Hey folks. Time for a serious dose of SILLY! (Insofar as I am eptified for same).
I can honestly say that I haven’t got the slightest idea where this stuff comes from – but since I am lucky enough that it does come easily and often, it feels like it would be ungrateful were I not to share, especially when the whole thing comes out as OTT fun and funky as this one!
Major thanks to Graham. Inspirational credit to Little Big (Check out Skibidi – romantic version) a Russian band who make their own fabulous videos for their own crazy songs.
Now, I am a very sweet guy (as you all know already of course)
but this time I absolutely demand that you go full-screen and CRANK IT!
(glowsticks, sprung dance floors, piercings, hair-gel and smoke-machines
will all be considered optional – for the time being)
I have always found identity a particularly fascinating topic, because at no time in my life have I ever had just one. I was a dance club fanatic back in the early eighties (as a teenager) and like many of my friends wore makeup and outlandish costumes and stayed out dancing until dawn every single weekend without fail. I even had one favourite club which featured all the latest European releases (tuned on the Manchester wavelength) and another which brought fresh offerings and even live breakdancing crews from the New York scene, which made for a fun diversity (and indeed, already forty years ago, dance music was becoming so specialized that there were very few tracks and bands popular in one subculture, which crossed over to the other – weird perhaps, but great fun for connoisseurs of the obscure).
The funny thing was – at the exact same time as I was a dance club fanatic in what would now be classed “Goth” style (then, more properly New Romantic), I was also making my lifetime best attempt to learn and master the intricacies of business culture – from the traditional bottom of the pile position as the mailroom and shipping clerk for a major commercial computer software firm. (Yes, the legends are true – legions of people really were once lavishly paid to clunk around in COBOL). ;o)
Not only that, but I had just broken out of an insane cult environment which was horrible, but also a super competitive intellectual pressure-cooker. Every part of my basic acculturation was different from everyone I knew in every world I moved in (and I’ve felt like that ever since – but minded it much less over time, as the advantages of an outsider view have presented themselves). If I started talking too enthusiastically about science or philosophy to my club-kid pals, they’d either think I was trying to compete and show off, or else judge me a snob and walk away. I have never had the patience (or knowledge base) for a discussion about television (with the exception of some classic Sci Fi).
Later I learned a trick that has worked well for years. If I wanted to drop “fifty dollar words” and introduce intellectual concepts (always with enthusiasm, and to share), all I had to do was spice up my dialogue with some countervailing expletives and genuine working class street insights. Not everyone wants to learn (which I have to remind myself – because I do, always and in every case), but a far wider proportion of any group are pleased to be entertained. If you can find a working line which blends both – bingo – you get heard and get to introduce new ideas to the discussion. If you fail the entertainment test – you are asking for something from them (attention) which you aren’t earning. No matter how great your point, or how much you think it would benefit others to hear it, you’ve failed to find the shape which will carry it all the way into their hearts – so far.
I am one of those who thinks analyzing creativity too much comes close to ingratitude – and I am blessed with shit-tons of the stuff for some reason, fortune indeed – duty also. “Why” does one create is a particularly foolhardy question – especially if asked without any goal. Don’t screw with the goose! “What for” is a lot more productive, at least in my case. All these years later, I’m still trying to wrap up a bunch of fifty dollar ideas in street wisdom and fast-dancing, because I think those ideas might do some good. It really is amazing how passionate our arguments are these days – and how very little we say, learn, discuss or explore. Challenge used to mean overcoming the limits of the self and growing, not focussing hatred proudly outward.
My poems do the same work as my songs, stories, podcasts, books, essays and cartoons – though I have definitely found particular forms work much better for some parts of my greater argument than others. My books carry gratitude kindness and wisdom especially well – the podcasts are a whole lot more soapbox feisty!
Rediscovering spontaneous songwriting is the nicest thing that’s happened to me since Covid hit – it has been years since I’ve had this much fun with music, and while I desperately crave a courageous and emotionally intimate improvisatory expedition with my musical friends, it is still joyous to get the fingers moving and brain tune-ing in the meantime – warming up the engine again, big-time.
This particular song was last Sunday’s “You can’t do any work today” project. My initial goal was just to learn about the sequencing capabilities of the audio software I’m using, so that I can do something super groovy synthy and instrumental with a few tuneful items my friend Graham leant me (you have to love a friend who feels bad because they traded-in cool audio gear without letting you have some fun with it first – and so brings over a toybox of small analog goodies – cheers, man – superb uplift!)
The song is actually all manually played (even the drumtracks) with some looping – because I still stumble into catchy ideas too fast to sit down and screw around with a grid! Just as well – I will trade wonky imprecision for increased swing any day. My feckless bass becomes ultra juicy thanks to Graham’s fat analog phaser, and my tiny mooglet cuts right through the wall of soft-synths. Still, even as a technician and an ‘old school analog’ guy in every way I have to tell you – soft-synths have come a long way – pretty freakin’ great now – and so many that you can add new voices free or very cheap, any time you get an urge. (The main synth sequence is a $25 Juno simulator!)
The lyrics? Well – you know how it is – there are two components in every human individual. There are the basic things which we share with many others in the animal kingdom – primates especially – and then there is the special thing of advanced culture and post-animal humanity – a still highly fragmented and incomplete project. One reason I keep arguing that there is always more than one viewpoint is simply to defend the right to seek enlightenment of this sort – not for ego, but in order to escape from it.
The other reason is even simpler – it is our animal side which can be tamed and leashed – and for many, especially the cleverest folks, we are so far into denial that we even have an essential and always active animal side that all we feel is the invisible irresistible tug – and all we know is that somehow we always wind up at the master’s feet.