‘Tis A Pity

‘Tis a pity

That I take such joy from self destruction,

I do not wish to say I do not enjoy construction,

but retain a childish glee,

when it comes to self desecration.

‘Tis a pity

That I choke on nerves,

and can only express myself in a medieval manner,

I fear I shall never find another,

Who has slipped through the cracks.

‘Tis a pity

How far away you are,

For distance tempts and taunts me,

Into old behaviours

And brings my structures earthwards once more.

‘Tis a pity

That I write rather than solve,

That my toils fester on paper,

And rather than shrivel in the sunlight,

Grow larger than my being.

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Words Fail Me

It was easier in the straight-jacket,

The chains lifted me, albeit to throw me down again.

Even the mountain weeps,

Under the heavy embrace of the inexplicable “afa”.

Words fail me.

I enter my prison again, with one eye on the door.

There are no partitions anymore,

And As I gaze pensively and panoptically therein,

I claim it as mine.

A great joy seizes me.

Words fail me. But one remains: Hallelujah

Fireman

Have I gone too far?

With this risky hand I’ve played,

I think I can make it,

But I’m so terribly afraid.

Maybe I should pack it in?

And become a fireman,

Joy in my 5 year old heart,

but turmoil in the man I am.

Dated 24/04/15

Packing Suitcases

She said there must be more to life than packing suitcases,

I dismissed it as lukewarm proliferation,

though I wish I could answer her.

I am proud of my kingdom,

yet yearly condense it to neat frowning piles,

is there more to life than moving pages?

But these are heavy thoughts,

so I will leave them behind,

and my darling will never find her answer.

New Year

I tend to spend new year with few people, but if you’ve ever seen me at new year I’m usually angry, confused or utterly uninterested. But this year something’s different.

Is it that after a year full of pain and illness I’m just thrilled it’s over?

No.

The fact is that my utterly ungrateful self is finally thankful for a year in my life.

It’s been tough. Really tough. The number of days I’ve woken up in so much pain I wish I hadn’t, are almost uncountable, but this has, by a clear mile, been the most valuable year of my life. I’ve learnt so much, and disposed of a veritable mountain of crap.

A year ago I was so robed in insecurities I had subconsciously decided to kill myself.  I hated myself so much that I hadn’t suitably fed myself in 6 months. I was in, what my undernourished brain considered, an entirely godless place. Happy new year?!

12 months later, I’ve rediscovered the incredible grace that saves me from my sin, and allows me to have a perfect and superbly close relationship with my saviour.

The roots of my mental illness grew in the fear that nobody loved me, but through grace I know that God loves me so intensely he would sacrifice the thing most important to him, to save me from my sin. ME. Yeah, of all the people worth saving he wants me too! The drunkard skeleton failure. That’s a kind of love that I just can’t argue with. It’s mind boggling. And it’s the main reason I’m so chuffed about this year, and so excited about the next one. I’ve shed so much emotional dead weight and I’m ready to take on 2015, with my man Jesus at my side.

So happy new year! Who knows what’s in store, but God’s in charge and his love won’t ever let me go. It didn’t this year, even when I was so, so far gone!

Bring it on!

Ben H’s 2014 Music Awards

2014

TOP TEN ALBUMS

  1. Nabuma Rubberband – Little Dragon

The Swedish quartet finally live up to their potential on this soulful succinct offering. About Time.

  1. Everything Will Be Alright In The End – Weezer

It’s no masterpiece. It’s not their finest, but it’s a huge leap back towards what made them great. Even if they quit now, at least they’ve buried some of their past misdemeanours under these 11 tight loser-rock nuggets. The atonement is complete.

  1. Get Hurt – Gaslight Anthem

How do you follow a masterpiece? There is no correct answer, but Brian Fallon and co. have made a fairly good show of it, wading into new, slightly darker, sonic territories without ever losing sight of the band’s windswept romantic heart.

  1. Hang On? – [Spunge]

6 years after their last release ska-punk legends [Spunge] announced this collection, prompting many responses of who cares, from those, including myself, whose patience had pretty much run out. But, against all odds this could be their best work to date. 10 short sharp nostalgia trips into what made them so great, perfectly accentuate their uniqueness, without ever overstaying their welcome.

  1. Words To The Blind – Savages and Bo Ningen

A 35 minute live recording of a Dadaist poem was never going to be an easy listen, but it could well be this year’s most fascinating.  It pulses and ebbs through delicate scapes and clattering crescendos, which ensure that those who venture in, are duly rewarded.

  1. Crush Songs – Karen O

This series of bedroom recordings perfectly harnesses one of the greatest living female vocalists talents as a singer, but also as a poet. These gentle laments are sumptuous gems of raw expression, best enjoyed with whiskey at 4AM.

  1. The Cautionary Tales Of Mark Oliver Everett – Eels

In perfect contrast to last year’s offering, Eels returned with a heart-wrenching, introspective masterpiece. Everett’s voice never sounded more desolate, and the arrangements have never been so touching. Bleak but essentially beautiful.

  1. Sunbathing Animal – Parquet Courts

If you’ve ever wondered what disillusionment sounded like, here is your answer. Droning, sleazy, slacker indie abounds on this superb portrait of the pressures of fame and trying to stay “true”. A curiously charming curveball.

  1. III – Badbadnotgood

Masterpiece isn’t a word to be used lightly, and so with reverence I offer the term to these next two albums. They are the undisputed kings of their genres. BBNG’s endlessly expansive jazz/hiphop/funk amalgam is just the dreamiest, most mind blowing and yet most likely to get you moving, album this year. A trio in perfect synchronicity glide through nine sumptuous jams with slithering sax, tumbling bass, delicate pianos and tasty jazz beats. It doesn’t really get much better than this when it comes to modern jazz.

  1. Never Hungover Again – Joyce Manor

Melodic punk’s bare bones have never been so hopelessly exposed, offering the listener a glimpse, albeit a brief one, into the dark, stormy and generally miserable mind of Joyce Manor’s lead vocalist. On repeated listens you can almost hear sobs between lines, such raw emotion has rarely ever been captured so candidly. And the album never drags. 10 track crammed into 19 minutes of melancholy punk about the miseries of suburban living. Once it’s over the only real reaction is to start it again. It’s irresistible. This album is crammed with emotion, never overstays it’s welcome, is full of neat quirks, and for that reason, is 2014’s champion.

 

Biggest Letdown Award – Turn Blue – The Black Keys

After the success of El Camino, the keys were set to conquer, their amazing two men, no frills rock and roll was a marvel. But where did it go? Turn Blue is smothered in drab studio sheen which leaves the band barely recognizable. Occasionally a glimpse of former glories is caught in a guitar solo, but in general this album is an overbaked, meritless collection which only serves to teach that production isn’t everything.

Most Absurdly Pretentious Award – Enclosure – John Frusciante

Frusciante has clearly passed the creative peak of PBX Funicular Intaglio Zone and is now freewheeling towards the lake of self indulgence. Mismatching drum ‘n’ bass beats, short vocal snaps and desolate, often painful synths abound on this baffling mixing pot of ideas. The end product, unsurprisingly, is rather unpalatable.

Ultimate Failure Award – Fading West – Switchfoot

I don’t even know where to begin. I could rant for days about how utterly pointless and joyless this album is. Trading in all their charm, charisma and musical identity, the San Diego veterans have created this over-produced selection of bland pop nonsense. Barely a catchy chorus about, musical flourishes and band chemistry are absent and the drums sound like they are being played by a 4 year old and then reprogrammed in post. Another hero falls.

 

Best Up And Comers – Doctopus

These Aussie psych odd-bods create gloriously understated tunes, with the expressed intention that they are for chilling to. Check out their 2014 album Wobbegong. Plug in, press play, fade away…

Other Awards:

Pleasant Surprise Award – Music For Insomniacs – Matt Berry

Most Prolific Artist – Parquet Courts/Flaming Lips

Best Fan Treatment – R.E.M.

Best Ska Album – Hang On? – [Spunge]

Good Year: 

Weezer

Pixies

Morrissey

Little Dragon

Bad Year

Black Keys

Elbow

Switchfoot

Rancid

The selected scribblings of Ben H