Saturday, 24 April 2010

Roller Derby is Made of Awesome.

Lesson #1: learn how to fall.
Lesson #2: learn how to get up quickly.

(soundtrack: the Sex Pistols)

I think this applies to life generally.

As I type this I am vaguely aware of a dull throbbing in my elbow and that my legs are feeling shaky after an hour in roller skates. Most of that hour was spent throwing myself at the floor in varied and inventive ways but feeling ROCK AND ROLL as I did it.

The Clown had mentioned aaaaaaaages ago that I should go to the roller derby sessions at the sports centre just around the corner, and I had wanted to but hadn't got around to it... I find it difficult to sustain momentum for long periods, metaphorically-speaking (if you can't tell from how sporadic this blog is), and even more difficult to start new things. But this is the week for new and frightening things. I finally saw a doctor yesterday to talk about depression, and it was really bloody hard but at least it's a start. So setting myself up to fall over at relatively high speeds in front of a bunch of strangers seemed like the next logical step.

The first thing you learn is how to fall so you don't get hurt. I think maybe we all need to learn this, physically and mentally, just to get through life. The former's challenging enough: even when you're covered in padding and wearing a helmet (as I was) it doesn't seem right to throw yourself at the floor voluntarily. But I guess it's worth it later when you don't have a choice and the ground's coming towards you at high speed and you need muscle memory to kick in and save you from a nasty break. The latter - those mental trips and stumbles we suffer - is even harder, because who ever knows if or how much padding we have? Or what rock bottom's going to feel like when we hit it? Those are the things that scare me and it scares me even more to admit I'm scared of them. But today I found myself in roller skates, performing a proper baseball slide across a gymnasium floor. And it hurt. And I loved it, with a sense of pure physical elation. I've got bruises already but I'll be going back for more.

On a slightly different note, the quote that's carried me through this week is from an aging punk interviewed by the BBC in Camden at Malcolm Maclaren's funeral:
"they are going to put him in the ground and the ground will be punk. Punk trees will grow"
I'd love to have something in that vein said about me when I'm gone - not the punk bit necessarily (my high school English teacher said, "girls, either buck the system or play the system. just make sure you do one of them". I'm in the latter camp, and it's not an overtly punk place), but I hope you get what I mean.

As part of the Minute of Mayhem requested by his son, I played The Buzzcocks "ever fallen in love".

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

a joke wot I wrote.

she taps the mic, clears her throat.

So. I was going to do a solo show about depression, but then I thought: what's the point?

drum flourish.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Washing the Elephant

by Barbara Ras

(from the New Yorker, 15 March 2010)

Isn’t it always the heart that wants to wash
the elephant, begging the body to do it
with soap and water, a ladder, hands,
in tree shade big enough for the vast savannas
of your sadness, the strangler fig of your guilt,
the cratered full moon’s light fuelling
the windy spooling memory of elephant?

What if Father Quinn had said, “Of course you’ll recognize
your parents in Heaven,” instead of
“Being one with God will make your mother and father
pointless.” That was back when I was young enough
to love them absolutely though still fear for their place
in Heaven, imagining their souls like sponges full
of something resembling street water after rain.

Still my mother sent me every Saturday to confess,
to wring the sins out of my small baffled soul, and I made up lies
about lying, disobeying, chewing gum in church, to offer them
as carefully as I handed over the knotted handkerchief of coins
to the grocer when my mother sent me for a loaf of Wonder,
Land of Lakes, and two Camels.

If guilt is the damage of childhood, then eros is the fall of adolescence.
Or the fall begins there, and never ends, desire after desire parading
through a lifetime like the Ringling Brothers elephants
made to walk through the Queens-Midtown Tunnel
and down Thirty-fourth Street to the Garden.
So much of our desire like their bulky, shadowy walking
after midnight, exiled from the wild and destined
for a circus with its tawdry gaudiness, its unspoken

It takes more than half a century to figure out who they were,
the few real loves-of-your-life, and how much of the rest—
the mad breaking-heart stickiness—falls away, slowly,
unnoticed, the way you lose your taste for things
like popsicles unthinkingly.
And though dailiness may have no place
for the ones who have etched themselves in the laugh lines
and frown lines on the face that’s harder and harder
to claim as your own, often one love-of-your-life
will appear in a dream, arriving
with the weight and certitude of an elephant,
and it’s always the heart that wants to go out and wash
the huge mysteriousness of what they meant, those memories
that have only memories to feed them, and only you to keep them clean.