December 12th

These blog posts are thinning out to say the least, partly because I'm busy, and partly because I've already said a lot of things I wanted to. Which is better, repeating yourself endlessly, or staying silent once you've said your piece?

Quote of the Week

  • "This house has been far out at sea all night, |The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills, |Winds stampeding the fields under the window |Floundering black astride and blinding wet |Till day rose; then under an orange sky |The hills had new places, and wind wielded |Blade-light, luminous black and emerald, |Flexing like the lens of a mad eye." - Ted Hughes, Wind

Monday, 24 August 2009

Tripping

Recently some of you may have noticed my music sense has gone all trippy. You could say that's either because of my recent self-exploratory mood, when I started wondering about the nature of who I am and what's going on in my head and the like, or you could say that it's the other way around, with the music causing the change in my mood. Anyway, this chicken-and-egg debate is yet to be resolved, and I'm not in the capacity to tackle it. So I won't.

But really, what exactly is Trip Hop? The name is a bit misleading, since Trip and Hip are very distantly related (if they met at a party they'd stay at opposite ends of the building, and one would probably leave early so as to avoid meeting the other). You could almost say the former evolved from the latter in a sort of angry father, estranged son kind of way. According to our good friend Wikipedia, Hip seems to have "spawned" Trip in the same way Genghis Khan produced the majority of his descendants - while rampaging across the length and breadth of the known world, the supreme (but not very clever) Hip Hop stopped at a small village, had its way with the local music scene, and went off again. The result was Trip Hop, and it has since been quietly generating waves while Hip Hop continued on blithely, unaware of what it had created. Trip will never be popular, but then it doesn't want to be.

In the same way Hip Hop artists block out the voices in their heads by shouting loudly until they go away, Trippers politely invite the same voices in, and have long intellectual discussions with them. The result is something like a house party with all the kids who are unpopular for different reasons (Acid Jazz, Dub, Jamaican, Psychedelic Rock and Downtempo), but where they are all slightly drunk and therefore trying to behave their best.

Although some drinks are smashed and a few voices are raised, the party gradually gets going. Conversations start reluctantly, sad stories emerge, confused thoughts are exposed, awkward jokes are made and laughed at and nerdiness abounds, but suddenly something beautiful appears, without anyone knowing what it is or even noticing it, drawing us, in yet staying just out of reach.

Whether by convergent evolution or grand design, Trip Hop encroaches into the realm of Classical music, almost as if the only difference between the house party full of unpopular kids and a gala buffet hosted by Bruce Wayne is the lack of pretentiousness and musical inbreeding among the Trippers. While the Classicalists stick to their pre-industrial age instruments (and to be fair to them, they do it very well), Trippers boldly go wherever they so choose, whether it be a well-trodden path (sampling others' music), outer space (electronica) or the untamed wilderness (sampling sounds from nature). The result is sometimes confusing, occasionally hit-and-miss, but every so often, just plain excellent.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Reboot

All right, I've sat on my arse long enough. Back to basics, back to what I want to do, and care to do, and know I have to do. As such, I'm revisiting a very old post, written years ago, when the stars seemed brighter and the sea louder, when everything had a beginning and an end, when I cared.

And here's to hoping that I won't stop caring again.



Have you ever had a feeling that you wantedto do something with your life, something big, something that would make adifference? What did you do to that feeling? Where did it go in the end, now asyou sit here reading these words? Did you ignore it? Did you smother it out,burying it in the depths of your brain where you knew you would never find itagain? Did you keep it a secret, planning to take it out later in life, only toforget as days went by that it ever existed? Did you nurture it, feeding it justenough hope for it to survive, only to find that it died on you one day? Did someone or something come away and destroy that feeling? Did it just go away after awhile?

Or is it just me, the one soul on this earth which can’t seem to enjoy himself and start living like everyone else, who has this feeling, this fire, in my soul, that tells me I have to be some use in this world? Is it just me who wants to grow it, to feed this fire and do something with it, before it, or I, die?

Where did your fire come from? What sudden inspiration drove this fire to spring up in your mind, to consume your thoughts and to drive you to shame? What moved you to want to do something else besides live this life that your parents, your ancestors, your past, your society had set up for you?

Is it me, only me, who sees an example of a person doing things that I want to do, yet don’t because I don’t have the guts to? Why am I driven by this person, to discontentedness at my own comforts, the gifts that circumstances have bestowed me? Why am I seeing an example in her, the person whom I love yet don’t have the heart or the courage to tell her? Why do I make it so important, such a stupid thing as an adolescent crush that I can’t blast out of my head with rock music and techno?

Why do I have a crush on her in the first place? She has the fire. It’s as simple, and as complex, as that. She has the fire to want to change the world. Mind you, she is just as confused as I am, but it’s there. I can see it, burning in her eyes. She wants to do something about the inadequacies in this world, not just enjoy the comforts that she was born into. I had that fire, a long time ago when I was young, a fire that I fed for years before complacency and the cold wind of society blew it out without my knowing,leaving me nothing, no flame that I could use to drive myself forward. For a while, I was an empty shell, wanting only to do whatever everyone else did and enjoy whatever everyone else enjoyed.

Fire spreads. Thank God…I mean it.

This girl, whatever I may think of her, whatever happens between me and her, whether I do or do not try to get her, has given me back that fire, and I respect her for it. Now it’s time for me to do something with it.

I’m writing this blog to remind myself of that fire, in case it gets put out again. I want to do something with my life, and I plan to do this: I want to get my feet wet and my hands dirty, with those people who suffer everyday to eke out a life where I would have given up. I want to help these people, whether it be in Sudan, or China, or Sabah, or down the street in the gutter just trying to stay alive. There is nothing better, nothing more rewarding, than to go to sleep at night knowing that I have made a difference to someone, anyone, who needed help. It would be a bit much to ask you to join me, but I’m extending this offer anyway.

So be my witness here when you read this blog. In July, when I’m done with my IB and have become bored of sitting on my rump all day playing games, I want to have gone. I want to have gone somewhere to make use of my life, so that if I die on the day I graduate from medical school, I can say that I have done something in my life that has made a difference to someone. If I fail to do that, then the fire in my heart has been put out again. Do me a favour and light it up.

And if you have that fire too, don’t keep it a secret. Don’t hide it in the attic hoping to bring it out later because by then, it would have been too late. The least you could do is spread it, as far and as wide as you can, to keep the fire burning.