It’s been a strange, challenging, occasionally cloudy few months for me but in the last couple of weeks I’ve seen things that reminded me how inspiring the world can be.
Summer finished, I had my last trip away for the year, last dip in the sea, the leaves fell, I miss my mum, I felt sad for my dad, my job is hard, there is good new music but not great life-changing new music, I can’t write, I get laryngitis, I can’t sing. And the world has lost its mind.
This happens to me, often at this time of year. Partly its rational fear & sadness over stuff, partly its depression.
Then, I spot it. I can’t not be sad about sad things but when I see the Black Dog for what it is, I can grab the bastard and do something with it. It’s right in that moment of realisation that I start to see things for what they are and the ‘talking’ starts. I’m blessed with some very patient people who know me well enough to know I have to think out loud for a few weeks to make sense of things (and my god can I talk when this is happening).
Weirdly, the thing with depression for me is not that I feel properly sad (like when you just need a good cry), it’s that I totally emotionally flatline. It happens just south of ‘happy’. No peaks, no major troughs, just a slow wade through the mire. And it’s exhausting.
This time though, as well as my brain eventually waking up (which happens eventually if you bear with it), I saw – and heard – some really wonderful things that shed a new light on life and I want to share them with you.
Grayson Perry’s The most popular art exhibition ever
I’m not going to attempt to condense the brilliant beauty of this exhibition here but GP reflects on lots of human misconceptions such as masculinity vs machismo, leavers & remainers (yep, brexit) and it highlighted for me how we’re DEFINITELY not the same but at the same time we’re probably not as different as we think. He says of one piece “We all have much more in common than that which separates us.”
Robert Webb’s How not to be a boy
A real guy talking honestly about the good & bad people he’s been and how he’s trying to sort himself out. It’s beautiful, it’s hilarious, it’s tragic, it’s all about him, me and probably most of you. And Mr Webb, I think you’re pretty ace actually.
Nordic Giants live at The Fleece
I haven’t seen my NG friends for years and wasn’t prepared for this spectacle. When you go to the Fleece, you go to watch rock bands; not tonight. This was art, atmosphere, the soundtrack to a crazy world with Hollywood music videos as a backdrop. Incredible. Bravo guys.
Russell Brand’s Recovery: freedom from our addictions
I’ll be honest, I thought the title was a metaphor and I just wanted to hear Russell musing on life in general…in fact this is an actual walk through the 12 steps of recovery from addictive behaviour, through the eyes (pen/brain/mouth) of a brilliant lyricist. It’s about making the best of yourself and leaving your worst bits behind you and I loved every word.
Someone (two people) I love a great deal brought new life into this world. This one is deeply personal to them and to me so I’ll only say that I am blown away with happiness for you guys, we all wish you love, health & happiness. I cried with joy when I heard the news, even though I’d been expecting it and this was the first ‘real’ emotion I ‘d felt for a while.
The Littlemen at Nunney Village Hall
The smallest venue I’ve shared with these guys and yet possibly my favourite outing with them. They’re always brilliant it last night (for this is when ’twas) there was something magical about them, they looked the most at home with each other I’ve seen them and the songs felt not only like superbly written & performed songs but more personal and poignant than ever. And Simon Allen, brother, your voice is the sweetest and most excellent I’ve ever heard it. I salute you.
My listener. It’s not until I’ve been ‘on a roll’ for a while that I realise what nonsense my usually internal monologue has been spouting (ok, it’s not nonsense, it’s important that I do this) and that through it all there’s this person who never loses patience, never doesn’t get it, always has a handy, often challenging and always pertinent suggestion for how I might try to look at a situation differently. And all this while keeping an eye on her own family and running a business single-handedly. She’s called Kara Leigh and she’s the strongest little person I know. I love you, you’re the best thing in my life.
Other listeners I have to thank on this occasion are Blair C, Centrefolds and the family Heath. I love you too, I just don’t fancy you as much.
Onwards and upwards folks, it’s a beautiful world out there if you want to see it.