Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Supply and Demand

Supply and demand is a concept that not many seem to grasp, and it drives me to distraction. In these times of resource shortages and impending climate catastrophes, there could be no greater concept to be sure of than this. And yet, on a daily basis i am dismissed by these heathens as a fool for not making use of products and services that are already accounted for.

So here it is in black and white. A local shop owner sells cans of baked beans. He knows because he's sold baked beans for a couple of years now, that he sells about 20 cans of beans a week. So he orders 4 crates from his supplier each month. If one week he doesn't sell so many beans, he has more than he knows what to do with, and so orders less from the supplier for the coming delivery. If he sells more than normal, then he may put in a special order to be delivered soon.

This is the way i understand supply and demand, and i try (emphasis on the "try") to adjust my life accordingly. So if i decide not to fly because i don't want to create a demand for a service that pollutes the earth's atmosphere, and consequently contributes to endangering millions of the poorest lives on this planet...this is the reasoning behind it. Yes, the plane may well have empty seats on it for the particular flight i may have been considering. However, i didn't make the purchase, and the empty seat is a signal to the air travel industry that demand for that particular route is down.

I'm not expecting anyone to sacrifice anything in their lives, though the world would be better off if we all did consume less. I'm asking for some consideration and understanding of why i and others make certain choices based on finite resources and the environment.

Poor Choice of Words

Swearing. I do it all the time, but I'm making a conscious effort to atone for the lack of imagination i have when exclaiming out loud. There's nothing wrong with swearing, it's a wonderful sense of release, and builds moral within groups. However, it's the monoculture of swear words we use these days that we must abandon. They lose all effectiveness when constantly repeated at the end of each sentence and next to "like", which seems to be used as if it were a comma for most of the English speaking public under 50.

The "C" word, the most heinous of all modern swear words, is bandied around as if it were candy, and shown off to small children on public thoroughfares accordingly. It's positively thrilling to read a DH Lawrence novel, full of tedious prose about the beauty of the Midlands (of all places!), then completely out of the blue, a character describes a woman's genitalia with such fervor, "Aye, that's a fine cunt ye have...", at which point the character proceeds to describe the object at hand in all it's minute glory. This is when the "C" word should be used, to startle, when we haven't heard it in long while, and in places we are least expecting it.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Two things you should be slow to criticise

"Two things you should be slow to criticise, a man's choice in woman, and a man's choice in work" as Paddy McAloon says on Jordan: The Comeback.

Never did i quite understand that line as i do right now. The complexity that some situations achieve can be so overwhelming that it's impossible to make a decision. Either choice can be justified at a particular level, so how does one know which is the correct one?

How we baulk at the office workers from the desks of our school classrooms! How simple it was back then, to think that destinies are something we have complete control over. Little did we know of the myriad compromises that make up an adult's daily life, watering down those pure and noble thoughts we once had as teenagers.

Most days i alight from the bus in the City, mortified that i have to be surrounded by such ugly buildings and dreary people. How supremely original i think of myself compared with these career driven fools. And yet, how do i not know, that behind one of these pink-shirt-blue-tied brutes, stirs a kindred spirit? There could be any number of truly creative souls out there, bludgeoned by the machinery of a financial centre, and their only aim, to use it, as i use it, to sustain and propel the flames of imagination, albeit in an altogether abstract way.

Again, in the youthful enthusiasm of a lad bred on Dawson's Creek, there lied a misunderstanding of what interconnected realities lay before him. Love, i am told, heightens the senses, yet lowers one's perceptions. Is it wise to fall disastrously in love, to plough all available resources into such beauty as one so defines, only to be rebuffed by common sense, and the cold light of day? Jerome K. Jerome, believes that affection is all one can hope for, a flat-lined flow of sensuality, rather than a swooping sine wave. Can one settle for affection only, and find passion and purpose elsewhere? Should it matter if one can be satisfied in all areas of one's life through many different means, rather than just one?

Such a Western impression. To believe, to even consider that a partner could provide everything one desires! Is it perhaps that we've debunked religion as the answer to everything, and now we scrabble around for a new idol worthy of our adoration? I had once thought that an ideal partner would be someone i could communicate with in such subtle ways, and would understand my articulated nonsense that would be taken as feelings. Now i am torn between that which a society has nurtured me to believing, and something that same society would think utterly base and devoid of humanity.

To see a couple, and to react to their choice in partner, is something i now abhor. It is no-one's business how they connect, or do not connect, as the case may be. Just as it is of no-one's concern how one makes a little money to get by.

Teenage ideals should be kept in the Mongolian wilderness, where life is truly simple.

Monday, 9 June 2008


I have recently had the great pleasure of being introduced to a saxophonist composer of overwhelming depth and dark majesty, a man called John Surman. I saw him play at The Wigmore Hall a few months back, and it was an experience i shall never forget.

So often i concentrate on the lyric, and the pop composition of music, that i forget how potent jazz can be, when it's not noodling to infinity. I had enjoyed John Surman's set very much, but it didn't quite move me, until about half way through, when his string section, Trans4mation, struck up the intro for Moonlighter.

It plays for about a minute on maybe 2 chords, a subtle tension builds and holds, then the baritone saxophone cracks in, completely unexpected, but so soft, gentle, like an old dog with cancer that rests his clumsy paw for one last time on your knee.

That very moment, this intense surge of emotion welled up in me, and poured out in the form of a few tears. Indescribable emotion...i wasn't low on that particular day, but Surman manipulated me into feeling utterly despondent. That skill to invoke emotion in someone completely off guard, is one to be admired, and desired.

Unfortunately i can't find a link where you can hear this in full. However, i strongly urge you to buy this album, The Spaces Inbetween, certainly the best thing i've heard in the last year without a doubt.

Weep, and wallow.