In response to calls for a more interactive/inclusive blog (1), this week I will be departing from the usual format (2) to engage, YOU, The Reader (3), in an attempt to appear concerned with What You Think, thereby validating both your, and my, blog experience.
To that end, I have decided this week to share some intimate details of my life, one of which is false. The task for The Reader (4), then, is to identify the false statement and comment below, indicating the alleged red herring among the other marine animals of truth (5).
However, since this year’s forty-nine previous blogs have garnered one comment between them, I won’t be holding my breath. (6)
I often imagine myself in a music video, as I walk around town with a blank expression on my face (7). Like Richard Ashcroft “acting” in the video for Bittersweet Symphony, or Shara Nelson in the promo for Unfinished Sympathy, walking a bit faster than she was used to.
I, however, just amble about, singing quietly to myself, I don’t bump into people and then ignore their shouting, like Ashcroft, or stride past people doing somersaults like Nelson.
This can be done with or without headphones. It’s more dramatic with, as you might imagine. When I walk around in public singing softly to myself with headphones on, people ignore me or smirk a little bit, as if they think I’m not aware of it (the fact that I’m singing, not the smirk). When I do it without headphones on, some people seem to find it unnerving. Others presumably presume I’ve got very small earphones in that they haven’t seen.
When I was eleven years old, I had a trial with Swindon Town FC. As anyone familiar with the English game in the 1990s will know, it was considered far more important to be a tall, strong, aggressive, xenophobic, sexist, homophobic working-class stereotype than to be any good at football. I was good at football, but only met one of the other criteria; I was rejected after the six-week trial.
Had I been born in Spain (8) at the same time, I would definitely have been in the 2010 World Cup-winning squad. Probably on the bench, appearing as a late substitute for David Silva in the semi-final.
I am currently reading The Third Ear by Joachim-Ernst Berendt, and I have inserted concepts and direct quotes from the text in several mundane conversations, which has pleased me immensely (9).
One of the quotes is: “All happiness involves achieving oneness.”
Another is: “Anyone who focuses on the ‘good’ aspect of things only sees half the picture and lacks wholeness. That is also a political statement.”
I recently wrote a poem called “Robin’s Not Thick (He’s A Misogynist)”. You will never read it, because it is terrible. One of the lines is “The lines are not blurred, he’s definitely a wanker.”
Another was “Some wish to cover themselves in glory – others cover themselves with dental insurance” (I’m not really sure what point, if any, I was trying to make with that one.)
I find that the over-use/misuse of the words literally and random is literally the most annoying thing in history. Which is random, isn’t it? (10)
About three years ago, after a respiratory infection, I was diagnosed with anosmia – an inability to distinguish smells. It’s not extreme, and it’s not that I have no sense of smell, but the infection did greatly reduce my sense of smell. Although in most sufferers this leads to a loss of ability to distinguish between tastes, it has not had this effect on me. I must be a person of impeccable taste, as I said to my GP at the time. How we laughed.
This has merited only one explicit (and brief) mention in my lyrics (11), but has otherwise had little effect on me. In fact, it has improved my life in that I no longer recoil in horror when entering a festival toilet, or walking past a brewery. Or accidentally overhearing Robbie Williams’ voice. (12)
All of the above are untrue (at least, in the literal sense, in that they versions of the truth and I might be compelled to give a different account if under oath): I’m intrigued by the blurring of reality of life experience as an artistic/comic device (13). Some of you probably think that’s like an Old Etonian trying to present an “everyman” image for political gain, or a rapper talking about their rough street life when they’re actually from a middle-class suburb.
But it isn’t. It’s much better than that. It’s artistic and clever.
So, answers/guesses/ill-informed opinion below, please.
1. From absolutely NOBODY; it isn’t true, it’s a rhetorical device (or “angle”) to justify the internal logic of this piece. That’s dishonest, isn’t it? It’s called journalism. (Yeah. Take THAT, Journalists.)
2. The usual format being a Soliloquy/speech to an imaginary audience/lachrymose lament for my musical “career”.
3. Research shows there is only one of YOU (and yes, I lie awake at night wondering who YOU are, and why YOU are here), so this works in the literal, singular sense, as well as the literary collective sense.
4. There YOU are again, look.
5. The Marine Animals Of Truth are a post-rock band from Charlotte, North Carolina. They’re rather good.
6. For the record, I can hold my breath for around forty-five seconds before I tire of it and the muscular survival impulse recommences breathing, without the need for conscious assent.
7. Today’s song is Jaykub, from Dark Night Of The Soul, a one-off collaboration between Sparklehorse (RIP), DangerMouse and several guest singers, including cult film director David Lynch, who provided the album artwork. Yesterday’s song was Flint! For The Unemployed And Underpaid by Sufjan Stevens.
8. As anyone familiar with the Spanish game in the 1990s will know, it was considered far more important to make every touch a back heel flick than to tackle anyone, or defend corners. This would have suited me perfectly.
9. Crow-barred them in, in fact, at wholly inappropriate junctures.
10. No, it fucking isn’t. It literally isn’t.
11. “Love might be blind, but it’s not anosmic”, from You Make Me Sick.
12. Although, like any normal person, I do of course recoil in horror when I accidentally see his grinning, moronic face or hear his braying voice.
13. For examples of people doing this much better than me, see the stand-up comedy of Stewart Lee, or the novels of Jeanette Winterson.