Thursday, 20 June 2013

"Elle seul jouyssoit de ma vraye image"

She alone had the privilege of my true portrait.

I’ve been feeling slightly abnormal and inadequate these days (most days, past days, surely future days too). I’ve also been reading Alain de Botton’s Consolations of Philosophy, and this past week he’s been consoling my Inadequacy with the aid of Michel de Montainge (last week’s lunch breaks bought me Seneca and a consolation for frustration, disappointment and anger, I do declare!).

I've read Monsieur de Montaigne in the past, On Solitude, and oh it was a beautiful little volume.

I read some beautiful thoughts of his on friendship earlier in the week, and as the rain pours down outside, and I get used to the presence of internet in my room, I’m offering them to you dear reader, and an ode of sorts to my dearest of readers. My wonder-brother, so, take it away Alain!

Another consolation for accusations of abnormality is friendship, a friend being, among other things, someone kind enough to consider more of us normal than most people do. We may share judgements with friends that would in ordinary company be censured for being too caustic, sexual, despairing, daft, clever or vulnerable – friendship a minor conspiracy against what other people think of as reasonable.

Montaigne on true friendship (and affirming how I often think of our first encounter, I feel that I fell in love with you as a friend, pretty well at first meet):

We found ourselves so taken with each other, so well acquainted, so bound together, that from that time on nothing was so close to us as each other.

Alain goes on to write and quote:

The friendship was of a kind, Montaigne believed, that only occurred once every 300 years: it had nothing in common with the tepid alliances frequently denoted by the term:

What we normally call friends and friendships are no more than acquaintances  and familiar relationships bound by some chance or some suitability, by means of which our souls support each other. In the friendship which I am talking about, souls are mingled and confounded in so universal a blending that they efface the seam which joins them together so that it cannot be found.

The friendship would not have been so valuable if most people had not been so disappointing – if Montaigne had not had to hide so much of himself from them.

Last October, in the snowy night of a comfy Warsaw hostel, I couldn't quite sleep, and I had this vision of a tattoo, for my body, from nowhere. This is what I wrote then, Saturday the 27th of October 2012:

I had thought...

One white night, Warsaw, some worthy tattoo likeness.

My brother, arching, voyeur-caught, erstwhile. 

Her distinct and longed-for profile, backlit in window box.

Such thigh, shapely calf, perfectly formed shin to boot.

Forty three degree angle, and fine graphic.

I mean it S, I find myself in our lost seams...

Let's paint our portraits again soon brother, let's take our clothes off and howl at the moon wonder.

Trip (t'ch!)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Instant Wonders

Well, it's that time of the month again when I'm feeling more acutely blue than is ordinate. In the cerulean spirit of looking back and re-living loss, going over regrets, deaths and all of the shadows on the dark side of the moon, I present some torches. Not bright lights nor lightning strikes. Just a couple of old flames.

Being without the company of the other that makes you feel 'ok', is a really sorry state of near-existence. 

Merci Alain de Botton.

Do you ever feel that...?

Sunday, 2 June 2013

10 Shots From The Week That Was

One, Post Run with Fidel.

Two, Spruced up for a 1st G&T/Pub outing in Denbigh!

Three, Sun Shapes

Four, Top Deck to Rhyl

Five, Cymru Coastliner, Llanelwy

Six, Tiles Too Pretty for Rhyl

Seven, Bed Changed in the wee small hours, 1st since moving in, big deal (also, big slut :-$ ) !

Eight, Waking to some Wineshine

Nine, Turn a Square

Ten, Blue-Footed Booby!!

After all of the harsh words and empty plans I spoke of in the last post, this week hasn't been so heavy as it might have appeared to be. I didn't eat like a saint, but I went for one (spontaneous!) run, so, go me! After leaving work a little earlier than planned on Friday J and I decided to brave a first outing in Denbigh, despite the fact that it was glorious all day until it turned cloudy and chill at 4ish when we finally got to the beer gardeny-lot with our G's and Ts, it didn't manage to dampen the ideal. We were being social (in an empty outdoor place, but it still very much counts!). So, that was cool, and I'm not feeling so terrified of potential Denbigh socials with work now, yippee! I got home just the right side of tipsy, had some red wine, made my own hummus-type recipe (heavenly) and sang like a crazy happy person until late o'clock. Saturday looked to be a sunny day at first light (which for me was a very early 04.39!) so at the silly time of 06.45 I started work, so I could leave at 12.30 to get on a bus to Rhyl to buy sundries and mondries... It was a chilly breezy but sunny one, so, good good, and in spite of the sheer density of crazy/scary/troubled looking souls populating the haggard streets of aforementioned seaside sinkhole, it wasn't at all bad. The bus journey was rather bloody beautiful and the shuffle selection from my faithful aged ipod was just swoonly, that's right, swoonly, like lovely is love-inducing, using the term swoonly infers that said swoonly thing is suitably swoon-inducing.

 Here are some of the lovely tracks (just deep deep goodness, I don't know any powerful enough adjectives dammit! Even my newly coined swoonly doesn't quite cut it... Magic), Imagine you're on the top deck of a dazzlingly sunny bus, pretty well deserted, with the breeze coming in through the window, you feel relaxed and open and this isn't commonplace for you in public spaces, thusly, life is grand. Then this happens...

The inimitable Grizzly Bear - Ready, Able

Just, wow, when we get a couple of minutes in and the layers spawn layers and all of these beautiful overlaid noises take you deeper and deeper, I don't know why, but I felt like I was falling, in a most wonderful way, descending further and further into this sense obsession... I wish I were more poetic, but anyway, it cut into me, soft and slow (I've yet to see the video because I'm doing this on my phone and it's running on very little signal-steam, bless it).

Aaaand this

Man Man - Gold Teeth

Dear reader, there's a bit (and oh how I am a sucker for "oh, this bit, I love this bit, did you catch it? I'll rewind it, there! just there, yeah?") just short of two minutes or so in, after the lyrics "and I want her to know, that my heart ain't carved of stone", where this stunning coupling of flute and clarinet (I think) sort of blooms for a blue-moon, returning here and there. Were you physically here listening to this on a clean bed with me, I'd probably be closing my eyes, squeezing your hand, shaking my head intermittently and sighing most audibly.
But here you are not, and since I can't convey my love in so simple a fashion, I'll have a go at describing what happens in me, or at least how I see that bit. Those two, F and C, stealing away from the crowd, have a little bit of a kiss, a dash, a fluttering touch of a noise traveling to your ears through a honey suckle-trellised walkway in some dewed and twilight walled garden, where it opens into an enclosure (opens into an enclosure!) and re-joins the other beautiful noise-guests and their chinese lantern-light. I know it's a crappy unjust way of putting it, but it's almost my own at least. Hmmm...

I've become more aware recently of this 'visualise-describe-experience' inadequacy thing going on. Not just how the expectations of things and the actual experience of them vary immensely, but, maybe regardless of your personal preconceptions, there's this gulf between your actual lived experience of something, and how you go about describing it. We borrow imagery and adjectives, invented elsewhere, to couple them with personal emotions that should warrant the creation of images and little word-plays of their own. Its certainly a practice I'm hoping to honestly maintain, this attempting to forge proper (no matter how crap, but don't worry I won't be sharing very many) descriptions of feelings and things.

A few weeks back I read the great little volume "How Proust Can Change Your Life" by the superlatively swoonly Alain De Botton. He takes little fundamental fragments from Proust's philosophy of life, dissects and presents them as helpful guides and bits of advice. I love Alain De Botton, he uses philosophy in its intended way, he wants us to improve our lives, but not in a preachy self-help motivational way, in a gentle and witty and fucking earnest manner. 

Essentially it's a well researched and easily read book, and includes pivotal and fantastically apt chapters like "How to Suffer Successfully" (finally eh!?).
In the chapter 'How to Express Your Emotions' Alain writes (and cites Marcel) "We are all in the habit of "giving to what we feel a form of expression which differs so much from, and which we nevertheless after a little time take to be, reality itself." In this view, our notion of reality is at variance with actual reality, because it is so often shaped by inadequate or misleading accounts".

 Similarly I am wholeheartedly convinced that our reverence and ideas concerning the institutions of love and happiness (and their respective and shared emotive lexicon) are sometimes so far removed from reality, that, they're tarnished for me slightly. To the point where, now, I'm not convinced I've ever known romantic love, I know the love of my friends and family, I feel that making glassy pools in my eyes and sitting resolutely somewhere in an elusive chamber of my chest. But romantic love? Was it what I felt or did someone in a book or a song or a celluloid projection shroud my actuality in old bromide vagueries and cliche... How much of it honestly wasn't just what I wanted to feel (and even that deception buckling under the weight of co-dependence and low self-esteem)?! It's all rather sad... And so very commonplace! How many couples I wonder, have just stayed together, after the spark wore away, convinced that it's because of some tedious biological reason, miserably and defiantly assured of the awful truism "that's life"?

There's also an anecdote in the book where A-d-B describes a scene where Marcel and a mate exit an establishment in which the noise of some great composer (was it Mozart? Yeah I'm gonna say W-A-M, ha, sorry, WAM!) recently graced their ears. Proust's friend attempts to describe a particular movement from a certain symphony, but he just sort of fails and basically is just whistling the tune, or going "you know the bit I love, the doooby doooby doo bit, then it goes all dun-da-dun-da-dun, it's brill!". This is the gist of it, I'm paraphrasing, and Proust is all "dude, how little justice your 'dooby doos' do to that piece of music!" then he gets on his case a bit and is like "just try and describe it in your own way, how does it make you feel and shit?".

In short A-d-B, via MP, is urging us to see/feel/make real emotive tableaus in describing things, not just relying on recycled, cliched shadows of other peoples emotions. Yes such clichetic sentences have served their originally intended purpose no doubt, but what have they done for us recently, these tired images of beauty and love and passion? Well, I don't know about you reader (though do feel free to amend that state of affairs), but they've left a residue over my sensory receptors which has been cheating me of new, personal, immeasurable joys and pains, I'm sure of it.

At any rate, little passing bits of feeling in me have conducted their comings and goings at a more frequent pace than is customary of late, so that's swell.

Maybe it's just because the sun has been shining and I've gotten to know some really cool people a little better (Saturday night in with J, some awesome homemade snacks (her Guac was particularly winsome!) and Hendricks 'Floradoras' was both congenial and diverting).
Maybe because I've been unexpectedly exchanging some correspondence with a mannered, musically-minded gent with fine philosophical proclivities, that's always thrilling too.

Either way, I felt so good today (despite overindulging yesterday and not compensating today), that I drank some more wine, sang some more, took some polaroids and drew and painted a Blue Footed Booby, for S. Just cause, you know, they're marvelous. I haven't painted anything for ages, but, it doesn't even matter.

It's good to face the night shining like the diamond I can be, instead of all dusty and blurry, like the ambiguous charcoal I usually am.

"We're stardust, we're golden, we're made of 15 billion year-old Carbon"