Misery, Dogs, & Squash

I'm having some kind of moment here and I thought, "you know what, let's just write about it and talk about it and just throw it onto my blog like a frisbee of suffering, shall we? Let's just do it. If I wanted to write a blog post about Mr Blobby or different types of paintbrush I would (note to self: save those cool ideas for later!) so why not write about this thing, right?"

I keep having this sense that everything's wrong. Everything around me seems to at least be tainted with something sinister or unpleasant. People around me are full of complaints and sorrows and arguments and bad jokes and body fluids. I walk down the street and someone spits. I talk to friends and conversations end up in circular sad places. I have bad dreams all the time and I don't know why.

I remembered high school when I was thinking yesterday, and I remembered the atmosphere of exhaustion and disloyalty and apathy around everyone. I remembered the way everyone used to talk about everyone else. Everyone was sad. Everyone seemed to dislike everyone else. I haven't had any relationships like that since then, but I notice all around me that other adults still do this. I see a pattern of so many fully grown human beings keeping 'friends' around just to complain about them. What's the point?

I hear people arguing and I just think, again, what's the point? I see people holding onto packaging and heaps of objects they will never use. Why? I read books and watch films involving so many different versions of the same story. Someone suffers. Someone makes mistakes that make them suffer more, or make other people suffer. Someone acts with malice. Someone hurts themself, in some kind of way, over and over. We even put this fatalistic misery in our entertainment. It seems like it's lodged in us like a big bit of self-sabotage shrapnel.

And I hate it.

Can everyone cheer up, get rid of their rubbish friends, stop farting and spitting, and send me a bouquet of flowers, please? Thanks.

I hope you appreciate the way I've illustrated this blog post with drawings of dogs as a representation of how you can express yourself in a way that's positive and nice and not hideously draining for everyone around you. Also sorry if this blog post has actually just added to the thing I'm trying to squash here. Also, I like the word 'squash' - it's nice isn't it? Squash.

Stories & Typewriters

I've been feeling a little weird lately, like I'm emerging from a dream about myself, or something. I've been feeling like I've forgotten who I am, or like I'm in two different places at the same time. It feels like this kind of dimmed consciousness. So I'm thinking about how I remember myself, and how I contextualise myself. The way things are around me have such a huge impact, whether that's the atmosphere or just whether there are a lot of books nearby or something. It all frames who I am in the moment. Sometimes I wish I could be this solid, definable, static thing just because I guess sometimes I crave a certain kind of certainty, but on the other hand the fluidity of life and identity is freeing. The human propensity to forget and remember is freeing. We slot into these different forms and consciousnesses. We're cool robots.

I actually love thinking about people as robots, animals as machines. It's calming to categorise myself and us as a whole into that idea of a linear, logical, and almost fated being. That's probably a big reason why it's appealing to pretend you're in a video game or a movie, because that means you're not making decisions. You're a character. A story. And really, in many ways that's exactly what we are. People struggle with their sense of purpose often, but y'know, we're stories. That's the purpose.

We're stories on stuck typewriters, stuttering, unwinding, stopping and starting. We're full of typos and some odd illustrative diagrams. Embrace that, I guess.

Magic: Black & White Diana Mini Photos

This is almost my last film (there's one more left) and it's fitting that it's a black and white film full of blurry, eerie things. Lots of trees and tranquil moments. Taking photos of puddles always seems to work out pretty well.

I like this film a lot. A little bit gloomy and spooky, but very gentle and relaxed and nice. Looking at these pictures makes me want to go for a picnic or go camping. Black and white has this strange, ethereal serenity. It's magic.

Book Review: Madonna In A Fur Coat - Sabahattin Ali

★★★★☆: A pretty but painful tale of suffering, art, self-loathing, and the awe of love.

Penguin asked me to review this book, and I can only conclude that this was a plot to shatter my heart and soul, but you know what? That's fine. They sent it over with a big poster of the author, but sadly I can't use it to mop up all my tears because it's not very absorbent.

This novel tells the story of timid and endlessly suffering Raif Efendi, a young Turkish man in 1920s Berlin. He is a lost soul constantly struggling against his own feelings and personality, which he unrelentingly punishes himself for.

We also meet Maria Puder - a smart, cynical, fearful artist with a deep distrust of men and a buried and buzzing need to be respected, cared for, and loved. She is eccentric, in denial, and a little bit magical - but also quite matter-of-fact.

The story is incredibly emotive and deals with themes of passion, loss, depression, and life's cruel and unfair circumstances. It's reminiscent of Herman Hesse's Steppenwolf in its close and uncomfortable focus on the cycling thoughts and perceptions of a loner and outsider. The writing style takes on similar Hesse-like poetic description and style in its moments of happiness and in intense moments. The book presents an unflinching sense of injustice and despair swirled with streams of pure beauty, sweetness, and an aching love.

It's a storm of tragedy with a pearl in the centre. A smart and heart-wrenching beacon for the sheer force of human suffering, and possibly an allegory for how devastating the effects of oblivious cruelty can be.

An intense and incredible read.

Diary: Violins & Video Games

I've been playing lots of games this week. I highly recommend The Lion's Song, a free Steam game about a composer who travels from Vienna to the Alps to write her next composition. It's a point-and-click episodic title and it has such a nice atmosphere and art style. Really soothing and pleasant.

I've also been reading 'Playing to the Gallery' by Grayson Perry, which was a really nice, down to earth little book about his experiences within and in relation to the art world. It was particularly enjoyable to me to read his words about ways he felt alienated at art school and in other establishment areas vs the positive aspects he found in them. That was really good to hear as a fine art graduate who felt out of place with the other students to some extent. It actually helps me to feel more positive about those experiences despite the not-so-great elements.

Following that, I am now reading 'The Driver's Seat' by Muriel Spark, which is very interesting. Odd and building and eccentric and detailed.

Other than that I've mostly been slowly turning into a puddle of goo. Hopefully I can reconstitute myself by next week. Wish me luck.

Black & White Film Ghosts

One thing about analogue photography is that you always end up with surprises. The film plays games with you. You accidentally shoot film twice (I don't know how, but it happens). You develop a roll of film five years later and remember things you might've have never remembered again. It's weird.

I mean, it's fun - you get a strange sense of adventure and mystery - but it can be a bit exhausting too. I wonder how many rolls of film are out there, neglected and undeveloped, full of secrets. Spooky.

This roll of film has lurked undeveloped in my bedroom for five years. On development, it shows me this desolate, underexposed little world. It's weird to visit this point in time. This should've probably been left undeveloped forever, but I guess I brought back a tiny ghost or two.

The Humour Of Final Fantasy VIII

I take my Final Fantasy games pretty seriously and develop a lot of feelings about them and all of that stuff, but a huge reason I find them so replayable and delightful is the humour peppered throughout each game. I've been replaying Final Fantasy VIII for the millionth time and taking screenshots of some of its silliest moments, many of which are little things I'd forgotten about.

Please enjoy some of my favourites.

1. Laguna's "manly charm".

Laguna's storyline and flashbacks are super silly in general, since Laguna himself is a bit of a fumbling, awkward mess. I mean that as lovingly as possible, because he's a very sweet mess, but you know what I'm talking about. This line gets me every time, though.

2. ;-)

Squall is canonically a hunk. That's hilarious,

3. Ughh.

This drunk guy slumped in the alleyway behind the pub in Timber is me after two gin and tonics. It's such a perfect semantic representation of intoxication.

4. Laguna being reckless with everyone's safety.

It's Laguna again, and this time he's detonating whatever he wants and pushing boulders around. This is his response to having his bumbling incompetence questioned. Glorious.

5. Pot, meet kettle.

Here we see Zell dissing an actual minotaur who is a little too rambunctious without any sense of irony. Enjoyable.


I'll leave it there (I gotta make a run for the hot dog queue).