We're back - early spring blossom

spring blossom tree 

"We have killed all our Gods, they offer us nothing that a scientist cannot dismiss or add doubt to. Yet our hunger for a force or parental energy bigger than ourselves or our all-too-human parents has moved to a religion of capitalism, which requires only that you attend regular services at the Church of TV and pay homage through diligent consumption. Spirtualism exists enough to allow us to find a faith that makes us feel better about death, and indeed about ourselves and the way we have chosen to live, and it asks for nothing in return but the occasional burst of self righteousness after an organic vegan lunch or a day of yoga and meditation. And the rest of the time the mighty uber-faith of desire and consumption is something we can all sign up to, even if in our quieter and more humble moments we suspect it isn't really doing many of us much good – occasionally wondering if we will have much to bequeath our descendants beyond partially flooded mass graves and landfill sites."

'Let's go to the Goat.' 'We could try Montgomeries, look its been voted Scotland's favourite café'. 'OK'.
We enter into a Hampsteady setup with a large map of the world painted on the ceiling and delicately modern splashes and angles on the wall.

'Do you serve breakfast?' 'No, try the Goat'.

The Goat is in an old warehouse loading floor, presumably once open to the elements, and now glass shielded. In the distance candy floss clouds over the harbour marble an otherwise cotton wool sky. Old wooden furniture and deep worn leather couches suitably backdrop the huddle of respectably unshaven greasy skinned hangover eyed 'pint of orange juice and lemonade' lunchtime drinkers. The latte comes without the one inch fluffy head of nothingness (the celebrity head) and is lightly spicy without being too strong for a Saturday morning start. We are ready to eat and tho the menu lacks the signature dish – that one meal which marks out a chef reluctantly preparing excellent burgers, paninis and haddock and chips so that in one or two meals trying to stamp some identity, some uniqueness, something that you could not find in the next gastropub round corner.


We sit and read over Tom's editorial. But there is a hum. Opposite me, between the old bare faced stone work and woought iron and original stripped floorboards, comes this flat screen light box of the beast. The football discussion is largely inoffensive. But the car insurance adverts are. I mention it to my companion.

'I hadn't even noticed it.' And its true, we take it so for granted that the TV should follow us around – to our taxis, our pubs and bars, our mobile phones and busses and train stations – that it just becomes this low dull background noise of hunger.

'I feel a great urgency to buy car insurance.' Hmm. The next advert also helps me to understand that my emptiness will be better filled with a car. The next advert a child. 'I need a child, a car, and car insurance. I'm not hungry. Let's go.'

So we left, bought some bread rolls and went home and made organic burgers with fried eggs on top. And no TV played. In fact this house is TV free tho the web had become an increasingly fertile place to watch, well, whatever the hell you want.

But again I'm drawn back to that TV in the otherwise delightful bar. Do I feel proud that I work in and with and promoting moving image?

Do I still believe the positive outweighs the the brain drain.

Not really.

As Godfrey Roggio, the monk turned filmmaker who made Koyanisqaatsi after derobing points out – all of nature uses light to grow under, it is an essential part of life. It is well known that countries with more available sunlight tend to have lower levels of mental health problems and whinging. TV, he says, is the light source for most children growing up. Not the light from the sun as they play outside in the streets. But this flickering techicolour mish mash of aggressive desires and overwhelming message of 'you're not good enough' unless you buy, fuck, get angry, drive, flatpack, barbeque, take control, (delete as appropriate).

You go, or I should say, I go, into film thinking there is an urgent, unavoidable need for other voices – which there is – yet as soon as a head is raised above the parapet it gets chopped off. So I then think that there needs to be a space for those other voices, so they can support each other. And then I wonder if I am really up to the task to make that.

I was banished from the castle several seasons back. I have been lurking ever since in the hills, lochs and alleys of Scotland, where I seem to have ended up Snow White-like in a harem of platonic relationships. It still stands there, London, this throbbing Mordor around the edge of which my friends will do battle with it on a daily basis. Munch's scream personified in a city, filled with those for whom the screams on a rollercoaster or a horror film are the best kind of thrill anyway. It's a lot of fun. And yet I do not know if I will go back.

But its fingers are creeping around the edges of this land. How many country pubs in five years won't too have flatscreen TVs in the corner to catch your attention when your companion becomes too much effort to find interesting. Teeny bopper music videos on the bus, how long until restaurants. Do any of us have any choice about all this?

And our cultural expansion globewise, which does bring with it democracy, women's suffrage and human rights, also throws in for free the drug of coloured light. A drug whose central message seems to be that if only you could live a little closer to the people on screen, if you could look more like Rachel and crack jokes more like Joey, then you too could draw this clean line between good and bad, and know, confidently once and for all that you are on 'the good side' and furthermore, when you finally get those battle honour medals of partner, family, house, job income and status, your craving and hunger will stop.

We have killed all our Gods, they offer us nothing that a scientist cannot dismiss or add doubt to. Yet our hunger for a force or parental energy bigger than ourselves or our all-too-human parents has moved to a religion of capitalism, which requires only that you attend regular services at the Church of TV and pay homage through diligent consumption. Spirtualism exists enough to allow us to find a faith that makes us feel better about death, and indeed about ourselves and the way we have chosen to live, and it asks for nothing in return but the occasional burst of self righteousness after an organic vegan lunch or a day of yoga and meditation. And the rest of the time the mighty uber-faith of desire and consumption is something we can all sign up to, even if in our quieter and more humble moments we suspect it isn't really doing many of us much good – occasionally wondering if we will have much to bequeath our descendants beyond partially flooded mass graves and landfill sites.

I should say, before I call time on this mid-Saturday soapbox, that I can't really see anything wrong with desire, but for the fact that it can delude you into thinking that whatever you have right now, right this very minute, is not good enough. That it will be something else – anything – at some future point – that will bring you happiness, not this moment right now.


It's nice to be back.

Print