Is it really 18 years ago? 1995? Is it really again a month since I've been doing the proper right things and writing a blog instead of wasting my time with record traumas? Well, face up Ben it has been that long since you wrote a blog. More painfully, it's been that long since I was a knock-out handsome long haired 19 year old who was going through more changes than he could cope with and having to confront some rather painful yet rewarding in later times realities.
-Basic Information On A Wild Hearted Warrior As I Always Am And Will Be-
So let's go back then. Let's go back even before then. Let's go forward to now. Life is war. It always will be for me and I'm afraid I've resigned myself that it's always an uphill battle that I'm only satisfied with once I've trampled over all the obstacles be they friend or foe and I have fought hard for what I need to get exactly what I need. Life has always had me polarized between two sides of my personality- the commander and the preyed upon. When I am preyed upon by demons I try to fight them different ways often depending on different times of the year. Summer I get out all my aggressions and spend most of my energy swimming or just soaking up the sun. Autumn comes I become more placid, I get more lazy and go more for meditating and living in the past although I always live in the past because (to put it bluntly)- the present sucks! There are good things now. There are bad things I'd say more than good. It really is miserable when you have to come to some sort of acknowledgement that you've lost a lot of the major battles in your life and you can't get over the fact that things really aren't going to get better- they are going to continue endlessly it seems to be horrible. I don't feel too happy about my life. No, I'm not gonna be daft and say I wish it would end or that I've ever seriously contemplated suicide because I haven't. I've always been strong willed whether I know it or not. The thing is that we all get older and I haven't matured as much as I would like to and that seems to be the war I'll keep fighting till Judgement Day- getting further ahead instead of in the back row seat of the big movie theater known as LIFE THE UNENDING DRAMA OF THE CONQUEST FOR LOVE.
Opening Of The Secret Book Of Dreams And Desire Ethan Hawke As Will Knott Leads The Charge-
What is love? I used to wonder that. To my surprise and much to my shock and disbelief after too many long lonely years of being victimized for my small height and my bigger than average intelligence and sensitivity love came to me always as a soldier- an armed guard for my hidden dreams, goals, romantic beliefs, and desires. I would not ever admit to even really close friends till later on in life that I was mesmerized by soldiers, but they began to take a hold on me when I was 16 years old and changing- changing rapidly. I was afraid then. What if I was found out? My true identity was torn between the constant fight and struggle and the need for some kind of loving protection. I can't think of a more heartless, homophobic, and everything-that-is-good-and-goodhearted phobic time than the 1990s when I was growing up and growing fast. High school was a place where drug abuse, violence, and physical/psychological intimidation ran wild. I was both a hippie and a warrior. The two sides to the coin led to me coming up with the joke nickname "Zeus" as I was anything but Zeus-like when it came to having power of my situation in school. The joke stuck and I still hate it.
I never intended to be thought of as arrogant. Zeus, as I was then, was having some problems. I was very emotional and I still am very emotional, but young boys and young girls are especially fragile when they are going through their teenaged years from boyhood or girlhood to adult. I kept turning to soldiers secretly and it was scary for me to keep that secret. Come 1995 that secret got out in the open and A MIDNIGHT CLEAR staring Ethan Hawke (a fantastic actor) as the loveable main character SGT Will Knott and ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT in full technicolor unintentional hallucinogenic nightmare staring the innocent and sympathetic Richard Thomas as the doomed tragic hero Paul Baumer opened the whole secret up once and for all.
I had been going through Hell in 1995 and the ending of my high school experience was a near death experience when I was poisoned by a medication I was on and violently sick. As if that wasn't enough, right before that a best friend since kindergarten had killed himself. When I was recovering and if memory suits me correctly even before I recovered I had come out with the truth about my hidden obsession- soldiers. It was taken different ways and has been taken oftentimes the wrong way over the years. A MIDNIGHT CLEAR capped my feelings- it captured them. As much as I loved and love soldiers I will never believe in war and Ethan Hawke at only around 20 as a young, frightened intellectual who is fed up with the nonsense of World War 2 is particularly damning on the subject of warfare. Watching the film for the first time all my beliefs about soldiers frighteningly roared into real life passion and tragedy. There are scenes in that movie I still can't watch- I can't stand graphic carnage and bloodshed and there are some horrific moments in A MIDNIGHT CLEAR that would I am sure scare actual veterans into a majorly traumatic state. ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT the colour version is brutal without the image of any blood or grotesqueness and it basically is just a very tragic yet also very gripping anti war statement.
A MIDNIGHT CLEAR has lasted over half my life as a kind of parallel that I have between how I was caught in the middle of violence and scornful of it mainly figuratively and Will Knott's literal disillusionment. I had been fighting for a long time and I don't like losing any battle. I never could handle it. I'm always determined to get to the other side of a bad predicament however I have to.
By the time I was out of school for good I realized that as hard as I had tried to bring the 60s and those dreams of the counterculture to life I couldn't succeed. It was a bitter pill to swallow. You can't bring peace to a world that only knows war. You can't have hippie friends who aren't really hippies they are sycophants who know you have something good and drug abusing idiots. Several years down the road I was pissed with all my fake friends because I hated and continue to hate drugs. I also hate hangers on. I have no place for them. The two or three things that have stayed alive have been me, my passion for music, and especially my love of soldiers. When I talk to British and German soldiers on the phone they are the friends I never really had in my life. We're so far from each other yet the things we have in common bind us together. No soldier who really is good has any interest in jingoism and there is a song of that title by a Danish band called Old Man & The Sea that nails how we all feel about war:
"Young Boys Are Sent To Hell/Those Who Want To Live Are Slammed In Jail/And Fat Man Controls It All/Killing People I Have To Cry God No- War Is Bringing Down My Mind War! War! War!"
That sums it up well about any war. They meant Vietnam, but it could be anything from the dawn of history up to the current pointless pseudo crusades. I had my music as my weapon and if life was going to dish out a war to me I was going to keep on fighting for all I believed in and one of the main clashes with the bullshit 90s generation was and is my strong hatred of violence and macho stupidity.
-At The End Of The Day Music And Resilience Are All I Have In A Hate-Ridden World-
All the kids I was up against drove me berserk at school and my first battle cry was SRC's "Black Sheep" and "No Secret Destination." SRC is short for Scott Richardson's Case and Scott Richardson was very much a revolutionary writer, singer, and performer who had a storm for the music thanks to the superb sizzling acid guitar work of Gary Quackenbush and Steve Lyman. I would play their music and envision myself as the ruthless conquering hero. Then I got into King Crimson and their quiet moments were together with The Moody Blues and Klaatu (all these bands I still love) the music that pacified me. My other war song is the best and also the most diabolically arranged anti war song of all time "The Knife" by Genesis. This was Genesis when they had a young Peter Gabriel as their go to guy. He had studied Gandhi and at the age of something like 18 he'd come up with "The Knife" as a statement about how "Violent revolutions always just end with a dictator/despot in power."
I couldn't agree more, but the passion and the raw brutality of the music and Peter's menacing vocals made this song the track that saved me countless times from completely blowing everything I had. TRESPASS will probably always be my second favourite Genesis album. It may even be a tie with NURSERY CRYME, but since I have TRESPASS now in original 1st UK press as my one Genesis album from the Gabriel era it really triggers those memories of long ago just beginning to find some truths out about myself and the world. TRESPASS was the closest Genesis came to making a hard rock record, but there are plenty of soft/tranquil/melodic moments although on that particular album everything is dark and creepy. I was and will always be big into much more obscure music and the music that soothed me back then still does that trick too. I'd go with Forever Amber, New England (actually, they are from New England- Boston and they aren't exactly obscure- they had a major hit with the classic "Don't Ever Wanna Lose Ya") and Canada's Klaatu. I am rediscovering Klaatu's music now and I love it as much or more than I did then. Their vision is also a powerful one, and I won't use the word "Twee" here because I'll argue hard that Klaatu are no lightweight imitation of The Beatles or any other band and that's a whole lot of narrow minded people and critical rubbish.
The music was the good part and still is. Real friends I made were the good part and still are. However, for soldiers to become something I was comfortable about would be a long and painful journey through many experiences that would lead to some cold truths about the world coming to face me dead on. I actually a few years ago was on friendly terms with a soldier over the phone who got killed in Afghanistan. I'm sure he's in Heaven now and looking down on the world thinking we're all fools if we believe that war will solve anything. When I'm talking to soldiers they are almost always parents or just children themselves. The way they are treated by society is disgusting and unforgivable. They always can count on me to take their side, but where is that spirit of unity towards good causes there was in the 60s!? Have we lost out? Is the fight going over to the wrong side winning everything? These are tough to face questions. The more the world grows old the more infantile it becomes. We go backwards instead of advancing and my own growth and development always comes up against the happier times I had in the long distant past. It's really not a nice thing to have to look in the face.
-Disillusioned, Worn Out, And Sad But Not Giving Up Any Time Soon-
I never watch the news. I regret that I ever did. A lot of the time I spend looking back not forward because the future looks pretty bad. This entry is pretty depressing, but that's how life can be. One of the most brilliant scenes in A MIDNIGHT CLEAR is at the very end. The long focus pulling back from Ethan Hawke as Will Knott after the horrific killings of innocent German soldiers who tried to make peace with the Americans is probably the most telling portrait you'll ever see of the pointlessness and brutality of war and a life that's been bled dry. That expression says it. I don't feel like I've lost just yet though and there always will be some kind of hope and a whole lot of fight in me. Sometimes I only remember the joy and forget all the misery I went through when I was 18 years younger and even more fragile than today. I'm always glad to let the music trespass back into my life just like that album title, but now that the trespasser is a mate there are other obstacles. Getting on top of bad addictions and ordering the last records for the summer and making it a scant few- that's now. Records have become too much of my life and with that there is the tragedy of living in the past. Were the past not so potent records would be long brought down to a minimum and the simple fact of the matter of my life today is that loneliness and memories are turning me into somebody I can hardly even recognize sometimes. I'm still fighting for what I believe in though and I'll be doing that for the rest of my life until I finally find the land of peace, tranquility, and true happiness. I'm not one to be counted out.