@uspic¡ous Fish¿!
Delirious With Weird

Wednesday, April 23, 2003  
What on earth am I doing here? In this little office, in this little provincial city, in that little seaside town straddled by valleys and red cliffs, beseiged each summer by Black Country and West Yorkshire folk looking for their time in the sun? I've never been abroad! I live in a place where everybody else comes to for a holiday; why would I? I have no wonderlust. Or do I? I ought to be in London taking this shit in as it's happening, being involved with it, instead of having it filter down to me in Devon. Who comes here? Who ever shaped a scene from Exeter? Who ever documented the shaping of a scene from Exeter? Graham McBeath thought that 100 people decided history and culture for the entire country to recall in our collective memories, and that those 100 people were all centered in London. How can I have control over my own self if the history and culture in which I exist, which I love so much, is being decided by people out of reach, by people who neither know nor care who I am? Unless I am their potential purchasing demographic? Which I am, but not to a great enough extent. So I feel like I should be in London making a concerted effort to be involved, to contribute, to stand on a street corner and chat aimlessly to someone who's just made a record that's gonna change people's lives, to have a beer in a pub with a dozen people who are all full of ideas and all doing things and and and and and and...

The thing about escape is that you have to understand it's function; not the function of 'escape' in general, but the function of your escape. To something or from something? BIG difference. Very important difference. From something implies that you can't cope, that you need to flee, that you are refusing to deal with something, with whatever you are fleeing from. Escaping to something... That's much healthier. That suggests you're heading towards a destination, a goal, rather than away from an obstacle or problem. So many of my friends live in London and can talk about nothing other than how much they want to get out. Why then would I want to get in? I don't, not really, or I'd have done it. I am in the place that other people wish to escape to. I am nearly in the place that I would wish to escape to (but not quite; the actual place would have less work and more money, and I already do little work; I just want more time).

So what's the point of all this music that I listen to and write about then? I'm a child of a postmodern age, incredulous to meta-narratives, existing without God, fleeing definitions and pidgeon-holes. I live in a place that is not the UK; the UK is London and Surrey and Kent and maybe Birmingham and Manchester and Bristol; the UK is the places with postcodes you recognise from television and magazines. Down here we're literally on a limb, isolated and ignored. When was the last time national news took place in Exeter? It doesn't. When was the last time people from down here decided the direction the country is heading in?
(Aha, I cry, you are wrong, Coldplay and Blue are from the Devon area and they have an input and a say and they are involved and so on and yet I refute this and I reply but they had to flee from here to do so, they had to flee to London, flee! And they don't even matter anyway! Blue? Pah! All Rise was a good tune... Coldplay? My thoughts are well-documented. Flee! You may be from here but you can't do it from here, you have to go elsewhere, fuckers, there is no locality anymore, no local character and scene, not in an identifiable national youth cultural sense, the magazines they want to homogenise us! Even BBC digital refuse to broadcast local news for anywhere but London; if ITV can manage it the BBC can! But they don't want to because surely, the only people with digital television live in London anyway? You are WRONG BBC you are WRONG!)
Yes, if you're from here you have to leave to have a say. I don't want to leave. I like it too much and it likes me. I like the water, the countryside, I like the sun and the slow pace of life. I like the fact that I am not one with this country because I am on it's outskirts.

And so, seeking to avoid definition, I find music as a source of identity because down here you are so cut off it cannot be anything else, it cannot be a hobby or a passtime or a distraction because if you really love it you have to seek it out and struggle and get things after everybody else; but this is fine (the internet is stopping that anyway, or at least making it less so). So if you find yourself loving music here it is in a very odd way, hermetically sealed from the rest of the country, isolated. No one gigs here, no one I wanted to see as a kid, so music for me was CDs in my bedroom, not real people performing live in a hall or club or wherever. Music for me is not a communal thing; it is a private thing, a private world. And as I seek to not define myself, to stretch myself, I must seek to stretch my tastes, because if I am defined by being into music because there is not much else there to define me (bad at football, likes a drink, likes walking beaches/rivers, has a girlfriend, works in a library, watches films, reads magazines, writes stuff; where is me in all this?), then I must escape that definition by having to truly answer the question "what kind of music do you like?" with the response "all sorts", just the good stuff, mind, but how to find it? How to find it when down here? That's the struggle! I am not avoiding definition; I have my definition. I am Nick Southall. Make of it what you will.

But of course, I don't believe in God, in soul, in spirit, in self; I believe only in existence; but that doesn't make my refutation of definition or my quest for identity invalid; far from it. The purpose of existence is to make your existence worthwhile, to find your "history book thing" as I said once of Sartre's semi-autobiographical anti-hero in Nausea. And so the quest for identity in the face of non-definition, the challenge to unify the two and to do it with music and writing and walking along the beach and watching films and holding conversations (God, how I love talking to people about interesting things!) and stuff, that's just my own way of making my existence worthwhile, and hotfuckingdamn if it's not working, I tell you! Slowly and surely and with moments of blue and red amongst the yellow and green, but yeah, yeehaw, that's it that's it.

A word on Gameboy Advance SP; you should buy it with three games; Metroid Fusion, Mario Kart Super Circuit, and Zelda, A Link To The Past. Balls to the rest of them!

Yes yes yes.

4/23/2003 02:09:00 pm


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Nick Southall is Contributing Editor at Stylus Magazine and occasionally writes for various other places on and offline. You can contact him by emailing auspiciousfishNO@SPAMgmail.com

All material © Nick Southall, 2003/2004/2005