13 July 2018

Music Day - Sound Of Waves

I am seriously addicted to this song right now.

It rocks, it's fun, it's catchy, it's insanely danceable, and if that high harmony in the chorus doesn't carry you up into the stratosphere I really don't know what will.

It has kind of an Ultravox vibe actually, so if that's your thing, you definitely want to hear this song (personally I'm into Ultravox mostly because they sound like Daniel Amos circa 1986, so there's also that connection). It makes sense though -- both Ultravox and Steve Scott hail from the UK. (The harmony also has a touch of The Choir to it... have I dropped enough names to pique your interest yet?)

Steve Scott, from what I gather (and have heard), is quite uncategorisable. His output is a mix of spoken poetry over soundscapes sampled from real life and straight-up dance-y rock songs. But so far I've noticed a common thread of the melancholy thinker -- one of those artists who sees the brilliant breathtaking details of life, but also sees how much the world falls short of what it should be.

Title: Sound Of Waves
Artist: Steve Scott
Album: Lost Horizon
Year: 1989
Label: Alternative Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.
(In researching for this post I discovered there's a seven-minute version which you can hear on YouTube.)

As for the lyrics, they have an air of Mike Roe or Terry Scott Taylor's poetry about them, on the topic of feeling alone in a world continually concerned with 'progress.' (Admittedly, the subject matter is a bit incongruent with the upbeat music, but both are enjoyable on their own merits.)

They say it's asking far too much
To talk about the personal touch
Even if it was planned in advance...

These words resonate a lot with me. As you may have gathered in reading this blog, I tend to be fairly open and honest about pretty much everything (especially my feelings, depression, and the frustration of living in a world that's got its priorities messed up), and in recent years I've heard several people accuse me of being 'too personal' (which I don't understand, because if I'm sharing something from my life, of my own free will, who are you to determine it's 'too personal'? If I'm okay with talking about my own feelings, who are you to tell me that I shouldn't be comfortable with talking about my own life? How can you justifiably censor my life? It's not yours to censor. Anyway, stopping the rant now before it gets too out of hand...).
'Planned in advance?' Well -- as an example -- even at things like small-group Bible studies, where you're supposed to be able to 'share your struggles,' there are unspoken limits on what can and cannot be said. There's an unwritten list of 'acceptable sins to confess' (the more vague, the better) and if you dare step off that list and confess a genuine struggle with an actual sin (or, God forbid, actual pain), you'll be shunned.

And as a result, we are left alone -- each one an island unto himself. To struggle, alienated from fellow humans for... how long?

But right now the only thing I hear is the sound of waves
Crashing all around me where I stand
But right now the only thing I hear is the sound of waves
Now that you have found me, take my hand...

08 July 2018

The Dance of Respect

Recently I was reading a dance magazine, and this one contributing author was talking about his experiences in contact improv -- specifically, the topic of consent and 'listening' to one's partner during creation/performance. I'm not familiar with contact improv at all -- I've never seen it done and certainly never participated, but one sentence in this article grabbed me by the throat and is now about two weeks into completely altering my life.

'If I know my NO will be respected and if you know I am actively listening for your NO, we can both relax and explore the dance, right to our edges.'

When I read this, I instantly thought of several (non-dance) relationships I'm in.

I can name several people in my life who probably cannot really trust me to listen for their cues (and actually respond appropriately), and this hampers the friendship. I can sense this stunted dynamic in a tangible way in some cases. As a child abuse victim, I'm often so concerned with self-preservation (because several key people in my life didn't listen to my cues so I had to constantly fight to be heard no matter how much they told me to stop) that I often forget others have boundaries and needs too... and as a result I (however unintentionally) perpetuate the horrors that come from not truly listening to the other person.

As this sentence has been seeping into my consciousness, I am struck by 1. how effectively it defines respect (which was an abstract and difficult to grasp concept for me until after I read this), and 2. how beautiful that can be -- to go as deep as possible together, to take the dance of life and (platonic and/or romantic) love as far as it can possibly go while not having to worry about whether or not you're pushing them somewhere they don't want to go, and simultaneously knowing that if you don't like where something is going, you're allowed to say so without reprimand. There's so much freedom in that. Again, as an abuse victim, I've spent 98% of my life not being allowed to say anything if I didn't like where someone was taking me; and not knowing if I'm pushing someone too far until they full-on blow up at me. I was constantly walking on eggshells. There was no freedom, no relaxing, and in a situation like that (especially if you're in it for a long time -- say, you know, twenty years), you get tense and you take smaller, shuffling steps, and you get smaller, as a human, as a personality, in an attempt to do less wrong ('maybe if I'm smaller/not in the way, they won't hate me so much').

How deep and intense and rich life could be if we all lived the way the quote describes. How much freer and happier we would all be because we would all know exactly where we are with each other and we wouldn't have to devote so much energy to trying to read into someone else's cryptic silence or trying to figure out how to say what you want to say without actually saying it.

Yeah, yeah, I know, it's not a perfect world and people are fallible humans that make mistakes and people will disappoint us and all that self-excusing crap... but can we collectively at least try? And if we screw up, try again?


Referenced article: 'Contact and Consent,' Vivek Patel, The Dance Current, May/June 2018, 37.