Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Living and Dying

Last few weeks I have been ruminating on this here blog about men’s  stories, especially relationship narratives (not necessarily romantic in nature) and about self-perceived shortcomings that can be remodeled at will. Many posts are connected to song lyrics and all of them are things I think about when awake, and feel even when asleep. If you’re into this kind of tales go and see other posts with tag “On Relationships”.

And now, let’s continue.




Screen capture from youtube clip below - Do listen to the song!


It was second day of the new year, and a workday, to boot - when I first heard Joshua Hyslop sing Living & Dying while listening to Noisetrade's Best of What's Next (free download here - warmly recommended!).

Time stopped. I dropped what I was doing and went to see what this absolute awesomeness is.

It is truly a wonderful song featuring vibrant, yet minimalistic arrangements, exquisite singing voice and lyrics with the amount of clarity such that it embodies both all-encompassing and particular. It can be understood just as Joshua himself describes:

“’Living & Dying’ deals with the issues of humanity’s negative impact on the natural world” explains Hyslop. “On a deeper level, it deals with our unwillingness to be involved in making changes or finding a solution, despite how frequently we talk about it.”

… and yet, one can easily understand that it also describes that same rift in the small scale; negative impact one person’s (in)actions can have on dyadic or small social cell level. Escapism, passive aggression, inertia, unwillingness to acknowledge changing environment and one’s role in it - they all write that same story of drifting on the current of change instead of participating actively in building a healthy, homeostatic world.

Let me illustrate through Joshua's lyrics:

Watch as the world falls away, here we are lying
At sunrise the moon starts to wane
Living and dying
And the oceans echo out their deep refrain
And the river answers, “I’ll make you whole again”

Could also be said:

Look, if you stop for a moment and take heed at your surroundings you will see that the world progresses without us
Sun rises and sets
Waters circle between oceans and rivers endlessly

Further on:

Well, come away, come away, there’s no use staying
You’ve been living just for today
But tomorrow’s coming
And the lightning strikes and breaks apart the night
But the sparks will burn out long before they light

Could also be said:

So, let’s go - to just idle is detrimental.
Your unacceptance of your role in the world has been noted
But world does not stop for you, even if you think so
And it is not enough to bask in rare moments of clarity
If you are not translating them into direct action.

This is just the loveliest touch that Joshua has written:

Well the teeth cut the truth from our mouths
Here we are lying


... because there is an English idiom “Lying through your teeth” which means that someone is lying very aptly, so well that it looks like truth...
And, knowing that we then know that the ending really means:

We’re going to lie with great devotion, such that would be indistinguishable from truth even to us liars
And nothing will change




It is the loveliest of songs and heaviest of accusations.

Do not let it be you that Joshua is talking about.





Thursday, January 8, 2015

Can't Do Without You

Last few weeks I have been ruminating on this here blog about men’s  stories, especially relationship narratives (not necessarily romantic in nature) and about self-perceived shortcomings that can be remodeled at will. Many posts are connected to song lyrics and all of them are things I think about when awake, and feel even when asleep. If you’re into this kind of tales go and see other posts with tag “On Relationships”.

And now, let’s continue.




There is, like, six more songs I wanted to write about now, here in this relationship narrative series, but I am in distress now and when I am in distress I wait for perfect solution to present itself.

And it always does.

I do not listen to Caribou much. I have also seen Caribou live in Zagreb (2010, &TD) I went to the show with my then boyfriend and after the dissolution of the relationship I stopped listening to Caribou and also have stopped calling that person boyfriend including syntactic constructions like ex-boyfriend, last boyfriend or partner. At one time I read Žižek’s comment on relationship dissolutions and there he said:

'You don't simply dissolve marriage; divorce means that you retroactively establish that the love was not the true love.' When love goes away, you retroactively establish that it wasn't even true love." Is that what he did? "Yes! I erase it totally. I don't only believe that I'm no longer in love. I believe I never was."

… and I loved it. I mean; I know it is untrue and it is just a nifty trick we humans use to distance ourselves from the pain of our mistakes but it sounded so vibrant it was endearing.

But that does not do it for me.

I want to have my cake and eat it too and I do not mind paying for the cake to be able to do that. I want not only to admit and fully enjoy love, but also want to fully admit and enjoy the subsequent pain - and this is just a perfect song to illustrate that.

(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)

“Then boyfriend” is my favorite construction at this time since it admits to the fact of relationship existing at one point in time while at the same time ascertaining degree of separation that is impossible to miss. There was one great post on Killing Time blog back in June 2014 and I commented that:

“It is astounding how many people truly do not understand that after the relationship is over they do not exist in a particular form they inhabited while in the relationship. All this make-believe with “let’s stay friends” is just an attempt to eat shit while using a silver spoon:”


(I can't do without you)
(I can't do without you)
(I can't do without you)
(I can't do without you)
(I can't do without you)
(I can't do without you)
(I can't do without you)
(I can't do without you)
(I can't do without you)
(I can't do without you)
(I can't do without you)
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you


Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without

I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you

Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without

Can’t (as in “Can’t do without”) is an absolute, a quicksand that slowly devours you while and because you are struggling. Like Master Oogway told Shifu:

"Your mind is like this water my friend, when it is agitated it becomes difficult to see. But if you allow it to settle, the answer becomes clear."

So at the end of the song can’t turns into couldn’t. Couldn’t is no absolute. Couldn’t is a place of measurement, of weighing reality against the empty dream, and - maybe - deciding that reality is more valuble to you then fleeting escape from the pain.

I can't do without you
And you're the only thing I think about
(I can't do without you)
It's all that I can still do
(I can't do without you)
And you know you're the one I dream about
(I can't do without you)
I couldn't do without you



You can never go home, never return. You can only try new ways and new roads and try to catch up to the person you care about and walk with them down previously unused pathways.
And there’s only one way to start the journey.