Time falls away from us, even though we are it. That we cannot hold onto or reconcile the tragedy of ourselves, seems a a huge conundrum in a materialist reality. We can watch and some say watching is the most refined way of participation, though I am not amongst them. Somehow, we have placed ourselves at the mercy of time, when truly, we are it's only master. What does culture look like when time's scourge no longer tears at it's shoulders?
Imagine starting a blog entry like that.
Sometimes, stream of consciousness works remarkably well for sparking the ignition. In this case, it merely hastened the onrush of a depressive blanket, which settled over me neatly, like the cover on a piece of furniture, in an old house, in a film. That notion of life being like the silver screen, that we're merely watching the events unfold, I think is a powerful one. How often we say and do things just as we have seen them? Arguments with lovers, jokes told to friends, body language, the art we make, the dances we dance, the songs we sing? Even the depressions we endure, can at their nadir, feel directed and inauthentic. When we weep, we plea for another to acknowledge the reality of our suffering...and yet the worst part, is that we fear we're not really convincing, even to ourselves.
I discovered, that the only way to continue writing, was to give vent to the emotions which were dragging me down, to write authentically. Sure enough, I enjoyed success, and found that there was suddenly a rush of words and angry thoughts. Did they have to come out? This is a blog to keep The Peer Hat alive during a weird and abstract moment in history, one that in some ways, The Peer Hat is ideally positioned to illuminate and elaborate upon. Was this the place to reveal my thoughts on certain matters, just because I'm intrinsically a part of the what happens here? Only you can judge that. However, I will say this: there comes a moment of change, where the dust sheet is lifted and I see things with a peculiar clarity that fills me with the sense of a glorious mystery. It came suddenly and without warning and I think it will set the scene for future entries. To conjure what we do not have--- in terms more real, than we could ever have enjoyed them, were they ours to own--- yet to confound what we accept as real, to raise the stakes, to set the bar high into the realms of the impossible.
Back to the other night when uselessly I flail...alone, without inspiration... the hour is late...very late, sensible minds have quit the waking world for the solace of sleep, but typically, not I. Let us join the writer, spiralling...
In the last entry, I made a request, that readers tell me a little about what they felt they were good at. Practically speaking, I over-estimated the number of people that would feel moved to interact with this blog. I believe, for most folk that are aware of this journal, it's 'here and now' use is somewhat minimal...that is to say, it's a symbol. This might be expressed as: 'It's good that The Peer Hat is alive and is saying things to somebody, even if it's not to me'. I don't mind. My feeling, as Paul Blake prophesied impishly, is that my "reach exceeds my grasp". I guess that's why I found myself lingering long over this particular entry. I've been forced to navigate a series of emotional eddies and confluences, moving rapidly downstream to God know's where. In the end, I arrived at the conclusion, that the idea, is more powerful than the reality, it always is.
Only one person responded to my query, but I was bolstered all the same (it was a lovely message, I hope if she's reading this now, she'll recognise that her response meant a great deal). It seems that people can't, or won't shake Facebook... even in their oft expressed disdain, it remains the arena of choice. It feels like a sad outcome, but not one anybody could be surprised at. Truly, it resembles nothing so much as a hard narcotic: we know it's damaging, but... geeze, I've got to let people know this next thing, or tell this joke, or angrily proclaim this thing I know or even just scream for help. Bound to it as I am , creating event pages for The Peer Hat, secure that they'll be seen by at least some of the people who need to, my actual input sans promoting the business of The Peer Hat, is essentially non existent. Yet still I peruse, mindlessly sometimes. I've heard the same story over and over. So have you.
And this perusal reflects nothing decent or good. Resentment boils over, as opinions are shared like hand grenades. I find myself increasingly marginalised, philosophically speaking. Sometimes I feel pushed to 'right some wrong' as I see it...but knowing my own feelings in the matter, knowing the stakes , I succeed only in ignoring. Ignoring not just acquaintances and adverts, but friends and loved ones, whose re-imagining in this state I can no longer tolerate.
Ideally, we'd be pursuing the Terence McKenna dream, of a site for everybody, no centralised corporate pen. Like it's early promise, a huge maze of dreams. Instead, our tacit approval is measured in spurious likes...you'll maybe notice how 'loves' are gaining ground, people keen to express something which results in a genuine bonus to one's approval ratings when the twain next meet. I couldn't help but notice a frankly repellent new option, 'care', added to help us, apparently, feel some facsimile of togetherness. I can't even be bothered to write about how utterly dystopian this is, it's all so insanely grinding.
We have to hold our minds and souls together. The internet is amazing and ought not to be tainted by the spaces and sites that flatter to ruin it. The importance in using it to communicate in different ways that don't follow a surge, a trend, cannot be over emphasised. The longer we rely on abstract structures to see us through to the next day, the quicker will be our fall if and when the time to fall comes.
I spoke to a friend who believed that the pandemic, is an argument for more powerful centralised authority. I wonder how many feel the same as he does, that secretly hope for the gun and the cosh when it comes to protecting their safety, to ensuring they live a little longer, to stave off that old friend death for just one more night? How small we must seem to our ancestors, to whom we must hold a huge responsibility (every sacrifice they made, whatever their virtue or sin, resulted in us being here today). It's this route which promises to lead me home, lead me out of the blackness of sorrow and anger that threatens to overwhelm...the tide always breaks at the same place.
Once upon a time, there were kings and those kings would rule for only one year. At the end of that year, they would be put to death and another king chosen in their place by the queen/high priestess. The king had to die, for the good of the land (naturally, kings found a way of wriggling out of this one, substituting a child sacrifice in their stead. Makes you wonder...). I daydream about that old way of things, when sometimes I stand alone in the darkness, before the Black Stage. Our land is spoken of in symbols and allusions, our Manchester, a place of the imaginal (as I've talked about on more than once occasion). Our sacrifice, will be the art we lay upon the black stage, and offer up in a blaze of communion, to She that burns in the heart of every poet, that makes things grow, the gives birth to all things. Feed the muse and she will feed us in turn.
Through The Veil
In a moment, as I consider these things, as I sit here before this computer, typing these words, I realise that there are literally no limits, to where our imaginings can take us...perhaps even towards something like truth. Better still, we can create the truth that we want to see. My idea of things, the things that turn me on personally, may not be the things which make you come alive. But what we can share, is the fire that we pass on between ourselves.
Outside, the alleyway is alive, like an interlocking jig saw puzzle, each piece is an individual and discreet thing. A cobblestone. A doorway. The wooden board where Charlie and Akin have duelled , painting an image together worthy of the Divine Comedy (there are other works there... they too spring, out, realised, living). Here there is the darkened arch of AATMA and the super-imposition of KRAAK Gallery before it, existing simultaneously, overlaid with the the holograms of all the beautiful and complex souls that have passed through, leaving their mark, indelible. In the silence, I can see through the eyes of a mouse, liberated from the rule of the rats, suddenly starved of their normal sustenance, forced to march elsewhere to save themselves and their rat tribe. Above, the windows are like portraits in a gallery, exhibiting their contents, abashed. There is a liquidity to all of it, the bright colours upon the brick work and the laughter of children, long since passed, when Manchester was still tiny, when the river was the queen.
Underneath, tunnels, connecting with tunnels, old streets, built upon, subterranean lavatories, lanes, shops, churches, subways, abandoned shopping precincts, now still and majestic and vast. Float up upon the wings of a moth and you will emerge, sputtering into a cellar, The Black Stage, once a textile warehouse, full of men with dreams and worries and so much cheap women's clothing, more than you can imagine...now existing conterminously with a serious eyed band from Russia, howling a strange song whilst people lie on their backs in the dark, whispering, knowing. All of them translucent, illuminated in the ghost of a light (light too, has a memory). I can see my own image there and a mouse dash away; it sees me, and I can discern the solemn procession of bards and minstrels and artists and magicians and shaman and fools, lining up to tread the Black Stage. This is The Peer Hat, super-animate, living and breathing and it waits, majestic, sleeping, realised, completed and full of potential.
Is it madness, this vision? Is it a dream that grows from the closed bud of solitude? Or is it a memory of the future, that awaits us, eager to be born and remembering when it was just this, a thought, a notion, a flowering chrysanthemum of pure becoming. This IS the stuff of which dreams are made and it cannot be finished with, no matter our sadness, our pain or our frustration. Though there are distractions and weights and the desire to scream and vent one's unhappiness, it is the very soul of all things, separated and together that throbs though every artist and musician that dares to set foot here. All the trampled posters and price tags burning quickly, good kindling. And you know, shitty rock n' roll is kindling for the arrival of now, the fire of She that is called a thousand names. Our Dionysian rites are in her glory and we are warmed by the fire of the past, burning, now our moot fire, around which we will dance and revel, and be born forever.
Ma Ve DJ Set
Ma Ve, aka Miraim Avery is a fixture at The Peer Hat, her DJ skills, guaranteed to fill that tiny, sweaty dance floor to the point of overflowing. I mean, one of these days, we're going to figure out how to allow people enjoy the cellar based Black Stage simultaneously... a feat which seems beyond us at the moment (in house). In fact, send your suggestions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll genuinely give it some thought (something about human proximity). Anyway, I digress...Ma Ve is an intrinsic part of our setup and I can't express enough how much I miss the thought of her doing what she does best (she actually does lots of things well, like working for the NHS... you can tell her thank you when you see her again). When once more I see, and more importantly hear her spinning tunes, I'll know that we're on the other side of this, or at least we'll have a soundtrack for whatever it is. In the meantime, she's kindly put together a mix to get you though those suddenly lonely Thursday nights.
The mysterious artist, Delta Mono has been making all kinds of fucked up music for a good few years ...and his output is not slowing down in any perceptible fashion. Utilising whatever tools at his command, to plunge us into bizarre dream worlds, his is another sound that finds even greater justification during our current situation. Nobody is promising this is going to be comforting, but then, Jupiter is in Capricorn. He's put together something of a trilogy, emerging spitting nails from the borderland of imprisonment...delve in at your leisure. We know only a very discerning type reads this blog and, well, here's the music for you. I've totally ballsed the order...it's Sands, The SHIFT and Lab Tested Results
Behind the crumbling brick you will find Charlie...
There's no stopping Charlie during all of this, his wire is connected to the heart of the beast.
Latest episode of Flowing Backwards
Ian's journey back, way back, continues...
A film by Chris Bean
Chris Bean, my friend, sometime musical collaborator, long time inspiration and utterly crazed bastard, has put together a lovely little short film entitled, Sleeping Lemons. It's a horror piece, with a focus on coughing, just to get you right in the mood. Take a look and keep your syrup handy!
Al Keogh, open mic legend, who runs the ImproLive nights at The Peer Hat, has produced a sweet lil' tune for your edification. Al is one of our finest regulars, in that he not only contributes to the atmosphere by keeping the bar propped with chat and custom, but also gets directly involved and makes things happen. Take a cue from his book. The video is simple but creepily ominous. Also features good ol' Bruce from Jeuce, etc...
The artist formerly known as Bobotronic
Ben Robson has decided to drop the Bobotronic nickname for some reason and can be seen here displaying his virtuosity. Looking forward to seeing what Ben's new name for his his music is going to be, but whilst I'm waiting...
Prodigious talent, Benny Jones, he of Bingo Harry fame, has put together a rather lovely tune in real time for us to watch and listen to. This one is from Bingo Harry's album, Blessed Outright, do give it a spin.
And to conclude
Hannah has been at it again with another episode of Psychopomp... this one has a fair few Peer Hat Performers Playing Privately for your Pleasure. Peep Presently!
And, that, my merry friends, is that. Here's an Akin to view us out...perfection.