A wise (oh so wise) friend said that your Hottest 100 picks should be the soundtrack to the year in your life. So while these may not be everyone’s best or the biggest songs for 2011, they were the tracks that defined my small world for the last twelve months.
Meanhow : Can’t decide whether to say meanwhile or anyhow? Throw out the MEANHOW, you won’t regret it.
Assholiest : For example “He went about it in the assholiest way possible.” Assholiest.
Fuckpocket : Much like an asshole. But the worcest.
Worcest : Even worse than the baddest.
Revengelist : Someone who’s pretty much evangelical about seeking out revenge on those what done ‘em wrong.
Charitababble : You know the bum-nuggets who try to stop you in the street to sign you up to charities and WILL NOT STOP TALKING? The endless stream of shit coming out of their mouths is charitabbable.
Bum-nugget : A polite way of calling someone a piece of shit e.g. “You Sir, are quite the bum-nugget.”
Bedface : Much like bed hair, but worse because it’s your face.
Angeraphobic : A fear of going out in public because it’s full of angry Christmas shoppers.
“I will remember your small room, the feel of you, the light in the window, your records, your books, our morning coffee, our noons our nights, our bodies spilled together, sleeping, the tiny flowing currents, immediate and forever, your leg my leg, your arm my arm, your smile and the warmth of you who made me laugh again.”—
“That’s why I like listening to Schubert while I’m driving. Like I said, it’s because all his performances are imperfect. A dense, artistic kind of imperfection stimulates your consciousness, keeps you alert. If I listen to some utterly perfect performance of an utterly perfect piece while I’m driving, I might want to close my eyes and die right then and there. But listening to the D major, I can feel the limits of what humans are capable of - that a certain type of perfection can only be realized through a limitless accumulation of the imperfect. And personally I find that encouraging.”—
Haruki Murakami - Kafka on the Shore
A friend once sent me this quote via sms. A strange way to send reassuring words to someone. Just the quote. No description. No accompanying text. And yet in its own odd little way, this message about imperfection was perfect. It was a bad week. A week I’d made a great many mistakes and had started to question so very many things. A week where some friendships had been severely dented and others had been reinforced.
And then this little message, out of the blue. I asked him why he sent it.
He said “I just thought you needed it”.
You can tear yourself apart trying to live a flawless existence and then somebody who barely knows you can see right through the haze of shit and make it all seem a bit clearer. Regardless of what or who you believe in, life can indeed have a funny way of sending you messages. Whether you listen or don’t listen, well that’s your call.
Everyone needs that one song, that go-to song for when you’ve had a shit day / had your heart broken / accidentally flushed your phone down the toilet.
McAlmont & Butler’s Yes was released in May 1995. I think a friend first played it to me in June 1995 and it quickly became our “let’s stand on the sofa/bed/back porch and scream this until we feel better/good about ourselves/less likely to stab someone with a pen” song of choice. Sixteen years later, it still works.
Stand. Scream. Jump. Sing. Yes you will feel better … I promise.
I will probably marry the person that can put all the reasons we should be together into a pie graph. That’s how much I like pie graphs.
I never went to my grandparents’ funerals. I’ll never forgive myself for this. Ever.
When I was little someone told me that I had to drink water to “wash up all the plates inside”. For two years I thought I was made of fucking plates. That’s why you shouldn’t make up shit and tell it to kids.
Cows are scary. You can try telling me they’re soft and pretty like horses but fuck that shit, they know I eat their relatives and they are fucking scary, charging, bellowing hell-beasts.
Similarly seaweed. Terrifying. Don’t even make me go there.
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is the greatest movie ever made. If you don’t understand this, you should probably get out of my bed. Secondly, the hellare you doing in my bed?
I don’t understand, nor will I ever understand, the concept of electricity and how it works. That’s fine. I understand plenty of other things.
I have an immense distrust for people who drive with their arm hanging out the window. I don’t know why it has to hang out the window. Does it smell? Is it angry at the other arm?
Karl and Ellie from Up are my ideal couple, invariably my go-to “I want that one” relationship in any discussion. This explains a lot. It also means that, really, unless I meet an adorably tiny animated man with a disproportionately large head, there’s every chance I’ll die alone and single and get eaten by my little flatmates - the jolly cockroaches of Kings Cross. Therefore, you can probably just go right ahead and disregard the bit about the pie graphs.
As most people know, today is RUOK day, a day when people are encouraged to ask those around if they are indeed doing okay. There has been some debate as to whether this can actually help a person who is perhaps struggling or closed off, or whether it’s merely a throwaway question.
I can’t speak for all, but in my case it helped.
Many years ago I was having some fairly major issues. Issues I thought I could deal with by myself without involving or upsetting anyone else. Issues which came to a head one morning, when I sat quietly on the kitchen floor with a small knife. Such was my mental state, however, and such was my elevated stress level and utterly ridiculous loyalty regarding my utterly ridiculous job, that after few frankly piss-poor attempts I decided I should probably go to work first. I calmly put the knife back down on the floor and thought I would instead … well let’s just say “do the deed” later that evening. A decision which, in hindsight, seems almost tragically comical. Or maybe comically tragic. I’ll let you decide that one.
And so I went to my ridiculous pseudo-important job and I struggled through that day, slightly distracted as you can probably imagine. And I made it all the way through until 8 o’clock that night without having to face a normal conversation with anyone. And then thankfully, thank god, a colleague saw me quietly crying because, of all things, I couldn’t get the larger-than-the-harbour-fucking-bridge coffee machine to work. And she came over, held my hand and asked probably the most important question of my little existence “is everything okay with you honey?”.
Turns out she knew the signs all too well. She knew what it was like to hide something from family and friends. She knew that a painfully cheery demeanour can often be hiding something just downright painful. And she knew that I needed to get proper, professional help, and quickly.
So while you may not get the answers you want to hear, and while it may be scary or sad or difficult, sometimes the questions you have to ask are “do you need someone to talk to? Is everything alright with you?” And while my posts my be annoying, or silly, or trivial, or just downright snore-worthy boring, I can assure you they probably wouldn’t be here at all if some wonderful human hadn’t taken a few minutes out of their day to ask me if I was okay.
Looking at my phone and realising I called a taxi at 1am Monday morning and how in the great big dirty universe did I do that because that would have required speaking and I certainly wasn’t able to do such a thing and oh jesus tell me they don’t record those calls and play them at Christmas parties because if I owned a taxi service that’s what I’d do and I really desperately wish that people would remove devices like phones and laptops from my hands after any more than three drinks but shit at least that explains how I got home.
…. I wonder if I was still dressed like Wonder Woman?
Last week someone on Twitter posted a link to images of old Russian postcards. Innocuous enough. Some were even quaintly amusing. But then halfway down the page I scrolled to one of a bear with the Olympic rings. It was like seeing an old friend. Suddenly I was six years old sitting in the sunroom with my parents watching the closing ceremony of the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Misha the bear was the games mascot. At the end of the ceremony a giant inflatable Misha was released into the air tied to balloons.
So simple. So harmless. But to six year old me it was wretchedly heartbreaking. It was the first time I understood that things come to an end. That people leave. That’s a huge fucking thing for a six year old to realise. I was devastated. I mean really, truly, distraught. I cried so hard and no one could stop me. I remember my father trying to explain that it just meant that Misha would go live with someone else and maybe he’d even land in our back yard. For months I waited everyday for that goddam bear to land.
So when I looked at the postcard with Misha it all came back. 31 years later. That stuff stays with you. I’m an expert at compartmentalising anything with strong emotional ties. I’m so prolific at denial I could win medals. It’s not to say I don’t cry or laugh or get angry because I do. Boy do I. A song can set me off. A brilliantly played scene in a movie will have me sobbing so hard I throw up. But the big things I can deal with. I didn’t let go of a single tear when my parents divorced. I comforted my friends when my dog of 11 years got put down. Births, deaths, marriages, I hold it all together. Mostly. In front of the crowds at least. I have a shut-down mechanism that is so swift it could take off a limb.
But one glimpse of the Moscow mascot was all it took. Just one. I remembered missing Misha, my friend Misha. I remembered asking why he had to go. I remembered the pain. Not in the heart, people say it’s in the heart but it’s not. Your heart beats faster and harder but the hurt kicks you so much further down. And if you think a child can’t feel that then you’re wrong. Or you don’t remember. But they do, and I did. I sat in my office chair last week thinking ‘don’t cry. don’t cry at the desk, don’t let anyone see you’ because how do you explain that you’re crying over a 31 year old memory of a giant Olympic mascot.
But things end. People leave. And sometimes the bear doesn’t land in your backyard. That’s a huge fucking thing for a six year old to realise. That’s a huge thing for anyone to realise.
Since Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know is still burning up the charts, here’s something entertaining from Wally’s deep, dark past.
For Radiothon in 2007, Jess and I got a whole bunch of local musos to record covers of their favourite pop songs. The Basics (Wally’s band with Kris Schroeder and Tim Heath) gamely tackled Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney’s Ebony & Ivory.
Not only that, but they recorded it live at the Empress, then ran the CD straight to us in Studio 2 at RRR.
In case you missed my frenzied hysteria over this release this morning (and by GOD you’d better have a good excuse) a group of musicians have rather adorably covered our favourite Muppet songs resulting in Muppets: The Green Album. If you grew up on the Muppets you’ll more than likely have a similar response to my friend - a 36 year old man mind you - who, upon hearing the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational news, simply replied “joy tears, the happiest day of my life”.
Yes, it appears I may not be alone in my belief that the key change in Rainbow Connection is pretty much the greatest musical moment in the last 35 years. No exaggeration. If this doesn’t make you cry happy tears YOU ARE PROBABLY DEAD INSIDE.
Click the link above to make your heart jolly - I implore you.