Friday, 15 April 2016

Bird. Beast. Butterfly.

I'm old school.

Which is a cool way of saying I'm old-fashioned – but fuck it. Old school.

"Cartwheels" by Patti Smith makes me dance slowly around the room. Makes me feel enchanted by the changes this world cannot control. Makes me imagine a dog running in my direction, in beautiful slow-motion, looking as if it's either going to lick my face or swallow me alive.

Makes me think of my old school and how once a month I would not go home but get on a bus and travel to a different part of town. The hostile part, the one you knew nothing about. With a rough equivalent of three dollars in my pocket. Which was all the money I had for a month. I paid the man those three dollars for a copy of Beggars Banquet. Or Pet Sounds. Or Face To Face. Or whatever it was. And then made the long journey home to spend the next few weeks singing along to "Stray Cat Blues" and going insane each time I heard the acoustic riff of "Street Fighting Man". I knew there was no money left in the month and so I had no chance of hearing another album any time soon. It was a different emotional level. Music was not two seconds away. You fought for it. And I'm not even being nostalgic.

So it was changing. The world was a bird, a beast, a butterfly. The question was how to stay emotional with the art and with the people. Because social network didn't cut it. All emotions it offered were bogus at best. Really, you could crucify yourself in social network – I wouldn't care.

Bird, beast, butterfly – you could be anything. Just take your pick. Or better still, you could be all of them at once. It's fascinating to follow the backlash that people like Germaine Greer and Ian McEwan are facing due to their views. Due to the stubborn need to see boundaries where they no longer exist. Or so it would seem. Transsexuality, they argue, is dubious at best. They accept some of it, but they don't accept all of it. Good for them – these people, for all their advanced ideas and challenging views, see postmodernism as a finite thing. They see boundaries. It's like they believe that one day Vladimir and Estragon will wake up to a new dawn. That the boy will give a different message. That Godot will appear, in flesh and blood. Good for them. You don't accept the world if you accept all of it. You're just pissing in the river.

They are not hysterical and they are not indifferent. It's not that they are afraid of the changing world. They just try to make sense of it, which is precisely what the hysterical, indifferent world doesn't want to see happen. It lacks depth and suffocates all emotion. Because there are no emotions where boundaries don't exist – there's just one shapeless sea of hysteria and paranoia.

Best you can do is to try and see them for what they are: the bird, the beast and the butterfly. 

'The world is changing, your heart is growing'. That's a great line. It has a swing to it. It's also a little improbable  which, when the dust settles, is exactly what distinguishes great art.