Friday, 9 November 2012

In the Seachange Nothing is Safe

I was struck recently with the memory of a survey I took a few years ago, in which I was asked to name the 5 albums that I considered to be most formative in my musical development.  As far as I recall these were as follows:-

  • Nevermind - Nirvana
  • Pablo Honey - Radiohead
  • Superunknown - Soundgarden
  • Meloncollie and the Infinite Sadness - Smashing Pumpkins
  • Number 5 was either Smash by Offspring, Without you I'm Nothing by Placebo or Dookie by Greenday 
The Pixie aged 17 date... now that I think about it
Aside from reminding me that I spent the majority of my A-Level years looking like a cross between Brian Molko, Justine Frischmann and that Brett chap from Suede (androgyny was very in during the late 90s - really it was), it also brought in to stark realisation that I am still far more of a grungy miserablist than perhaps I had realised.  Aside from my brief stint as a 'bit of a goth' (I'm still a little bit in love with Robert Smith) I have never really moved away from my love of this type of music - and I don't think it's all nostalgia.  My musical tastes may have varied and broadened but in times of self reflection, self doubt and self loathing I return to the staple misery mongers of old and often find them strangely uplifting. 

I was asked this week to 'put something happy on' [the stereo] whilst hosting a night of nerdery and I was shocked to find myself at a loss.... I couldn't think of anything happy that the Sideburns and I had in our not insubstantial CD collection... nothing... in the end I went with some fairly high octane electronica... not 'happy' per se but not soul crushingly miserable either.... I was complained at for that too because it was 'just noise' - the philistines!  Eventually I plugged in my laptop and we settled in to slaying evil beasts with an 80s pop soundtrack to time our axe swings to.

I think I am, by nature something of a melancholy soul.  A new study recently discovered that this is not an unusual trait.  Apparently those of us who are a bit creative are also a bit mental - and writers are the worst... awesome!  I do so love when new and exciting studies show what the majority of the population already instinctively knew to be true!  To grossly misquote a very wise man 'happiness is the enemy of creativity.'  We habitual sad sacks spend our time in the grips of crippling ennui, longing for a sense of peace, a happiness and contentment that we can only imagine  - it's what drives our creativity.  If by some miracle of providence we stumble upon that happiness, we lament the loss of our creative source, spiralling into an uncomfortable despondency, pulled away from the familiar friend we find in creeping despair.  It is the inevitable conundrum of the perpetually miserable wordsmith.

This does then rather beg the question of whether we are miserable because we are creative or creative because we are miserable - could we be happy if we were less creative?  If our imaginations could not take us to strange and magical places, would they be less inclined to take us to dark and foreboding ones?  If we were less creative, less able to imagine, would we even understand the meaning of happiness?  Gosh, I seem to have gone a bit 'Brave New World' here... how delightfully dystopian of me :)

My source of misery and despair is internal, my source of happiness and joy is external - there is an almighty conflict raging within this little Pixie on a daily basis.  These last few weeks however, while internally teetering on the brink of complete despondency, despair and dare I say it even a touch of depression, my external sources of comfort and delight have heard my internal cries and come to my aid.  The love that I have felt in this time, however disgraceful my behaviour may have been, the tenderness and true sweetness of my perfect and wonderful friends  has pushed me back on the right footing and may even be beginning to rub off on my internal conflict - just a little bit.

I am not ready to give up being creative, I shall always be a touch melancholy - existential crises fuel me - but I shall be eternally grateful for the people around me who make me feel worthy of being loved.

Thank you.

Pixie out


Matt said...

Wasn't it Marsha Klein that said that?