Unemployment

Being unemployed is no walk in the park. I mean, you can go for a walk in the park if you want, you’ve got plenty of time on your hands, but you’re much more likely to lie in bed, alternating between checking emails, falling asleep, and watching the news. I’ve been rolling slowly down the hill for a while now, and I’m starting to get used to it, but the funny thing is, all this time, I’ve desperately wanted to have a job, but I just haven’t managed to land one.

My day consists of getting up at about 9/10, reading, exercising, eating, looking for jobs, watching TV, videos and listening to music, looking for jobs, eating, and reading. Excluding the looking for jobs bit, these are actually my favourite things to do. So I often thoroughly enjoy the day, it’s just a relaxing 24 hours in which I am my own boss, on my own devices, and with a license to devour as much good media and literature as I like. So why is it that I crave so desperately a 40 hour, 5 day a week contract in which I am most likely going to be forced to do something I wouldn’t choose to do in my free time, like baking or assembling cabinets?

Money.

My brain couldn’t be more grateful for what I’m doing right now, I’m sharp as a diamond.

But my wallet has got a hole in it the size of a planetary crater and it’s crying out for help.

I’l be sorted soon and it will be like I was never unemployed in the first place. And when I do get a job, I’m gonna be so rich. I can’t wait.

Music

I’ve recently came to the conclusion that music is my favourite of the art forms and the one that I find most indispensable. If I’m ever in the depths of despair, if something seriously bad was to happen, I wouldn’t be taking refuge in a novel, or even poetry. I’d most likely be listening to music, over and over again.

I’ve never learned an instrument or had any real skill in the crafting of it, but I’ve always been a voracious listener. As a confused peroxidey teenager, I’d listen all the time, downloading individual tracks on Limewire; breaking laptop after laptop, feeding music into my Ipod. Each song like a collector’s item and listening to them over and over again as I cycled round the village on my mountain bike, finding my way in life, on my own little journey, accompanied by its own eclectic little themes- anything from Keane to Klaxons. I’d listen as I walked home from the bus stop, contemplating the latest social scandal I’d got myself into with my mobile phone, the latest insipid girl that I pined for and all other imbroglios. If I was to listen to Jack Peñate now I’d probably feel like I was 15 again. Best not to.

I think people have a serious problem in that they don’t see the value of it. Music is free for everyone, and accessible whenever you want it. Discovering it is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Music punctuates what’s going on in your life at the time and gives it both meaning and significance. Meaning and significance which is perhaps much needed as we are arbitrarily generated and propelled into the agonising vortex of life briefly before it consumes us for all eternity, dispersing our peripatetic atoms across the Universe. It’s no wonder that the non-believers listen to much more and better music than the believers do. You don’t need god to get through it all, when you have music. Just ask Neitzsche, he realised this nearly 130 years ago, and this was before proper techno was being produced.

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” – Friedrich himself.

It adds order to the chaos, it joins up the dots and provides your own unique life with it’s own unique sound track. What’s more, if you search hard enough and you want it, you’ll find music that will help you reach places no body has ever reached before. At whatever unique place you are in life, choosing to listen to (presumably good) musicyou are giving your brain the chance to interpret sensory experiences in a way that nobody else has ever had the fortune of doing before. And these experiences will turn into memories that you can look back on fondly, whenever you want at the touch of a button (just not Mr. Brightside please, okay I understand it was a good track but it’s dead now, get over it).

The act of listening is very easy, and never time consuming. It’s effect on the brain is immediate and it can accompany and enhance almost any situation (other than eating and reading, and arguments with family, I find) and can be enjoyed by thousands of people all at once, in one location. Also there’s so much of it, electronic music is constantly developing due to the infinite library of sounds that can be created and used in tracks. Readers of my Rise of Intellechno will understand that a lot of that blog was a joke. But behind all good jokes, lies an element of truth. I wholeheartedly believe that this new techno is the best shit there is. Probably the best shit there has ever been, it’s music for body and mind, and it’s becoming more and more popular by the week. Whether you choose to take my word for it or not is up to you.

Similarly to if you want to read good books, you’ll be confronted by the paradox of choice if you want to listen to the best music. You might feel paralysed by how much of it there is and choose not to risk failure by trying at all.You’ll listen to some stuff and not hear anything, though it might later turn out to be the work of your favourite artist. Just get over the hurdle. You’d be a wallowing imbecile and a waste of space if you didn’t simply get over it and immerse yourself in at every turn. One of life’s great tragedies is missing the boat. To stay at the port would display appalling sloth and arrogance.  You must aim to always get on the boat because you don’t know where it might take you.

My friends and I don’t get each other Christmas presents. But if one of them bought me a pair of trainers one Christmas or a PlayStation I’d be extremely grateful. But in reality, if throughout the year that person was to share music with me, give me artist names that I can discover and delight in for the years to come, and give me license to develop and refine my taste then that surely is the greater gift and the richer source of pleasure. And one which we can all make the effort to give for free.

If we were able to rationally ascribe a value to music, based on the enjoyment it provides, it would be somewhere between reasonably expensive- highly extortionate . But because it’s free we foolishly set it aside and merely shrug our shoulders if we allow the best of it to slip the net. And what’s absolutely reprehensible is that we shake off recommendations provided by our friends- that’s the equivalent of me buying you a pair of shoes I think you’ll really like based on your preferences and you never even bothering to take them out of the box. We also covet music as well, which is greedy. If for whatever reason you miss or lose a track you should feel like you’ve lost a piece of your life.

And no, that really isn’t hyperbole.

♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬

You will see that the Music category has returned to the LordoftheReeves menu above.

 

Zengin’s Pride

Deep in the heart of the ancient woods, two slimy hermaphrodites were sharing a slimy embrace, suspended high in the air above a carpet of woodland leaves and mulch. Fuelled with strange invertebrate desire, they hung from a string of mucus like an umbilical cord and spiralled and pirouetted and danced through the night. For hours on end they hugged and kissed and smooched and cried together. They lost themselves in each other’s slippery skins and tasted each other’s slime until one final burst of enthusiasm that marked the conclusion of their meeting. The atmosphere pervaded with awkwardness all of a sudden. Immediately the two slugs were incapable of eye contact. It was now time to go separate ways. With their teeth like clandestine guillotines they severed the cord and dropped to the ground and slid away in opposite directions like they had never known each other. No goodbyes were uttered. They plunged into the darkness, never to meet again.

Hoot-hooooot. Yellow eyes glowing in the distance, between the leaves without blinking. Fast-forward to the night of our protagonist’s birth. The momentous night. A litter of slime in the dark. Hoot-hooooot. Yellow eyes glowing in the distance. A pale and translucent thing at first; the colour a gentle light blue, nestled into the rotten undergrowth, among others, all feeble little sacks- some without motion. Hoot-hoots in the distance. Yellow eyes glowing between the leaves.  Two slugs remained, one sizeable and full of life. The other a runt, pathetic, soon to expire. His mother stared only at one, who she has named Zengin. Hoot-hoooootShe rejected the other slug, and gave all her attention to its superior. Yellow eyes.

The owl is coming!” uttered the maternal slug, covering her favourite son with a leaf as she saw the flapping of wings through the needled branches of the pine. The young slug was devoured in one peck. Zengin watched from a gap under the leaf as the owl finished chewing, and then slowly rotated his head as he locked on its prime target, who on this occasion had not the haste to escape. Zengin’s mother’s shouted to her son one last time “be proud, Zengin. You are the greatest!”. The owl then scooped her up with his claws and cackled to himself as he dived into the air.

“Bless my feathers! I do love the fat ones. This’ll feed the kids for a whole week. Hoot hoot!”

From this point onwards, Zengin was left on his own to confront the world, however barbarous. All that he had to take with him were those precious words uttered by his mother. Being too young to understand the concept of hyperbole, he regarded them as infallible, as literal truth. Be proud at all costs. You are the greatest. As soon as Zengin could develop thoughts, they were exclusively self. Or I. Or me.

The young mollusc soon left the leaf under which he had viewed the slaughter of his mother, and got on with his life. He feasted on all of the rotten treasures of the woodland until he increased in size and strength, and his muscles began to show. God I’m handsome, he thought to himself. The mollusc purchased designer clothes from brands such as Ralph Lauren and Paul Smith God I’ve got style, the mollusc thought. The mollusc soon met other slugs of a similar age and established a clique full of admirers God I’m popular, the slug thought. The mollusc began to have dalliances with other youthful and exuberant slugs God I’m a stud. He watched his children grow up God my children are better than everyone else’s. The mollusc began to read the poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats, William Wordsworth, William Blake and George Gordon Byron. God I understand poetry, he thought. It was only a matter of time before the keen mollusc took up a pen himself. The mollusc composed an epic poem of twenty eight thousand lines titled The Eternal Quest of Zengin the Perfect Slug. God my verses are delicately cadenced, I’ve outdone Dante! were his thoughts on this occasion. Nobody read them of course; It’s just a shame nobody is intellectual enough to appreciate this emphatic work. The hubris was frightful and burned bright like phosphorus, and was equally corrosive, as we will soon learn.

The slug began to develop an insatiable sense of anger at the world, the world which he deemed to be insignificant for a slug of his intellectual capacity. But most of all he felt that his excellence was constantly unrecognised. In his bohemian slug circles he began to vocalise his thoughts about the pretentiousness and lack of ability that surrounded him. He ended up telling a slug with a liking of impressionism to “fuck himself” for refusing to make him the subject of all of his paintings. “Impressionism is shit anyway. An impressionist picture of a family of slugs eating a dock leaf is just a regular picture of a family of slugs eating a dock leaf, only slightly more blurry. Paint me, and you must not ever blur what is immaculate as it is.” The disgruntled impressionist slug left the society and was never seen again. 

Soon the community began to realise that this Zengin slug was a most arrogant creature, whose thoughts were always completely concerned with himself. Thoughts that were descending into chaos! Why won’t they provide my food for me and attend me at all times? Soon became Why won’t they make me their Monarch? Soon became Why won’t they worship me like a deity? He was insufferable. They soon banished him from their circles.

Inflamed with rage and disappointment, Zengin decided to take a stand, and make his voice heard. Crowds of slugs were congregating to discuss routine political matters, and Zengin the slug, wearing a T-shirt with a pseudo-iconic picture of his own face on the front, climbed onto the top of the tallest dock leaf and commanded the attention of the populace, rudely interrupting a discussion regarding tax credits. 

“Zengin stands before you. Worship me you pathetic slugs. I am the best. You are all worthless molluscs spawned from your mothers purely for the purposes of following my designs,” there was an intrusive silence. “I am the righteous dictator”. Each sentence took what felt like a life time.

“I am the greatest.”

The crowd had already grown tired of his grandiosity, “Are you not also a mollusc?” a little leopard coated slug dared interrupt from the back of the crowd. Slugs speak every bit as slow as they move.

“No. I am no mollusc,” if not slower.

“What are you then?” another slug, flummoxed by Zengin’s words gave in reply.

“I am a celestial deity in the form of a slug,” some slugs laughed in response, others were growing irritable and murmured to themselves their discontent and embarrassment.

“PROVE IT!!!” they all roared.

“Does not my mastery of oratory demonstrate this clearly enough to your impoverished brains?”

A long pause, “no.”

“Well what must I do?”

A fat slug with short stubby antennae addressed the proud orator.

“You say you are celestial and a deity and not a slug like the rest of us. Surely you must therefore be immortal?”

“Yes, immortal. I am yes.”

“Then we shall pour salt upon your flesh, and watch you return unscathed. Then we shall worship you unconditionally, for as long as our miserable lives may transpire.”

“How insolent of you to even require proof. Do you not know it in your souls when you gaze into my eyes, my eyes heroic like lion’s eyes on stalks?”

“Not really,” the fat mollusc replied with ambivalence.

“Oh as you please. Bring me the salt. You will see. Oh you will see that I am invincible.”

The slugs congregated and after eleven long hours of acquiring salt granules and carefully placing them on a dock leaf, which they carried to the spot where Zengin remained standing, facing the slug crowd in what he believed to be an imperious stance. The slugs violently beat their drums and violently waved their torches in the air. They drank beer and ate popcorn (sweet flavour)

The fat slug with the stubby antennae saw this as an opportunity to make money so took it upon himself to open a betting shop, and take bets on the outcome. Most backed death. The queue stretched further than the eye could see. It is rumoured that even a number of snails came to view the spectacle. And the other slugs were too captivated too notice. They were consumed and in a frenzy.

Zengin was not intimidated by the mob, and stood strong, laughing at the gormlessness of the crowd. The crowd were divided in their chants, some roared for Zengin’s divine rulership, others for his demise. Some wanted divine revelation, others simply the gore of death. The dock leaf full of salts –carried on the shoulders of eight labouring slugs– was moving ever closer to the mollusc orator by the hour. Zengin was not phased and stood magnanimously on the his rock. He imagined that this image of him would remain the most prevalent and revered image for the future of not only slugs, but all molluscs alike. The gastropods, the chitons, the bivalves, the cephalopods- they would all remember the image of Zengin on the rock. Some slugs took it upon themselves to video the event on their camera phones, others drew portraits. Some merely watched intently, waiting.

“Salt!”, “SALT!!!” they screamed.

“You shall see. You shall see pathetic ones. You shall see,” Zengin responded.

The slugs who were administering the salt couldn’t help but portray their enthusiasm. It was not often they had the opportunity to potentially destroy a fellow slug for sport. Zengin lay next to the leaf, unwavering and motionless. With smiles on their faces, the slugs began to tilt the leaf while the crowd was catapulted into ecstasy.

The first granule fell onto Zengin’s back. The second. The third. Then the rest. The eight began their journey to the other side of the leaf to witness the results. The crowd fell silent as the granules began to slide down the dock leaf towards Zengin’s back. 

Yellow. Then came the swoop and in a matter of seconds the young slug was in the talons of the same owl. As they flew off into the trees, Zengin shouted to the crowd at the top of his lungs.

“Zengin is the greatest, and will be resurrected!”

“Shut up little slime! Hoot hooooot!” replied the owl as he carried off his dinner.