Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Mono Bobo

I was flipping back through my notebook, hoping to find something to inspire me to write again. I found I had transcribed the following contrasting quotes:

Douglas Coupland

“By the age of 20, you know you’re not going to be a rock star. By 25, you know you’re not going to be a dentist or any kind of professional. And by 30, darkness starts moving in – you wonder if you’re ever going to be fulfilled, let alone wealthy or successful. By 35, you know, basically, what you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life, and you become resigned to your fate.”

Alex McCandless

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.”

Compare and contrast. That old English GCSE opener.

Then I threw into the mix this nugget from Tom Hodgkinson’s How To Be Free:

“To realise that everything is meaningless is tremendously liberating, since it then leaves us completely free to create our own lives and ignore the plans that others have for us”.

Mmm, literary threeway.

Everything is meaningless.

I’ve been in a type of limbo at the moment, hence the lack of braindribbles on here and subsequent pimping. However, at the Concorde 2 which recently scooped an award for Best Live Music Venue, I discovered Mono provide the perfect soundtrack for limbo. First heard them mentioned by a friend while bumbling around Kemptown Carnival. Soaked them up on Spotify the next day, found out through Last FM a friend was seeing them on the Monday. Always good to have somebody to conduct the typical arms-folded, foot-tapping, head-nodding stance with.

I almost drowned in the richness of the epic compositions, sprawling gloomy melodies from undeniably cool musicians (an inevitable accompaniment to their Japanese heritage) and in my own sweat. (Second warmest gig I’ve been to – first prize goes to (appropriately named) Yuck, at The Hope in 2010). What made up for that (apart from the music with no vocalist to detract from the soundscapes) was the fact I could actually SEE for a change. I’m 5’ 3”. I struggle at gigs. And in cinemas. And when trying to turn off smoke detectors. And when trying to make a point and be taken seriously. Most of the crowd seemed to be even shorter than me! Some even sat cross-legged on the floor!! Everything contributed to make me feel momentarily uplifted, borne away from the truths Coupland speaks of.

Everything is meaningless.

Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.


  1. Ooh, I get a mention. At least I assume you were referring to me, cos otherwise I look arrogant and narcissistic.

  2. Okay, so blogspot doesn't deal with Google OpenID accounts properly. Let's see if this is any better.

    I completely failed to comment on the first part of your entry. The Alex McCandles quote is spot on. My friend kept telling me to quit my job. Finally after a year I did, and it's possibly the best thing I've ever done. I get to control my own destiny and I'm not working to make someone else rich.

  3. It makes me so happy someone else has read "how to be free" which was one of my favourite books for a long time (along with 'How to be Idle.

    Mono are also incredible- 65 days of statics, Mono & MaybeSheWill were like my 4am contemplating music.

    Everything is meaningless, yes, but oddly is there something meaningful in that? it's like it always did make me laugh how people would say "life's too short" when it's actually the longest thing you'll ever do.

    Ps. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DWdB1VjGgA <-- Not a typical MaybeSheWill track if you haven't heard them before but definitely worth a listen.

  4. Maybeshewill and 65daysofstatic are probably my two favourite bands. I managed to catch Maybeshewill playing with You Slut! in a tiny pub in Brighton a couple of weeks ago. A fantastic gig.

  5. I think much of my own thought is rooted in the philosophy that ultimately, everything is meaningless.

    From a novella I recently completed:

    Life ebbs away like a figure sculpted in ice. That is how we all ebb away. We just melt away. Our lives and loves are lost in time. There is no greater sadness than the fact that none of us have a choice, fragile as we are. We cling to tenuous threads of existence, dreaming of some kind of longevity. But in the end the only proof that we once existed are decaying photographs. In the relatively short space of one hundred years we, and everyone who properly knows us, are gone, sunk beneath a sea of songs and words forever. When you think of it that way, it all seems so pointless. We think that by achieving something truly great we can justify our place in the world but when our sun finally goes tits up and we’re all sucked into the void even D H Lawrence and Mozart will be meaningless.

    I drained the water from the basin, patted my face dry and tossed the towel on the chair. Apart from a packet of salt & vinegar crisps that I’d bought in the bar last night I had nothing else to eat. There was a dreg of last night’s Jack left over in the glass on the sideboard. I banged the drink back with that whiskey drinker’s grimace and placed the empty glass in the kitchen sink. Jack Daniels and salt & vinegar crisps – it’s a breakfast in itself, really.

    When I think of it, I’d have to say it wasn’t true that I hated the human race. I was just dismayed with it. So much potential wasted. I wasn’t optimistic. Humanity was beautiful, even with all its foibles. It was just afflicted with an endless, creeping, degenerative disease, a kind of atrophy.

    Despite vast skies and a million different cities glittering between Monica and I, in a thousand years, when great new empires have risen and fallen, mountains crumbled, monarchies born and overthrown, and she and I long dissolved; these moments would remain, in essence, desire unfulfilled. The sunset doesn’t matter anymore because Monica was not there to share it with me. She watched the sunset on a different shore. Stars shone above her in other hemispheres, wherever they may be.

  6. Is there no way to reply to comments on blogspot? I'll have to deal with all of you at once then!

    JD - yes that's you I'm referring to! Aren't 65daysofstatic playing at the Concorde soon? Unless I'm getting them confused with 36crazyfists. I could google but I've typed all that out now.

    Lover of Ashtrays - How to Be Free inspired me no end. It made me feel happier about my lifestyle choices instead of guilty for not succumbing to the rat race.

    U.V. - I was about to ask 'completed' in the sense of finished reading or writing but then I thought to look on your profile, which answered my question and then some. Has the novella been published? I would like to read more.

  7. My first novella is awaiting release from Pulp Press and shouldn't be too uch longer. The above is from my second which is currently under consideration at another publishers.

    And yes, by the way, my advice: resist the rat race with every fibre of your being! :-)