I’ve been switching between songwriting, rehearsing and clearing out stuff in the house ready to move as soon as I know I can transfer to London, so I gave myself a break and took the time this weekend to watch a film. An old favourite sci-fi film with Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey. (‘Contact’) The reason I like it so much, despite its cheesy moments and predictable characters, is it’s a fantastic reminder that there’s so much more to life than our small existence in whatever town or local neighbourhood we inhabit. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of day-to-day survival, most of which is of no great consequence in the end. (The bus was 30 minutes late, so I was late for work, but no-one died. I didn’t get fired. Although I would certainly like to fire First Bus as the local transport company, but there you see, I’m getting caught up in stuff that doesn’t matter…)
Not many people realise just how much of a space travel, theory-of-the-universe kind of nerd I am. Not only am I obsessed with the idea of flying – hence my frequently worn aeroplane earrings – but the idea of getting away from the earth to the point where you can see our whole planet somewhere out there in the distance just fascinates me. It would be so wonderful to get that kind of perspective on life. If only we could travel further by now. I’d love to hear about missions beyond our solar system and even to the nearest other galaxy but we haven’t even managed a manned flight to Mars. There’s simultaneously so much the human race has achieved and yet also so much we still can’t do.
If you hadn’t noticed, these themes show up in my songs too, including one about the first woman in space, “Valentina Tereshkova”, and a song about how life on earth began and got wiped out again repeatedly with ice ages and how that relates to our perspective on a bad day or even a major break-up.
“The Ice Age”:
I used to love watching Star Trek films when I was a kid. I chuckled at the attitude of people from the 20th century to the encounters they had with these space travellers who came back in time to repopulate the earth with humpback whales. (‘Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home’) Those kinds of films had such optimism for our learning capacity, for the things we would conquer with advances in medicine and yet made a strong point about the things on earth in our own time that we were squandering. I also admired the imagination it took to invent and create such a series in the first place. Coming up with the idea of ‘warp speed’ and ‘transporters’ just seemed so innovative. And making up a new language too?! Brilliant. It’s the sort of thing that children like to imagine and play around with and then adults try to find theories to support it being possible. I think by and large I seek out opportunities to do both. I want to live optimistically, seeking out unlikely opportunities but also reading about all the ways in which people have found other solutions to dead-end like situations. Sometimes there is no solution other than to accept where you are but try to make great art while you’re there anyway.
Having just got away for the weekend to attend one day of the Bristol music festival, “Love Saves The Day”
followed by a fair bit of general hanging out in Stokes Croft,
I feel so much better for having seen new things and been in a wide open space at Eastville Park. The festival itself isn’t normally my favourite pastime, being that I don’t love fields of litter, drunk people and exceptionally loud dance music (although I do love dance music) but it was fun to see how people had decorated stalls and performance areas and even the mad things they were wearing, including lots of glitter and sparkly things.
All in all, it’s been a pretty good weekend on this little planet.