Monday, June 12, 2006

Dharma Bum


Oh my, how embarrassing. I'm really rather ashamed of that last outburst. Sheepish, even. In this morning's warm, bright light it became even clearer how much I overreacted. Sigh. Yes, I was inconvenienced, but also had some very pleasant interactions with folks that I otherwise would not have had. Bad FiL, you should know better...

Many thanks to Colin and Monsieur Le Woof for their kind and helpful suggestions on how to soothe the seether. A big shout out also goes to my Bodhisattva Of The Week, Bishakh, for reminding me of the Dharma. Don't worry, Dear Readers, I'm not going to get all mystikal and wind-chimey on yo asses. But over the past couple of years I have found the Buddhist teachings in which I have dabbled rather helpful and practical in dealing with tough emotional situations. So for those of you so interested or intrigued, let me point you here, here, here and here. There, it's over.

And finally, a big thank you and much love go to my Darling Son (intrepid beyond his three years) and Dearest Father-In-Law for locating that which I had misplaced.

Anyway, on to what I originally wanted to share with you. This past Saturday Darling Daughter performed in her very first proper ballet recital, and it was a treat to watch. Dearest Wife and I were sooo proud, while Darling Daughter was sooo excited to be onstage. She and her troupe of fellow six-year-old ballerinas did a charming little number to that Ooh La La song from the cartoon film Anastasia. Oddly, however, the programme said they were supposed to be woodland nymphs - we failed to see the connection. Indeed, the show, captivating as it was, was most curiously scored; one group of ten-year-old jazz dancers performed to, and I kid you not, Nine Inch Nails's "The Hand That Feeds", while another posse hi-stepped to The Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz." Stonking, but most peculiar.

Nine Inch Nails - The Hand That Feeds (buy here)
The Sweet - Ballroom Blitz (buy here)

In other news, I have recently found myself at the receiving end of a stream of flattering e-mails from bands and their various impresarios offering up CDs and mp3s along with sweet words encouraging me to post them. The initial rush and reverie of hubris ("Moi? A bellwether of taste?? How grand!") very quickly gave way to an equal and opposite snapback reaction that I was simply a marketing channel, a mere billboard to advertise wares ("Hah! I won't be their capitalist stooge!!") Eventually sanity prevailed and I figured I might as well try what was put in front of me (as, indeed, we exhort the children to do). If I don't like it, I don't have to eat it...

Well, one of the tidbits I did try and quite like was a track by Black Fiction, a band out of the San Francisco area. "I Spread The Disease" is indeed a rather infectious, yet pleasant, dose of shambolic noodling with vocals that ordinarily would be way too 70s falsetto for my liking. Very appropriate for pootling along the coast in your multicoloured VW camper van.

Black Fiction - I Spread The Disease (visit here and here)

Dear Readers, I've also recently been playing on ye olde Victrola a monstrously good ditty from Brighton arty types, Shrag. "Pregnancy Scene" is full of starkly jagged guitars, shouty vocals, righteous lyrics, and spoookily wobbly, thereminesque keyboards. Most delish. They have a Myspace page, but I find their Fotolog and this here interview much more fun. Though they've been around for a few years, their output has been teasingly spaced out. However, they will be iminently releasing "Pregnancy Scene" as a double-A side 7-inch (how quaint!) with "Mark E. Smith" (yes, a song about that one) through the Rough Trade singles club. They are good, oh yes they are.

Shrag - Pregnancy Scene (umm, gave you all the links I have up above...)

Finally, you may have noticed I redecorated. The pea-green seemed so refreshing at first, but ended up making me nauseous in a Linda-Blair-Exorcist kinda way. Ah, impermanence. So simple indigo it is, redolent of dawns and dusks and vast oceans...

And so to sleep I go...

10 comments:

Jemima said...

Life's always darkest before the dawn!

Or when you're trapped in a box without light. That can be dark too.

I like the idea of free music. Depending on the artist, of course.

T&F@tlh said...

FiL,

Send a big congratulatory tickle to A from T&F@tlh for her dancing - maybe you should put up a vid of her doing her stuff! I've got F's class play next week - time to decide on the work life balance and make the effort to be there. We've been having a "company MoT" by an outsider who seems to have noticed that we are working flat out and the balance has slipped rather badly.... Never a good thing!

bk from London

unknown said...

I like the new look. Easier on the eye and stomach. Indigo is the new green, I heard... :)

FiL said...

Indeed, jvs, but it can be tricky when you don't know how far away dawn is ("Hmm, is this as dark as it gets? Or does it get darker??") And agreed, boxes are no fun - I've been in a few :(

Ah, T, will do! I fear I've no vid of the ballet (they were VERBOTEN in the theatre). And DO be mindful of that balance - get it wrong and it'll eat your soul (trust me).

Thanks Colin, glad you approve! It's nice to blog without feeling queasy...

FiL

Mentok the Mind-taker said...

Another Buddhist! We have to stick together. Although I suppose in Vancouver you would have an actual community to support your efforts on the path. In my neck of the woods (the prairies), not so much.

I've enjoyed your insightful comments at Colin's and more lately at Digital Lolita. Hope you don't mind if I drop by on occasion.

Back to Buddhism...you have children, right? Any thoughts on religious education for them. I struggle with this with my boys.

FiL said...

Hello Mentok! Of course, you are most welcome to drop by anytime you like, silently or vocally. I just ask that if you do take mind, please can you do so quickly and painlessly ;)

I've also visited chez toi, (linking from Digital Lolita) and have been very tickled. I plan to point several of my Washington DC friends towards your roaringly clever blogwar post!

I must admit that I'm not part of any formal buddhist community or network per se, but have the good fortune that many around me (my terminally ill mother-in-law, an extremely syncretic Anglican minister) are similarly minded. It makes for good discussion.

And the kids! Yes, I have two. I'm not a cachetist of evangelist by nature, so I tread carefully in the RE area. But I do try, with varying degrees of competence and success, to explain to them (well, primarily to the eldest - Little Man is only three) in the context of what's going on in our lives the importance of mindfulness, nature of suffering, impermanence etc. At this stage it's what I feel most comfortable with.

Thanks for your visit!

FiL

Mentok the Mind-taker said...

Ah yes, the blogwar post...a funny back-story to that one, but a story for another day...

Although I am a professional magazine writer, I had to look up the word syncretic. I'm glad I now know what it means, as it is an important one for religious discussion.

It's interesting your mother-in-law is an Anglican minister. I've often found that Anglican and other such "Catholic Lite" denominations tend to be...uh, syncretic. (Now that I know the word, I can't think of a better alternative! ;)

My wife's local Anglican church used to have a minister who was always eager to lend me books on Suffism and tell me the latest 'Da Vinci Code'-esque gossip going around seminarian circles.

As for religious instruction, I've always agreed with my wife that Sunday School seems to have a positive effect on children's character. On the other hand, I don't think anyone can really have any grasp of either Buddhism or other mature spiritual notions until they are at least 12. But by that time they are already programmed by institutional Christianity.

So it's an ongoing quandary...

FiL said...

Mentok, I should have consulted my non-existent copy editor. Slight clarification: Mother-In-Law and Anglican minister are two separate individuals...

Yes, I agree that one must be careful in sussing out what concepts children can take on. As for Sunday School, a difficult one. I hear what you're saying, but organized religion discomfits me, precisely due to the programming aspect. That and the fact that all I recall from my own childhood RE experience is being taught how to mug an old lady using a walker (that's Zimmer frame for y'all in Brit-land). I kid you not...

FiL

Mentok the Mind-taker said...

Your Anglican minister's name isn't Gary, is it? 'Cause the guy I was talking about actually moved out your way some years ago.

Now, you can't leave us hanging with this fun-sounding RE anecdote. How exactly did Sunday School teach you to mug an old lady?

Do you read the Shambhala Sun? Good magazine.

FiL said...

Mentok,

No, her name isn't Gary... :)

I've not come across the Shambhala Sun, but thanks for pointing it out - I'll most certainly have a look!

And as for the RE anecdote, I might just include it in a post...

FiL