Monday, December 29, 2014

It Must Be Love

Last few weeks I have been ruminating on this here blog about men’s  stories, especially relationship narratives (not necessarily romantic in nature) and about self-perceived shortcomings that can be remodeled at will. Many posts are connected to song lyrics and all of them are things I think about when awake, and feel even when asleep. If you’re into this kind of tales go and see other posts with tag “On Relationships”.

And now, let’s continue.




Illustration taken from http://www.windturbinesyndrome.com

It is not easy to find songs to illustrate relationship narratives before everything has gone awry. One could say that  humans are prone to “not rocking the boat” when things are going well. Objectively, there is, of course, logical explanation of fact that we’re not spending much effort describing time when all is well; predictive value of positive events is a lot smaller than for negative events and also we are 3 times as likely to complain then we are to praise.

And yet, most people do not intentionally, with forethought, enter anything, lest relationship talk. They just find themselves in situations and are directed by winds of change much more then with goal-oriented actions. That is why I love this song - It Must Be Love by Labi Siffre  - so much; because it illustrates rarely cool-headed approach to questions of the heart. Being a psychologist I’m acutely aware of people being extremely poor judges of their own states and desires but still it surprises me how rarely observation is used to access one’s own emotional states.

Like noticing that one could do with much more contact with particular people:

I never thought I'd miss you
Half as much as I do
And I never thought I'd feel this way
The way I feel
About you
As soon as I wake up
Every night, every day
I know that it's you I need
To take the blues away

… and to use this observation to base theory on:

It must be love, love, love
It must be love, love, love
Nothing more, nothing less
Love is the best

To further this pursuit of truth one must only follow scientific method some more; by making predictions based on newly established theory:

How can it be that we can
Say so much without words?
Bless you and bless me
Bless the bees
And the birds
I've got to be near you
Every night, every day
I couldn't be happy
Any other way

It must be love, love, love
It must be love, love, love
Nothing more, nothing less
Love is the best

You only need to evaluate evidence: If person/relationship makes you happy, if motivates you for action and makes you a better person this is a good thing. Good things are to be celebrated and maintained so they continue to give pleasure and happiness. It is that simple. And you need no better gauge to measure this then your own self.

As soon as I wake up
Every night, every day
I know that it's you I need
To take the blues away

It must be love, love, love
It must be love, love, love
Nothing more, nothing less
Love is the best

It must be love, love, love...

Noone is on his/her best behavior every day and "accidents" happen that put us in the doghouse but way out of the doghouse is just as simple; observe, theorize, make predictions, direct actions, evaluate evidence.

I love love.



Sunday, December 21, 2014

It's No Good

Last few weeks I have been ruminating on this here blog about men’s  stories, especially relationship narratives (not necessarily romantic in nature) and about self-perceived shortcomings that can be remodeled at will. Many posts are connected to song lyrics and all of them are things I think about when awake, and feel even when asleep. If you’re into this kind of tales go and see other posts with tag “On Relationships”.

And now, let’s continue.

Photo belongs to Anton Corbijn

I've been Martin L. Gore fan for almost 30 years now because Depeche Mode, to me, is Martin L.Gore. I see him almost as a ventriloquist sometimes, when particularly knurd, and I mean it as a mixture of fascination, admiration and deep respect since I find nothing funny or simple in that fact. Depeche Mode is the first band, and very possibly the only band to which I freely admit being a die-hard fan even though I'm extremely reluctant to ensure that kind of commitment. There are dozens of songs of his I could cover in this post series but most important one unquestionably is It's No Good.

There are a plethora of reasons this song is so important to me spanning from complete visceral enamouredness I feel when hearing it to years and years of dissecting its meaning in context of both my relationships and relationships in general. Just like much of Mr. Gore's work its social and political meanings are no less interesting than its, let's say, trivial interpersonal meaning.

And there is nothing trivial in interpersonal. Interpersonal is the warp of everyday life weave, it sets and defines the frame that all weave must respect and complement.

I'm going to take my time
I have all the time in the world
To make you mine
It is written in the stars above
The gods decree
You'll be right here by my side
Right next to me
You can run, but you cannot hide


It is funny, in a way, to hear so much confidence and even evoking divine providence in what we mostly consider product of hormonal disbalanse - love as human connectedness. It seems so over-the-top confident it comes over as arrogant or downright ridiculous...


Don't say you want me
Don't say you need me
Don't say you love me
It's understood
Don't say you're happy
Out there without me
I know you can't be
'cause it's no good


.. And yet, to my knowledge, this is a lot closer to the reality then most of us would like to admit. It is the person who gives meaning to the world, not the other way around. It is us who let go and spare the effort and as product of that relationships dissolve and disintegrate.

I'll be fine
I'll be waiting patiently
Till you see the signs
And come running to my open arms
When will you realise
Do we have to wait till our worlds collide
Open up your eyes
You can't turn back the tide

We do not always manage to create and maintain the relationships we want when we do invest into them, but by not investing we always manage to destroy them.

I love how this song speaks so openly the things we all think, but do not say out of fear.
I love how it displays truth so stark naked that most of us cannot perceive it as truth.
I love how it spells out the fact that if there ever was love in a relationship there will be nothing, ever, that will fill out the remaining void, nothing to patch it up and hide it, nothing to make us forget even if we had a thousand more lives and lovers. Love stays below, like an open gap into the unknown, inviting and terrifying at the same time, for any and all time to follow the dissolution of a relationship.

Don't say you want me
Don't say you need me
Don't say you love me
It's understood
Don't say you're happy
Out there without me
I know you can't be
'cause it's no good



For years to follow we get the blind itch of anniversaries, of common grounds, of places we visited together and most of us spend our lives running away from that itch.

But not the song protagonist.

The protagonist takes the road less traveled and bares his teeth to oblivion.
There's something deeply satisfying in considering that one can be that brave.


I'm going to take my time
I have all the time in the world
To make you mine
It is written in the stars above

Don't say you want me
Don't say you need me
Don't say you love me
It's understood
Don't say you're happy
Out there without me
I know you can't be
'cause it's no good

Love needs no acceptance. It just is. It is us who need acceptance and someone whose faith and effort will not flicker. And sometimes, it is us who are that someone to other.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Clear History

Last few weeks I have been ruminating on this here blog about men’s  stories, especially relationship narratives (not necessarily romantic in nature) and about self-perceived shortcomings that can be remodeled at will. Many posts are connected to song lyrics and all of them are things I think about when awake, and feel even when asleep. If you’re into this kind of tales go and see other posts with tag “On Relationships”.

And now, let’s continue.


Black Zenith Promo picture. Go visit him on Bandcamp


And then, there are loves that feel like you have been struck by lightning; electrifying, potent, dumbfounding.

Sweet and sticky, like drowning in a pool of awesomeness.

Like this song - Clear History  - by Black Zenith.

I first heard the song on Radio Student and I dropped everything I was doing and went to see which song that is and where I can find MORE. It was such an experience I even got proof of my complete amazement.









It is an amazing song, one presenting the experience of complete immersion into emotions building a relationship, without the need to depict relationship and to overelaborate. Happenings described are here after perceived dissolution of the relationship, but dissolution is only formal (as they always are in this modus of experiencing the world). I love how Davey Oberlin - Black Zenith - presents things rationally, in steady rhythm, using the language of online communication as the norm. And I love how he shows he already knows that he’d been poisoned but still treads bravely through this experience:

I'm not open to say if it's always been this way
I keep looking at the screen
hoping that she'd ring for me, but she's bad for me.
She'd only be bad for me.

I'm not hoping to change
I know how I got this way
I keep freeing up my time, hoping that she'd ring for me but she's bad for me
She'd only be bad for me.

I love how the protagonist asks to be released from service, even if this plea is not actually communicated to the person in question (but more to his own toxic infatuation):

Cuz girl I'm not over you
Please let me get over you

Even though this is one costly experience I’d say that those who never tried this kind of love are missing out bigtime. It is hard to even imagine something so engaging and so motivating (or destructive if you’re that kind of person) without having felt it, at least once.

Our past comes back
I knew I would pay for that
I knew it would never last
I knew it went way to fast
All we got are memories, I start to forget you
Please let me forget you
Girl let me forget you.

I felt broken today
Felt the loneliness and pain
I need you like a needle needs a vein
Girl you're my sanity, I need my insanity

Cuz girl I'm not over you
Please let me get over you

It becomes so sweet to pine, so satisfying to yearn that the pain itself becomes more important than the person who started this chain of events. To overstretched endurance all experiences become so heightened you can live on crumbs of attention for ages, dream in color, use libido as bouncing board for space launch.

Our past comes back
I knew I would pay for that
I knew it would never last
I knew it went way to fast
All we got are memories, I start to forget you
Please let me forget you
Girl let me forget you.

I've never run from it, I've always chased it
I'll never be alone with empty spaces
It's never been enough, I just want to taste it
It wasn't long enough, and now I'm wasted.

And then, just as the song states, we emerge on the other side of pain, reborn. Memories linger a bit more, but it becomes harder and harder to discern your face in them, harder to remember color of your eyes or how it felt to shower together after sex.

Gone. Never to return.

Exactly like clearing history; This action cannot be undone.


Our past comes back
I knew I would pay for that
I knew it would never last
I knew it went way to fast
All we got are memories, I start to forget you
Please let me forget you
Girl let me forget you

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Heartattack In A Layby



Last few weeks I have been ruminating on this here blog about men’s  stories, especially relationship narratives (not necessarily romantic in nature) and about self-perceived shortcomings that can be remodeled at will. Many posts are connected to song lyrics and all of them are things I think about when awake, and feel even when asleep. If you’re into this kind of tales go and see other posts with tag “On Relationships”.

And now, let’s continue.

Photo Credit - Naki Kouyioumtzis - Taken from Steven Wilson press page

 I’m a huge fan of Steven Wilson and all his projects and he is my most listened to artist with almost double number of scrobbles on last.fm then the runner up and three times as frequent than any other. Of all his projects I like Porcupine Tree most and my favorite song of his is  Heartattack in a Layby.  This is unavoidable song whilst on the subject on man’s relationship narratives and maybe just as unavoidable as a window into wonderful territory of musical hyperrealism. It is a song exquisitely imagined and polished  to perfection from both lyrical aspect and impeccably produced. I even spoke about it here on the blog before. That’s because I think about is so often I usually hear it my mind even when it is not playing in the vicinity.

I cannot even begin to describe how absolutely awesome is to hear ambient sounds in the song (cars driving by, idling of the car motor, swishing sounds of air disturbed by passing traffic) and understand that they are there to further the reality of the situation described by the song.
I pull off the road
East of Baldock and Ashford
Feeling for my cell
In the light from the dashboard

Hissing from the road
The smell of rain in the air con
Maybe check the news
Or just put a tape on
And it all sounds so real and feels so intimately close. Creeping sickening feeling of overwhelm-ness, crushing pressure of procrastination long overdue, sensation of lingering sticky smoke bringing calmness to spirit and play to the hand.

Lighting up a smoke
I've got this feeling inside me
Don't feel too good

If I close my eyes
And fell asleep in this layby
Would it all subside
The fever pushing the day by

Motor window wind
I could do with some fresh air
Can't breathe too well
How much time escapes through our fingers while we deliberate if we should accept changes, especially changes we brought on ourselves? How long can we hide the truth from ourselves, deny it and make out stories to cover up for our fuckups? How long can we pretend we do not miss, do not hurt, do not yearn?

(She waits for me)
I guess I should go now
(Home waits for me)
She's waiting to make up
(She waits for me)
To tell me she's sorry
(Home waits for me)
And how much she missed me
(She waits for me)
I guess I'm just burnt out
(Home waits for me)
I really should slow down
(She waits for me)
I'm perfectly fine but
(Home waits for me)
I just need to lie down
I love this part. You should try listening to it through some quality headphones to see how meticulously this is mixed and how wonderfully orchestrated. I love it even though and because I always swallow tears listening to the words he wrote; words spelling waste of time and murder of love. I love how the song progresses into the rhythm of repetitive stroke we use when regressing, to make hurt less prominent, more silent and round-edged. I love how he uses less and less new information and more and more self-consoling.
I love how only the most cherished want disappears last, just as it always does.
(She waits for me)
We'll grow old together
(She waits for me)
We'll grow old together
(She waits for me)
We'll grow old together...
Regret is the true death, even when life formally continues.Stubborn insistence on your own side of the story against available evidence brings only stagnation and pain.

I love this song because it is like fine art painting in a museum; under lovely light source, kept out of harm's way, clean and in warm and dry place, marked with a title. And you read the title and you look at the painting and it is all so much present you also feel the pain, not only see it second-hand.

Heartattack in a layby.

Motor idling continues. Fade to black.



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Happy Days



Last few weeks I have been ruminating on this here blog about men’s  stories, especially relationship narratives (not necessarily romantic in nature) and about self-perceived shortcomings that can be remodeled at will. Many posts are connected to song lyrics and all of them are things I think about when awake, and feel even when asleep. If you’re into this kind of tales go and see other posts with tag “On Relationships”.
And now, let’s continue.

Not all paramount stories will be lengthy and enveloped in indie rock.

Often you can find both truth and sense beneath it all in a place not artificially distanced from emotion. I already wrote about punk and what it means to me, and to shortly summarize I highly appreciate its direct and vivacious nature. What I also often feel, especially listening to Kurve (Hookers), is pure genius of punk lyrics: simple and repetitive enough so even the weakest link can enjoy their energy - any yet filled with profound sense of how the world operates.

Official promotional photo of the first album "Su Bolje Majke"


My favorite Kurve song with relationship narrative is Happy days (Sretni dani) and I have translated it here to illustrate this point even though they sing it in Croatian.

I love how they captured the essence of both contemporary society using formally accepted indicators of politeness (“please, thank you, here you are, excuse me” is a part of school-age rhyme showcasing well brought up and polite person) and common relationship dynamics by which man may be the initiator but women are ones calling the shots and allowing things to progress.


please, thank you
here you are, excuse me
you allow me to gnaw on your
tired bones
they are the feast of this
mongrel dog
please, thank you
here you are, excuse me

It is awesome to see so much commonly overlooked truth displayed in such a short verse. Happy days are the ones propelled with candor and openness, before calculations take center stage in a relationship. Happiness stems from desire, from pleasure, from being able to approach and resolve interpersonal issues directly, without need to base relations on need and interdependence created by shortcomings.


happy days
when we're in heat
happy days
when we fuck
happy days
when we don't give ourselves
to need each other
to eat each other

Part of the second verse with “Happy days when we don’t give ourselves…” refers to later stages in progress of a relationship when people forget that the interdependence relationship rests upon is not obligatory part of a relationship, it is an optional part they themselves have chosen (to progress the relationship, no less!). So to act like a hostage is completely unnecessary and actually rude, especially if you force responsibilities onto someone before even discussing them. I love how they have summed up both pleasure and tedium in a few words, the right words, like an open-ended question that reveals one’s true intentions.

It is possible to stay in this blessed time, in the happy days of fucking and pleasure and good relations indefinitely if your interrelation is based on trust (you can even patch up broken ones if you don’t spare the effort), but only if you preserve and cultivate trust and agree to carry your own responsibility. It boggles my mind to see so few people abiding to these simple rules of conduct.