john peel – r.i.p

i just read the news on the net. one of my all time heroes has passed on. i just couldn’t believe it at first. this is the saddest i have felt …………since last few days ago.
i remember the first time i came across his show on an old radio barely picking up the signal all the way from london via the bbc world service. the sound came fading in and out but what these young ears could pick up changed my life. before him i was listening to crap like the bee gees and sheena easton. out of nowhere came this weird sound pouring out of the radio in dribs and drabs. it was the cocteau twins with a track from their ep ‘echoes in a shallow bay’ . it was like nothig that i have ever heard and it just rearranged my head. from that day onwards there was just no compromising when it came to music. it was on the egde or nothing.
years later i actually sent him a postcard and best of all he replied! i still remember the day i received his postcard written in a strange elongated skeletal style. in it he thanked me profusely for tuning in to the show and hoped i continue to dig what he was playing. a ‘thank you’ from god himself! i was speechless! i owe my life to this guy and he is thanking me instead!
i have to admit that i have lost touch with his show for close to 10 years now. but when i made the jump to broadband recently the first thing i did was surf over to the bbc website and listened to the webcast of his shows on the british radio 1. after all these years still as cutting edge as ever.
and now he is gone. truly the day the music died.

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By hellfried Posted in Music

claustrophobia

ok as a followup to my last post; common sense begins to creep back in after a day off. i am currently stuck in my house of my own volition. still find the task of meeting others a scary thought. come monday i will have to do the unthinkable and venture onstage in the theater of life. how will others perceive me now? does it really matter? will people snigger behind my back? screw them! or don’t screw them?
began listening to music again. started with some instrumental rock crom a texas band ‘exposions in the sky’. particularly found their requeim to the KURSK submarine tragedy fitting under the circumstances.tried to imagine myself among the crew members literally buried in this over-sized coffin way below the ocean surface with absolutely no hope of ever getting out alive. the eerie silence save for the laboured breathing of your mates. imagine the thick smell of fear oozing out from the pores of every warm body onboard. the absolute sense of doom. there are no 2 things about it. you are going to die a horrible death.
the air begins to get heavier and your lungs begin to protest quietly at first and then make themselves more noticeable. everything getting tighter. your vision turns blurry and you cannot feel your head on your shoulders. the guy who was praying beside you just a few minutes ago slumps forward and crashes head first onto the steel floor with a loud clang which echoes in the cramped bunker. the effort of bending over and inspecting him is too much even to contemplate and you let it slide. a young boy sitting a few feet away is muttering something under his breathe as tears stream down his ashen face. from out of nowhere the unmistakable sound of guitars, layers upon layers of melodic chords emanating from the metallic walls. drums roll in and the monotonous throb of a bass guitar join the fray.
incredulity dissipates from your mind to be replaced with a rather inappropiate sense of calm. against every instinct of self-preservation you find yourself nodding to the rhythym. music soothes the beast. you close your eyes for what seems like an eternity. when you finally open them all the others are dead. only you now and the music.

failure with a capital F

how do you handle failure? after so many of them there’s just one thing i know; you never learn how to. i had a massive one yesterday and this was really up there with the greatest there is. when it hits you are just paralysed. your limbs become like lead and you feel like going into the fetal position. curl up and protect yourself from being kicked any further. air becomes a scarce commodity and there is a tight band around your chest; a bit like a heart attack i would presume. there is just this steely, cold ball in your tummy and eveything around you becomes a bad xerox copy of reality. all colours are bleached away and the surroundings assume this grayish hue.
you try to speak but its like you have swallowed a mouthful of industrial strength adhesive and the very act of moving your tongue around the inside becomes a chore.
inside your head thoughts are sloshing around in a primordial slime. worthlessness, self-anger, despair and defeat are all doing the mexican wave in a perfectly choreographed unison. in the background the funereal pounding of tiribal drums slowly building up until it merges with your own heartbeat.
around your eyes you hope for tears that will never come. this is way beyond tears. with a whosh the automatic door to the train opens and you muster the last bit of strengh to actually propel yourself out of the climate-controlled environment into the human race again. you try to reconnect with life but you think; what’s the point?
you trudge towards home your head trying to bury itself between your shoulders. opening the door you then realise that you have to face the people at home and sheer panic takes over. constructing the ghost of a smile you head into the living room hoping against hope that the floor will swallow you up but it never does. quizzical looks all around. with eyes averted you mutter something under you breathe as a form of greeting then slumps into the sofa. questions, always the questions. like fingers probing the darkest corner of your mind and you are all the time trying to push further inside to avoid the light. finally this ugly little thing emerges squelling and trashing, angry at being exposed, vulnerable.
the people gathered around you now begin to brush it aside saying that’s going to be fine and they were all there to support you forever. beggars can’t be choosers, so you begin to believe what they say. for a split second the grip around your head loosens and then it comes back for an encore.
the toughest is yet to come. when you finally turn off the lights at night, the ugly creature creeps back into its corner and licks itself. slowly it gets more comfortable and a smile creeps across its grotesque little mug. ‘here we go’, it hisses. it knocks the back of its deformed head against the inside of your skull in a slow regular, rhythm. the wet thuds resonates in your head. louder and louder like the sound of a leaking faucet.

the day the wagging ended

my dog of 12 years passed on the other day. cancer of the skin. the tumour was operated on and 24 hours day she was found dead in the kennel of the vet hospital. apparently she recovered from general anaesthesia and had taken her first meal and even moved her bowels. i meant to go and see her the next day but before that i received the dreaded phone call from the vet. being a medically trained person i went into the routine of asking about possible blood infection, too much bleeding and wether any pain relief was given after the op. some how it felt empty. i was just going through the motions to prove my worth in the eyes of the vet. a futile exercise now that i think about it.
my dogs are the only sure thing for me besides death. everyday when i open the car door and step out at the end of a working day, they will greet me with shit-eating grins and furiously wagging tails. they will fight for my attention pushing and shoving just for me to touch them and give them a scratch behind the ears. after a full day of intircate human interaction it was always a relief to come back to this. the most simple and basic unconditional love. no need to worry about offending this person or keeping up appearances just so that others will give you a leg up in this game called ‘civilised society’.
my dogs do it day in and day out without fail. without asking for anything in return save for a meal a day and the occasional bath. now i wish i had patted them more, given them the extra few minutes of running my fingers through their furry bodies.
on a brighter note i still have one dog. she seems to be a bit lost at the moment without the other dog. but still without fail she will greet me at the end of the day. less shoving now but seems to me that her tail wags harder than it used to. she knows she is wagging for 2 now.

Interpol – antics

just copped a listen to the new interpol cd ‘antics’ and was really blown away. it made me pull out their first album which i had not listened to like for 4 months now. in my opinion the new one is better and more character-defining. in the first one they were trying too hard to sound like their record collection which consisted mainly of the entire recorded output of joy division and the great english lost band the ‘chameleons’.
on this one they come into their own stretching and expanding on the old formula and managing to sound fresh at the same time. ridding themselves of studied mannerisms they take flight with great urgency and they are mighty close to the sun.

By hellfried Posted in Music