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On why it is hard to let go

Letting go wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I’d learned to focus on where I was and what I was doing instead of on inner thoughts and feelings, but those inner feelings were messy, and clingy.

They were born of the thorns of the parable of the Sower. They came from life’s struggles; I had not let go of them – dealing with them once just meant dealing with them again, and again every time they resurfaced.

I had tried to let go of the wrongs I had suffered many times but was afraid. If I stopped paying attention to them – if I stopped struggling – would I end up passing them on to others? I tried to let go by dealing with them but it never worked; just wound up in circles: safer to remain as I was.

It always seems like that: a hazy future where each action, every choice leads anywhere; who knows where, it’s chaos. Though when I envisioned some definite consequences, that mist of chaos solidified. Remaining as I was, made stagnant by fear of change, definitely lead to further pain for myself and others. On the other hand I could view the uncertain consequences of letting go as challenges to be met, opportunities for greater good. Finally, I remembered faith: that He who gave form to the formless was good.

In the realisation of God’s control I recognised and entered into a world where I had no real control, where this moment of letting go was a sign that “Samsara” did not exist. It wasn’t a cycle. It was an Exodus, more like a “Moksha”.

But letting go took effort, requiring sacrifice, starting in the shallows – disciplining my mind to stop permanently looking for understanding and control of my experiences – and to start noticing what was important here and now. A small cross to bear perhaps, but it was the one given to me:

“Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it (Luke 17:33)”

So I’ve finally come around to describing the poem. But what does it (along with the rest of my past two blog posts) mean?

Well let me aim for a little more coherency here. The point in the last post of this blog was not to demonstrate that the mind cannot be explained away by science. Zoomtard clarified that when he (in far less words than I am prone to use) pointed out that observing a useful correlation between electromagnetic activity and what one thinks, is not the same as saying that electromagnetic activity is a complete description of what you are thinking.

It wasn’t only to get you wondering if you ever apply the wrong type of reasoning to the wrong subject, though I’m sure I’m not the only one who tries to treat journeys or choices as formulas (eg, the gospel isn’t a formula in any way – am I wrong?).

I would also hate to think that some Christian reading the previous post (assuming anyone did in fact read it) guiltily wondered why they didn’t experience that type of prayer (assuming they didn’t). Both spiritually and physically, different people are given different gifts. Physically, who knows, maybe I have a higher level of dopamine activity? Spiritually, well, I’d be afraid of saying I’ve any of the spiritual gifts because that would lead to the question – Why aren’t I using them? – but since I’m grateful for the experience I could hardly call it anything other than a gift. As an aside though, it would be interesting to consider if the diversity of the gifts of the spirit may be partly explained as the product of the Holy Spirit constant, the physical “human characteristics” variables and physical / spiritual environmental variables such as, for example the Zeitgeist of one’s spatial or temporal location. If that were indeed the process, perhaps there are spiritual gifts yet to be discovered. Of course, when the person of God is considered as well as the power of God, such theological explanations are limited. But that was not the point I wanted to make either.

Neither was it simply to state that leaning on our own understanding is inefficient and insufficient. If that were so, I could have jumped straight to the conclusion.

No. It was essentially an exercise in idiosyncratic foolishness, because I wanted to ask you (if you preach the message of God or teach people lessons from your life) do you realise that every person you interact with comes at your message from a different perspective? Of course you do, but let’s think about the issue that presents…

How many people share my difficulty of thinking too much? In fact, some people have the opposite problem of not thinking enough, not considering every possibility. Actually, I have that problem too sometimes. But to follow one of the underlying themes here, a good example might be how scientific diagnosis is often the last consideration when someone is suffering from recurring mental “attacks”. Some neural journeys are semi-predictable processes. Couple that with the fact that scientific observation can provide insight into the current state of the mind, and you have to wonder why psychology and psychiatry are not given greater reign in our society. Well, there are many reasons of course, but it’s definitely something that bears a little more thinking than we give it. But how do we find out the cause of someone’s struggles? How do we find out the message that helps them the most?

Then, back to my struggle: To question every action and action every question is clearly foolish. It’s like considering the correlation between rotary action and facial expression when a spoon full of porridge appears to have the magical property of causing your mouth to open every time it approaches your mouth. It’s like learning how to drive a car and then trying to steer your porridge bowl. It’s like asking if science determined an unforeseen response to a prayer, with the aim of determining your own chosen response.

Ridiculous, but unapparent to the idiot applying something they learned elsewhere to their unrelated current circumstances, and why? Because they just have to keep everything in their head at once. But what if we are all idiots in different ways? Then, how does a sermon ever hit home? Now, I may not be soft in the head, but that just means the message bounces off my thick brow instead of sinking in. I am a clever idiot, but not nearly as clever an idiot as I think I am. So that’s one of real problems I have with the way Church works.

I’m loath to advocate the outset of yet another tradition, but the ones we’re using right now just don’t pack the punch they maybe (just maybe) once did. The gist of a sermon needs to be practical and clear (the rest should be entertaining and interesting) or it won’t hit home. OK, but the real spiritual stuff happens while you journey, so why does the Church system place an inordinate focus on the once-weekly Sunday celebration and its message aimed more at the tablet around your heart, less at the enemy you now face?

And maybe this idea won’t be useful in some distant future when society is so open and understanding that it always achieves the same goal organically, but I really think it is very important now. What idea, you say? Well, the idea of discipleship: one-on-one conversation where you must learn the truths of the other person before you can really tell them anything – where everyone is a teacher and a student, in some cases to the same person. The Protestant Church lacks the benefit of confession as well as the risk, but with one-on-one discipleship, the risk of one person holding too much power is reduced while the benefit of someone focussed on your own personal strengths and weaknesses is increased.

There is only one church I’ve gone to that really gets a person with my sort of interests, and I wasn’t able to be involved enough to really see what I’m about to talk to work organically, for me personally. But even if it had happened naturally for me (because I have friends there) would it have worked for someone who didn’t quite fit in? Maybe it would, because it is a great place, but I’m just wondering.. would they have felt alone and eventually stopped going as I have done, for that reason, in some other churches? That is why a church should try to find a person for every person. Even if some pairing doesn’t work they can always try again.

And maybe then someone who overcomplicates everything or conversely, somebody who oversimplifies matters they are afraid of, will actually find that the message they heard in a Sermon one day: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” changes them, rather than simply agreeing that it has the power to change them. Oh, didn’t I mention that the prayer and the poem were just about learning not to worry? Hey, at times I thought holding onto the past was about a lack of forgiveness on my part, but that wasn’t the issue. It’s not always easy to know which lesson applies. Worry happens when you try to control that which you can’t. That might be the past. But that wasn’t the way I needed to hear it. I needed to try to stop thinking first, because along the way I’d not only find out why I thought too much, I’d actually have practiced the discipline to combat it. Eventually. You can’t learn to run before you walk, but something tells me it would have been a lot easier and quicker if I didn’t have to run by myself. You see, I’m not that great at hearing God’s voice. I need help.

So even if you don’t have a system of discipleship set up, let’s keep trying to take notice of other people. Get into the habit of considering whether what someone says about something actually says something about them, because we all need help figuring ourselves out. And we’re simpler than we think we are. When all seems wrong with the world and you’re searching for meaning in life, maybe just check if you’re hungry. You might just be hungry. When you think someone doesn’t like you or if you don’t like them, maybe you just need to spend more time with them and unlearn your view of the world. Don’t worry. That way you might just pay enough attention to pick up on what someone is saying about themselves, and you might be able to help them if you’re unassuming enough about it.

And if you find the idea of being like that difficult for some other reason, if what I’m saying doesn’t work for you, ask someone else if they can tell you why. They might save you a few years because you see, it’s only now, nearly three years on, that I realise why it felt like an epiphany after I prayed in the Chili Pepper’s crowd, after I’d written that poem-prayer about control, after I prayed that prayer on that sunny Mayday. And maybe there’s a deeper, simpler reason still.

But that’s for another blog-post.

In case you didn’t figure it out yet..

Thoughts are like an itch I must scratch.

Why, and what am I trying so hard to control? Is life experienced, so dangerous? Well, evil likes to repeat itself in the beholder. Unforgiveness, that awful degeneration of soul and psyche. Sins punished to the third and fourth generations, Family Feuds, Tribal Feuds, International Feuds.

But not all experiences, I think. Forgiveness. Upright and charitable lives propagating over a thousand generations. Celebration of Family. Reconciliation. Compassionate Aid, that wonderful freedom from those confines of the inadequate self, when the sacred self is recognised by simple virtue of its’ inclusion.

Walking home that May day, I had no idea of a cognitive issue. Though there was that chat with Stig at the Stag Night months earlier. Someone (named Stig) had asked if I could identify my obsessions. I’d told him “maybe thinking”. The conversation was still there of course, somewhere in the weave of thoughts I would not let go. Maybe I hadn’t resolved the thing yet. Maybe that was why

“God. I feel as if something is holding me back”

“Stop Thinking”

“Eh?”

But that wasn’t the “Why” at the time. The only ‘why’ in my mind was, well, “Why?”

It had come out of nowhere. Stig at the Stag held no more presence for me than any of all the facts in my world. I wasn’t thinking about it. I wasn’t thinking about the fact that I was born in the Rotunda hospital in Dublin either, but Stig at the Stag happens to be the only thing I can think of that could have spawned the imperative:

“Stop Thinking”

It was just there, perfectly at ease within my mind, yet seemingly not born of it. It came with a sense of worship and it came with a sense of a non-pervasive other, who belonged in me, beyond me, yet not assenting to my state of being, and my instinct got up from its’ cushion of laurels to lie with them offered outstretched. But, “Why stop thinking?”

And, so many reasons to keep thinking. Surely it’s the basis of intelligence? But not even that. It was… well, I really don’t like the idea of something physical, such as a thought that I can physically express, not making sense. So where did it come from? I know my own mind, though. Aside from lucid dreaming (which I fearfully avoid while being somewhat ridiculously proud of the fact that it has happened to me) I think I’m good at sleeping on problems without actually going to sleep. Let’s not dismiss that Stag Night conversation just yet.

Let’s argue it out.


Me: “It still doesn’t fit”

You (but really just me again): “What doesn’t?”

“Usually, random as they might be, I find thoughts to be, on closer inspection, very unlike that prayer I had, boringly linear in fact.”

“Ok… I was rather rotund as a baby.” “Why did I think that?”

“Because… you were born in the Rotunda hospital of course!”

“But then why did I think of the Rotunda hospital earlier?”

“Only because it wasn’t relevant” “That’s what you wanted! … When I pray, I don’t say, ‘oh, please God respond with something ridiculously irrelevant!’ …”

“I can give you an example..”

“What.”

“Well, you gave me one. Random thoughts come when you pray”

“What… oh, but.. what? No! Now you’re just being a f*ing Question Beggar. Is that the only example?”

“Prayer’s just a different way of thinking. It’s how you access random thoughts like that”

“So how come I only sometimes get thoughts like that when I pray? And how come they always turn out to be right?”

“Maybe they’re not as random as you think.. Or, scrap that! Maybe they’re more random than you think.”

“So, whatever. Maybe I’m wrong? Is that all you’re saying?”

“You’ve been wrong before. Remember déjà vu?”


I once dreamt I was in a wool shop with my mother. It felt like it was going to happen, so I kept it in mind to test all those other ESP moments. And, one day it came true! I ended up in a wool shop I hadn’t been in before and it matched the one in my dream. “Already seen”, I thought, in French. Though, some of the details are a little fuzzy. For example, I’m not certain the lady in the shop was quite the same, but she was definitely middle aged in both dream and reality, and very, very interested in knitting.

Ha. You get the idea. But it did make me wonder for a while if there wasn’t something to that whole déjà vu thing.

But there came another dream. It felt similar. I was in a four-man rowing boat when the boat fell over and ditched everybody into the water. The next day at the rowing club I told my friend (named Chaz) about the dream. We decided to brave the four-man anyway but it didn’t keel over.

And would you believe it, I got déjà vu again just now. Like I remembered writing all this before. In fact, just before I got the déjà vu feeling I was reminded of something similar I wrote once. Then I tried to remember what I was writing right now and BOOM. Déjà vu. That probably means I am tired and should go to bed.

As far as I know, studies of déjà vu indicate that it is sometimes a coincidence of circumstances and maybe always an overlap of long-term and short term memories. Illusion can be easily found in the realm of the mind.


“I remember déjà vu.”

“So you remember your dreams? Aren’t they random?”

“Yes. So you have another example, but it’s still not like prayer.”

“No, or surely it would be called prayer. But that’s not my point. You like to make sense of things. People look for meaning in dreams too, but there is scientific evidence that dreams involve the product of chaotic brain activity. You don’t easily accept the dreams as random, because you’ve evolved to connect everything together logically. Yet chaos always exists”

“So, let me get this straight. You observe physical movement in the brain having a finishing point that purely physical insight can only observe rather than determine. You assume that no other method can do so either, and conclude that any assumption that it could be determined by any other method is false? Your assumption is the same as your conclusion”

“No. Not quite. Physical insight can observe something here: the underlying laws that give rise to chaos. Thus it proves that chaos must exist. So it is able to explain why you will get random thoughts, and it is also able to explain, based on observation of that strong human compulsion to find the relationship between one concept and another, why you derive meaning that lies outside physical reality.”

“Well.”

“Yes”

“That’s a relief!”

“A relief?”

“I was afraid that spiritual decree would lose all meaning in a physical world that was self-determined. Thankfully, it turns out that physical laws determine that the physical world cannot be self-determined in every way (when there is a high sensitivity to initial conditions). So spiritual decree can be different from physical reality without contradicting it!”

“…”

“So no one can show that ‘God is dead.’ Theism is possible.”

“But, not necessary”

“According to science? No. But then, science does not pretend to know anything about spirituality. In fact, if you already believe there is no spirituality, then you believe that knowledge of spirituality is impossible.”

“Well now you’re being silly.”

“It’s silly because you begged the question to begin with. But to be fair, circular reasoning is impossible to avoid when speaking of a being who invented reason. To look on the inventor you cannot simply look at his inventions. In reaching beyond reason itself, the only guideline you have is that reason is compatible with its inventor, and even that’s only valid if you assume the exercise is meaningful.”

“It’s not.”

“On the flip-side, it makes no sense to deny the existence of an inventor of a world (including the laws that the world is built upon) based on the fact that the world exists.

So with the undeniable, improvable assumption that the mind has some spiritual connection to its creator, we have two worlds. One where the answer to my prayer holds meaning, and one where it doesn’t. The event of an answer is possible according to the rules of both worlds, but in one world it is due to chaos and in the other it is due to something perhaps best described as an ordained journey.

Chaos determines that the space between two points in time cannot be physically predetermined. It is in this gap, this journey, and its choices, that the spiritual kingdom comes to the human mind.”

“You say it is here, but I say that the process is still entirely physical. The order in your choice comes from the physical world while the disorder.. also comes from the physical world. You do know you’re positing a God of the gaps, right?”

“You do know you’re positing a materialism of the gaps? Material law has determined that a gap must exist in which it does not have a voice. Your materialism here is an undeniable, improvable thing.

In fact, I am not saying God or the spiritual mind exists only in the gaps. I’m just saying that the physical aspect of the mind has no say there. I already believe God reveals himself in all of creation (though, well, if anything outside our physical world is assumed to be a gap in our physical world, then the creator of the world has already been condemned to live there).

The concept of having God’s law written on our hearts is very biblical. The law was written on physical tablets of stone, so writing them on our heart may also be a partly physical process. We read the bible because we are physical creatures as well as spiritual, and hope that it will act like the proposed “Stig at the Stag”. But we call prayer spiritual because it is there that the physical world defers to the spiritual”

“And it’s all physically possible. Very tidy. I’m so happy for you in your little big world that I have no need for.”

“Be happy. Because it’s this faith that frees me and since I’m only arguing with myself, it releases you too. I’ve decided. I’m going to stop thinking.”


Well, my argument wasn’t so cohesive at the time. It was closer to, “Don’t want to, but ok”, but the argument always boils down to a pure choice regardless of how detailed it becomes. I took the leap of faith and started saying No to rum(tempted to stop here. more interesting)inations. It was hard, but worked out really well and the question of whether the prayer was illusion became irrelevant. For starters, far from losing intelligence, my thoughts were sharper and my mind more powerfully focussed on reality and any issues at hand. Secondly, I actually noticed what was going on around me. I noticed life.

Thankfully, my circumstances were happy enough to make noticing life a good thing, but mental distractions were replaced by builders. They were working in the house while I prepared for the second interview. The second interview was technical, and I had promised to learn some Open GL. A couple of weeks later, what with the incessant noise and interruption (not to mention trying to get Microsoft Visual C++ configured to work with Open GL libraries) I’d only managed the basics of windows programming and Open GL.

I never applied for the second interview, but then, perfectionism is a whole ‘nother aspect of trying for too much control, which reminds me I still haven’t explained that poem. All right, yes, that is the time, I get the message. Two thousand words, wow! When I could have explained it in sixty one:


Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favour and high esteem in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:3-6)

something experienced just a few months earlier..

It was a couple of months before Oxegen and the Chili Pepper Epiphany, and I was walking home from an interview.

The discussion that morning, late in May, had largely centred on people more qualified than I who were nonetheless not suited to work in that company. And that discussion triggered something, because the interviewer had made certain charitable assumptions and I felt good about myself, and yet there was still something wrong.

My head gets clogged up. Does it ever happen to you? Nowadays, taking less for granted than ever before, I do wonder how easy it would be for me to slip into madness. My younger brother, let’s call him Cauliflower since nicknames are hip with the web, says that mental illnesses are like the rim of a bell curve of human characteristics and some of us, further left than the majority, are blessed with certain useful characters that a further minority are cursed with just too much of .

He has a degree in biology so maybe he’s right. Does my head gets clogged up because I’m a little far right or left? You may have noticed a certain capacity for crazy, no? It’s never meant in earnest, but the thoughts come anyway and the funniest, the weirdest or the most interesting usually get chosen on impulse. Or, do they sometimes compel? I’ve always been a dreamer, never able to concentrate on my homework as a kid (like a weakly inspired Pan’s Labyrinth), but sometimes those dreams are paranoid, or conceited.

I had a game of chess the other night with Curly Dee. She isn’t used to it and I’m not either, but I used to play it the odd time and we’ve now spent a few nights bent over the new chessboard we just bought… Often the game involves D getting an explanation of how chess works, and then actually having the temerity to beat me. At the start though, it would almost always end in stalemate because neither of us could pull off a victory. I understand the pattern of the game much better now, but too many lapses of concentration and in the end it’s down to who made the most mistakes. So when we played the other night we thought it would be fun to see how ridiculous it would get if we had to take our goes immediately. Curly D took a few seconds anyway, but by that time I’d had time to look at a few angles and for my part, moved the pieces instantly.

Unexpectedly, the game was over in under five minutes. Only two pieces taken. Perhaps it was a non-beginner’s luck against a beginner, but that’s not the point. Somehow I did actually achieve a certain clarity of thought that enabled me to see my way to the win, a sharp relief from my normal foggy thought, like skimming through notes for the first time before an exam, and like that clear, sunny morning in May, when I’d prayed my way out of a fog that only I could see.

And somewhere in this poem, first shown on furiousthinking in a rough draft form about a week after that day, but removed at some point when the website crashed, is the meaning of my clogged brain. I’ll tell you about the prayer and the poem later because even if you’re in a different region of the bell curve you may just get different symptoms of the same disease. Enough has been written for one blog-post tonight, what do you think? This is the polished version of the poem, but only to my humdrum standards:

    Control

Samsara surrounds around this land and
Revolves, evolves, dissolves and resolves anew
Repairing wounds made bare that come ever undone
To trap again; to surround and constrict until cracking at last
Crackling fire licks ash, forming ash, light to night, night re-lights.

My life spreads before me like a disc.
Like a disc I cannot go beyond myself though many revolutions pass.
My mind, broken in many painful places is
Like a scratched disk whose wounds disrupt its’ song,
Accumulating discord – spewed out with every replay of the wheel.

I throw away the disc, but my hand clenches.
“Drop control”, God says. As I try too hard
It is stuck to me, by my sight’s desire; I am
Enraptured by the swirling, shining gold, yellow, red, blue hues,
Beholding the turning of my life, revolving, unchanging, bounded, flat, safe

Grey haze graces now: a drizzle drowsily descends from a third dimension
“Give up control”, it says and I don’t know what that means.
Blind beyond the rim, I think “How can I change?” when,
Dissent descends. The fog coalesces; fog confesses an iron grey bar.
I am hit. I see myself. I am hit. I cannot move.

The bar is shiny. I had not noticed that.
I see gleanings seep, glittering deeply as they reap
My attention. “Not so swirly, but bright” I remark.
There is sky now, outside, beyond the rimmed reflection.
Should I go? I should go. Have to, Should, Must, NO.

There is no disc, Just a glitch of my mind.
No weavings of evil with holy light,
Just light that will not stop and evil
That can’t persist. No I can’t hold my life.
Now giving up what I never had, I look beyond.

Illusion is everything and everything illusion?
Illusion is a word but whose word? Not mine.
And the speaker has spoken the words I have broken
So if I’m to be real, I must be re-spoken, forgiven through unbroken speech of love.
He died for me. I dispose of my lies. He rose. I will follow his tough acts to unfading joy.

Epilogue and Prologue

A child had been lost by some family at the last concert. I wanted to know if she had been found but when I asked, the security guard thought I was asking if he’d found my kidney, so I never found out. We trudged on. There were a few girls dancing to disco music at their car and asking for reassurance that no, we weren’t leaving because of their music.

And that was it. We drove back home with 1 tinned rice pudding, 2 tinned scotch broths, 2 tinned stews, 3 tinned beans, 2 tinned curries, lots of parboiled rice, 1 jar coffee (fair-trade), camping pots, 2 plastic mugs, 2 plastic plates, 1 packet of peanuts, a few marshmallows, 1 jar chocolate spread, sleeping bags, airbed, torch with siren and flashy lights in case of emergency, torch, mini torch, 8 plastic bottles of cheap beer, 4 cans of beer, 7 cans of stout, a little water, a bag of light clothes, coats for the rain, toiletry and Oxegen wrist bands that we only figured out how to remove 3 days later.

But I left with a promise, a sense of freedom from dropping control that was an echo of something experienced just a few months earlier. I wondered if it was the beginning of some new spiritual passage. After all, it had been a while.

The Eighth and Final Sound

Aaah, just thinking of the last act sends my mind awash with pure peaceful fluid gold. Two circumstances then conspired to disrupt this peace.

First, the World Cup match viewed on the cinema screen at the camping site was now over. There had been a minor riot (ie. A few chairs being thrown at people, no one actually maimed) because of people standing in the way of other viewers.

The second factor concerned the Chili Peppers’ massive popularity.

Lastly, it wasn’t raining. I reckon at least eighty thousand poured into the main stage’s arena, but then I can’t seem to even count beyond two.


So it began with a gang of maybe five (?) ribald Ulstermen pushing their way through the crowd to get to the front, which, in particular, was my own personal back. Unfortunately it seemed to be stuck in one place. As I turned to see what the problem was, it seemed as though one of them, a small fellow, was having difficulty and wasn’t entirely happy with being squashed. I chivalrously asked the wiry red haired ringleader if he was alright. Did he need help? Thus ensued a conversation about the previous behaviour of the red head.

He had been thrown out earlier for fighting or something. He demonstrated this with some non contact elbow digs to my face. “Yes, that’s terrible!” I agreed, about his predicament, and allowed the monologue to filter out by turning slightly away. How rude of me, but there you go. But this wasn’t the end of it!

No. No, discomfort ensued aplenty. You see, if you remember, the Ulstermen were positioned behind me. They weren’t in front of me. Now to get around this difficulty, this cosmic injustice (perhaps it was caused by some slight error in a planet’s orbit, but it was going to be rectified right now) the red head attempted to use advanced physical laws to break through.

I was well aware of the nature of quantum tunnelling however. There is a certain chance that a quantum particle will jump spontaneously from its state of stability into another stable state. Obviously, given the low probabilities, the relatively low energy of the guy pushing against me, my substantial girth (relative to the most probable distance for the particle to jump) and the vast number of particles in the body of a wiry red head, quantum tunnelling through me would take millions if not billions of years, by which stage the concert would be over.

I turned to address this point to my fellow in case he had merely miscalculated his correlation function, but understanding dawned when the little imp slipped through the space that opened on account of there being less of me in the way.


Curly Dee kindly pointed out that I shouldn’t let people through so I stopped letting people through. I was beginning to get annoyed. Was this going to continue for the entire concert?

By this stage the sun had set. The stage was set: a single figure of red and yellow and all spangled colours, a hunched humanoid made entirely of spice, alone in the darkness and rocking his shoulders from side to side, rolling his head from side to side, moving his waist from left to right and back again to time with the sound of his haloed guitar and the beat of the band he stood for. Weird. Good.

Music had become a living creature, no longer confined to the single sense of sound. Several glorious minutes passed as the spangled arms rocked his guitar as though it were a baby. Then a new sound began as he was joined by a golden storm of voices. The soundwaves would barrel at us, yet only to carress at the moment of impact. “Lie back” the sound said, “Lie back and let me take you with me”.

But then the crowd moved against this concept, against me and my beloved bundle of life, and I moved to protect her. Like a wave the people fell backwards and to the side, then forwards knocking over every body in their path, except me and the girl protected by the perimeter of my arms. I was the hero, but unappreciated, and a tension now held my body that was at odds with the music, and I didn’t want to be near the front any more.


As though telepathic, my wife knew how I was feeling. She told me to relax. Curl E.D. had used the words, “Remember God” earlier, seeing my rage at those who were hell-bent on achieving something small for themselves at great cost to others. She repeated those words now.

Pah!

It wasn’t working. We started moving backwards, despite my surface martyrdom and the severe lack of space. Eventually I relinquished; simply held her hand. But when crowd-wave burst across us to the right, blowing Curly Dee almost to the ground, I stopped her fall and became even more afraid for her safety. Only one thing for it: What did she mean by “Remember God”? This wasn’t easy in the midst of chaos.

Well, rather than talk to Curly Dee about God, why not talk to God himself? I believe my prayer went something like this: “Aaargh! God! Help me to function.”


God said something like this in my spirit: Succumb, relax. I AM. I provide.

I said: Ok.

And it was just a concert, after all. In a way, we are always vulnerable. We really don’t know what could hit us at any time.

I stopped fighting, accepting my circumstances and God’s will for me, remembering that my circumstances, financially, socially, mentally, physically and emotionally have never been down to my own providence and only by relying on those circumstances, those graces; working to mirror God’s grace and enhance them, can we pretend to God’s authority over life. So God looks after Curly Dee too. I allowed the crowd to push us both, and always the wave retracted again, pushing us to our original position. I became a surfer, not of the crowd but of my God given surroundings. Ironically, at that time I don’t know if I’d ever been more relaxed.


For the rest of the concert I simply enjoyed the greatest live performance I will possibly ever see.
I remember the human chili singing a little ditty about loving Ireland in the morning, loving Ireland in the night etc.
I remember my delight when they took a song of Simon and Garfunkle’s and made it their own.
I remember them honouring us with a song they hadn’t played in fifteen years and I remember their playful mockery.

But what touched me the most was the purity in the lead singer’s voice. Each element of the music is distinct. The man-made instruments often rock lively and sometimes simply groove, but that voice at all times breaks down the barrier between the listener’s mind and the music. Too gentle, too soothing to be defended against it takes full advantage of the bodies on stage that have somehow become as much a part of the music as the sound that surrounds us, and it enters your soul but brings with it the sharp beat of the entire song so that you have fallen into a storm that carries you until the music stops.

And then..

Nobody wants it to stop. The familiar cry of, “ONE MORE TUNE” is raised, and raised; and raised. But there is no answer. And yet the masses cannot bear to be left alone without the beauty, and the cry resounds again, falls to a murmur and rises to a choral shout again and again. And there is a drum beat, but it is a single drum beat. There is no light on the stage. No sign of anyone, but we definitely heard a drum beat.

Rise, the cry again! “ONE MORE TUNE”! And it all happens again, and there is a drum beat. The third time it becomes a fragment of a theme, but falters again. Eventually, there is light. The beat does not end. And with massive applause, said to be the world’s greatest live band, The Red Hot Chili Peppers play their last songs to the end of the festival. And this is worth a little more than a picture.

Couldn’t think of a title.

Out came a bunch of office workers to a rousing cheer. Picture a man in plain smart dress beginning to talk BUT AS he goes ON you reaLISE… he. is. talkinginawaythat rhyyymes. And if everyone talked in this way the world would be SO MUCH BETTER, So Much fullofstyle.. (and bad grammar). And as he gets on with saying hello to the audience a song starts, and I’m not sure how or when, and he seems to be introducing the band, Franz Ferdinand.

But their songs held more than great timing, a beat to dance to and good voice emphasis. Their songs generally contained repetition of single pieces of a melody before they moved on to the next part of the melody coinciding with change in beat, instilling a wonderful sense of adventure, adventure perfectly reflected in the singers eyes, staring off into the distance, one arm outstretched, fingers splayed to control the tremors of music emanating from deep within his soul, body twitching to the resultant beat. Brilliant. Plus they are Scottish. They have cool accents.

Now, since you’ve been such good readers, I’ve gone and drawn you an actual picture. Don’t be givin out about me leavin me camera in the car now. Or I’ll bate ya.

Chief Emporer, a portrait in relief

Hello world!

Hacked By Shade

Hacked By Shade

Hacked By Shade

 

GreetZ : Prosox & Sxtz

Hacked By Shade <3

And then Saturday was over (It was now Sunday)

It had been hard to decide whether to sleep in our wet, bet down tent or go to our car. Thankfully though, we were spared this very difficult dilemma by the presence of Curly Dee’s brother in our tent for a second night.

And we saw that it was bad. And yet, we slept in that car until half three on Sunday afternoon,

which meant we were rushing to get to the Kooks on time, the second day.

But I forgot my camera again, so…

to be continued