“Yo, Melissa, Imma let you finish, but I have one of the best Friday Albums of all time.”
No one invited me this week, but I have to take the stage. I have to mention it, this Elephant in the room (well it was once a Donkey, then a…whatever, then begrudgingly welcomed back as an Elephant when it looked like it might get its trunk on the peanut-keys. ‘Off she went with a trumpety-trump, trump, trump, trump’). It’s been two weeks since the combined nationwide clapping and gasp abruptly went reverberating around the world like the amplified unveiling of a waterfall of severed genitalia. To think, I was once torpid with apprehension at the prospect of the Romney-bot, who in retrospect looks like a chuckling uncle with no more nefarious-a-skeleton in his closet than a used-car lot, albeit with a dog strapped to the top of one of his inventory.
“We’ve got a hundred years out here, a hundred years on this planet, bro, and we can have a utopia. We can love each other. But the rules got to be fair.”
Celebrity deaths notwithstanding, 2016 has been the culmination of the strangest consecutive years of my existence. Since entering my thirties, I felt it essential to keep abreast of the unchartered territory, culturally and technologically (though the two aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive), into which we are embarking in a 21st Century only just finding its stride. The more informed I’ve kept myself, (oh, 4chan nazi pranksters, r/the_donald) the further away I want to get.
“Talk to me like a man. I’m not trying to be the man. I just am a man, the same as everybody here. I ain’t above, below none of y’all. We all equal. We all equal.”
I never embedded myself in Zuckerberg’s eternal yearbook. I grew to see Twitter in my mind’s eye personified as a City of people perambulating aimlessly, delivering succinctly witty soundbites, or knee jerk protestations over one another, all tailored to hoping someone would notice their observations on the present in the cacophony. I finally noped-out of Instagram when it started predicting what it thought I’d like instead of honouring the promise of its moniker. I see young couples in the pub staring into a light in their laps instead of conversing with one another. My favourite bands float on an ocean of phones as the majority of the crowd procure inferior facsimiles of (or let all their Facebook ‘friends’ know that they sort of bore witness-to) the experience.
“If you don’t got an iPhone, don’t put it up. Only originals.”
I spend mornings with my daughter and (sometimes) resist reaching for my pocket during moments when she doesn’t demand my undivided attention. What did I do before filling my idle moments with information or entertainment? Oh yeah, I THOUGHT, imagined, or zoned-out into an impromptu daydream…got bored. How invaluable a mental state is boredom? It would inspire such desperation to escape down undiscovered or carved-out avenues of exploration. When I was ten I used to host a radio show in my bedroom for no-one. I thought I’d evolved beyond that.
“Hey radio, fuck you! Radio, fuck you!”
I had my headphones in at work the other week and ‘Fullness of Wind (Variation on the ‘Canon In D Major’ By Johann Pachelbel)’ started up and I was stultified by it’s devastation, slowly eroding beauty into grief, suddenly awake, stopped what I was doing, rooted to the spot, shocked at a world that had slipped irrevocably out of my grasp and was diverging and regrouping around the other side of my insignificant situation within it. My surroundings were suffused with the revelation of an ever-present but previously unnoticed nakedness, and I felt like standing up and strolling slowly out into the world that seemed to suddenly reveal itself as operating irrespective of me, bearing insignificant witness and floating through the city like a ghost because I didn’t believe in myself.
I’m not posting a recommendation this week, but offering you an opportunity. If you, like me, feel like you’ve been a disembodied ego broadcasting into the ether, which at last count doesn’t seem to have added-up to anything, I want to ask you to afford yourself the luxury of nothingness. Fill it with a sound if necessary, but please ensure it presents you with the ability to discorporate (“The first word in this song is discorporate. It means “to leave your body. Thanks, Mr Zappa, if only anyone remotely like you was available of late). Extricate yourself from the situation, there are dangerous days ahead and I propose we’re in need of a rethink.
*Ironic mic drop*, Katie, please pick it up.
Chester Whelks is a peripheral figure on the fringes of existence. Predominantly bothering the local music scene of his native Manchester, England, he has a very finely attuned Justice-button, and knows how to call a spade a ‘Multi-Purpose Murder/Concealment Device’.