Archive for the Words Category

New Year, new list of ill-conceived, unachievable goals – or not

Posted in Advice, Favourite Publications, Words on January 12, 2014 by Johnnie

Sic itur ad astra

Every Sunday, I sit on my favourite armchair for approximately seven minutes (an unscientific average) and feel truly excited and inspired by the possibilities within my grasp. There’s a reason why this happens. I have flicked through my favourite sections of the Sunday papers for those seven minutes, made a mental reminder to return to my favourite parts of those sections, noted anything new or surprising that should get my full attention later, become unnecessarily lost in new fashion trends, and then I put it all down, knowing that other things require my immediate attention: usually work deadlines, grocery shopping and breakfast. Yet, as I set about those tasks, the nuggets of culture and indulgence I glimpsed for those few minutes remain snapping, crackling and popping in my head, filling me full of optimism and belief – a personal, silent thrill of assurance that everything I used to think was inevitable and just around the corner in life really are there for the taking.

Then work starts, each line of it pricking my enthusiasm with its own individual fishing hook, until my soul is perforated and dragged down, and my optimism bleeds and flows, halal-style, into the gutter of drudgery. Sunday morning begins as the tremulous launch pad of impending greatness, but soon darkens and creeps into Sunday afternoon, which begins as the precipice beyond which lies the piercing stalagmites of Monday and the soul-sapping, inspiration-dampening week ahead.

It’s a little bit like New Year’s resolutions: the gusto and bluster of those inebriated self-promises generally withers and dies within a few seconds’ exposure to reality, routine and the supermarket crisp aisle.

So, in 2014, I’m going to set myself some better, more realistic goals. Healthier, happier, more fulfilled. That’ll be me.

Here we are, then: Continue reading

Writer, interrupted

Posted in Unwanted Comebacks, Words on June 3, 2013 by Johnnie

Death writing

I came here to write a blog post. Then I changed my mind.

I had the subject worked out, I was even quoting sentences out loud while making coffee. Then I opened WordPress and it all vanished. Sometimes, I do slightly better than this. One look at my drafts folder (although, you will never get a look at my drafts folder) will confirm that I could, in theory, blog several times in a day; the number of passions and irritations that fly through my head on a daily basis would mount to screeds of appreciation or invective. I have started so many posts, gathered images to complement them or distract from them – but, more often than not, they lie abandoned.

This is a source of deep, long term worry for me. You, dear reader (as ever, singular) are my psychologist, so, I am lying here on the couch trying to connect the dots and work towards a solution. Continue reading

The overdue burial

Posted in Favourite Publications, Radio, TV, Words on April 21, 2013 by Johnnie

new lifeIn the grand scheme of things, embarking on a Facebook ‘friend’ cull is no big deal. Things change, people move on, acquaintances are fleeting and you’re essentially doing others a favour by ever-so-slightly lightening their burdens. You know the people who don’t ‘like’ anything you say, you know the people who probably ‘hid’ your updates some years ago. Basically, the people who can’t be arsed with you.

All you’re admitting is that, perhaps like your own sad, failed pop career or other youthful crush, clinging on to the past and trying breath life into its sagging, rotting cadaver is a pointless and tragic exercise. You need to move on, break the chains, and rejoice in hearing the Looney Tunes-style whistle as this particularly uncomfortable baggage falls off its cliff edge and moments later makes a satisfyingly distant thud. Continue reading

Marr, Morrissey and the notion that comebacks don’t work

Posted in Grave News, Heroes, Music, Unwanted Comebacks, Words on April 2, 2013 by Johnnie

OMAN_JohnnyMarr_Promo3by4

Last week, as I write, this blog and its beloved went to see Johnny Marr play at that lugubrious Dublin venue, The Academy. For anyone in their 40s who had seen The Smiths in their heyday (i.e. any point in their brief career), it was an extraordinary experience.  Johnny Marr has finally settled back into his skin, reclaiming his role as the guitar hero of a generation and the man behind some of the most delightfully crafted chord sequences ever created. He not only has a fine solo album, The Messenger, out, but he’s now merrily playing some of those old greats like it was the most natural thing in the world.

And really, it should be the most natural thing in the world. They’re 50% his songs.

The ‘surprise’ (and, really, we should have had more faith) is just how natural it is for him to play – and for us to hear.  His former sidekick Morrissey has been playing the same songs on and off for nigh on 20 years, as he was the voice and the melody we had all known and adored on those records. However, it was but a bar or so into Marr’s rendition of ‘Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before’ (the second song of his set) that it becomes obvious what we’ve been missing all these years – hearing those songs played properly. Continue reading

Reader Poll: The results are in…

Posted in Advice, Grave News, Unwanted Comebacks, WhingeRantMoan, Words on March 6, 2013 by Johnnie

bleak

 

Yes, it’s March, so obviously it’s spring time and this blog’s year-end. Actually, regular readers (who aren’t regular in the conventional sense) will point out that they thought the blog ended ages ago, such has been the sporadic nature of posting. So, it was to a few of those regular souls that I sent a poll about IHGN‘s very future.

The questions were:

1. Are you still a reader of I Have Grave News

2. If not, why not?

3. If so – thanks – but what would you like to read more of here?

In a sobering show of indifference, a “whopping” 20% of those polled bothered to reply.

The results were: Continue reading

Sic

Posted in Books, Grave News, Heroes, Words on December 5, 2012 by Johnnie

Berenice“Misery is manifold. The wretchedness of earth is multiform. Overreaching the wide horizon as the rainbow, its hues are as various as the hues of that arch, –as distinct too, yet as intimately blended. Overreaching the wide horizon as the rainbow! How is it that from beauty I have derived a type of unloveliness? – from the covenant of peace a simile of sorrow? But as, in ethics, evil is a consequence of good, so, in fact, out of joy is sorrow born. Either the memory of past bliss is the anguish of to-day, or the agonies which are have their origin in the ecstasies which might have been.” EAP – Berenice

Depression – don’t just pretend to be aware, become properly Aware.

Posted in Grave News, Words with tags on October 10, 2012 by Johnnie


On World Mental Health Day, it’s worth noting, again, just how alone people with depression are and feel. Not everyone seems to realise this, and there is still an astonishing amount of ignorance and denial, despite a great number of awareness campaigns on depression.

Aware do incredible work in this field with their “I Am Aware” campaign, and, as their name suggests, they also encourage everyone to share the message that there is support available, that people suffering from depression need not be alone.

People are probably familiar with the great Stephen Fry’s wonderful recent quote on the symptoms of depression, and I’m sure millions ‘retweeted’ it. Still, it’s worth repeating here:

“If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.

Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”

Continue reading

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