Monday, January 08, 2007

Midnight Muse

This weekend, I've reminded myself that my tenuous connection with normality has nothing to do with following the same patterns that order other people's lives. My relationship with sleep has always been ambiguous. When I was very young, four or five years old, disturbed by parental disfunction, I couldn't sleep without immense distress, and suffered such nightmares that my parents drugged me rather than cope with the effects of the trauma they had generated. When I was older, I'd stay asleep to be absent, in that teenage way, preferring oblivion to being in a house I didn't want to be in, in a family I couldn't relate to, at a school I felt had long since lost relevance.

When I was at college, my nocturnalism found it's metier; staying up all night, fueled by a minimal amount of drugs and a maximum of excitement at the cosmos, my mind could wander in patterns with my compadres, around philosophy, art, culture, and I would fill notebook after notebook with ideas in what John Wright called, The Books of Forgetting. Except that, I also possessed the knack of knowing which ideas to keep on the page, and which to pursue. Years later, in the music and club scene, different matters and stronger substances kept me more awake than was healthy, wealthy or wise; and still I kept somehow to the path of knowledge, accepting the experiences but rejecting the lifestyle, finding my feet once again, and returning to the peace and tranquililty of Chalice Well, Glastonbury, Somerset.

It was on the gentle breast-rounded top of Chalice Hill, one summer afternoon, where I lay in the new-mown, drying grass, yet to be harvested, that I just slipped off the leash of my ever-active mind; I had been walking, swimming, dancing, conversing with gentle, funny, wacky, kind people; I had peeled off to go my own way, and jumped a couple of fences to be on my own at the top of the sky above the town. This was the place where I dropped the pain, hostility, suspicion, let go of the ambiguities surrounding sleep, and let myself fall into a trusting cradle of earth, waking, to my surprise, some thirty or so minutes later, as the sun streamed down the road leading to Wearyall Hill half a mile opposite, creating a golden path which rose in a perfect vertical before my still sleepy, receptive eyes.

Now, this weekend, I was tired. I went to sleep suddenly, early on Saturday night and slept for twelve hours. I didn't feel 100% but that wasn't the reason why I slept. I finally let go of the holiday, of 2006, of GGF - I needed to dream, and dream I did. I dreamt of two bands assembling in my apartment block carpark, and that my friend Lena had lent me her car. I dreamt of changes being made to the place where I lived and in all of this, my attitude was detached, sanguine, exploratory.

I didn't force myself into Sunday - I scarcely made an impact. I didn't go out, I didn't get dressed. I spoke to somebody in America about work. I finished a podcast. I uploaded some more photos to Flickr. I stared incomprehendingly at Ken Russell interacting with Jade Goody. This was just marking time. I went to bed early once again. It occurred to me that I might be in some kind of second teenagehood. In which case, I figured, that would indicate that this is a period of unprecedented growth.

As last year ended, it was an unknown position in which I found myself - in Palestine with my girlfriend's family, searching for ways to interact with the people and culture there, knowing that it would not be enough for me simply to visit this troubled land. I worked hard despite being unwell, and with obligations to meet and greet. While I was there, I had an email from Chris at the BBC, who was following my vrai nom podcast. He used some of my recording, interviewed me on Christmas Day, and even asked me for a 30 second obituary for the late, great James Brown.

The recognition was welcome, but I returned to Britain in a subliminally perturbed mood which has not left me, and which thus bears closer examination. The careful Chinese walls erected for convenience between work and life have become permeable, the nom-de-plume and the vrai nom seem now to be no more than rather nonsensical internet branding, maintained over-loyally for an out-moded concept of artistic consistency.

The real life work which has stemmed from Blog of Funk, a determinedly non-commercial project, has brought me great social and commercial opportunities, but it has also exposed me to aggression, even to defamation, as my effectiveness in the real world starts to bring me into contact with people who have opposing strategies and philosophies. I have had to avoid being pushed further into conflicts which would suit others. It is amazing how supposedly sane people, smug in their cosy safe little lives, can think that small matters are life or death, that a storm in a tea cup is the end of the world. I sometimes feel like explaining to them: the end of the world is children, being raped in Darfur, dying of AIDS in Swaziland, being kidnapped and forced into slavery in Uganda, shot at and thrown into captivity in Israel; but they would assume I was saying these things merely for shock value.

A lot of the work I've done since starting this blog in June 2004 stems from this blog, and so, I've been working out what it is that Blog of Funk has given me. Blog of Funk is my uncensored space away from any restrictions except those which I self-impose. It gives me a place to come when I can't sleep. It's been a place where my frustrations and joys can be readily expressed. It's given me the license to explore my head, my heart, my past. It's given me a bunch of cool friends whose opinions and contributions I value. It's given me a Google Page Rank of 6. Now, I am looking to the future, and I am thinking about things other than my own pre-occupations, my own ego, my own alter ego.

I want to bring about change for the better, things which employ the peculiar set of skills which I have self-taught in some productively social way. I don't want to skim fleetingly across the surface, ever the flaneur, remarking wittily as I go upon the decadence and self-destructive tendencies of my society. I don't want just to make any kind of living - I want to make my living by making a difference. I don't want to remain in London, enjoying the accumulation of detritus and waiting for a dirty bomb. Podcasting and blogging and citizen media and social networks are all great; but they might also just be a massive distraction from making anything meaningful happen in my life, and in the lives of people who are connected to mine - and that means your life, since you are reading this.

In just over a month, I will be 45. I think it's about time I got into something real.

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At 5:28 AM, Blogger Indigobusiness quoth...

Get real.

At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous quoth...

Hello Mister.

At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous quoth...

Hello Mister.

At 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous quoth...

Hello Mister.

At 6:45 PM, Blogger Indigobusiness quoth...

Great photos in this post -btw.

Did you make that painting you're standing in front of?

I don't know how you do it, D, let it all hang out like you do. But I can sure relate to this, and particularly The Books of Forgetting.

Must be mighty cathartic, that's a positively beatific look on your face.

I've been trying to get real all my life.

At 9:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous quoth...

Nice post and photos.

Just stay clear of the real leather jackets and the real fast motorbike...

At 11:34 PM, Blogger twit quoth...

You seem like a damn decent sort to me Deek.

Good luck with whatever you do.

At 5:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous quoth...

New Year .. New Start .. never too late :)

At 12:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous quoth...

Look at your beautiful face!!!

At 9:06 AM, Blogger La Sirena quoth...

Deek -- that is one of the more real things I've ever read. Much of it resonates...
And so eloquent, you've rendered me speechless -- you and your gorgeous self.

At 9:07 AM, Blogger La Sirena quoth...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9:09 AM, Blogger La Sirena quoth...

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At 9:12 AM, Blogger La Sirena quoth...

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