Song of the day – 575: Scout Niblett
I've been depressed. It's such a constant struggle, day in and day out.
If Lauren does sleep then Daniel doesn’t. If Daniel sleeps then it’s guaranteed Lauren will be awake for hours. If we don’t sleep the whole day looks bleak – or the morning, whatever. It’s hard to think past the next hour. Paranoia sets in. Grumpiness. Shouting. Shaking. It doesn’t help that you know it’s mostly fuelled by sleeplessness, or that we’ve been through this once already (for three solid years). It doesn’t help at all. What about the part that isn’t?
I rarely listen to music these weeks. I just want to turn everything off when I’m by myself. I’m often by myself. So I turn everything off. Play a computer game as mindless as possible on my iPod (on the bus or in bed), or on my computer. Doesn’t matter. Try not to acknowledge the outside. Try to avoid the smell of defeat. Try not to acknowledge the constant unchanging outside, and the way … I can’t listen to music. It’s too evocative. Better not to hear or see anything.
This morning, I can’t stop myself. I’m thinking of a concert I played in Brighton round about the time Isaac was born in June 2005. I was first up, in a ragtag band made of Danya Dehasse (my regular guitarist then) and Scout Niblett and Steve Gullick (I think) and Andrew Clare (v. talented musician and former Plan B Magazine designer), plus a handful of other sorts. I can’t recall, really. I know it was at the Old Market, supporting Electrelane (who I still miss dearly, I was going to say more for what they represented then as people or for the music, but no: I miss them as friends most of all) and Scout Niblett. And I know I was performing this improvised song, a week before Charlotte was due to give birth, based around the birthing sessions we’d been taking part in – “Push, breath, atrophy”, something like that; a constant pulse, a vivid monochrome. The song lasted for ever, it needed to. It plateaued regularly. It peaked. It subsided.
The other day, I let the façade slip and played a few random songs on iTunes. I felt bad that I hadn’t been serving my community of outsiders and the needy like I sometimes do. And this came on. Bangs alive. HOW CAN I FORGET, constantly forget, HOW MUCH I LOVE CERTAIN ARTISTS, how much they are part of my psyche, my existence? This is absurd. Why can’t I just wake up to myself? How could I have doubted for even one moment that I wouldn’t love the new album from Emma? (I didn’t doubt. Not really. I’m just too depressed to listen to music, especially music I know I want to hear, for fear of the associations it’ll spark. Sometimes beauty is nothing next to pain.) I can hear my own fucking voice harmonising along on this song, the way we did that evening when Jack Lewis was on the bill. I can sense the unsung harmonies instantly. I can feel each and every drawn-out chord, the grunge. The tears on the dance floor.
Sometime soon, I need to wake myself up. This abject surrender, this kissing with my eyes open, serves me no good whatsoever.
“What the hell did they do to you to make you so scared?”