Friday, 6 December 2013

Daylight Delight

Frank Chickens 
Ben Calvert 
Dead Flowers
(& Hannah on the organ) 

Islington Union Chapel : 9th November 2013 

People of the capital. 

I just want to make you aware of a little gem that exists in your town. And its free*

At the gothic marvel that is Islington's Union Chapel from noon on a Saturday a band of volunteers put on a couple of hours of live music under the umbrella of 'Daylight Music'

There is homemade cake, biscuits to go with your tea and coffee and great music in relaxed surroundings. It occurs to me, even as a teetotaler, this this is the perfect antidote to a Friday night booze up.  

It definitely had a completive air the session that I attended last month. As I walked in, quite fitting for a chapel, the organ was playing but it took a few moments before I realized it was the theme from ITV cop drama 'The Bill' followed by a sensitive take on London's finest Chas n Dave's masterwork 'Ain't No Pleasing You' which set the tone perfectly.

Both Ben Calvert and Dead Flowers were the perfect accompaniment to a mid-day cuppa. It appears from his site that this was Ben's last show which is a shame but his description of the atmosphere was spot on. I'm unsure whether I'm a middle-ager or a hipster
but thats my problem.

The main reason for my attendance was Frank Chickens who I had briefly seen at Stewart Lee's 'At Last the 1981 Show' at the Festival Hall - a celebration of the alternative comedy boom. Lee had also sparked a campaign against the Fosters Lager promoted 'Best Ever Comedy Act' at the Edinburgh Festival by encouraging people to vote for Frank Chickens. This was to point out the ridiculousness of comparing comedic acts but also because he loves this absurd (in the best sense) act.

"Years ago we were described as a great embarrassment to Japan, now we feel we are a great embarrassment to the whole world" quoth Frank Chickens. Their show is shot through with a quirky energy and wicked sense of humour from the cult hit 'We Are Ninja' to the tale of lovelorn radioactive monster 'Mothra'. 
This collection of 'socially and sexually confused people' at turns creepy, kooky and sweet' can't fail to make you grin. Their seemingly innocent stage patter contains little barbed comic comments that confound any preconceptions. They truly are a unique force of nature.

There are some great clips of the whole show up on Youtube

The whole event was an absolute pleasure although on the day I went, only half full. So, people of London, support this great enterprise with your donations, cake purchases and bums on pews. It deserves to be THE place to be on a Saturday afternoon. Throw off the duvet and get down to the Union Chapel. 

The final event of the year is on Saturday 7th December with The Trans-Siberian March Band and Festivus

* well, they would appreciate £3-50 donation which for all this music is a small price to pay and all proceeds go to the Union Chapel's own homeless project. 

Daylight Music FB page
Arctic Circle -the organisers
Union Chapel Islington

Sunday, 1 December 2013

How To Disappear Completely & Never Be Found

(I've tried to write this blog several times over the past couple of months and this is my best shot at it)

Or "doing A Perrin" as it could be called

Suicide ain't ma thang, baby - never been that brave \ cowardly. Yet the option of just walking away from everything and disappearing has seemed so attractive a few times.

The most recent was about 4 months ago.

I felt unconnected from everyone I knew. No real work to keep me around. None of my friends appeared to need me in their lives. They have companions, partners, lovers and lives that I just didn't feel part of.

So I thought that I would investigate the possibility of how best to leave it all behind. Naturally the internet is full of such advice although many were of the "get lost in a canoe and live in a hidden room next door" variety. Yet I slowly worked out a plan that seemed feasible even if just for a few months.

I was going to leave after I had got together with a few friends for the evening. I don't know why I chose that, maybe I wanted to go away with people having a last good impression of me. But things didn't go to plan, crippled by nerves and an emotional wreck I really couldn't see how I would cope.  The meet up with friends was overshadowed by the spectre of my abandoned plans that I saw as another failure and ruined the night for me and probably many others

I found, like dear old Reggie, you can't leave what's inside your head.

The thing you may not understand is that its not a reflection on my friends and family - I love them dearly.
You know that your friends and family will miss you but its such a selfish act that is not a vital part of your decision making - you just have this weight bearing down on you that you just want to escape from.  Its the black cloud, black dog, an all encompassing fog of confusion.

And you know that thing people say - "you can call me anytime you need to talk" - I can't take that seriously.
Perhaps its a natural reluctance to reach out for help but I never believe people when they make an offer like that. I find it hard to accept help, full stop.

Then again that help doesn't have to be a straight forward response to mementos of panic or times of gloom.

A friend and I recently took a trip to Dublin for a couple of days. It was the first proper break away from home I'd had in years - partly due to my inability or unwillingness to abandon my coping strategies and patterns behind.

However because I was with a friend who I trusted and knew would not panic or freak if I has a meltdown it was a revelatory time for me. Probably without her knowing I was forced to behave in ways that everyone else would take for granted but I would avoid back home. The simple act of eating a hearty breakfast and then going shopping, getting on public transport or going to a crowded place was usually weighed down with anxiety, excuses and escape routes.

The whole experience gave me a greater sense of self belief - at one point, after a concert, I suddenly felt very unsure of how I was coping and just couldn't stand being where I was. I had to go into the toilets and just cry it all out for about 20 mins, it was like a torrent of emotion.  I couldn't tell anyone I was with about it as I said, I'm very bad at accepting help and I didn't want to ruin anyone's night. I fear I may have been coming across as distant but it was just I feared interacting with anyone would set me off again. I just sort of zoned out for a while.

Apart from that wobble, I was able to do everything and although occasionally had to take a few deep breaths there was nothing I missed because of my fucking problems. In the past I was unable to eat on the day of a flight, would be crippled with nerves and just hate everything involved with travelling. To go from that to having a normal day, having the recommended three square meals including ribs n chips (divine) a couple of hours before being on a plane - I know this sounds pathetic but it was an incredible feeling at journey's end. It really has given me such a boost and improved my ability to cope with everything - ANYTHING.  Those without depression or anxiety in their lives have no idea how all encompassing the effect can be til you accept your limitations as the norm.

Of course that huge high, led to a bit of a crash last week but I decided to just get off this socail media thing for a while and concentrate on myself. Yet if I had been able to disappear a few months ago I would never have had that wonderful trip that has given me such hope and confidence in dealing with my problems.

So this is in part a "thank you" to my friend as for the first time in a long time I didn't feel freaky or abnormal but just able to live my life how I wanted to. Thank you for helping me do that. I realize that I have great friends who are there for me and I don't want to leave them behind..