Write Yer Ane Zine

Words about DIY punk; records, shows, interviews, whatever.

Month: July, 2016

THE STRENGTH IS ALWAYS THERE; An Essay by Barry Kydd

I went to see The Smith Street Band last night (last week), for maybe the 5th or 6th time. I will always make the effort to go and see those guys as they are wonderful humans and an awesome band but mostly because so many of their songs have connected with me on levels reserved for only a select few. And it struck me, with something Wil said last night as to possibly why : so many of us punks are damaged and need release. His exact speech was about his anxiety and depression and how the last time he was in the very same room (Audio in Glasgow) he suffered the only onstage panic attack he’s ever experienced. For reasons unconnected to the environment or the people there, these things just happen sometimes regardless of where you are. He went on to say how good it felt to now be back in the same room and feeling well again, and how his primary source of release is in his writing and performing of songs. He encouraged everyone in the room to reach out for that same release and to use creativity as a positive vehicle for change in our lives. Something I have strived to do since starting my first band 15 or so years ago. It has never felt as though it was the right time to write about this, but as I sat today thinking of my own journey and how it could have ended it very differently, I felt I now needed to. I am nervous about people reading this, but with hopes this may help some others, here goes.

I’ve never really ever considered “whats wrong with me” to be a mental health issue, but of course it is. I suppose as with many other issues I have, I just never wanted to admit what it was and put a label on it, let alone seek any help. All stemming back to the loss of my mother as a 9 year old child, I have been racked with a crippling grief since then. Deepening and evolving with every passing year, and with every further passing family member or friend. I could carry on with day to day life easy enough, but at night trying to sleep, my mind would fill with thoughts of what happens once you die. I would panic about being in a box, underground, never breathing air or seeing light again forever. Not just for a few years, until the end of time itself. I would think back the way to my earliest memory and realise that it gets to a point where there is nothing, no recollection of anything beginning or being born. So that must be what happens at the end, it all just stops, and thats it. So whats the fucking point? I thought of my mother, and every subsequent person I lost, having those fears invade them at the very end. I had to just force myself to think of anything else at all for as long as I could and eventually I would fall asleep. Most nights I would manage to fall asleep, other times I would have (and continue to have) night terrors, waking up suddenly convinced someone was in my room. I would swing wildly in the dark until I could reach a light and turn it on. I still cannot control them to this day, and although they are rare they do happen and it wrecks me to know I have scared my wife many times during them.

The biggest factor of all, and one I never ever envisioned, has been reaching milestones in my life without these people by my side. It absolutely wretched me and has played havoc with my brain. Various methods of self medicating have been explored over the years, some work sometimes, some make it worse, some have never worked. The one thing that has always helped, has done more than anything else to help, and that continues to help, is music. Beginning with listening and developing into writing and performing, I had never experienced anything like it. At first it began as a teenager with bands like Green Day, Pearl Jam and Nirvana, something connected me to the combination of the words and the noise I was hearing. It soon became apparent what the difference was between those bands and what I heard on the radio and around the home. Two things ; the subject matter and the delivery. Suddenly I could hear all these words put together that were making me feel things I had never experienced before, and this harsh delivery, so full of emotion, so desperate, longing to be heard. It burst open the walls I had put up around me and absolutely flooded into every fibre of my body. Hairs stood on end, heart began racing and pounding and my eyes welled up with water, for the first time moved by joy. I knew nothing would be the same again. In my naivety I thought that no one had ever felt as bad as I did about these things. To find I was so far from being alone was a huge milestone in my life.

I became obsessed over the next few years, from around 15-18. I just wanted to hear it all, and all at once. I bought, copied and stole anything that looked remotely similar to what I had been listening to, back when everything came as a hard copy I would trawl through liner notes and lyrics, devouring it all. I used to go through the thanks list that bands would include and write down every band I hadn’t heard of before, making them next on my list to discover. It took me in so many different directions and so many variants of “punk” that I never knew existed.

Seeing these bands playing, and the release it offered me to scream along in the crowd was so intense, I had finally found a way to get so much of this out of me.

As my collection grew, it still never completely satisfied me. I wasn’t getting EVERY answer I needed. I got plenty, sure, and discovering all of this new and exciting world had been enough to tide me over and help me suppress a lot of my mental aches and pains, but still not enough.

I had always kept diaries and journals as a young teen. I thought it would be funny to look back on as an adult and remember each day, and so that has proved! Cringingly embarrassing for the most part, there are glimmers in there of why I was really writing down my innermost thoughts and musings. I found these things very tough to talk about, so in a sense, I would talk to myself about them. Writing down the feelings that were tearing me apart internally was allowing me to make a lot of sense of them. I was realising that I could answer a lot of my own questions if I wrote about them enough. It would take me another 15 years before I would realise it was ok to talk to people about these things, but for so long it was just me and my pencil thrashing out the details and setting myself straight. I don’t like to dwell too long on thoughts of what could have happened if I had never figured this out for myself. Fuck, I came closer than I’d ever imagined to breaking point as it was, with using all my coping mechanisms, so with no outlet at all I doubt very much I would still be here today. And that will surprise a lot of folk probably, who know me and know my persona and outlook on life. That’s the ticker with a mental health issue, people can go about everyday life and function as human beings without anyone ever being aware of what is raging inside of them, threatening to implode at any time.

The more and more I was actively going to see live bands, the more I was meeting and making friends with people who were actually in bands. This was a new and exciting prospect for me. Imagine that, being IN a band, how cool would that be. But I had never picked up an instrument in my life, and I was already into my late teens, so many people in my peer group had a huge amount of experience already. Once again I felt left out and just couldn’t see a way in which I could participate. Maybe I could sing? Could I even sing? I didn’t even know. Would it even matter if I could? I had seen bands who had lone singers, some of them were pretty bad but they had fun anyway running about the stage and jumping into the crowd. I could probably do that part ok. I had seen AFI, H20, Lagwagon and The Bouncing Souls, they all had lone singers and it looked pretty cool. Fuck it, it was the only way I could participate and I wanted in so badly so I started casually mentioning to people that we should start a band. Late summer 2001, some friends and I formed Tearjerk, my first ever band. As first bands go, we did a lot of the cliched mistakes : terrible name (my fault), terrible first show, terrible first recordings and some terrible songs. But after the first year or so we started to find our feet and I started feeling more comfortable with performing. I had up until that point written pretty throw away material about girls, being a loner, hometown blues, being an awkward teen basically. The live shows were fun, but I was terribly nervous before gigs, getting blind drunk or hiding somewhere in the venue right up until it was time to play was not uncommon. I never knew what to do with my body while I was onstage so I just threw myself around the stage area, ran into the crowd, jumped on tables, bars, drumkits, speaker stacks. If there was balcony in the venue I’d try to climb it and jump off, I was pretty reckless. It became my thing and I felt accepted so I kept on doing it. I broke ribs during a gig once, fell off so many stages and hit my head off so many lighting rigs and beams. This was starting to fill in the gaps of satisfying my thirst for an outlet for all my rage, hurt and anger. This was what I had been missing.

Tearjerk developed from a snotty sneering teen punk band into a bruising hardcore punk sound pretty quickly. I discovered fast how much anger I had and what I was going to have to do to expel it from me. I was developing as a writer, I was understanding so much more about why I was so hurt and lost all of the time. We had moved home to the town in which my mother was buried, her wish was to be buried there and not in the town we lived in at the time as she feared we would spent too much time visiting her and not focus on moving on with our lives. Cruel twist of fate perhaps that we followed her down the road in the end anyway, but it happened. I spent hours on end there, sitting by her graveside chatting. Again, answering my own questions and figuring things out for myself. I would get off the bus home from work and sit with her for hours before going home, claiming to my Dad that I had stayed on late at work. I don’t know why I felt the need to lie, perhaps I knew deep down I had these issues that would maybe trouble my family if they knew, so I kept doing things privately. I wrote and wrote and wrote and built up books of my innermost, intensely personal feelings about death, despair, grief and sometimes life. None of that made it into songs however.

I had the perfect social and political distraction to focus my writings on for the band, Tony Blair and George Bush Jnr were about to take us into an illegal and immoral war in Iraq. I had become actively political for the first time in my life due to my outrage at this situation, I was reading Chomsky and attending protests. Our songs reflected this and I loved how I could now justify my fury at live shows by giving little speeches before songs explaining what they were about. Yet I still lay alone each night and obsessed over death and dying and what was the point in dragging on the inevitable?

I let the odd glimpse of personal subject material drip out with Tearjerk, but not much. Once the band ended around 2005/6 I was pretty distraught. I had done so much, and grown so much in that band, what was I gonna do now? I had lost my outlet and already felt uneasy at that prospect.

I kept writing and my influences kept changing. Mike (guitarist in TJ) and I knew we wanted to keep playing somehow so we started writing some songs just the 2 of us and his acoustic guitar. We eventually decided that we didn’t actually need anyone else to be able to perform these songs so we set out writing a set that worked with me on vocals and Mike playing his acoustic. Pretty unusual set up, but it worked for us and folk seemed to like it. We called the project 15 Minutes, in reference to a Broadways song of the same name. The whole idea being you can sit and let your life dwindle away 15 minutes at a time or you can pick up what you have and do something with it. We did what we could with what we had.

I definitely let a lot more personal material through the net this time. It felt right. We had recently lost another friend, Graham Motion from the band Allergo, in tragic circumstances. Graham loved Tearjerk and it absolutely delighted me to see him down the front singing along when we played. It was going to feel surreal to never experience that again. Something clicked and I needed to start singing about some of these personal experiences or it was going to consume me. I wrote songs about losing my mother, one about all the things I wished I’d been able to tell my Dad, we also made a song out of the first words I wrote down after hearing Graham had passed. I burst into tears onstage a few time playing some of these songs, but fuck it, I wasn’t hiding anymore. This was me, and these songs meant a lot to me and I was gonna get them out of me with all the fire that put them there in the first place. I figured people would appreciate not being bullshitted by another band so we gave it as it came, raw and unfiltered. I have always insisted, in all of my bands, that I need to write all the words. It needs to come from me because I am the one delivering it and I need to believe in what I’m singing. The most important part of playing live, for me, has always been to do it was the utmost sincerity. When I’m up there I need to be bleeding out those words and I couldn’t give a fuck what it sounds like, so long as we mean every word and feel every note. This is my therapy and it means too much to me to fake it or go through the motions. It wont happen.

Lachance are my current active band. In many ways its the band I always wanted to be in, sound wise. Its the perfect mix of all the things I love about punk rock and in terms of writing words for Lachance, I’ve come full circle almost and am the closest I ever have been to filling that void I’ve always had. I have learned the most important lesson yet about my writing, I can take a bad situation or memory and make it better. I have been able to tap into the very essence of why I began writing in the first place, to give myself some answers and some direction in my life. All these years of hurt and confusion have dug some deep wounds into me and in turn, I am now comfortable including songs that open up these scars and let them breathe. I don’t feel suffocated anymore, I don’t feel as though I need to hide anything about what Im scared of, what I worry about and what I lie awake and cry about sometimes. I have learned that writing about these things naturally leads me to a far more positive mindset, it confirms to me that the issue is present but it can be addressed. It should be talked about openly and if it is, its generally far easier to come to a positive conclusion. A much preferred outcome over letting it fester for years and play havoc with your mental state. A lot of the Lachance subject material is openly about my struggles over the years but each song generally concludes with an overall feeling of hope rather than despair. And thats the piece I have always been missing. I still feel hopeless from time to time but with my writing, I have managed to address so many of the questions I didn’t have answers for at the start of my musical journey. I am far more able to deal with bouts of anxiety, and far more equipped to keep my mind from wandering down the dark paths it used to. Even though our band is not terribly active, I still have it as my outlet, I know it is still there and that is a massive comfort. I am very like that as a person and friend, I don’t need to see you everyday, so long as I know you are still there if I need you, I’m good with that. Our latest release “Sunrise” is a culmination of some of the songs I had always wanted to get out there from my notebooks. It feels wonderful to know it is out there in the world now and that people seem to be enjoying it. To finally have pretty much fully opened the door and let the world in feels like a huge turning point for me. To feel comfortable enough to even write this piece, and let go of all these secrets is testament again to the ground that has been covered since this process began. Im at the point now where I realise I have come through this experience and that speaking about it now, may actually do some good and possibly even help someone else. I would wish for nothing more. Without a shadow of any doubt, the catharsis I gained through music, gigs, writing, recording and performing where it is socially accepted to be able to scream my lungs out and beat my heart with my first, has literally changed and saved my life. It has taken me from a scared and nervous boy, constantly worried about how my time on earth would end to being able to stand in a room full of people and sing songs about how music has made me better.

This is what I need to do to keep balance. This is what helps me and allows me to make sense of intense issues. Aside from one 6 month spell with a therapist, I have managed to contain this, almost, myself, through the inspiration and exhilaration of listening to, writing, recording and performing music. I have faltered and failed along the way, many times, and I know what its like to want to die. I made a pact with myself to never ever entertain those thoughts again and not seek help immediately. The Lachance song “Spirals” is directly about this incident. It was my lowest ebb, and I got out of that hole somehow thanks to hearing a record that made me want to be alive again. I cannot begin to describe how powerful that feels. I have phenomenal support in the form of my wife. She has suffered so much of my bullshit over the years but has always encouraged me to look at things from different angles, to see another perspective and to try things I haven’t done yet. In so many aspects, I am lucky. But for every story like mine there is one that goes the other way. Just this weekend we learn again of a talented and respected punk musician who has taken their own life, tragically feeling there was no where left to turn. It made me stop and think about Wil’s words again, and how even though this young person was a writer and a performer it was not enough to stop the tide from overpowering them. Sometimes it isn’t. We need to create and nurture methods within our community where there can always be a path to reach out to if we feel hopeless. I urge you, to reach out to all your friends and family to let them know they can reach out to you if they need to. It could be the words that save a life.

Punk rock, for many, is a phase of rebellion. I knew the second I heard that explosion of noise that I would need this in my life for as long as possible. My musical tastes have grown and developed over the years but the essence of everything I latch onto remains the same. Heart, soul, passion and meaning. I met some of my best friends via the music scene. I first met my wife Gemma after a Tearjerk show when she asked me for one of our Cds. How different my life would be without it all. I urge each and every one of you, if you discover something in this life that awakens you and stirs your soul, pursue it. Make it part of your life, however you need to do it, just make it happen. If you are thinking of starting a band, do it. If you don’t think you can, you can. If you are worried how bad you will sound, don’t be. I’ll send you the first Tearjerk CD, trust me it wont be worse than that. Do it with heart, soul and passion and no one can ever hold anything against you. You do it for you, not for anyone else. If like me, you find it hard right now to speak up about what is bothering you, write it down and see if that helps. You always, ALWAYS have options, even when you think you don’t. Someone will care enough to be there for you, please know that it is absolutely fine to ask for help.

At the end of the record I played that made me want to stay alive, even if only just to hear it again at that point, there is a line that is repeated over and over again. Its impact has never left me and it is now tattooed onto my leg. Human bodies are tough and we can punish them often enough and they will quickly recover. A humans spirit can spend decades broken and not realise what it needs to heal, if you can find what you need to get better, go to it and let it in, and never be ashamed of who you are or how you got here. Because you DID get here.

We cant always make our lives seem happy all the time, just remember….

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“The strength is always there”

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AGAINST IMMISERATION; An Essay by Dom Kaddish

WYAZ presents the second post-EU referendum essay by Dom Kaddish. Please read, consider, respond and circulate as you deem necessary. Discussion and discourse is actively encouraged.

End, As In Aim.

So picture the gravest fear and dread.
Here hope is the lie that keeps its head.

Say you’ve got a hope.
Say you want an end to fear.

An end to fear.

Say you’ve got a hope.
Say you want an end to fear.

Photo by J. Cumiskey

AGAINST IMMISERATION

What’s the fucking point of playing in a band when your body is ageing and your hearing damaged? What’s the fucking point of going to gigs and chatting, on the level, to people of different ages, genders, colours, cultures, and backgrounds when the media constantly chastens us with images of violence, and enjoins us to hate others and be suspicious of them? What’s the fucking point of voting in a referendum where the crunch matter appears to have come down to an entitled Tory elite masturbating over how to convince one of their female members to reheat the tired ghost of Margaret fucking Thatcher?

Here’s a suggestion: couldn’t it be that the deluded little spaces in which we play, chat, act, think and commit ourselves are more political by a long shot than the black hole at Westminster that awaits the next bunch of careerists perverse enough to get sucked into it? The fucking point, then, would be that our whole conception of politics has to change. For example, what created the current constitutional crisis in the UK was misplaced faith in an out-of-date form of representative government centred on individuals as well-informed agents, capable of making rational choices in their own best interests, and of acting in the best interests of others when presented with a crude either/or choice on an issue of massive complexity. This model was co-opted by greed, self-interest, stupidity, lack of information, and a giant dose of the negative affects of shame, fear and hate. Given the fallout, perhaps it is now time to try to do something paradoxical, different, and more excitingly difficult: to try, at one and the same time, to think and act both above and below the out-of-date model of politics.

By ‘above’, I mean this: we have to aspire to have the courage and the temerity to look the complexity of our world straight in the face. That is, we have to aspire to a culture, not where no-one is an expert (à la Gove), but where everyone is. This would be a culture in which everyone aspires to learn something about such heady things as economics, statistics, as well as big data patterns in demographics and human geography, and where an understanding of the role of nonhuman actors in politics would be encouraged (e.g. the role of such actors in the current UK crisis as mobile computing, agricultural and fishing yields, the English Channel, globalisation, the ecological crisis, etc. etc.). This would not be a culture where knowledge of such things was used to baffle and belittle; rather, since no one single actor could feasibly claim a knowledge of the whole, it would be a culture where everyone takes some responsibility for educating themselves and others, and where each is empowered and encouraged to do.

By ‘below’, I mean this: the UK referendum of 23 June 2016 was a coup for a reactive form of politics that traded on affects and gut reactions, instead of on concepts tied to the out-of-date model of politics mentioned above (e.g. the concept of the transparently well-informed and rational voter; or that of a ‘minister’ who is ‘prime’ in the sense of being the first and most powerful person to look after the needs of all the people in his or her polity, when the then incumbent was exposed by events for an incompetent beholding to the interests of Tory bigots of depressing resilience and longevity). What was far more effective than concepts and reason in swaying the campaigning in this instance was the propagation of the aforesaid negative affects of shame, fear and hate. Faced with these affects, the fatal mistake of left/liberal sections of the media/social media/the Twitterati was a retreat into the echo chamber of fatalistic intellectualism (consider the typical Brexit crisis moves made by these sections of the media: black humour, condescension, introspection and soul searching, cod philosophy, historical musings, irony, droll memes, the attempt at agonised liberal ‘understanding’ of what could have driven the dispossessed and disenfranchised to it, etc., etc.). The result was two modes of political address that comprehensively talked past one another: one employing the ‘post-fact’ logic of icons, hates, and anxieties; the other employing a form of reason that had become too clever and self-reflexive by half.

One solution to this impasse, I am suggesting (the one that goes ‘above’), is to aspire to better education, in terms of better concepts that have a better purchase on the complexities of our interconnected and interdependent world. Here’s another solution for how we might simultaneously get ‘below’ the impasse: first, let’s give up old concepts tied to the values of liberal/humanistic education and grand parliamentary politics; second, let’s avoid propagating negative affects in their place; third, let’s focus instead on the creation and nurturing of positive affects, such as joy, love, and openness. If such an agenda seems liberal, Christian, ‘new agey’ or out of step with what I said above about the necessity of arriving at better concepts, then you have simply missed the point. This is because what is at stake here is not how ‘good’ or ‘wise’ you or I might be, nor how much right we might have to the moral high ground, nor how much we might like the recourse to safe, comfortable, and ultimately hopelessly out of touch old political categories. Rather, what is at stake is what should be termed the ‘ecology’ of our mental health, well-being and fellow feeling, and by ‘our’ here, I mean the mental health of everyone with a stake in the issues of which the current UK constitutional crisis is symptomatic, including everyone else in the world right now, and all future generations.

The ecology of mental health concerns how one’s mindset, mood, and general sense of affect relates to the world in which it finds itself. This ecology has not, we should admit, been in a good way, globally, for some time now, and its problems predate the 2008 financial crisis by some way (in fact, they feed into it as conditions of its possibility). Here’s a suggestion as to what has eroded it: spaces of immiseration. Under this concept, we could group any number of environments that go into shaping the character of the contemporary globalised world, including, but far from limited to: factories in China; Coltan mines in the Congo; sweatshops in Turkey and Bangladesh; battlefields in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria; Social Security offices and dole queues in any ‘developed’ country; all that urban sprawl that was so ripe for sub-priming in the US pre-2008; open-plan offices; bookies; grey and ill-equipped classrooms; call centres; slaughterhouses; Amazon depots; police cells; and the countless situations in which way too much solitude is frittered away in front of a TV or a computer. Here’s a suggestion as to what might act as the antidote: spaces of possibility. Such spaces, to start from the highly dubious base of idealising what I personally know and esteem, might include: live music spaces; classrooms where participants are encouraged and equipped to learn from all others present and not simply shut their mouths and act as consumers of information spoon fed by the guy mansplaining at the front; parks; wilderness; sports pitches where moments of team creativity emerge; seashores; long walks through places either familiar or unfamiliar, with or without guiding thread; art galleries, studios, and workshops where you might actually stand the chance of speaking and interacting with artists and craftspeople; book shops, record shops and libraries; day centres, drop-in centres, and clinics where you can bump into people all too burned out by the state of it all not to speak themselves honestly, with heart.

I said that it was dubious to start from what I personally know and esteem. You are therefore entirely free to take issue with the list I have just contrived, as too ‘male’, ‘romantic’, ‘liberal’, ‘hipster’ (God forbid), or whatever. This apart, however, let me extend two invitations to you that are centred on the concepts mentioned above, and not on what I have grouped under them. First, to reflect on the spaces of possibility that matter most to you. Second, and far more importantly, to reflect and act on how we might convert spaces of immiseration into spaces of possibility. The first of these tasks, undertaken collectively, would amount to an inventory of our weapons: a stocktake of the spaces that matter to us, and that renew our sense of health and possibility for the living of meaningful lives. The second task would involve using these weapons on the battlefields where the real politics of our lives get fought out (and not in exclusive, outmoded, rarefied political vacuums such as Westminster, where fractions of the battles of our lives get misrepresented and used as pawns in games played by self-serving political cadres).

Fear of the other. Fear of the self. Fear of death. Fear of the unknown. Fear of technology and the pace of change. Fear of not ‘being a man’, whatever that means. Fear of irrelevance and poverty in an age of celebrity and the ‘super rich’. Fear of being fat, stupid, old, or useless. Fear of gun and knife crimes, rape, and hate. ETC. FUCKING ETC. These are the negative affects that spaces of immiseration nurture like cancer. How do we take the love, hope, joy, respect, and sense of other possible worlds and horizons that spaces of possibility involve and use them to bring out the possibilities that spaces of immiseration keep repressed under the increasingly shabby and disingenuous veneer of consensus and polite society? And what makes this struggle both worthwhile and eminently doable, on an everyday basis, and from this very instant?

Consider whether something like the following might work for you (if not, invent your own tactic, as is your right and your want): the next time you realise you are in a space of immiseration (and the gut sinking feeling will be sufficient to establish it), think about how you typically act in a space of possibility, and insinuate one such way of acting into the space of immiseration. The next time after this, insinuate two acts. After that, insinuate three. After that, four. And so on, and so on, until new possibilities have reached such a pitch that they have somehow cracked open the space of immiseration in favour of something better and more liveable. The acts I have in mind here can be crude or sophisticated, and might include: making passionate music, for purposes other than consumption; being playful; thinking tangentially; daydreaming; humour; kindness; openness; interest in others and their stories and fates; acts that are revelatory of self and history without tipping into narcissism; expressions of wonder, weakness, and astonishment; recognitions of limitations and ignorance; the construction of a shared focus or creative goal between you and others that adds some measure of dignity to the space, however small; the vigilant attempt to keep the spectre of the profit motive to a minimum. And so on, and so on, etc., etc.

What’s especially funny about such acts is when they work subliminally – that is, when others within the space recognise that a new possibility has been introduced, but resist it, preferring instead the tendencies of immiseration as a kind of short-term comfy/long-term deadly safety net. Because the roboticisms of immiseration cannot recognise new possibilities, you can rest assured that there will be no immediate explicit reproach for the possibility you have introduced (that is, no shared recognition that the recognition has taken place individually within the separate actors in the space). What there might be, however, is a more or less collective implicit recognition – a seed planted that will grow with time. In this case, the words, actions and affects you use to make spaces of immiseration become spaces of possibility will take on the character of a sort of gentle and subtle guerrilla warfare: a thousand little harrying tactics intended to perplex and provoke others into giving up the dubious safety net of immiseration.

To sum up:
Stop thinking in terms of redundant concepts representative of a bygone age of politics.

Start aspiring to think in terms of the complex concepts that we all know are required to think the world in which we live.

Stop tolerating the poisonous effects of negative affects through inaction and resignation.

Start spreading positive affects in any practicable way you can, because they are sufficient to convert spaces of immiseration, however overwhelming, ubiquitous and monolithic these spaces may seem in the contemporary world, into spaces rich in open and positive possibilities for new forms of life.

***

ASTHENIA PDF-page-001

Kaddish play Conroy’s Basement in Dundee with Asthenia (Japan), Human Hands (eng) and Arkless (eng) on Wednesday 17th August.

The New Situation; An Essay by Dom Kaddish

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The world we live in is not the world we were born into. The following is an essay written by a man for whom I have the deepest of respect in all capacities; musically, artistically, professionally, as a thinker, as a peer, as a human; and someone I am grateful to call a good friend, Dom Kaddish.

In solidarity and hope, I am humbled to provide WYAZ as a platform.

The New Situation.

[Dear All, the following is overtly, and not allusively political. If you disagree with it in style or substance, come along to, for example, a punk rock show or a University class room and tell us or someone else why. In other words, use every available opportunity to keep up the impetus for a new grass roots progressive politics to emerge in the UK and elsewhere post-23 June 2016. It is necessary but not sufficient for us to discuss such things through the Internet. We also need to make them count in building a better society, through our actions and words in the spaces where we actually commit our bodies].

Yesterday, 1 July 2016, the Conservative party in the UK attempted to assure us that politics in the UK is ‘back to business’ in the wake of Brexit. A Mr. Gove invoked further deluded promises about the NHS, when discretion suggested this was a thing best avoided. A Mrs. May invoked her talents as a hard worker, as well as her gender (this last point being important in the context of the obnoxious ‘boy’s club’ that led to Brexit, but Mrs May’s party is attempting to cash in on it in a way that superficially emulates but actually runs counter to the progressive female strand of politics running through, say, Holyrood).

None of this can stand: we simply cannot allow the elite of the Conservative party to try to convince us that they are operating on the basis of a post-Brexit consensus, and that they have our interests at heart in any way at all. We cannot allow politics to return to a state of unscrutinised Tory-led ‘management’. Doing so will only validate what has always been at the heart of the Tory party: upstairs privilege over downstairs servitude.

Instead of building a consensus and helping the people of the UK, the Conservative party has perpetrated an act of unparalleled violence against the social ontology of the UK in the lead up to, and in the wake of, the referendum of 23 June 2016. That is, they have effected a shift in the way that every entity related to the entity ‘the UK’ relates to every other entity related to this entity. They have done it by instrumentalising a mode of politics (the either/or referendum) that was always too crude to deal with the complexities of this ontology, and the consequence of this is that neighbours, words, glances, embraces, sighs, stares, handshakes, schools, immigrants, jobs, friends, taxis, hopes, fears, pensions, pounds and Euros (etc., etc., ad infinitum) no longer relate in the same way as before.

Given this violence, attempts to move on are appropriate. These include: humour; changing the topic of conversation; smiling a bit more; feeling a bit more driven to think, write or feel something; being warmer and more open to people who don’t look and think like you; wanting to strive for a better and more tolerant society that doesn’t condone or cynically instrumentalise racism, etc., etc. These attempts to move on are not attempts to move backwards. On the contrary, attempts to move backwards are, by definition, ‘conservative’, and if there is one entity that events since 23 June have comprehensively destroyed, it is the party that bears that name.

There can be no ‘business as usual’ on behalf of the Conservative party because there is no Conservative party. Instead, the convulsing psychotic ghost that persists in the wake of that party has no consensus, no mandate, and no real vision at all, and this makes it a deeply dangerous, reactionary, and volatile force (witness May’s party’s instrumentalisation of the female card, one of the few apparently progressive moves that was left to it). That said, it also makes it a potentially weak and waning force, provided we, the progressive and internationalist forces in the game, play our cards right, and cease to be so haunted.

There can be no business as usual in the wake of 23 June, in whatever sense (as resigned, as alienated, as disenfranchised, as relieved, as whatever). We have to lay claim to our changed social ontology and recognise that the Conservative party and the hideous forces they have recently colluded with can have no real part to play in it, provided that we have the courage to exorcise them. We have to do our business differently, by not giving up and accepting Conservative attempts to manage what they have conjured. Much more is possible than that for progressive, tolerant, and socially just reform of all sorts of entities, including, but not limited to: the EU, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the age divide, racism, the North/South divide, the European sense of self and other.

Let’s resolve to be socially responsible and just citizens in a time of spectres.

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Kaddish released “Thick Letters To Friends” in 2014. Their new LP will be released soon.