Tag Archives: death

On death. Or life. Or both, actually.

One day I am going to die. My heart will stop beating, and my blood will stop being pushed around my body. This self-sustaining organic system that I walk around wearing will fail. After everything I have forced upon my body over the years, at some point it will no longer be able to keep functioning. It will fail, and it will stop. I will stop.

When that happens, it may come as a surprise. It may be as the result of some massive trauma; I may simply run out of blood because it’s leaked everywhere, or certain key bits of me may be compromised beyond repair.

Or… I may be aware that there is something deeply wrong with me, and my death may be the end of a medical battle. I may have known for some time that somewhere inside me, something was destroying me from within.

Whichever route gets me there, I will eventually stop. I may stop quietly in my sleep… however, knowing myself, I doubt that very much; I wake up if a moth so much as farts on the way past my bedroom window. I am fairly sure that right at the end, I will be awake and aware. Even if it is just in some primal way, I will know when the end of me arrives, and I will be scared.

In the final moments though, I don’t think I will be scared for very long. I don’t know what brain chemistry does to perception at the point of death, mind you – it might stretch time weirdly, like it does in a car accident. Although I reckon if that happens, some kind of “-amine” will be released in conjunction and it will get all trippy and 60’s-music-video on my ass.

All things considered, I’m not actually scared of dying. It’s the life bit right before that which concerns me.

(For context, I’ve just listened to Blackstar, the last David Bowie album. I’ve had it for the best part of 4 months, but have bottled listening to it until now.)

2016 has brought death and loss sharply into focus, for me and for a lot of other people around the world. I am aware that people die every day and that they are all important to someone. However this year has heralded the end of many people who had global renown, and whose impact was was felt by many more people than just those who were in their immediate lives. It can’t help but sharpen your thinking about certain things when you lose so many people in such a short period of time.

It’s generous to think that I will keep living an enthusiastic and independent life well into my 80’s or 90’s, but the reality is – that might not be the case. Tonight might be my last night *cue dramatic music*

I do not believe that anything happens to us spiritually once we’re dead. We stop, and we degrade. I do not believe that we have souls that are released from a physical shell, I do not believe that there is a world beyond this one, or a higher plane, or a heaven. When we’re done, we’re done. We may get to leave a legacy behind us that impacts other people (for good or for evil), but most of us will only exist in memory.

So the real question then becomes this; if I stopped living tonight, what’s my legacy, my memory?

Does my sister know that I loved her beyond anything else? Is my houseful of shit simple to sort out when I’m not here? Was I living the life I wanted to live? Did I inspire joy and amusement in those around me? Would the people left alive behind me be able to say in confidence that I had a good fucking time while I was here?

I believe that the answer to all of the above is yes. Don’t get me wrong, I have lived through a load of awful situations in the past – and I haven’t been on the Harry Potter studio tour yet… But! Right now, at this very moment, I am living a life of enjoyment, happiness and balance. It took me a long time to get here, and it was hard-fought, but this is a state that I fully intend on staying in until I stop living.

I would encourage all of you to start cutting out the parts of your lives that cause you pain, anger, or sadness. Find ways to let go of the one-way transactions in your life, where you give and get nothing in return; the thankless jobs, the selfish individuals. The things and people that drag you down to less than you should be. If you need it, get help to be the best version of you that you can be.

Let’s be honest, you never do know when you will come to an end, and life is too short to be doing anything other than that which makes you smile while you are alive – and that which makes YOUR PEOPLE smile after you are gone.

On that note, I can confirm that after much experimentation and deliberation, Kale farts are seriously the worst farts ever.

You’re welcome.

“If you should die before me, ask if you can bring a friend.”

Today I cried for a lost love. Not a lost love who ever knew anything about it, mind – but a lost love nonetheless.

Music is a funny thing, when you think about it. It doesn’t even really exist, except as a memory or an idea. When it is being played, it is simply energy, a vibration, waves of pressure changes being perceived by our brains. And yet, there is very little that moves me as deeply as music. It is not something that I just listen to, it is something that I feel and absorb. It soaks into my bones and it pulses through my veins. Whether it’s good or bad, it is always a powerful and emotional experience, and it often results in my forming powerful and emotional attachments to songs, and albums, and by extension the bands that create and perform them.

For me, as someone who struggles to invest in emotional bonds with real people, it’s an intimacy that nothing else can really come close to.

My first brush with Stone Temple Pilots was when they had a song featured on the soundtrack for The Crow in 1994. The luscious, golden voice of Mr Scott Weiland wrapped around me like honey, while the catchy, bouncy and at times dark music was perfectly tuned to how I felt about life at the time. It soaked into my brain and added a new shade to my thoughts and feelings. There is a section of my brain that will forever be Stone Temple Pilots coloured, and over 20 years later, nothing has changed about the way I feel listening to that music.

Needless to say, my little teenaged self was later delighted to discover that Weiland himself was an absolute vision to behold.

Scott Weilland

It’s easy to sneer at footage of young girls in the 60’s, shrieking and losing their shit over the Beatles, but I totally get where that passion is coming from. I was just a little quieter about it.

In the late 90’s, STP shifted direction musically and I found myself stepping away because they just didn’t resonate with me in the same way any more. I bought a solo single of Weiland’s when I was at college which I loved, and gave me hope for great things from him in the future.

Consequently, I was delighted to hear a couple of years later that Weiland was teaming up with Slash et al in Velvet Revolver… but when I first saw him in a new video, I was shocked into tears. I had never really been that aware of his drug problems prior to that, but the destruction wrought by addiction was instantly apparent, and was powerful and hard hitting.

Watching that gaunt, skeletal shade of Weiland, the reality of what he was struggling with was impossible to ignore. I couldn’t engage with Velvet Revolver after that; it was too painful to see what had clearly happened, and was in all likelihood continuing to happen. I have since seen interviews with him in recent years, and it was very clear that he was either still in the clutches of a problem, or that some real intense damage had been done.

This morning, I woke up to the news that Scott Weiland had been found dead on 3rd December in his tour bus in Minnesota. I cried then and there in my kitchen, and I have continued to do so on and off throughout the day. I have not heard – nor have I cared to look for – any further information on the circumstances. Was it a surprise though? No. Not to me, and I don’t imagine it was to anyone else. Does that make it any less painful? No.

This was a man that I did not know, and had never met. I genuinely cannot imagine multiplying these feelings up to the scale of the pain and heartache of having to watch family and friends go through this same tortuous fight. Not being able to help. Never knowing from one day to the next what news you yourself are going to wake up to.

This is a goodbye to a man who never knew the esteem I held him in. It is also an extension of my heart and my deepest, deepest sympathies to anyone who is fighting their own demons – but more importantly, to their people who are helplessly caught in the current.