This is the joy of being old and, in particular, of being an old artist.
During this lockdown, I’ve started streaming music production sessions (twitch.tv/bzangy) and have had some wonderful interactions with musicians 25, 30 years younger than me.
They’re at the very start of finding their own voices (sometimes literally) and I’ve been doing this a long time now. I know who I am artistically and how I want to say things even if I’m always searching for new ways to connect and improve my art.
All it takes is some support, a few kind words to really help a young artist. They may not have a supportive peer group, they may not have a supportive family.
That’s why I think it’s important that artists always try to pass their experience on to those coming up. For me, I want to open musicians / producers up to different ways of thinking about sound design, about composition.
EVERYTHING is out there, it’s a wonderful universe of creative possibilities
42 years ago today, Harvey Milk made this message:
“This is Harvey Milk speaking on Friday, November 18, 1978. This tape is to be played only in the event of my death by assassination.
“I fully realise that a person who stands for what I stand for, an activist, a gay activist, becomes the target or potential target for a person who is insecure, terrified, afraid or very disturbing.
“Knowing that I could be assassinated at any moment, at any time, I feel it’s important that some people know my thoughts, and why I did what I did. Almost everything that was done was done with an eye on the gay movement.”
“I cannot prevent some people from feeling angry and frustrated and mad in response to my death, but I hope they will take the frustration and madness and instead of demonstrating or anything of that type, I would hope that they would take the power and I would hope that five, ten, one hundred, a thousand would rise.
“I would like to see every gay lawyer, every gay architect come out, stand up and let the world know.
“That would do more to end prejudice overnight than anybody could imagine.
“I urge them to do that, urge them to come out. Only that way will we start to achieve our rights.”
“All I ask is for the movement to continue, and if a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.”
For the optically minded out there, this is how bad my eyes are:
Right Sph: -8.00 Cyl: -2.75 Axis: 178
Left Sph: -8.25 Cyl: -3.50 Axis: 179
Near Right: +1.50 Left: +1.50
Aided VA Right Dist: 6/5 Near: N4
Left Dist: 6/5 Near: N4
Sooo, it’s good that at least I can see colours well. That might help me, post-apocalypse when I’ve fucked my glasses Burgess Meredith-style as long as the edge of the cliff is a *slightly* different red to the waiting chasm.
It had sharp writing, excellent world-building and some truly class acting. It was also soooo good to see so many black British actors getting proper prime-time TV exposure.
I’m re-watching the end of S2 and… well, very few TV series meet this level of accomplishment. DaVinci’s Demons, iZombie, Travelers, Continuum, The Order, Siren, The Magicians, Misfits, Orphan Black, just off the top of my head.
And if that seems like a lot, it truly isn’t when compared with the huge turnover of new TV shows that come and go in a season or two. That’s why, when I’m scanning through streamers and stumble on to a good series, a series with heart and wit, I latch on like a lamprey. I binge it. I binge it *good.*
Krypton really deserved more than two seasons. It really did.
I was trying to post a nude pic to one of my sideblogs on here and WHOOPS, posted it to my Facebook instead. (I’ve been tired, leave me alone.)
So, facebook has put me in horny jail and I am not allowed to post anything for another nine hours yet. I feel soo… nonplussed? I don’t feel chastised as much as I’ve got a severe frowning from an elderly nun.
I’d post the hugely offensive image on my primary blog but we all know what being horny on main gets you. I’ve only just got out of Tumblr titty prison and I don’t want to go back to my cone of shame avatar again.
I am sitting in my Mummy’s Ford Anglia estate as she drives up Reepham Road in Hellesdon. I’m hoping we’re going to the toy shop where I saw Hulk dioramas last week but worried that she’s actually going to see a friend and I’ll have to sit and wait while they talk for aaages about boring stuff.
On the car radio, Radio One (275 to 285) is playing Billy Paul’s ‘Me And Mrs Jones.’ I love this song but I have no idea what it means. I am fourteen years away from my first lover. The window squeaks as I wind it down and stick my head out slightly, squinting into the wind as the Norfolk sun bathes my face. Around one hundred and thirty billion neutrinos are passing through my eyes every second, whether they’re shut or open.
Yesterday, a white boy threw a stone at me because I have brown skin and I stink. I told my mother and she got angry and hugged me and said I don’t smell, that it was just a bad boy and I shouldn’t listen. I don’t tell her that this happens a lot and that yesterday I took a kitchen knife and pushed it into my belly because I was sad and felt bad.
It is September 27th, 2020. I am fifty-four years old.
I am walking round Intu, Derby’s shopping centre. I am wearing a mask as are most of the shoppers around me because a virus labelled COVID-19 has knocked the world on its arse. The global economy is wheezing as country after country has instituted lockdowns, attempting to choke the spread of the virus and thus not overwhelm their respective health infrastructures. This all feels like I’m living one of the SF stories I love. It doesn’t feel quite real. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop; for zombies to appear or aliens or something? This current narrative isn’t very convincing, it’s missing some crucial elements. The six-year-old me finds it utterly ridiculous that the fifty-four-year-old me is plodding around a mall with a mask on. In 2020! By 2020, we’ll all be living on moonbases and have spaceships, everyone knows that. Aliens would help shitloads, I feel.
As I’m heading to pay my car park fee, Billy Paul’s ‘Me And Mrs Jones’ plays over the centre’s muzak system. The fifty-four-year-old me understands the lyrics now. I have experience, if not wisdom. In the immortal words of Phil Oakey, “I’ve been a husband and a lover too.” The lyrics Billy’s crooning are particularly pertinent this week when I’m missing her so bad I can’t even write songs about that absence. I miss kissing the warm softness of that curve where her neck joins her shoulder, I miss her saying my name as she looks into my eyes but most of all I miss being able to be close, to hold and be held. It’s a pain both chronic and acute. Is there actually a word for that?
It is September 27th, 4723. I am two thousand, seven hundred and fifty-seven years old.
I am halfway to 2MASS J23062928-0502285 d, otherwise known as TRAPPIST-1d, a small planet around forty light years away from Earth. It has about half the gravity of my home planet and a balmy daytime high of ten degrees centigrade. If nothing goes wrong, I’ll be there in around another two-and-a-half thousand years. Yeah, I know five thousand years to travel forty light years doesn’t sound amazing but I’m pleased I’m going this fast. Hell, if I was going at old Helios 2 speeds, the journey would take me 190,000 years.
I just worked that out! I’m good at maths now, I was shit before. By before, I mean the old me, the ‘ugly bag of mostly water’ me. This me is different. My brain is made of light and femtometre-scale focussing arrays rather than yoghurt and electricity. I don’t feel any different, I’m just me. Apart from I can do maths now, it’d be weird if a spaceship couldn’t do maths, I guess. Also, I don’t eat, sleep, poop or get bored. Umm.. I guess those are major differences but the me that’s me has been edited to not miss them. I mean, I can remember pooping but do I long to do it? No. I do have sex though – they found that editing that out lead to all kinds of unpleasant “catastrophic personality eversion.” Yeah, innit?
I remember when my flesh body was ‘approaching possibly detrimental failure,’ as the doctors snappily put it and I got transferred into my new brain. Or did I actually get transferred? Am I just a copy with all the memories of that me up till the day I was scanned? Am I hallucinating all that went before, the Gregor Samsa of spaceships? When you wake up in the morning, is that the same you that went to bed the night before? How about when you walk through a door? I mean, fuck me, I don’t know. Dammit, Jim, I’m a spaceship not a philosopher!
Like, it’s definitely it’s a good thing I can’t get bored but I don’t think I would anyway since I have everything here. When I say everything, I mean everything. I have every bit of data that humanity generated up to the day I set off from Bradbury base on Mars. Twenty-eight yottabytes. Sounds like such a small number for every book, photo, message, film, song ever made, doesn’t it? But it’s all there, all the public stuff anyway. One of my fave things is trying to work out the private from the public, like who someone was Vaguebooking about in 2012 or if someone’s Presence on Local was a subtle dig at an incumbent Prime Minister in 2038.
It’s great having all the music ever. I was chuffed when Spotify became a thing – can you imagine how I feel now? And, yeah, I do listen to my own albums, I admit it. I am that bigheaded. But mostly, I stick my ENTIRE MUSIC OF HUMANITY playlist on interstellar shuffle.
And what are the odds? Today, Billy Paul’s ‘Me And Mrs Jones’ started playing on yet another September 27th! (Actually, I know the exact odds of that happening over a five thousand year journey but I shan’t spoil the spookiness for you.) It was sooo good, hearing that silky, smooth production and that incredible honey voice of his, pre-autotune, pre-digital cut-n-paste recording, pre-people manifesting music straight out of their brains.
Of course, it made me think of her. Because I still love her. Fuck me, I’ve been in love with her for 2,713 years now. I was gonna edit it out because of the downsides but, after consultation, we decided not to because the way I love is part of me, it’s part of what makes me a spaceship-transferrable person. And then there’s that ‘eversion’ biz again, not keen on the sound of that. I did edit out what happened to us. There must have been something that was too hard, I don’t know. Sometimes I go looking for clues in the Sum Total Of Human Knowledge but I must have thought of that, pre-edit and there’s fuck-all.
It’s okay, I’m not morose! I’m worried this sounds really moany but I’m not like that, really. Better to have loved and lost, blah blah etc. I have her holos and videos and pictures, I have her precious voice messages. Those are my fave, I wish I had more. I miss her singing so much, she had such a beautiful singing voice though she never believed it. I have every message she ever sent me, from those early SMS days through every tech after until.. until whatever happened, happened.
Out here, I see her beauty everywhere. I can look around and see the colour of her eyes in the glow of distant nebulae, I can hear her singing in the vacuum energy flux patterns around my skin. Sometimes, I even think I can hear her say my name and pull me to her, just one more time.
And I can feel her soft cheek upon mine again.
I got these beautiful responses to my above story –