Thursday the 2nd to Sunday the 5th of June 2016. Connections and friendship.
My first scribbles of reflection. The weekend of the 3rd of June. It saw the death of Muhammad Ali and the championship victory of Michael Bisping. The first English UFC Champion.
Monday resumes dreary, finds my eyes dry and limbs heavy, missing friends. I’d felt a disconnect growing with them. They seemed to be drifting further, our meetings became increasingly infrequent. Thursday and Friday I was lifted. Even bad music is transcendent if you love it enough, if you’re screaming the lyrics with your friends. We saw Astronautalis two nights running and took in the science museum in between.
Sometimes it feels like it might be safer not to love anyone. In a sweaty room, THC vaguely present in brain, alcohol vaguely pleasant in blood stream, I remembered why I do. Me and Ben are brothers and we walked back to King’s Cross like soldiers whose war was called off as they climbed the trench ladder. We sailed back. Smiled. Laughed. The street was a stream, the current inescapable, so we observed passing fish with idle interest. Back in Hatfield, a train journey and two encounters later, we rolled joints and climbed the old railway bridge.
It’s funny; in truth my heart swells thinking about the whole thing. There’s something bittersweet about it. This moment forever gone; one grain on a beach, caught in the tide. The reaffirmation of friendship in a universe hellbent on draining love. Most of the time we feel so far apart. When humans share locations in time, and those moments form just right, they become the stories that justify our breathing. Moments are immortal. Let it be me and Ben sat on that bridge forever. Let it be me and Ben at the Water Rats, dancing, lost in a verse and a bassline. Cut the body loose. Kudzu on repeat. You can’t find yourself in conventional wisdom or your true friends in an office cubical. You can find yourself in the right snare snap, in the right lyric. You can find your true friends in the dancehall.
And now the weekend is over, the shows are behind us, those shared experiences past. Back to trying to fill holes with memories. You might be forgiven for thinking the fundamental substance of existence is boredom. It wasn’t so long ago we were bouncing to Forest Fire, lips in unison, feet in clumsy synchronicity. It wasn’t so long ago we were coming down from a live music buzz, Sol faded in stomach, night still and quiet, discussing our lives in the overgrowth. This year, the year of the dead celebrity, has been long and short all at once. How can a day be a painful crawl or a monotonous, neurotic drag when the weeks pass so quickly?
I’m listening to that same song under different circumstances. Flashes from those nights, of arms waving, lights spinning, of conversation, of disjointed images and thoughts, are imprinted in that song. For everyone present those songs have become vessels. They are anchors. A good playlist is a museum; those things aren’t gone but distant now and only reachable through these artefacts.
About the author
Andy White has spent the majority of his life on a council estate outside London. He was never a big fan of school and mostly educated himself with the Discovery and History channels, where his knowledge of sharks and World War 2 tanks grew exponetially. After escaping primary school he discovered to his dismay that he’d have to endure another five years of schooling. By the time he’d finished his GCSEs he was so beaten down by the education system, he elected to go to university, where he studied philosophy, creative writing and journalism. These days, to try and dull the gnawing pain of the existential crisis, he writes stories and travel blogs.
Find and follow Andy