Saturday, November 4, 2017

Why I’m not ruling anything in or out...

I suspect that barely a week goes by without the topic of suicide peering over my horizon, whether it is brushing the leaves of the past from the tree of history and coming up against the music or the writing or the art of someone who chose, hopefully after much deliberation that enough was enough. 

Or whether it is simply the seemingly inevitable curve that my life is currently on. The prospect of seeing out the rest of my days surrounded by love, comfort, friends & family battles with the notion that perhaps I should be the one choosing la fecha de fallecimiento.

The stigma of suicide is still that it is a coward’s way out. However, the ever-increasing numbers of suicides suggests that being branded a coward after death counts for little when weighing up the choice to continue to live on in pain or to settle things for good.

People often suggest that there is so much to live for but that isn’t always that apparent to the person gripped by whichever strand of despair they are being slowly suffocated by. Is it really worth carrying on down the road to inevitable collapse, fuelled by alcohol or drugs, crippled by inertia and anxiety? Or is it better to just move on.

And what about the people you leave behind? Isn’t it selfish. I am not so desperate to recognize the fact that if I do decide to just stop this whole dizzy whirl that there will be people who will mourn my passing. A handful of people maybe but they will move on. They will forget the passing and hopefully remember the substance of my life and not the route out of it.

I could of course hang around and see what happens next but you see I have been here before. I made serious plans to take my own life in 2013. But I thought my action was too selfish and I owed it to my family to stay strong. But I know the truth, I am not strong. I am vulnerable and hate the way that makes me look and feel. I decided to stay around for my sons and I also decided to ‘see what happens’. What happened was my marriage collapsed, Brexit & Donald Trump too. Whilst I wouldn’t blame my sense of futility on either of the last two, neither fill my heart with anything other than bitter & twisted anguish. Nor, I must stress, do I blame my ex-wife on the marriage collapsing – that was all down to me.

Sitting at this wooden table and listening to the Lorikeets, Magpies and Myna bickering in the garden, whilst I listen to Joao Gilberto, waiting for the water to boil, everything is calm. I am making plans for the week, looking at possible gigs to go to in January 2018, applying for jobs, wondering if I should stay in Australia or to move on. I’ve got tickets for The Ashes (although that won’t offer much respite). I am looking forward to at least February. But that’s the odd thing you see. I used to look way beyond the next three months. I cannot do that anymore however hard I try.

In closing, I know that I am loved and I love. So, all is not lost.
And even if I decide to stop, nothing is lost. It will just be different.


Friday, November 3, 2017

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

I was looking for a job and then... #4

Funny how CV's can invariably work against you. Just when you thought you'd got the right qualifications and experience... you tip over into "over qualified, too much experience". In other words, your potential line manager regards you as a threat!

Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200...

Friday, July 28, 2017

I was looking for a job and then... #3

And so... the online job market goes a bit odd on a Friday. Nothing happening.

So, I spent the day reading another one of the very fine 33 ⅓ series. This one was on Colossal Youth by Young Marble Giants. A beautiful album and a lovely book too. Reading about how Stuart, Alison & Phillip created one of the most wonderful records of all time. They relate to various different ambient musical/childhood experiences and it immediately evoked sounds (and visions) of my childhood that I hadn't heard (or seen) for decades.

The album's clicks, melodies and melancholy still allow me to drift beyond the first time I heard it to a hearth, a beach and a garden...

It's the weekend tomorrow, no jobs for the wicked, no blogs for the weekend*.

*Now there's a subtle link to a future post....

Thursday, July 27, 2017

I was looking for a job and then... #2

My email inbox is bursting with a thousand jobs, none of which are in the slightest bit suitable or relevant. But I suppose it is good to know that there are jobs for other people out there.

The sun has shone for most of today and despite the slight chill that accompanies these dry Sydney winter days, overall it is very pleasant. I scan the bookshelves in front of me, wondering when I will have to start selling off some of the rarer editions I have managed to collect during the years. I'm working backwards, deciding on which one will be the last to survive. I suspect it'll be either the limited edition Bukowski or the ltd edition Billy Childish.

Of the older more regular books, I'll be pulled between either The Outsider or A Happy Death. Camus has always been a touchstone for me and I already feel comforted by the knowledge that he'll be with me until the end. As for music, well most of the stuff I know own is MP3 but of the vinyl, goodness knows what I'll keep. I've already had the horrendous experience of losing my treasured box of 7" singles (including a signed Tin Soldier picture sleeve) back in 1990. I won't be able to do a runner with a bin bag and a couple of adidas holdalls this time. But, who know by the time this train reaches the end of the track I might have jettisoned enough crap...

I keep glancing enviously at the drinks cabinet, wondering how long I'll give the two bottles of Jameson a wide berth. Meanwhile, I am trying to make friends with the local Magpie family. I was attacked by one on Sunday whilst out riding my bike and am trying to make amends before the whole thing blows up into a full on feud. I'm not sure of the best approach really but I'm starting off with a bit of friendly banter. Although I suspect food would be a better bet.

I've been unemployed before and I'm starting to remember the overwhelming joy that small glimpses of security bring amidst the crushing disappointment of a regular day. This is not going to be easy but then again nothing ever is, is it?

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

I was looking for a job and then... #1

The marine clock chimes 11pm. the Tour of Wallonie is showing on Eurosport and in the background on my laptop Stewart Lee & Alan Moore are having a conversation. In essence the pair of them are trying to subvert the marketing process for Stewart's new book. And they are succeeding.

I have recently gravitated to Stewart's work. He challenges a fair few norms, despite still making a living from being a stand up comedian. I have tried to do that too in the professional consulting space but I have failed (so far).

Being unemployed and of an age where I might never get a job again, is on the one hand very liberating and on the other it is quite fucking scary! I have some money but not enough to buy a house, to live and never work again. I have some money, I don't need much more but I do need more. I am happy to work. I am by no means stupid; my voting record, record collection, reading list and dress sense prove that! But I might have been pulled back into the pack. I was previously in life's peloton and then in the foothills of my 30's I made a break and I got ahead of the main group. I took King of the Mountains points on that stage but it would seem that I went too early...

Stewart Lee and Alan Moore are now talking about 'Moby Dick in Outer Space'. I should really be listening to them but I have committed to a daily update on this blog until I either get a job or die. However, upon looking back from that full stop I realise that I have already written my first post and now is the time to sign off.

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Original Mod Rule Book

The Original Mod Rule Book

Clean living under difficult circumstances - Pete Meaden
Once a mod always a mod - Jack Nash

From the heady days of the cool modernists, so beautifully depicted in Colin Machines novel 'Absolute Beginners' to the 2nd generation mods spread out across the deckchair strewn beaches of the mid sixties. On to the 'Quadrophenia' Mods of 73, the revival Mods of 79/80, the scooter boys and  deep corner mods of the 80's, the Acid Jazz'/Britpop Mods of the 90's, the Modfather acolytes of the noughties all the way up to today. There has always been an underlying code that defines Mod v Not. A code that until this day was always believed to have been lost in the last days of The Scene Club.

However, London journalist and lifelong Mod Jack Nash stumbled across a battered copy of a first draft proof copy of the original Mod Rule Book.  After painstaking work, Nash in conjunction with Bureau Clandestine is pleased to announce that prior to the formal launch in January 2018 (to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the first ever Modernist Conference in Soho 1958 at The St Jermyn's Club of Piccadilly), that we will serialise some key aspects of TOMRB here on this blog.

Why here? Why such a low key launch? To test two theories: 1) That true Mods instinctively know where the truth lies, 2) That the internet isn't as all pervasive as perceived...

To tantalise. 

Here is a brief extract from Rule 4, subsection 2.2 - Socks. 

Pastel coloured socks
Only these colours are acceptable with a brogue.

  • Lemon (All shades)
  • Sky Blue
  • Puce
  • Baby Pink (1928)
  • Sussex Cream

Pretty powerful stuff...

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Albion Hotel

Bring me the keys
And show me to my room
Turn off the light
So that I can see the moon

I can hear the rain falling
Through the night
The gulls cawing
I can feel the tide calling
Through the night
Until early morning

I’m checking in
I’m checking in
I’m checking in
To the Albion Hotel

Bring me a drink
And leave it over there
Turn back the sheets
As you head back down the stairs

I can hear the rain falling
Through the night
The gulls cawing
I can feel the tide calling
Through the night
Until early morning

I’m checking in
I’m checking in
I’m checking in
To the Albion Hotel

Prepare my bill
& slip it under my door
give my luggage away
I won’t need it anymore

I can hear the rain falling
Through the night
The gulls cawing
I can feel the tide calling
Through the night
Until early morning

I’m checking out
I’m checking out
I’m checking out
of the Albion Hotel

©Andrew Franks 2014

For a live version of this song, click here... Albion Hotel live

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


I think I've been here before but I'll go again anyway...

Sitting in a cafe (preferably The Spartan on Grove Road), hovering over an hour old cup of tea, with a Marlboro on the go. Fringe down, gazing at Kafka's words, ushering in a new darkness and whispering on the chill breeze that blew from the Town Hall to the Library. It's ok to feel this empty and this hollow because life will fill me up with joy and desire. It won't ever be like this again.

Or so I thought.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Anger was an energy

There was a time, not so unimaginably long ago, when we would express our anger and frustration in the most basic of window-smashing, meat-wagon trashing and general rampaging ways. We would feel free to unleash our RAGE.

Now, we are merely content to tweet, post and indeed blog(!). We have lost any sense of rebellion, happy to have gifted it all away in exchange for faster broadband and free wi-fi. 

However, all is not lost...

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Strings of Desire - #9

GIBSON ES-175 (ES75)

A big old jazz semi, the Gibson ES-175 (ES75) is such a beautiful looking guitar that some of the crimes against music committed on it can only be forgiven.

Originally aimed squarely at the decidedly hip jazz noodlers, it was co-opted by the more progressive end of the musical spectrum and forced into service to augment tales of druids, dragons and oceanic space mysteries late 60's early 70's.

However, those crimes have fallen under the statute of limitations and we can now all luxuriate in it's beauty and thrilling tone. Just check out 'High Land, Hard Rain' to hear Roddy Frame reclaim the 175 for us all!