My Pop Life #204 : Never Enough – Boris Dlugosch & Róisín Murphy

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Never Enough – Boris Dlugosch & Róisín Murphy

Do you belong to what you’re hanging on to?

Are you caught in a loop? What is wrong with you?

You keep making do…

Dear Ralph,

Everything is shit.  I don’t know about you lot, but I fucking hate life.  What’s the point of it all.  Everything I do turns to ashes.  I’ve got a cold, I’m injured, My eyesight is going, I’m lonely, I’m depressed, no one is interested in me.  Is it me?  I’m so tired of being alone.  So tired of it.  I’m so fed up with my buttons not doing up first time around, I always have to have two goes.  At least! At everything.  I pick something up and it falls out of my hand.  I go to open a cupboard and it slides out of my grasp.  I pick up a cat toy from the floor and it drops from my fingers.  Infuriating !  Rage the size of Niagara courses through my veins, popping from my eyeballs and I feel a clench in the heart of my being, my voice gets tight, I am not like water, I am a rock, I am banging my hand against the wall, I am banging my head against the mirror.  So sick and tired of all these pictures of me.  I mean what is the actual point?  Heh?? Atomic frustration on a mini-level, the atoms themselves defy me and re-organise each moment to frustrate my every move.  Self sabotage. Self hatred barrage.  Nigel Farage.

Have you given up on hope? I could be your antidote

Are you lost in a state of anxiety? Just let it be

I’m stuck basically.  I’m full of self-loathing, vicious contempt that I should suffer from baseless anxiety when there are suffering millions across the globe who shame me with their fortitude and courage, their focus and their sheer damn hard work, all I have is a spineless capitulation to the icloud of depression that always hovers on icloudy days, provoking me with its basic formulaic symbolism, jeering at my dependence on the sun for joy and happiness, refusing to allow a smile across my miserable features unless a beam from the mote of a star caresses my carefully moisturised skin.  The depression that tells you that hey, bro, yes, that’s right – THIS is Reality, playing magic tricks – look over here, up there – because the rest of the time you are merely distracting yourself with flim-flammery, with culture, with art, with sport, with food, underneath all these doubtless pleasurable fripperies which fill your neverending daisy is a giant iceberg called Reality and once you’ve spied the tip of it, better watch out boyo because the other 90% is gonna drag you under by the shark-tailfin of your chequered cab and I can’t sit down I’m going overboard in this heathen town.

I cannot enjoy and appreciate the simple things of life.  Despite a culture of gratitude around us, the simple pleasures have curdled and become stale, the deadly filter over my eyes has turned it all rotten, shaded all beauty with decay, rust and dust.  It is a tiresome repeat of so many dear dead days, that waking up becomes a burden, a heavy tread downstairs for catfeeding, tea and the bastard internet as I contemplate my entirely unstressful life with a baleful eye and a frozen soul that can only see Reality, pain, failure, humiliation, extinction, pollution, cruelty, greed, sickness and death.  Nothing ever matters.  Nothing really matters.  To me.  Ennui.  But wait.

Excuse me, please I’m just so happy I could scream

Adjust your mindset, do the same All that you lost will be regained

One phone call.  One message.  One walk down the street to the pharmacy, one social interaction. One glimmer…  As Kacey Musgraves country singer she say – if you’re looking for a silver lining, gonna have to be a cloudy day.  Straighten up and fly right, tighten the core, chin up, purpose, direction, focus. You have life you have love you have nothing to complain about, I am blessed I am comforts I am whole got my arms got my legs got my hands got my feet got my brain got my eyes got my mouth I got my smile said Nina Simone, you have friends and flavours projects and zoo animals in your house.  Books and records and everything ever written or painted or recorded in history at your fingertips.  But it’s

NEVER EVER ENOUGH

 it’s never enough, Is it ever enough, when it’s just enough? If it’s never enough, why do we hang up on hope? Enough is enough, never enough

*

images.duckduckgo-2Róisín Murphy

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Boris Dlugosch
She’s an Irish lass who studied in Manchester then met Mark Brydon at a party in Sheffield (“do you like my tight sweater?  See how it fits my body!”) then formed the pop band Moloko around 1994.  Their first album was called Do You Like My Tight Sweater?   They were reasonably popular & successful until a song called Sing It Back was mixed and remixed by Todd Terry and Uncle Tom Cobbley and all and all until Mr Dlugosch got his housey hands on it and it became a massive hit reaching number one on the US Dance Charts in 1999.
images.duckduckgo-5Rather than pay the fella, Róisín co-wrote his next song called Never Enough and it was another big hit in 2001.  That’s all you need to know really I reckon.  Because whatever it is, it’s never enough.

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*

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My Pop Life #55 : Help! – The Beatles

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Help !   –   The Beatles

…when I was young, oh so much younger than today,

I never needed anybody’s help in any way 

but now these days are gone I’m not so self-assured

now I find I’ve changed my mind I’ve opened up the doors

1965, Selmeston, East Sussex.  Andrew is one year old and things are not going well with Mum.  Later she would blame the amount of air and gas she was given by the midwife during the birth, but who knows why she felt she could no longer cope with life in a small village with three young boys?  The world collapsed when she was admitted to Hellingly Hospital as a patient, suffering from a mental breakdown.  I didn’t know what was going on, so what chance did Paul and Andrew, my younger brothers have?  Nan travelled up from Portsmouth to help my dad, who still had to go to work every day, teaching kids English in Falmer School near Brighton.  Nan was my mum’s mum and kindly, with a tough edge.  Her favourite swear word was “sod”.  As in “ooh, he’s a sod”.   I can’t remember who the sod was, but there were a few around. mainly on telly I think.  I cannot remember the date when mum was admitted, but it was during school term, possibly May or June.

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Pretty sure that’s our house at the far end, slightly higher and off the road

The following day and for about a week, I went to school – a fifteen minute walk up the village – in my grandad’s black hat, which kind of fitted me.  I was 8 years old.  Miss Lamb, the venerable headmistress didn’t say anything until the end of the week, when she had a quiet word in my ear and asked me not to wear it the following week.

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Me aged about 8

We visited Mum in Hellingly a few times, stressful, strained occasions where the effects of whatever medication they were administering were obvious – she was tired and lethargic, but happy to see us.  Some of these memories survived in my first screenplay, for the film “New Year’s Day” (2001) which is very loosely based on my youth.

We didn’t know how long she’d be in there, but she was given ECT at least twice – Electro-Convulsive Therapy where they strap you to a couch put something on your tongue and shoot electricity through your brain giving you an induced fit.  I’ve seen a documentary on the procedure since with Jonathan Miller talking about how little they know about why it works – when it does.

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This looks like Miss Lamb’s house next to the village school

From that moment on, my mum would be the subject of various new treatments and theories which abounded in the 1960s regarding how to treat depression, usually some new drug which would be tested in the field on her and all the other women and men going through the same thing.  Her doctor at Hellingly was Dr Maggs.  He diagnosed manic depression, probably gave her Largactyl, a massive downer.  I got to know all of these drugs years later, both from our kitchen cupboard and later when I worked as a nursing assistant at Laughton Lodge.  For now, I was an eight-year-old boy wearing my grandad’s hat to school, to cover my dark abandoned scared feelings.

My mum was in Hellingly for 9 months.  A gestation of a new life for me, for all of us, without her.  Things would never be the same after that.

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Help is a John Lennon song through and through, one of his best.  So dramatic and hooked with feeling.  Later he would describe it as a release from being bottled up in the Beatles glass enclosure for years, the pressure of success, being holed up in hotel rooms under siege from press and fans, of having to explain every detail of every element of your life, your songs, your clothes, your haircuts.  They dealt with all of it really well, I almost remember the press conferences from that era better than the songs:  the jokes, the verbal sparring, the deflection of any difficulty or awkwardness with scouse wit and quick-thinking and solidarity.  But by 1965 the strain was beginning to show, the answers less smart-arse, more weary :

Help is a glimpse of the world beneath those likely lad grins and chuckles, the cry of a young man floating in space without anchor or centre of gravity, who was supposed to be happy because it was all going so well.  A breakout from the shell of protection, the rictus grin of appearances, the secret heart exposed : camouflaged as a great pop song.

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For me 1965/66 was the year when I created that shelter, day by day stitched together a carapace around my heart which would protect me from further pain, started to create a protective layer of survival.  I felt capable of doing that.  After removing the hat I had to walk up that little road exposed to the sky, and I learned to enclose my feelings, my pain and distress, with a character who got on with it, who coped, who survived.  Who looked after his younger brother Paul.   This new coping, private character took over my entire being over the following 15 years as things progressed, deteriorated, wobbled and left me exposed with unsteady regularity.  I would look after my brothers, and the house once Mum and Dad were divorced, but that was a year away, after Mum came home.  The story of her coming home is frightening, but I’ll save it for another song.

My real and true feelings escaped just as I went to sleep at night upstairs with Paul in the room alongside me in his own bed.  Large inchoate shapes would start to appear in the corners of the room, like Play Doh blobs of grey, heavy bulging clouds of unnerving malevolent solidity which moved closer around my eyes until they were all I could see.  I don’t remember telling anyone about that.

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I love Ringo’s drum roll before the first verse, I love Paul and George’s backing vocals especially the harmonies over help me get my feet back on the ground, but mostly I love John Lennon’s voice : grainy, gritty yet melodic and true.  The last harmony on the vocals at the end of the song is unfeasibly sweet.   They were at the height of their power, where they would stay for another 4 years.  I was at the depths of my weakness, and forever afterward lived in fear of repeating it.  I built my heart’s castle wall from the mud of Selmeston village.  I wouldn’t start to unravel it until I was in my mid-fifties.

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways
My independence seems to vanish in the haze
But every now and then I feel so insecure
I know that I just need you like I’ve never done before

live, August 1965: