Thursday, May 29, 2008

Passive Voice

"You can put it down to lack of patience
You can put it down to lack of sleep
But it's in my head to stay in bed
Tucked under the sheets"
We're Not Deep, The Housemartins

And there it is. The real problem with this girl is she says she can't when she can (and I'm being very flippant here in line with the Housemartin's LP storming along in the background). Having said that it is true.

I'm being seduced by late spring. By soft grey rainstorms and intermittent sunshine that illuminates my little world when I least expect it. I'm drowning in girliness and realise its a substitute for youth.

I'm planning outings and then actually undertaking them. I'm buying cute dresses (again) like the recession is just a creepy little dream. I'm drinking less but making it count more.

I'm reading, wallowing in high fantasy that stretches across six thick, satisfyingly good tomes (Robin Hobb, for the record). I'm dreaming (nocturnally) of princes who need kissing and the joy of that first touch (not sure if that's such a good thing...).

I'm pulling the brittle cords of the first grey hairs from my head and trying not to admit it scares me. I'm watching other peoples' children and thinking how beautiful they are, whilst trying not to admit how glad I am not to have one as their incessant demands for attention override even the sweetest of curly blond heads.

I'm a little thief. I steal peoples' thoughts and emotions and weave them into the fantasies that fill my days but fail to materialise on paper. The words of others more literate than me sustain me as I wheel flippant fingers on the perfectly formed black wheel of my pretty little needful thing music device.

I wait impatiently for the bulbs that I planted in fallow ground to take root and blossom, and I scrutinise their progress each day with little regard to the slow passing of time. I look at my grey headed father whose mobility is dwindling week on week, and my grey headed angry little mother and I feel the quickening pace of their lives' as they speed towards extreme old age.

I'm scared. Scared most of all by this passive voice that colours my activities. Passivity caused in part by contentment, by relief that I have a period of time where I no longer have to fight. Sometimes adversity forces us to act, without it I become a dumb animal. Or so it seems. What will I regret most in thirty years time I wonder?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


I've been asking myself this a lot recently, both in the personal and wider sense of the word.

Ask me what my dream is and I'll sing you a song that encompasses freedom and self fulfilment that is all tied up in escaping the now. I'll sing of Whitby and wonky houses (if you follow that link you'll see my dream house...), a life spent reveling in the written word, a place and a time where I can step away from the shackles of responsibility and be truly free. I could spend my days elevated above the world in my own little piece of sky and write about love and death and all that passes in between . He could spend his days being a code monkey to his heart's content.

It's his dream too, relocate to the place that speaks to us both of who we really want to be. It's only two hours away by car. It is not the end of the earth. Sure risks would have to be taken, jobs given up, friends to be made. Parents would be further away which would cause concern as all of our siblings has happily shuffled responsibility for their well being to ourselves. But still only two hours away...

What pisses me off so much right now is myself. Y'see, my dream could so easily be reality. There is absolutely nothing standing in the way of it's realisation except fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of risking the comfortable, middle class lifestyle we've built for ourselves. Fear of stepping outside the trap that we have created.

And it is a trap. It's a gilded trap, these four walls. They give the illusion of security all wrapped up in a candy coated shell. There is the ties of a mortgage that we can never hope to pay off. There is the tie of everyone else's disbelief that this isn't enough for us, there is the weight of expectation from the older folk that we stay here evermore (croaked the raven and we all know what happens in that poem...).

So why can't I do it? Why am I not brave enough to say fuck it all, sell the house and move elsewhere? Why can't I fill my days with writing and determination, commitment and self discipline? Why am I such a lazy arse, sat here spreading with middle age acceptance and flatulence, conforming to society's view? When did I become so scared?

Wider World
I've mentioned Whitby. Last weekend was Whitby Goth Festival, at which a bench was dedicated to the memory of Sophie Lancaster. Sophie was a twenty year old goth who was beaten and kicked to death in a park one night as she tried to protect her seriously injured boyfriend when a gang of youths attacked them. The little bastards responsible showed no remorse. The police investigating the case said that their parents found the whole thing funny and laughed during the investigation. This story has really hit a nerve with me. I've been meaning to post about it sooner but found every time I tried I got upset.

I have no right to grieve for a girl who didn't know me. That right goes to her family, in particular her mother who has acted with dignity and humanity, starting a fund in Sophie's name (Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere). But my heart is gladdened by the generosity and efforts of the goth community of which she was a part, who raised the money for the bench and saw it dedicated to her on the 26th April. Who made pilgrimage from Whitby to see her murderers sentenced to life in prison. Perhaps something wonderful will come out of this senseless loss of life.

GD is: moping about like a big fat fly stuck in a web, listening to The Damned's Phantasmagoria on very scratched vinyl and thinking it hasn't survived the eighties very well.