Performed 27 Feb 2013 at Conway Hall – with Fayola Timberlake as Sharon.
Please excuse me while I stumble across your page or screen – or stage.
I’m used to the conflict between both an avid interest and nausea within myself as I seek to understand events by watching news, reading news, arguing in my head as to the rightness or wrongness or relevance of an opinion, a policy, a man, a woman, a world view, a subject, a fictional narrative even. There is conflict in the world and in the head.
So get over it World, get over it Head.
I am however not – repeat not – used to a radical sense that my habitual search for, and consumption of, information, for learning, that my ethical hand-wringing, my ordinary human drive for knowledge and to represent my views even if only in my own head by silently forming words and sentences, or paraphrasing the views of others – that all this is a tragic, absurd wild goose chase.
Or a hapless, foiegras goose force-feeding.
I mean, for whom or for what am I stuffing myself with this stuff? Is this merely a useless regional custom of fattening the psyche? And what end do my pretty metaphors that I pore over to serve up for you anyway really serve?
I wasnt prepared for the experience, as I seek to better use and understand human means of communication – or spew more words out in suspect orders – of feeling them undermined in the end, apparently looking for all the world like setting me further apart from me and from you as I use them.
Why ? Because am I ever that which I represent, will I ever be that which I try, and will continue to try, so conscientiously, or megalomaniacally – or servilely – to communicate ?
Whether a two-dimensional or automated cipher is doing it or an enlightened, expressive, real man with realistic hair and gripping hands is doing it?
Am I starting to make myself clear?
This is not about lying and truth or ‘The Secret’ or about what I or You really know or dont know (or are just bloody clueless or careless of) to be the case about I or You.
The words, images, ideas, certainties, models, the narratives, the things I strive to grasp or produce, the things I think will explain me or the world or my feelings about what that builder did to my boiler and how my oldest, bestest friend made it worse – they are radically not me.
Or the builder.
Nothing describes Life, stands in, understudies to its star, nothing describes what it is like to do it, fuck it, fuck in it, fuck it up, get fucked over.
Or make love.
Or not make it.
Or in Fiction.
No private or public narrative, public information film or photograph or symphonic poem.
There is no “there” there.
It’s L.A.: Life Absent.
All that remains is the guilt of being convinced of Life in Absentium.
L.ights after being turned A.hhhrrt………arff…..arrff….
No imitation of Art – Art beckons and fails to intimate the look of Life.
Nothing you say or I say describes it. Or what Conceptual Art says or HMRC Customs and Excise. Or that over-long, cutesie, internet video advert vignette from Vodafone with its cruel-to-be-cool riff on the too-shortness of life.
Or Chris Moyles the BBC DJ or Sharon Price in my pub or Schoenberg’s Verklarte Nacht crackling at 33 rpm. Or the electorate or the cool people who hate Moyles or the even cooler crowd that think writing on such subjects is for the damned losers and rejects, those with no use for the noise of language……….those with a mysterious life beyond description……………or my dead mother…………
Or the lucid, revelatory dream we have whilst knocked out on the sodden cloakroom floor whilst pissed on cheap vodka and cheap cut coke at the Stag Night, Hen Night, Birthday Do or New Year Dont :-
Sharon Price is paying attention to her roots, giving cruel looks and telling me me to shut up and stop reading and thinking and analysing so much and be with other people and, she keens, “relax, you live in your own head !”.
So I say to her:
“Sharon why dont you stop producing silent images in your head of food, birthdays, holidays and about the perfect figure and analysing how it can be achieved ……….?
‘And Sharon: stop producing and parsing billions of bytes of text in your head and using your head to produce the consequent verbiage on how lonely your mother is and how your father is going to kill himself trying to make her happy and stop the hand-wringing over isnt there “too much porn and violence on television” that harms your sister’s kids “by shaping their brains the wrong way”. And stop searching for information on the net and in your own head and from other people about just what is the difference between love and lust and which makes you less alone and stop thinking – yes, please just stop thinking – about the fact that you think too damn much about your boyfriend’s business problems and that it’s killing your love life.
‘ In other words Sharon, just desist from thinking about and talking about and using your head to care about the world, Sharon. It’s unnatural. You think, and talk, too much in there, in fact youre a bloody robot stuck on ‘fast setting’. Anyone would think you were mimicking airs and graces to seem human, like you had got a Life.
‘ Why dont you just be quiet and dead and like the perfect image you manufacture in there. Or go exist in the future that you do, like a billion others, believe exists beyond your ordinary human, people problems, the land where you have got a Life, there is no prattle within or without, and everything is still and quiet?”.
The dream stopped there – Sharon Price didnt get a chance to answer back.
Nor did you, to take me to task for being so horribly hard on Sharon Price.
The thing that I assume matters more to me or anyone else. The thing that warrants preservation. In real life or in fiction.
Editing is quite important too.
Poets know this, I am absolutely sure. If publishers are to reproduce any originals.
But is the original not always other than any of the description, whether grand, panoramic and with the ring – or clang – of the universal?
Or poetic, precious and with the ping of ‘The’ or ‘A’ or ‘The’ particular?
And are you not too? And are not made-up, dreamt-up, fixed-up, inflatable fictional characters like the dreamy backseat lovemaker Sharon Price that my sleeping head made earlier that you kindly put life into so that I could make a point: are they not too?
And you and I, we are always other than her.
Are we not?
So when we agree – or disagree – on politics or ethics or football or intellectual copyright or eighties pop or punk, when we do this there is always a type of a yawn of a space of a gap between the words or text or speech or sounds………..and what is possible.
And / or what others next to you believe to be possible about our agreement or free association or pro-wrestling match.
Dont bother trying to switch on the light. You can think in the dark.
Thank you for listening, watching, weighing, wandering and recording.