SEVEN AND THE RAGGED TIGER

Seven is a highly potent number. It concluded the head-count for both dwarves and Samurai; it provided us with the seas, the deadly sins, the colours of the rainbow, the wonders of the ancient world and the ages of man. It gave us the right quota of brides for the right quota of brothers, the amount of years for a marital itch, the veils needed for Salome’s erotic dance routine, the title of a disturbing 90s horror movie, Enid Blyton’s secret alternative to her famous quintet, the necessary inches for the classic pop single, the correct collection of rogues for an intergalactic outlaw called Blake, and – of course – the assembled days of the week. It seems to have followed me around. I was born in a year ending in seven, lived at a No.7 for the best part of two decades, and my current home is a residence whose separate flat and house numbers add up to…you guessed it. And now I have seven months on the clock to measure my faltering progress through the brave new world I was dumped in as 2017 drew to a grim full stop.

Careful – I’m perilously close to a pattern so familiar on Twitter, that of relentlessly focusing on the one topic over and over again with mouth-frothing fanaticism. I never used to do that, but I never previously wrote for this blog whilst trying to recover from…er…well, a breakdown. No touchy-feely alternative word for it. I certainly don’t want any of my jottings to be viewed as ‘therapeutic’ as a consequence, however. Even if trying to get back into the habit is undeniably a form of therapy for me, I should imagine coming to such posts as a reader when burdened with that awareness could make approaching them akin to a ‘duty’, precluding either enjoyment or stimulation and reducing the whole exercise to the reading equivalent of a professional goalkeeper allowing a special needs child to score a penalty for charity. I’m sure a holiday in Salisbury would seem more appealing right now.

OK, let’s try to widen the picture a little by saying Brexit, Brexit, Brexit. Bored already, alas. Mind you, it was two years ago when we all made our way to the polling station and cast our vote, so should the subject still be the main headline day-after-never-ending-day? Tiresome doom ‘n’ gloom predictions abound on both sides if it does/doesn’t turn out how either want it; and I’m afraid I’ve reached the point where I’m beginning to not care anymore. Most days, I feel as though this country is incurably f***ed anyway, but that’s probably because on many of those days I feel as though I’m incurably f***ed. Sorry, it’s not you; it’s me.

I ain’t no Jacob Rees-Mogg, extolling the economic virtues of Britain breaking with the EU whilst relocating my Russia-friendly business interests to Brussels-friendly Eire; and I ain’t no Lord Adonis, wistfully waving goodbye to the Continent from the window-seat of a private plane flying over the Alps with a teary-eye that foresees endless referenda until the desirable result is achieved. At the same time, much like that gruesome twosome, mine is not an objective perspective right now – though I at least have the decency to leave the subject alone as a result.

I suppose I could indulge in the contemporary trend of anniversary-marking to fill otherwise empty column inches; it’s not like I haven’t before, after all. This year we’ve got 10 since the financial crash, 30 since Acid House, 50 since the Paris Spring, 70 since the birth of the NHS, and a century since women in the UK won the vote (well, as long as they were over 30). The latter two have received the most attention, with the NHS anniversary in particular plumbing a nauseating nadir of sentimental media waffle that has run parallel with – and appears contradicted by – the shocking revelations from Gosport and Chester. Mysteriously, very little coverage has been given to the impenetrable layers of self-interested and self-satisfied management swallowing up the bags of cash that governments routinely throw towards the NHS in the hope some of it will filter down to frontline nurses and patients. But I guess that doesn’t fit the celebratory narrative.

Anyway, I’m not really paying attention. My much-missed feline companion passed away two years ago this month, yet just the other night the light caught one of her long-discarded nails embedded in the carpet – unseen since 2016. This tiny, seemingly insignificant fragment of a friend lost to me forever felt like an invaluable, precious gemstone when I excavated it; but any trinket touched by the lost keeps them close when we can no longer draw them to our breast. Some bin or burn such mementos because they cannot bear to be reminded; others find these articles imbued with a comforting resonance that serves as evidence they really were in our lives and we didn’t imagine them. As someone once said, was it just a dream? Seemed so real to me.

But, what the hell! School’s (almost) out for summer, so let’s switch our attention to the World Cup and Wimbledon. Better that than allow our eyes to linger on ladies’ legs and other exposed body parts lest we incur the wrath of those who permit female drooling over topless Aidan Turner whilst simultaneously condemning male longing to varnish the delicious porcelain flesh of Demelza with one’s tongue. Long may her Cornish bosom heave, for drama is one of the Beeb’s few remaining assets; by contrast, claims by the BBC’s box-ticking ‘comedy controller’ that the Pythons wouldn’t happen today because they were ‘too white’ gives an indication why the corporation’s current comedic output is so dire. The sun must have gone to his diversity-mangled head.

I remember 1976, but it was different then; I did things in hot weather I can’t do today. Besides, fun wasn’t as ‘organised’ forty-two years ago as it is now; adult involvement in childhood summer pursuits was mercifully minimal. I feel fortunate to have had the freedom to climb trees, kick balls past woollen goalposts, and arrange toy soldiers for a pitched battle to the strains of ‘Mars, the Bringer of War’. I steered clear of the Boy Scouts and the Cubs because I didn’t want grown-ups imposing their twee, sanitised idea of fun upon me. Pity the poor monitored kids of 2018’s heat-wave, who have never been left to their own devices and consequently can’t entertain themselves.

No, the best thing about this time of year – if you burn the midnight oil, of course – is reluctantly retiring to bed around 3.00am and catching one last look at the world outside your window. The landscape still consists of silhouettes, but the sky isn’t black; it’s a luscious shade of blue that enables you to already discern the next day on the horizon, as though it were a great wave rolling towards you in slow motion, one that only matures into its finished form when it washes over you several hours later, stirring you from slumber in the process. That’s a nice image to leave you with, at least. You don’t need a weather-man to know which way the wind blows; but may you always have a tiger in your tank.

 

© The Editor

14 thoughts on “SEVEN AND THE RAGGED TIGER

  1. If only the outcome of Brexit was as predictable as the current trend for the sun to come up, and stay up, all day long, every day. Neither the Leave nor Remain groups can promise that. It may be ‘seven’ days before the water-company starts restricting my supply.

    But the fact that the sun does come up every day, albeit usually more occluded, is a great comforter that, whatever else seems to be stressing us, that crucial mechanism will still carry on regardless.

    I used to work in a very project-focused job, where I became conditioned to believing that ‘the project’, whatever type, was so vital that it must take priority over everything else in my life. When I finally quit, it was a revelation that, despite no longer being involved in those apparently vital programmes of world-dominating importance, the sun still obediently rose every day nevertheless.
    Looking out at the silhouetted night sky is another angle on the same point – we, and our issues, are trivial in the scheme of things, there’s a whole world out there still happening and to be enjoyed. I enjoy it now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Random musings prompted by the above: although still eligible to vote in the referendum despite living abroad, I didn’t do so. Aside from the fact that I couldn’t make up my bloody mind I didn’t feel any real entitlement… so I didn’t vote. As I watched the news that night there seemed no doubt that the status quo would prevail – ‘Bah!’, I thought as I turned in for the night, ‘nothing ever changes.’

    The news was broken to me the following day by… The Winegum Telegram!

    (I’ve been pulling my hair out here, doubting my own memory which necessitated a search for 2016’s diary to explain this fact; I’d been covering for a friend who’d had to jump on a ‘plane, doing his job in the middle of nowhere far away from ‘coverage’ until 6.30pm of the 24th.)

    Yes, you broke it to me with these words, Pet: “So, where to start? Well, we’re out. I didn’t really see this coming…”

    And neither did I! Immediate thoughts: ‘Shit! What have you done, you fools?!?’

    [When it had looked like ‘Remain’ would win I’d suddenly thought I ought to have voted – and voted ‘Leave’ – yet on learning that ‘Leave’ HAD won I immediately flipped and wished I’d gone for ‘Remain’. Felt a bit ashamed to be so easily manipulated by my own contrariness. What in God’s name was David Cameron thinking?]

    On the television of yesteryear… I was meaning to check out ‘The Year of the Sex Olympics’ as recommended here a while ago but instead rediscovered the delights of three whole series of Reggie Perrin (and the disappointments of a Rossiter-free follow up), the blasted Algorithm of Google/YouTube impossible to resist. Some of the comments from the outraged / nutters almost better than the programmes themselves…

    “I, like many have started acknowledging that the globalist elite scum have been implementing Marxism via our media. Whilst I don’t fall for the brainwashing, an extraordinary number of people do. The slime goes a long way. In the UK, the main source of news is the BBC, which is a cesspool of pedophiles and pedo protectors is very manipulative.”

    Obviously someone who hasn’t got where they are today by enjoying a good comedy/satire on YouTube. And speaking of which, I doubt CJ would get away with this nowadays (despite the fact that it is the petty-minded nature of the neighbours who are being ridiculed rather than ‘the coloureds’ sent round to frighten ’em):

    Having exhausted all of these – and having no appetite whatsoever for a remake starring Martin Clunes about which I’d been blissfully unaware – the Algorithm won again with something I hadn’t seen since first transmission; this snippet stood out and seems brexitly-apt:

    Finally, Duran Duran: I was digging around the other day into, er, Kajagoogoo (please, do NOT ask!) and read that we have DD’s Nick Rhodes to thank/blame for Limahl & the gang. It’s quite a nice story, really, though shame the music was so fucking dreadful!

    http://limahl.com/finding-success/

    Right-o, enough of that. Take care, Pet.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I will have read that at the time but hadn’t realised (or had forgotten) that Rossiter also appears in ‘The Year of the Sex Olympics’” – another reason for viewing it when the secret army disbands.

        Many, many years ago I had a friend with an almost psychopathic loathing of the music of the legendary Ronnie Hazlehurst – he really did NOT like the man’s ever-present theme tunes & was almost pushed over the edge when he read or saw an interview with the man in which he related his trick for churning out catchy ditties: he simply searched for some notes that would go along with the syllables of the words contained within the name of the show he’d been commisioned to compose for… the apparent easiness of the method enfuriated my pal!

        I’m not sure if it’s even true & don’t really want to find out that it isn’t, truth be told. But once you’ve sang along in your head to ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ or ‘The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin’ it’s impossible to hear them without ‘lyrics’ – I’ve been tortured all day by the latter going round and round in my noggin… so maybe best you don’t try it out.

        Hang in there.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Pet,

    My circadian rhythms are attuned to a different drum than your own. The past year has seen me take to my fainting couch at an early hour. I am not a tele person and life being what it is, I find the concentration needed to read books eludes me – which pisses me off greatly as books used to be an enduring presence in my life. I’m still trying to engage with them, but it can be hard.

    Anywho, it means I see the day from a different perspective. I wake around 4/5 a.m. and watch the day unfold around me. Especially now in this heat, it is wonderful to sit in my wide open double doors of my 2nd floor flat overlooking the street outside and watch the world come alive while I sip one of the luxuries I can still appreciate – a cup of bloody good coffee. No. Several cups of bloody good coffee. Food and alcohol are still a hit and miss affair for me, so it’s good to know this one constant remains true and pure.

    So I watch the people leaving for work, and the kids arriving for the school opposite, the lunchtime smokers on the corner released from the office, and then the cycle going into reverse, as the children escape their child catchers and people trudge home. As I live in a cut-through to a busy entertainment street, the night doesn’t end until I am about ready to get up, so on a busy evening my sleep and dreams are disturbed and peopled by the noises wafting inside from the still spinning, churning world. And I awake.

    Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

    I am re- discovering my love for music. Maybe my concentration span fits that of CDs perfectly, but I find I am beginning to recover a joy I had thought lost. And yes, I still buy CDs as opposed to that abomination that is streaming. I want the thing that music comes on and in, the artwork, the accreditations, not the fleeting experience of software visiting my PC. Some suggestions if I may?

    Jon Hopkins: “Singularity”
    Rival Consoles: “Persona”
    The National: “Sleep Well Beast”
    Nils Frahm: “All Melody”
    Beach House: “7”
    A Winged Victory For The Sullen: “Atomos”

    and I’m guessing you don’t do mix CDs but try fabric 99 by Sasha…. It works really well if you imagine it as one piece of electronica.

    And words I thought I would never write –
    Daphne and Celeste: “Save the World”..

    And today is Pride. I have gussied up a hat and will throw some glitter on me and skip into my skimpiest shorts in an attempt to gussy up myself to go out and show the world I am still here. I hope the world notices….

    And I will come home early I expect as I get easily fatigued.

    Wash . Rinse. Repeat.

    And tomorrow, I’m looking forward to unwrapping Let’s Eat Grandma.

    Keep on Pet. You’re doing fine. There is a way back. It can be hidden in the fog and the trees and the winding alleyways and the false trails. But it is there and I’m confident you’ll find it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This bit of the world has noticed you’re still there, skimpy shorts notwithstanding, and this bit of the world is delighted. Keep delighting us.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Salutations, Windsock. Your wonderfully vivid description of watching the world go by puts me in mind of the opening of a Mr Benn episode as the camera pans down Festive Road! I so hope the shopkeeper from whom you purchased your skimpy shorts doesn’t appear too early to curtail your day out.

      Your musical recommendations are new to me, but my curiosity is undoubtedly piqued. If I may repay the compliment, my most recent purchase is one I’ve a feeling you might enjoy – ‘Rest’, the latest album by Charlotte Gainsbourg. It merges the best of her father with the best of Air – and who doesn’t like a few sexy Gallic grooves on a summer’s evening? I can even pretend my e-cigarette is a Gitane when listening. As often happens, the blank disc a friend burned it onto for me to sample was swiftly succeeded by the official article, gatefold sleeve, lyric booklet and all.

      I chose to close this post with ‘Ordinary World’ as not only is it up there with ‘Save a Prayer’ for me as one of the Brummie dandies’ finest, but it seemed to be one of the few sad songs dominating my turntable that actually suggests there’s a way out – and that’s essential right now. If we all KBO, we may well catch the sunshine after the rain – though, to paraphrase our soul-brother Mudplugger, what’s rain? See you again soon.

      Like

      1. “Rest” was gifted to me for my 60th birthday earlier this year. I love it. The guys who gave it to me know me only by my musical tastes – they have been around when I DJ’d, and it was a punt on their part, but a punt that scored.

        Tracey Thorn’s latest was also a gift. Let’s just say that one went out over the bye-line.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Brett Anderson from Suede once remarked in an interview with Q magazine (back in the distant days when Q magazine was a decent music mag, no scratch that, back in the days when people actually bought music mags) that number seven was significant to him because he’d always found the best song on any of his favourite albums was track 7. Must admit, I’ve seen any evidence for it.

    Contrary to popular opinion, I do actually listen to music other than U2.

    Suede, at their Dublin 2011 concert in the Olympia Theatre:

    https://imgur.com/1wY7VJG

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.