Sunday, 31 December 2017

Another One Down

The year is fast unraveling, and I'm sitting here feeling compelled to say something about it while simultaneously having no idea where to even begin. I've never had a year like this before. It's been genuinely surreal in a lot of ways.

I have no desire to go into my retelling of the woes that befell my homeland over the past year; it's all been well documented, and by others better suited to that sort of reporting. I do regret a bit that I haven't been busily recording my own small perceptions of current events, but I suppose that's also been done well enough by others. Maybe next year. This one has felt too unreal, too much like a simulation gone awry, the winding-up of a dystopian novel plot, for me to tackle parsing it in any meaningful way.

So all of that aside, what did I do with this year, which began with one of those terrifying birthdays that end in zero?

  • I discovered a lot of music, most of it out of Sweden. It made the year bearable, and sometimes even brilliant. Ghost (still), and MCC, and Tid, and The Great Discord, and Priest, and Diamond Black, and more. 
  • I played some music, too. Jamming on bass with other actual musicians was a revelatory, initiatory experience. I bought a keyboard, gods help me, to see if I could still pick out stuff by ear (I can) and if I could expand upon that (maybe).
  • I started learning new languages--Swedish, and Irish Gaelic--which was almost a reactionary move on my part, so disgusted am I by the xenophobic atmosphere in this country these days. I've been trying to strengthen my French as well.
  • I started skating again, even at my advancing age, and find that I still love it even as it frustrates and challenges me. I've had to start over from the beginning again--my muscles have a very short memory, it seems--but I'm progressing, and I want to continue that in 2018.
  • I haven't written very much, obviously, but managed to do a bit. 
Oh, and The Last Jedi is excellent, so at least the year ended on a sort of high note there.

Have I been fighting depression and anxiety and such this year? Oh, yes. Will that continue into 2018? I expect so. Here's to living in interesting times. May we find a bit of peace in the year to come.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

And Back Again


Sometimes I forget just what an enchanted life feels like, but then something happens, and I remember.

I’ve been gone from blogging here for a while; working 10+ hour days within a nihilistic fog of dysthymia leaves me with very little inspiration, I’ve found. That’s not to say that nothing good or positive has happened in my life in that time; on the contrary, I fell in love—with exquisitely bad timing, it would appear—with a band last fall, the band I’ve been waiting for since I was a teenager hanging onto sanity through a steady diet of Rainbow and Deep Purple and Blue Oyster Cult and Jefferson Starship and Led Zeppelin and…well, you get the idea. This band of my dreams is now fragmenting a bit (if not imploding outright, they’re cagey bastards and while the truth may be out there, it is impossible to determine at this time), and thereon hangs my tale.

A key member departed mysteriously last summer, and earlier this year new rumors started swirling that the lead vocalist/band leader had fired everyone. The fandom’s been in an uproar ever since, which has been great for distracting me from things such as the fact that my entire country is on the express train to Shitsburg thanks to what happened last November, but it hasn’t been at all good for my nerves. This has been going on for a few weeks.

In the last week or so, I found myself having thoughts along the lines of “Wouldn’t it be interesting if someone came out and did a video or something like ‘I was a Nameless Ghoul’?” I’ve found myself unduly worried about complete strangers whom I have never and probably never will meet, hoping that they’re all OK and still friends, etc. I have, let us say, felt a disturbance in the Force, just enough to be a bit distracting and agitating.

(The new age folks would probably call me an empath and say that I’d somehow connected with the energy of the band and its members, and have been picking up on their vibrations or something, and I’m not here to say that’s right or wrong. It sounds goofy, but I’ve experienced enough goofiness in this lifetime to not be too quick to dismiss a theory out of hand.)

Which brings us to this morning. I was driving in to work, listening for the eighty bajillionth time to a song by one of the band’s related projects, this a demo from back before the present band even existed, words and music and vocals by the aforementioned absent member. Eighty bajillionth listening, yes, but this time it struck me differently. That’s a thing that happens to me, and has happened often enough that I’ve come to think of it as one of my “things”—I’ll hear an old beloved familiar song in a completely new way, as though it’s slipped sideways through my every defense and opened up something that I’d previously missed, something I needed to know or feel or understand. That happened this morning, as a couple of the lines in the song struck me so powerfully that I was tearing up; the lyrics felt almost prophetic, and I wondered what that meant.

This afternoon, the absent party released a video. I have yet to watch it as I write this (will be doing so when I can catch a break), but the gist has already been made clear. That related project is coming back to life, and that song that cut me open this morning? Fully remastered and sitting out there as the first single for the project’s renaissance.

Sometimes I forget what my enchanted life can feel like, but then something like this happens, and I remember.

(Edited to add: So I watched the video and oh, my heart.)