@uspic¡ous Fish¿!
Delirious With Weird

Monday, June 30, 2003  
Part 2

What were you holding back? Two limp rockers (like I said above about MBV, J&MC and The Clash), a “Hey Jude” rip-off and a couple of rock ballads. What the fuck did you spend so long doing? Those two tracks in the middle that were going to be the total highlight, soaring, epic catharsis x2, done inside 3 and a half minutes each, why did you not realise how to do them? I listened to it again the other night for the first time in a long time and you know what struck me? How fascistic it is in it’s imperative, it’s adherence to its own orthodoxy and goals. We must we must we must do this like this and this like this and that like that. This is the chassis, this is the skeleton, this is the destination, this is the shortest route. So much emphasis to “make people cry with every tune”, such nastily narrow-minded adherence to that ideal that you entirely missed the fucking point, the beauty in the details, the punctum, the enjoyment, the little twists and turns and cul-de-sacs and mistakes and idiosyncrasies. Because it’s so completely militaristic and uniform and characterless. The character was that there was no character, and how at odds is that with the statements, the ambitions, the humanity and personality and pain and passion you were so desperate to impart and express? Plan, repeat, sidestep, repeat, plan, repeat. No build-up, no tricks, no possibility of stepping outside the diagram. And live it was so different. “That’s All Changed Forever” rolled on and round and round and up and got messy and loud and on the record it’s A + B + A + C + A again, no change to the melody lines, no alteration, no freedom. Oh I gave it 10, of course I fucking did, how stupid would I have looked if I’d admitted it wasn’t what I wanted, eh? You were making it for me.

And then I was displaced and lost and shoved aside and had my soul killed, utterly killed, and that year was so awful but I grabbed hold and hung on and hung on, through the shit the pain the absolute emptiness and futility, because you were going to make a record that was going to end all records. “Is the second album still gonna be psychedelic?” “Shit, we said the second one was going to be psychedelic.” “We’d better make it psychedelic then.” And you nearly did, and I thank you for it. Oh, there was a great record in their somewhere (I’ve just told the world via Stylus exactly what that great record is too) and fuck me if it wasn’t great fun running round the country, the sweaty nights of tears and booze and song, waking up on strangers’ floors, having people declare their love for me, opening up doors of chance and lunacy and opportunity that I’d always assumed were closed for people like me (people like me? – like there’s anyone like me, like I’m like anything, like I’m anything at all, that’s the thing you see, reduce all angles to zero, become nothing, because with becoming nothing comes the possibility of being, well, anything, if not quite everything [though I’ve tried that one too], taking any path, any idea, changing who you are – yeah, it’s the thing about the Buddha and the void again but I think it’s true, as true as anything can be), Blackpool and Hanover and Wolverhampton and the Astoria and a fucking forest glade by a lake where they tested the fucking bouncing bomb, as if that afternoon wasn’t perfect! (“Hippies!” – “Nick and J are here at last then…”) Oh I opened my heart and spilled my guts and we all did. I wasn’t the only one with chest pains that March (mine were from drinking too much, yours were from what? – holding your guitar weird?). I had to kick down somebody’s door. I fucked a ballet dancer because of you. I was, I think, mad there, for a while. It was good.

My problem is that I don’t need the straightforward signposts to emotion. You don’t either. I only just found out what its name is, but I’ve had the punctum for ages. I get it in the bits everybody else waits for to finish. The happy accidents. You found it most effectively when you stopped so earnestly searching for it. You’ve got an empty jar (your soul [if such a thing…]), the best way to fill it is not with pebbles (big, significant experiences, life-changing profundities) but with sand… Pebbles leave gaps. Pebbles get stuck in a jar; they cannot move and breathe and dance. If you shake the jar to try and get the pebbles into ever corner you cannot do it. Always some areas of the jar remain untouched by joy and sadness and punctum. Sand of even just the same mass as the pebbles which leave gaps, in the same jar, shaken, touches it all like bits of solid air. But even more than that, you can fill a jar with sand and have no gaps. This is, of course, a very long and boring and confused and ultimately stupid metaphor but I know what I mean and what’s more I think you do too. Yes. Sand.

6/30/2003 09:08:00 am


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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