Dangerous Baggage

Nullius addictus jurare in verba magistri

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Isn’t the weather fucking marvellous. (This is intentionally not typefaced in Times New Ironic Bold, genuinely the weather’s effect on a person is quietly humbling). Laying in bed listening to the wind and rain batter the glass that’s protecting the the sanctuary of my room from those harsh elements. For a short moment my mind is transported back a mere 2 weeks; to sitting in shorts, sinking a few beers, in the sun, marinading steak and searing it over hot coals. British summer so late in the year was fucking marvellous too, but now the weather has flipped on us I look forward to wrapping up and going for walks on crisp mornings, or curling up with a favourite person while the rain hits that impenetrable window.

Being able to hear the weather from the comfortable sanctity of a very welcome bed provides a time of simple contemplation of the events of the last week. A reticent thoughtfulness that usually overwhelms when I’m reminded in no uncertain terms of how very close to the unprejudiced aggression of nature we all lie on a daily basis.

Although a frequently-repeated cliche, reminding oneself to be thankful for what you have, whether through luck or hard work, is something I continue to do on a regular basis. To think back over the last seven days and consider what you’re thankful for, maybe something you’ve changed, completed, started, read, heard, said… whatever. Even if you can’t think of anything then it is still an exercise worthy of a few minutes of your time – in fact especially so in this case if only to prevent yourself being in the same position in another seven days time.

By far the two most important new things I’ve done over the last seven days are to watch Stephen Fry’s wonderful ‘Uses and Abuses’ episode of Planet Word on BBC iPlayer and to buy Lowkey’s fantastic new album ‘Soundtrack to the Struggle’.

Warning – both contain explicit language and views that might help you consider things differently

Stephen Fry presents a documentary style programme that, in part, makes the case that swearing has a prolific and fundamental use in human society and at a deeply personal level. The section of the programme with Brain Blessed is pretty fucking funny and yet deeply enlightening! The idea that swearing is not only acceptable but probably necessary is big enough, but the suggestion that swearing is only useful so long as it remains unacceptable and taboo was just brilliant. Brain Blessed’s overuse of what are usually taboo words has caused them to lose all of their potency, and purpose, for him anyway. The emphasis, in this series, on language as not only a social tool for communication but also as a deeply personal subjective experience for each of us, makes it a programme more than worth donating an hour a week to.

The latter item is something I’ve waited for in anticipation for the last month. Having spent some time catching up on Lowkey’s music on YouTube I’ve been looking forward to getting a hold of his new work; and the 1.5 hour (26 track) album doesn’t disappoint. Every track is brimming with poetic and topical literary references, naming his enemies and targets without doubt or uncertainty he sets out his case beautifully. While I can’t bring myself to agree with everything he says nor every point he makes, it’s clear where he’s coming from and not until I’ve given this gritty, aggressive and yet carefully crafted work at least a few more listens will I (nor should I) comment on content.

If someone can only stomach the most simple of concepts and finds any form dialectics more than worth the effort to digest then get them a copy of Steps’ new album (I speak to them indirectly as I can only assume they’re not reading this blog) – however, if you’re tough enough to have your views challenged or even to change your view after argument and debate then please give Soundtrack to the Struggle a listen and think carefully about what you don’t know before responding. As you always should.


Written by matthaughton

October 18, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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