degrees Celsius. There is a hot, damp mist down in my basement catacombs and the occasional voice/whisper/yelp comes from around corners far off in the distance. It’s just like facebook down there and quite distant people are trying to be important in their own ways. They want to be close… they just don’t know how to do it. And so they hate the government and hope others will do too, they relentlessly post new profile pictures, they love animals. And then they feel genuine pain and they want you to know that. Their opinion is always critically important and they will scream if they have to. You must realize they feel pain: “You are not paying me enough attention!”
These people are far more passionate on facebook or in the catacombs than they are in real life. They are digital advertisements for their own selves and Robert Johnson, if he saw all this, would shit himself first and then bang on the door of Parchman Farm and plead to be let in. “Let me in, lemme in, I’m so fucking sorry…..I’ll burgle a gas station if I have to….just turn off facebook….motherfucker is bad….I’m black so they’ll give me 35 years, I’ll take it…”
There are also cats down in the labyrinth too and they are almost always stately and self assured. I’m talking about cats as in animals. They merely observe and I think that is wise. These cats possess the wisdom of Solomon and so they barely twitch and they let it all float through their minds without sticking. They know a few things about acceptance and surrender and these simple concepts obviously nourish their souls. They manage to ‘let it all go’, because they know a better day is coming and that pulling their heads in is a mighty good thing. It’s as powerful as the Waikato River.
But, who can turn away from a gambling machine when it has them in its grips?
James Woods once said that the internet was a “Special Olympics for show offs” and I can see where he is coming from. He would be a calm man in my basement and the cats would be around his legs.
My brother once stood up on a table in a pub in South Dunedin in the mid 1960s to lead the whole bar in singing “We Shall Overcome”. Where did that come from? He did that shortly after a rugby game against the Springboks and that’s the kind of thing that breaks into my consciousness when I least expect it. Them Springboks are a subterranean team if I ever saw one.
These under-the-earth voices in my basement/mind are, as I say, something you sometimes can’t quite grasp and you sense people way off in the distance, but you can’t quite make them out. That’s how I miss people who are dead. In the present, however, you are often left to speculate on what the voices might be saying because you don’t know whether they are friend or foe. In these cases is best to treat everyone like they are a friend because, deep in the depths, everyone suffers. I treat people on facebook in this same way and I like to highlight that which is beautiful. Every day someone tries to drag me into a fight and I look for bright colours and I surrender.
The Buddha (or Pico Iyer) says it is a privilege to suffer and so it is. If ever anyone seeks to place a direct hit on me, even in just a facebook way, I just say to myself “people don’t do things to me, they just do them” and that they hide around corners because they are afraid of life.
Last week I was writing a letter to a young billsticker about starting a company to put posters in the street. I think the main thing you have to do is to take a significant ‘departure’ and to risk being alone. You must carve your own future and not be dependent on the state nor on the current culture, because both will be proven wrong in the future. People in this life are paid extraordinary amounts of money to prove and find everything wrong. You must work hard to remain independent of all this rubbish and if you want to make it in the music business, grow a beard and buy a funky hat.
But, you will be alone and in lots of ways. You will be out there at 3am with the wind howling and the rain coming down and you will know that the gig is two days away and it is your job to try and make a difference. You will end up on your lonesome and you cannot count on compliments because most souls are people of the basement and they are very afraid of the sky and daylight terrifies them. It is also just part of their nature that they cannot ‘give’. They are self absorbed because they are terrified. I hope I go crazy and alone in the way Van Gogh or Wilhelm Reich did. That took a lot of courage. I’d like to see them with paste buckets.
September is a funny month for me and very meaningful. It was in September/October 1989 that I lost two sisters to cancer, within a month of each other. The first to die (Doreen) left on the 10th year anniversary of my father’s death, September 26th. The second (Lorna) passed on October 21st.
I’m not a Freudian, but I believe they were all competing with each other. I never feel alone in September or October because I always have a sense that my beautiful sisters are with me once again. We are in the Octagon in Dunedin and we are laughing.
I can be pasting up posters on a windy Manchester Street in Christchurch and my sisters are both whispering in my ear and saying things that mean I will never be alone. It is the sense of my family being still with me that allows me to be the person I am. It is the comfort of old Dunedin that sustains me. It is never the glass on the Kilmog that cuts me deep. Family doesn’t do that, it shouldn’t cut people deep.
Family seeks to bring people together and if it doesn’t and it conveys something else entirely, then it is well worth dispensing with and finding another. A new family is a very powerful thing. I have one and I am grateful.
Family does however mean that people often fight, but in a very real way. After a while you get to hear their voices very clearly and they never hide behind corners and they manage to be direct and upfront. I wish that for the world and I desire it for facebook. Whispers kill.
Keep the Faith!
PS: The Kilmog is an impressive hill just North of Dunedin where the highway can get very icy and dangerous.
A Tinker’s Cuss started life on the Phantom Billstickers Facebook page – it’s a new feature here at Off The Tracks and we’re repeating the earliest posts before carrying on with new words from Jim Wilson.