Monday, June 05, 2006

Wake up! Everything is ok!

The Cooper Temple Clause

Waiting Game (live)

Deep breaths. Inhale. Hold it. Exhale. Count from one to ten. You're standing still as you neck a full bottle of red wine. Oh how you hate wine. But it's a crap party - something has to be done. It's five minutes later: you're feeling slightly nauseous as the party gets into full flow and you're swept over to the side. You're ok. You're ok. Steady, steady. Feel the wall, it's still there, it's not spinning. Calm down. It's ok.

Deep breaths. Count down from ten. It's ok, you did it two hours ago, you can do it now. Talk to the person next to you. Talk talk talk. Ah, this feels good. Still alive. And yea, it is, it really is: it's two hours later and you're on top of the world, if you're even on the world. Seems like you're so high you're not even touching anything; the sphere looks so small from where you are. You can't feel your feet; maybe you're floating. Full of love. The alcohol has had the desired affect, it's just past two am, and you rule the Earth. The world hasn't ended. There was no Millennium Bug. It was all talk.

All the computers in the world haven't automatically shut down, the economy hasn't collapsed; you'll wake up in the morning and your head will hurt but you'll be alive. This was a good night - the fear led to an extraordinary amount of alcohol being drunk, and every guest at this party - like every party everywhere else - was in the mood for laughter - nervous laughter - and glad of the company they had around them. At least if the world was going to end, your last breath would've been in the company of friends. You turn to your friend, spilling his drink in the process: I really fucking love you.

Next morning: wake up, phone a friend.

"That was the best New Year's Eve ever, wasn't it mate? ... You remember that anthem they kept playing over and over? I mean, which bloody joker put the CD player on repeat, just so he could sing exuberantly, "And 'is this the end?' is all I can say". Was it Eamonn? He's got the best music taste... Bloody good tune, that was an'all... He's still a wanker like but now that it's over I can only laugh... Still; you don't know how relieved I was that they had no R-E-M. If them people in that house had started laughing and singing "It's the end of the world as we know it", I swear I would've just found the nearest balcony and jumped... Haha, aye, I figured you felt the same... But seriously mate, I had a great night. We gotta see each other more, yea? ... Yea I know man. Sure, I'll text you or whatever... Yea you too."

You find the CD, and you put it on repeat - just so as you remember that hook, how'd it go again? The twinkling keys and steady shock of the guitar chords make you feel higher than Heaven - or maybe that's the alcohol; hasn't quite left your system yet. Beep Beep. Text comes through on your cellphone: "How much did you drink, in the end up? ... Bloody great night all the same yea? ... You were really something else... Daft eejit"

Malcolm Middleton

A Happy Medium

Occasionally you hear a song, and it's like hearing the essence of happiness. It's a sunny day, and it's the feeling of being outside walking along the street, or cycling by the river. Deft leg movements, the feeling of fitness. Passing by the alcoholics in the carpark, and then you've gone further than you meant to - actually on the cycle path now; looking to your right you see the Toucan II - the Derry boat that'll take you along the river and back again.

It's beautiful looking to your right, all this potential, all this greenery far in the distance; mountains, when you look further still. The water's filthy - travel further, you're nearing Sainsbury's and before-you-know-it you're looking over the edge: there's a shopping trolley ditched and thrown over the railing. But, like I say, the sun's out, the water's sparkling - clear and true - and you're smiling, and you don't really know why. Maybe it's the season, maybe it's the feeling of forgetting everything else going on in your life.

This song is a wonder, in that it conveys the very brilliance of being alive. Maybe you're generally not a happy person, but there are pure moments of absolute joy that you experience, just like the rest of the world, and you're glad the world's not over, that you still are alive, that everything - for the moment - is A-ok. "Woke up again today, woke up again today, woke up again today". Hear the twinkling, the pleasing calm guitar notes, the ecstatic drum notes, the chirping of the birds. It's the same birds you heard this morning when you were out walking, getting the paper and a croissant. And to be honest, it's quite amusing, the lyrical honesty of it all. "Realised I hate myself". It's one of those songs that you hear and you actually realise everything's ok.

It's a song of hope. Realising the error of your ways, some things need to change, some part of your life needs to change, you're in it for the long-haul but by the end of it you're going to be a better person; you'll feel brilliant. This isn't the sound of silence, it's the sound of the sun coming out, illuminating all the dark spots you've been too scared to look at. It's not the end of the fight, it's not a white flag; it's the start of a summer full of golden opportunities - they're staring you right in the face, laughter trickling down from the sky, eyes twinkling in the mid-day sun, and you're staring right back, beaming the most genuine smile you've shared in a while. Every song's an anthem. Every smile's a blessing. Every day's an opportunity. "Everything's ok / I'm obviously unhappy".

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