Categories
Life

The Dying of the Light

After noticing dusk had fallen a few minutes ago I wandered into the garden to get the washing in, and was met by a wall of cold air. While unpegging clothes and folding them into the basket I listened to the birds singing their twilight song, and smiled at the huffing of a hedgehog somewhere in the undergrowth nearby.

There’s something tremendously peaceful about the dying of the light, and the effect it has on the world around us. Darkness seems to fall like a quiet blanket over the world, and everything in it. Well – everything except the teenagers listening to music in their car several streets away.

I imagine older people will be complaining to each other about the music – forgetting they were young once, and also forgetting that the reason they sit in their car is because previous generations have systematically opposed any and all provision for young people in the town.

When I first moved here – twenty years ago – there were plans in place to build a civic centre with a bowling alley, a cinema, a club, and so on. The town planners rejected it – instead allowing a developer to turn the site into luxury apartments that stood empty for years because nobody could afford them. There were also plans to build a sports arena – they too were rejected because house prices of senior members of the council would have been affected.

They say coffee shops are an indicator of wealth arriving in an area. A portent of sorts. There are at least five coffee shops in the centre of town now – all within a single scooter push of each other. A town where you can buy any variety of international coffee bean in a cardboard cup, and yet you can no longer buy a washing up bowl, a mug, or a kettle. It has nothing to do with the internet – it has everything to do with wealth, property owners, extortionate leaseholds, and greed.

I can’t help feeling the town is going the same way as a town I grew up near. When I was young it was a busy, thriving place filled with young families. By the time I left it had become a single road lined with antique shops and restaurants, and an almost entirely aged, retired community.

I wonder what causes people to lose sight of everything and everybody around them? What causes them to focus on their own aspirations above and beyond anything else? Will they ever realise that their wish for “a quiet life” eventually means no young families, no parks, no shops, no social gatherings, and the eventual destruction of the town they once knew and liked?

For what it’s worth, I have the windows open, and I’m playing music. Music that somebody, somewhere will probably be complaining about.

In other news, after dinner this evening I sat with my eldest daughter and watched the movie “Freedom Writers”. I’ve seen it before, and I’m now wondering if some movies systematically take us apart – ripping away a different piece of us each time we watch them. Each viewing becomes more difficult.

Categories
Life

Coffee and Jazz

It’s late on Thursday evening, and I’m listening to jazz on the internet while sipping coffee. I’m going to blame Claudette. She tipped me off about a YouTube channel filled with coffee house jazz, and I fell straight down an impressively deep internet rabbit hole.

Who knew I liked jazz? Does this mean I’m getting old? My late father in law had a huge collection of jazz music – we went with him on river cruises with jazz bands on-board several times over the years.

Jazz reminds me of Ally McBeal. I think perhaps it’s the 90s Vonda Shepard back-catalogue that’s been lurking in my subconscious recently – secretly burrowing it’s way in via a steady stream of Spotify sleepy afternoon playlists.

In my mind – no doubt heavily influenced by movies, television shows, and old vinyl records heard from a distance – jazz is the soundtrack for New York, rain, wistfulness, and melancholy. The music of broken dreams, sadness, and loss.

I like melancholy. I like peace and quiet. I like music you don’t really have to concentrate on – that’s just kind of there in the background – tugging at an emotion, or a feeling. An old friend that’s in the room with you, but you don’t have to make conversation with.

Anyway.

It’s almost 1am again. This late-night head emptying is turning into a habit.

Categories
Life

Remembering the Rubbish

Tomorrow doesn’t start until I wake up in the morning. The clock might have ticked past midnight a few minutes ago, but I’m going to claim it’s still “tonight” – “tomorrow morning” doesn’t arrive for several hours.

Welcome to my ever-so-slightly illogical mind.

I’m playing the age old game of “staying up late to avoid tomorrow”, which is ridiculous because there’s nothing I’m particularly avoiding. Perhaps I’m just holding on to today – making the day last longer – enjoying the last few minutes in front of the keyboard emptying my head.

I’m trying to warm back up after venturing outside in the dark to put the bins out – the refuse collectors pass our house in the morning. Have you ever tried to drag a wheelie bin down your driveway in the dead of night? They transform themselves into mobile speaker stacks – amplifying every bump in the driveway into a cacophony of crashing and crunching.

I sometimes wonder if I’m the only person that puts the rubbish out at midnight (or rather, that only remembers at midnight). I’ve never seen anybody else tiptoeing around while dragging the bin down the driveway. Perhaps the rest of the world is far more organised? I don’t know.

Anyway.

It’s getting late. I should probably go brush my teeth.

Categories
Life

Heat, Humidity and Lightning

I just looked on the weather app built into Windows 10 – because of course I can’t just look out the window. In the interests of accuracy, it’s 11pm and the temperature is still nearly 30C. Humidity is above 50%. Lightning keeps rolling across the sky, but no thunder yet. I have a fan blowing into the room, but all it’s really doing is replicating a fan oven – making sure I cook evenly. I also have an incense burner filling the room with smoke, mostly to try and persuade flies that they will die if they come anywhere near me – the smell is really a secondary requirement.

I’m sitting in the dark, while Spotify plays “my” playlist – the stream of go-to 80s tunes that kind of form the Forrest Gump soundtrack to my life, thoughts, and day-dreams. At the moment Christopher Cross is singing “Sailing”. Elton will follow him in a few minutes – something about Mona Lisa’s and Mad Hatters.

I’m wondering about staying up all night watching a movie. It’s too hot to sleep. I wonder if I can find the bootleg version of “Almost Famous” anywhere ? Did you know there are at least three versions of that movie? The Bootleg version adds about half an hour to the cinematic version, and then there’s another version – more of a Director’s Cut – that adds another chunk on – turning an already long movie into a wonderful musical marathon through some of the best songs ever to grace a movie soundtrack.

I think the incense has burned out – how long until the flies start arriving?

It’s been over a week since I last went for a run. It’s just been too damn hot. They said something on the news earlier that it’s the hottest run of consecutive days since records began – and doesn’t look like getting any better for at least a week. I had been entertaining thoughts of running at 6am, but woke this morning before that and it was already 30C, with clear blue skies and no wind. Madness.

I’m still losing weight though – mostly through not eating junk. That being said, I just made myself marmite on toast for supper. The choice might have had something to do with there being nothing else that was easy and fast to make. I need to buy some more cereals in the morning.

Categories
Life

Losing Myself in Music

It’s the final night of my staycation. I return to work in the morning – if you can call it returning. I’ll be sitting in the same chair I’m sitting in now, in the same room – just with a different computer in front of me.

I didn’t go running much during the staycation. I didn’t read any books. I didn’t do a lot of things.

It’s weird – bringing yourself back up to speed after slowing down for so long. I wouldn’t say there’s really a fear of what I might walk into tomorrow, but there’s certainly a good amount of trepidation. I’m trying not to think too much about it – I have at least a couple of hours left to bury my head in the sand.

I’m thinking a couple of hours losing myself in Spotify might help somehow. I deleted all of my playlists some time ago – thinking it was time to discover something new – to stop living in a 1980s bubble. I’m thinking it might be time to visit again though – to listen to the music that made me who I am, and probably continues to do so.

Heart, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Nik Kershaw, Howard Jones, Starship, John Parr, Mr Mister, Wang Chung, REO Speedwagon, Journey, Thompson Twins, Go West, Rush, Thomas Dolby, OMD, Tears for Fears, Simple Minds, Peter Gabriel, Ultravox… the list goes on.

Feel free to reach out and distract me – the contact page tells you how 🙂