Sunday, 18 September 2011

Black Dogs & Desirable Objects

Philip Gould was a labour political strategist before succumbing to cancer. He has been told he has three months at best to live and, when I watched his interview today I was struck by his phrase about the intense nature of the disease. By intense he does not mean the cancer itself, but rather how living in the 'death zone' as he calls it, makes life and living utterly intense. Just gazing out of the window into the garden overwhelms him. I really felt for him and can relate entirely. A brave man to speak so publicly and with such insight and candour.

My own narrow escape left me with just such a heightened emotional state and even two years on, little things can still move me in ways so un-expectantly powerful it astounds me. For instance, a simple piece of music can hit me so hard it can make it difficult to breath never mind see. This last week and the coming one are probably having  extra impact on my newly strained equanimity. Pending hospital results for my better half, an upcoming 'milestone' birthday, ongoing family tensions, a new grandson and sorting out a holiday all adding to the strain. 

So I decided I needed a spot of what they call 'retail therapy' and on Friday I went out and bought myself an iPodTouch as a birthday present to myself. What a beautifully tactile device it is and perfect for deflecting any unwanted thoughts. So, once loaded up with my music collection I stuck it on shuffle. And these were the very first two songs it came up with, stirring all those emotions I was busily attempting to subjugate. 
Bloody thing ... 

Why should I cry for you?
Dark angels follow me
Over a godless sea
Mountains of endless falling,
For all my days remaining,

What would be true?

Sometimes I see your face,
The stars seem to lose their place
Why must I think of you?
Why must I?
Why should I?
Why should I cry for you?
Why would you want me to?
And what would it mean to say,
That, "I loved you in my fashion"?

What would be true?
Why should I?
Why should I cry for you? 

But then it followed it up with this fantastically upbeat song by the Doobies: A Brighter Day. 

You can't help but want to get up and move your feet joyfully listening to music as vibrant as this. Say goodbye to that bloody black dog. (Churchill used to say of his depression that it was his black dog)

(And they say machines have no soul ...)

There's a little bitty boy down in Jamaica
Who has the gift of seeing second sight
He sees the world and all it's troubles
But inside his heart the sun is shining bright

So everybody shout to your brother
Everybody sing let your spirit fly away
Oh oh oh shout to your brother
So all the people have a brighter day



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