Thursday, 5 November 2009

Taboo

On Sunday 1st November 2009 The Sunday World (local paper in Northern Ireland) carried a controversial photograph on its front page. It was of a dead young man hanging on a rope from a bridge by his neck. The police said it was suicide even though the “victim” appeared to have been beaten up and had his hands tied behind his back. I realise this is a very sensitive subject obviously for the mans family and friends and I sympathise with all concerned but the issues I am discussing here are less about the death itself or the rights and wrongs therein and more to do with how we view death and how such a gruesome photograph came to be on the front cover of a national newspaper.

First of all how do people see death? Obviously with great trepidation, it is the greatest of all taboos and yet it is ever present all of us will witness death if we live a reasonable amount of years and yet it is something that we find great difficulty handling or coming to terms with. I will look at this subject from many perspectives, personal, collectively and how I notice other individuals dealing (or not!) with death.

I was born into a society where death was an ever present entity, which it is in most places but in Northern Ireland during the troubles it was something that happened daily and as a child growing up there was much talk of it in all aspects of life. Like most young boys I loved war films, action men toys and all things to do with war and on the streets where I grew up soldiers patrolled daily which added a new dimension to these war games I was playing. So lets look at death. We see death all the time in many, many forms in movies, books, video games and of course older relatives dying brings a more tangible experience of it.

Lets look seriously about how most of us view death. From what I know from my own experiences we played war games and death was just that part of a game. The average person does not witness death wholesale even growing up in a country were there was a conflict death was not happening on the scale that it did in world war scenarios or in more recent conflicts such as Rwanda or the former Yugoslavia. I am not trying to say to people who experienced loss that it was not important just that it didn’t happen with the same impact from a statistical perspective, I am trying to be matter of fact rather condescending. So we grow up with death as an idea that we see in movies, books, games, maybe your pet may die in these cases death is not much of a shock it is expected and willed often because it is simply not real. This is then a very detached sense of an incredibly real and potentially life shattering event and put simply this is a form of denial in fact it is the worst form as society attempts it stop itself from being effected by the inevitable it teaches its children to do the same “don’t look and it’ll go away” sorry folks not so we need to accept and understand death.

Society doesn’t want to look at anything that may cause grief/pain/upset this is the ultimate denial and it is in fact dangerous. People need to realise that these things are there it’s going to happen once you realise you’re not immortal it gives you an edge because you become very aware of how much time you have and will therefore tend to use it more wisely. There are also a lot of people who get involved in crime and hurt other people they do this simply because they don’t know how else to act they were just born into a bad situation and don’t see it as being good bad or indifferent it just is, they don’t know any other way. I always remember watching how established employees would treat the new starts they would ask them to do something and when those who had just started messed up everyone would laugh at them. No matter how simple a task appears it really is only simple if you know how to do it, I am setting this as a kind of example which will become clearer as my point progresses.

Take a scenario partly taken from real events that happen all then time but I am not using any actual example. A young man late teens say is involved in crime stealing, fighting, drugs that sort of thing. This is the way life has always been for him and he also has this unreal sense of death I was talking about earlier (which we all have to a degree.) He ends up very drunk, becomes involved in a fight and kills someone with a knife. Think about it fighting IS socially acceptable it’s everywhere Boxing, Wrestling, if a criminal gets beat up supposedly liberal people say he deserved it and of course our own governments send armies to foreign lands to fight so that the range of examples being set along with movies and other forms of media and all this happening inside a detached individual who feels immortal now that’s going to be potentially explosive.

When I say the person feels immortal I am not talking about thinking you’re superhero immortal I mean in a very real sense we all feel that way. Smokers don’t think they’ll get any smoking related illnesses or they must not on some level, think about it, Then when it happens it’s a shock but the stats clearly state that there is a high chance of it happening so we must be conveniently disregarding the stats and facts because we really have detached ourselves from the world and think we’re somehow special.

So going back to the newspaper report people complained at seeing the dead body hanging there on the newspaper and about the fact the police didn’t cover the body before removing it. Why? Because people don’t want to see bodies they know people die but seeing it is far too real it’s another level of understanding sight makes something concrete it is the only sense that has any real impact in this way. You’d think that after all we had to put up with here in Northern Ireland we’d have got to some basic acceptance of death, but know. I read some very dark poets and talk about subject matter that many consider taboo I have a deep respect for death it is part of life in fact life could not be possible without death. I am not saying lets all go top ourselves or lets go murder people lets just be aware of it and stop this fucking charade we’re all far too sensitive and not preparing yourself mentally for a situation, any situation, means you will not be ready for it when it occurs.

When people start on the road to alcoholism and other serious life effecting addictions it is usually not much of a problem, I’ve been there and even when it clearly is a problem they’re usually too far gone to be concerned about it. I remember saying to people that it was the only thing that keep my mad head quiet and that was very true but it was also creating another type of craziness that I was not looking at that’s the old denial trap for most people it’s too late my sister died because of alcoholism but I was not an alcoholic when it happened to her I needed to become her shadow to understand it, it’s quite perverse really in retrospect and life is very much that way full stop we don’t know the impact something has until we live it, or strangely (in this case) die it!!

Should the paper have published the picture? I think yes we seem to have a suicide problem here more than in most places the reasons are never black and white it could be a combination of many f actors but the fact remains we need to toughen up emotionally. While some would say not reacting is being emotionally retarded I would disagree it’s being careful despite our views on all that is pervasive in our collective consciousness most of what we consuming with our minds has been here around since pre historic times in fact it’s a waste of brain space to keep most of it and this compulsion to repeat

All of what I write is from a purely observational point of view I only know what I see and I go quite in depth rather than just skimming the surface. I asked a friend recently had he read my latest blog and he said with a screwed up face “Yeah and I thought ach Séamus why don’t you just tell me a nice story.” Bless… he has denial… ah well at least I know he’s human.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

A rant that turns to love!

It has been quite an historic week. The BNP actually got on live national television at first I thought let them work away they’ll make idiots out of themselves but the more I have been thinking about it I now reckon it was a pretty bad decision by the BBC.

There are several reasons for this and the fact they are fucking filthy minded bastards is not one of them (but it sounds good!)

Now I am still of the opinion that politics is all just a big charade anyway so I reckon many people will be saying if it’s all a game why worry about it? Well for one the game can easily be hijacked and allowing Nick Griffin to have a public platform in this manner was somewhat of a coup for the BNP it has legitimised them in the eyes of their supporters and maybe turned the heads of many not so bright sparks who really don’t understand the whole process but like hearing how our collective mess could be sorted out (even if that is fantasy because the only thing that will sort us out is extinction.)

I am going at this one from two angles from an historical point of view and from the way we see and absorb the world around us and thus turn to politicians for answers to questions which, frankly, none of us can really answer.

The first point is very obvious but must be stated adequately for full effect and a further historical example must be used to strengthen my case. Hitler took power of a little known political party he took over and in time built a stronger nation. He used propaganda to assume his position as Germany was in a desperate position after WWI and he gave the people false hope along with jobs and immediate wealth.

Recently I was having a conversation with my cousins and they were asking about the meaning behind some of my more intense pieces of poetry and more importantly what could people actually do about the situation we all find ourselves in. I gave a quite extreme example of people empowerment which is the storming of the Bastille without going into too much detail the French people rose up in large numbers and in effect over turned the feudalist system of government under which they’d be governed. I said this as a simple example of how people power can actually work but then someone asked how long ago was it and when I said it happened in the 1700’s there was of course a lot of tutting. The reason for this seems fairly obvious to me people look at history like it’s some kind of movie or fairy story we are very detached from the actualities of the world and I mean all the world everything that has ever been. If something does not relate directly to the day to day that people experience, ‘erm daily (☺) it is dismissed and seen as irrelevant and this is the reason why we cannot learn from the past. We appear doomed to just repeat because we refuse to open our eyes to learn we must look back recognise mistakes and break the loop by amending them but what we’re doing is gossiping about how wrong everyone else is and not actually looking at our own misgivings we do this on both collective and individual levels. This just leaves everyone part of a system where by eventually the finger will be pointed at you because if you look hard enough for something to go wrong it eventually will.

The BNP are doing a similar thing they’re saying that multiculturalism is the reason why the countries are in the state they’re in, Why? How? People have been emigrating around this world from the very beginning of humanity this is not your country you’re not important enough to say you own anything none of us are it’s all on loan. When people move from place to place the settled natives get restless and jealous of the new comers it’s a very childish race we have inherited and I liken the whole thing to a great example of coveting I witnessed while working in a warehouse. A workmate would always get up while he was eating his dinner and actually look up the tables to see how much food the other workers were getting and he would make a big thing of someone else getting a sausage more than him I laughed at the time but it’s quite serious when put in another context ie they have more oil than us! We are truly very, very childish and the main problem is that we are not seeing that the past is repeating itself we know war is wrong but our little primitive emotions get the better of us and we throw a metaphorical dummy of the pram but in this case the pram is a battleship and the dummy is a cruise missile.

So back to the BNP they’re cunts I’d personally cave a few skulls with my own hands (so long as they were tied up and couldn’t hit me back.) and go Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah to them. This has all happened before guys and the main thing I am trying to say is Asian and African people are not any different to us and different religions and sexual preferences are no different to us we’re all in this almighty fuck up together lets help each other out of it please rather than kicking each other further down. Much love. Life’s too short.

Monday, 12 October 2009

“Be my Guest, Be my Host, Be my Ghost.” Duchamp
“Be my 127.0.0.0”

“What are they building in there?” I thought as I looked across Belfast’s Donegal St from the Safehouse Gallery at the PS2 art space with those modified words from the Tom waits song repeating in my head. For a few days now there had been much coming and going as there would often be there with people setting up for presentations or performances. This however was different because I was totally mystified as to what the aim of this performance/event/piece would be even after watching the artists set up, locating them via a Google search and exhausting every conceivable avenue of art my mind could think of I still had no idea what was going on. I went across and introduced myself and met Sister0 and Jesse Darling two oddly intriguing individuals who baffled me with strange talk about proxy servers and such advanced technical jargon that my poetic little mind literally boggled, in a good way. Still none the wiser I decided I would have to come for the performance on Thursday the 29th August in order to understand the technicalities of this new fangled modern art. Performance art to me was based around all I knew and had seen mainly poetry readings and staged plays I had never heard of ISEA but over the next few weeks I would be enlightened as to the boundless possibilities of performance art in it’s many beautiful guises.

The show they put on was based in part around a strange electronic device named “Bag-Lady-2.0” which was basically a computer in an innocent looking handbag with a big brother style camera which could capture both video and still pictures and render them with added text to be blown up and played on half the wall of the arts space while Sister0 and Jesse acted out a very original performance which carried connotations of a dystopian society. While the space and the artists looked fairly modern the feel of the whole performance was other worldly like Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia. One corner of the room was packed with rubbish, empty cans, a busted cistern, broken wood and strangely new an untouched looking books. The scenes being played out on the wall via projector where still images from around the Belfast streets and the artists them selves setting the space up with unrelated and yet at times seemingly related random captions from headlines in the “Newstatesman”. Again I was to revisit my Tom Waits thoughts of the previous days as the strange music akin to metal being torn apart by robots played and Jesse Darling playing the part of some kind of slave toiled away frantically printing Christian crosses onto the wall by hand with a rubber stamp. Her Nemesis Sister0 looked like a modern version of an SS prison guard although her uniform was more colourful and 21 st Century looking in appearance her actions were anything but.

She was menacing with her bleached blonde hair and Guinness filled water pistol with which she sprayed the hapless Jesse as she tried to carry out tasks which were utterly impossible. The Jailer like character of Sister0 would read aloud through a megaphone in a distorted electronic voice the captions that were flashing up on the large screen very quickly and without respite Jesse Darling was then supposed to copy them onto the wall which she reached further up using a step ladder having abandoned the earlier task of printing the wall full of crucifixes. Sister0 patrolled the space behind a red and white stripped police style tape which separated the audience form the performance but was still lose enough to touch.

Every time Jesse was unable to complete the quotation she was at that moment working on she would be sprayed with Guinness from the gun which had oddly been dyed completely black so even it’s signature white foam was indeed black. Periodically Sister0 would check the computer in the corner for details before barking out her latest orders the result was always the same though Jesse would not be able to complete it and she would get shot at. Suddenly the computer Sister0 was receiving her information from and the main screen both crashed at which point she went into the corner of the space and sat perfectly still facing the wall while Jesses character just stood where she was also silent and still until the performance just ended like that pretty abruptly just as it had started.
The “Baglady 2.0” device was turned off before the slaver like character went and sat in the corner of the room kind of echoing that the perceived “government” in the piece no longer had control over their subjects as there had been what I would liken to a “wall Street Crash” style event.

After the artists had left and the space was abandoned the projection of the images continued and I thought it was like some world that had lost all its human elements. Until about one week after the performance the space again came to life with Sister0 doing a presentation which fully explained the concept and meaning behind “Bag-Lady 2.0” the night went well with many elements aspiring to the Black foam party theme borrowing local delicacies such as Black Pudding presented strangely on coal shovels as well as more helpings of Guinness and Dark Chocolate. ISEA all in all was a huge success and I learned much from the experience.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Not long till November.

This blog lark is dead on like, I am getting off on it rightly, not literally. I currently have six "followers" one of whom is myself. Yes I have decided to follow myself interesting concept since I have no fucking idea who I am! I have been wandering around since my conception and to be truthful I have no idea what I am doing here
And from the strange and often disturbing behaviour I witness from others no one else seems to know what’s going on either. Following myself is quite easy these days because I am always sober, boring but sober. I am still an unpredictable fucker but these days I am bearably unpredictable. Not too long ago I never knew what I was going to do next it was very disturbing but great craic at the same time.

I have looked a lot at different theories throughout my short life thus far and found them all to be very shallow. If any organisation contains even the slightest hint at something being taboo I get immediately suspicious because rules always end up being broken in fact there just seems to be an unwritten rule to automatically try to break rules or at least bend them to the point of cracking then back of apologising and saying “I was only joking.”

There are just far too many questions that simply can not be answered rationally of course you’re going to find a myriad of idiots who claim to be able to answer said questions but these answers often involve a bearded man (not Adam Loughlin or Hotrod) who walks on water and gets climactically doused in vinegar just cause he told some children stories, ah well the Romans were the Nazis of their day. None of it makes any real sense. I remember being in Primary 6 as far as I can recall I was around 9 at the time and during R.E the teacher told us to draw a picture of the ascension so I drew the cave and trees and shit and Jesus going up into the sky with one arm pointed upward like he was being plucked by an invisible force. Everyone laughed at me saying Jesus looked like superman and I said well if he could do what they say he could do he was superman. The teacher liked my picture because no one else had drew a figure of him they just had wavy lines and other non sense representing a soul. Even back then I was firmly grounded in the reality of what I could and could not see, subsequently I have since seen ghosts but I am very cautious about these apparitions because I am well aware that alcohol, drugs and even a lack of food or sleep can warp the cranium. You can’t even trust your own mind, it’s laughable.

I meet people who make me laugh daily. We all think we’re so together and so sorted out. I meet people who are adamant that they know exactly what’s going down on this whatever the fuck it is that we occupy and I try to explain to them that fucking billions of dead geniuses couldn’t figure this out so what makes a part time barman from Cullybacky who smokes cannabis and once got lifted for robbing a chicken Tikka sandwich from the Tesco on the Dublin Road any different but he doesn’t answer that question because he’s fictional, I made him up to use as an example.
I do however know a part time barman and a boy from Cullybacky and a boy who smokes Cannabis and a boy who got lifted for robbing a chicken Tikka sandwich from the Tesco on the Dublin Road.

Yes folks I am afraid we’re all just as blind as the next person we’ve all been deposited here, literally. I mean think about it you came out of an orifice that your Da uses to piss and went into an orifice that your Ma uses to piss before subsequently coming back out that second orifice. I hate being blunt but them’s the facts people. So the real answer to the joke: Q) “What goes in and out and smells like piss?” is actually YOU!

PS The answer before my revelation was: A) “A gypsy doing the hokey cokey!”

And here’s the joke again because there’s bound to be at least one twat who couldn’t get it in the form I wrote it in above.

Q) “What goes in and out and smells like piss?”
A) “A gypsy doing the hokey cokey!”

Blog out. Séamus.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

No title as yet these are apparently random thoughts that have begun to take rational form.

Been spouting this stuff a long time just getting round to summarizing it all now, it’s pretty deep.

So after 37 years locked in this human known as Séamus I have seen, heard and felt much. I have tried to be funny and have only positive emotions all the time but found that this one sided view of life will not work due to the fact that the universe is a combination of positive and negative and we being part of said universe therefore must follow those simple rules no matter what our little supposed self determining brains keep whispering to us and hey we’re all fucking crazy anyway so if you’re actually listening to those voices which you all ready know to be extremely inept when it comes to rational decision making you’re not only delusional you’re also potentially fucking homicidal, so either top yourself now and save a few lives or go live in a country where guns are more easily acquired. (PS Hanging is best once the carotid arteries get cut off you only have 7-12 seconds worth of oxygen left in the brain before you go unconscious, trust me you won’t feel a thing, I tried a few times it nearly worked.) But never mind my dreams back to the crux of my thesis.

Positive and negative.

These concepts are relatively simple getting punched is not nice (in most cases) while making (fucking) love to a beautiful woman is positive (in most cases). There is however an area which will not be discussed here in my thesis and that is the grey area between positive and negative where getting punched by while making (fucking) love to a beautiful woman bring a dilemma which blurs the philosophical boundaries of pleasure and pain (see later thesis called: I am crying but I love it.)

Trying to explain these concepts is pretty difficult for many reasons the first being the fact that I am trying to highlight faults that exist within the collective society where we all live this can cause many problems the main one being that I will have already lost a huge swathe of the population during the first sentence because the lure of either TV, Sport, Drugs, Alcohol or Pornography are much more interesting than questions of moral integrity. The second is more complex I am attempting to explain matters of the human brain with a human brain and since my brain has been systematically abused physically, chemically and existentially since my mid teens holes the size of eye sockets may be found in my arguments so hey bring it on turn the other cheek and I’ll break your fucking chin (only joking, (maybe.)

Positive and negative are effected by mood and I know you may be thinking this is all very basic stuff and so it is, but think for a moment. Did you ever do something to another person or do something which you later regretted and actually asked yourself Why did I do that? If you have never had this feeling fuck off. If you have read on. (Just lost another bunch of retards to the five controlling factors: TV, Sport, Drugs, Alcohol and Pornography which I will from now on refer to as TSDAP.) So here we go when you’re in a good mood everything seems fine and the opposite can be said when being in an opposing mood. A good mood is very favourable so when in said mood we will try our best to keep that lovely feeling at all costs when we encounter others with bad moods we avoid them and even talk very badly about them blaming their miserable behaviour on the individual alone. This creates a type of social division in which those not having a nice time are sent to the metaphorical fringes of society and in extreme cases these individuals end up so disaffected by their exile that they become totally cut off from the collective while individuals within the collective use those outsiders as examples of how not to behave so as they themselves can strengthen their position as apparently “normal” members of society. However from a philosophical point of view there is no such thing.

So lets look at the collective in more detail. When we all were born the collective was already here so in reality no one is totally an individual many of us share multiple traits with others and get through our lives with little consequence. It is only in very extreme and often dangerous cases that people come to the attention of others as being potentially harmful, this can be defined in many different ways, so many in fact that I am not going to start explaining them all here. The collective is a very loose term it is fairly obvious that we do share much in common and that all our similarities can be used to foster bonds with our fellow humans but just as apparent and much more worrying is the way in which our similarities can be used to coerce people into acts of hatred and even violence. People are pretty basic instinctively they will often do and say things on and against others that they would strongly protest about if the same actions were to be carried out upon them or their kin yet even though they themselves may have been through hard times which caused them to make bad decisions they forget all this when their mood is better. These traits are repeated in all aspects of our lives on a daily basis. When people take a dislike to another individual for whatever reason they will (in many cases) begin to despise everything about the other person even though deep down they may actually enjoy certain aspects of said person they will not allow themselves to be seen to do this by others. This same “denial” can be seen also in more extreme cases. It is not alright to murder, people get jailed for it and yet those in power can send troops to other countries to murder enemy combatants and for anyone reading this who just said “yeah but that’s different.” I am afraid you’re suffering from collective denial much like the rest of us. What I am getting at here is basic “Is it alright to murder someone?” and the answer is clearly sometimes.
This very tribal behaviour is everywhere from nation states protecting their interests to single individuals protecting their friends we all do it without realising it is pure instinct but we excuse it as necessary because in very simple terms we don’t like being wrong. We’d rather risk being found out as hypocrites than be wrong that shows how much concern we have about other people disliking us. Most of us take the safe option and choose theories that are held to be righteous by the many this way even though we are wrong hey millions of others think the same way don’t they so that makes it ok doesn’t it? Does it? This blog is pretty fucking intense and it’s doing my head in now so I’ll continue it at a later date. Peace or is it war! ;)

Séamus.