Saturday, 15 January 2011
I found out this week that somebody I had thought felt some love towards me, even if was only just a tiny bit, actually doesn’t care about me whatsoever. Or rather I don’t know that they don’t care about me whatsoever but I feel as though they don’t, which is more or less the same thing. Because what’s the use of caring about someone if they don’t know you care?
So when I discovered this fact, ie that I am a poor uncared for soul, at least in respect of this particular person, I thought “…oh!” And after I’d thought “…oh!” for a bit, I spotted my Dior handbag - on the end of my arm you understand - hurtling at speed towards the head of the unloving being. Then I heard the unloving being say, “Jesus!” Then I stood up, picked up my coat and walked calmly out of the café.
Which is OK you know. Sure, it wasn’t my finest moment spiritually speaking but… it just was what it just was. And it did have one redeeming feature. It provided literally hours of amusement amongst my girlfriends. I couldn’t believe it. As I recounted my horrible behaviour with my head held ashamedly in my hands one friend in particular laughed so hard I thought she was having an asthma attack. Even a dharma teacher described it as ‘a little bit hilarious’. So I guess it’s not the end of the world. If there’s one thing you can rely on your girlfriends to do, they will tell you when it’s the end of the world.
Anyway, as luck would have it I’d been planning a trip to Kate MacGarry to see Chicks on Speed and my violent assault on another in Café Nero didn’t seem to be reason enough to deflect from that plan. In fact if there’s any reason to go and see Chicks on Speed this is surely it. What better balm for the soul (and yet more man problems in the absence of Gloria Gaynor) than what MacGarry’s press release describes as “their no-nonsense approach to self-display, sensory pleasure and forthright femininity that places them squarely in the post-feminist camp, where what the lady wants, the lady gets on and does.” Doesn’t that just make you feel good? I’m not even joking. No irony involved here. It makes me feel so goddam happy.
The transformative power of art I find endlessly awe inspiring and humbling. Suddenly I feel like it’s going to be ok. It might not be how I ‘planned’ it, but it will be ok. In fact, it almost definitely won’t be how I planned it, but still, it will be ok. So my new plan for 2011 is not to have a plan. A specifically no plan plan. I’ll do things, of course I’ll do things, but I’ll try and let them come to me a bit more rather than chasing around after what I think I want. Because life doesn’t necessarily bring you what you want, but maybe it does bring you what you need. And for once I’m going to try and embrace that rather than incessantly picking and choosing - this but not that; that but not this. Manipulating, plotting, scheming my life away – just a bit less of those things for twelve months and we’ll see how it goes.
Because let’s face it, we’re all going to be dead before long and I guess we’re not likely to be able to plan that. That kind of thing just happens when it happens. So I might as well start to have a tentative little go at the planless plan. That’s what’s happening anyway so I might as well start to acknowledge it at least.
After the supa-cool E-shoes – wearable guitars with sound producing sensory strings that these extraordinary and upliftingly bananas women wear for their performances – I potter off to Nettie Horn.
Nettie Horn isn’t usually my favourite gallery on Vyner Street but this was definitely one of the best 40 minutes I’ve spent in a gallery in a long time. I’m not sure if that’s attributable to my state of mind at that particular moment or if this really is one of the most glorious pieces of work ever made. A bit of both possibly.
From Here to Eternity is a film by Oliver Pietsch that consists of 40 minutes of movie clips about human death montaged into one fabulous whole. It sounds slightly grim. But it is so not. It’s marvellous. Watching it was like being hit by an emotional double decker bus over and over again until at some point even my will to resist expired and I found myself lying there on my bean bag in a blacked out Nettie Horn with a bunch of strangers I couldn’t see and with not an ounce of tension in my body, feeling totally at peace with the world. Well, maybe not totally at peace, but some level of acceptance had arrived that I don’t think I’ve experienced before. Suddenly what had been quite profoundly un-ok, was… ok.
This catastrophic tragedy we call life – by which I mean the fact that everything we love we lose, like everything everything - suddenly didn’t seem so bad. The fact that I could be pushing up the daisies as soon as this time next week – allowing a few days for the funeral arrangements etc., wheels put in motion and what not, suddenly seemed ok. And not in a morbid way. I feel happy. It’s fine. It’s a no plan plan. What a bloody relief. At some point I will die and I have absolutely no idea when that might be nor any control over it. I don’t have to do a thing. It will work out all by itself. Thank the Lord. And that’s what makes this a great piece of film. I’d go as far as to use the film critics favourite January accolade – I’d go as far as to say this is the best film of the year.
So, if like me you’ve had a bit of bad news, maybe you’ve just walloped someone with your handbag on Elgin Crescent and you’re not feeling that top notch about it, then go to Bethnal Green and check out From Here to Eternity. I promise you nothing is going to cheer you up like 40 minutes of death and dying. It’s a joy. An utter joy.