When Did It All Stop Making Sense?November 17, 2019
David Byrne once said “Well, how did I get here?” He also gave a multitude of examples, of where you might find yourself, to highlight the extent of his confusion: “living in a shotgun shack”, “behind the wheel of a large automobile”, and “in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife” to name a few (Talking Heads, 1982). Somehow, he made it all sound like lyrics in a song. At least he’s found some sense on a linguistic level. So, he’s not entirely lost.
The Beatles (Paul McCartney) also once said “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, life goes on bruh!” (1968). Aside from being quite ahead of their time in adopting Gen Z lingo (bruhhh), the mopheaded-foursome sure did hit at another essential truth: the fleeting nature of time, and your absolute inability to stop it.
The arrival of November teaches us that May was not in fact two weeks ago. Time’s flown by – or rather, blurred by. You can blame it on all the waiting you’ve done this year—waiting for texts, waiting for the cold weather to end, waiting for metro trains to get their **** together (!). Perhaps you’ve been doing a Thom Yorke instead: “I’m not living, I’m just killing time” (Radiohead, 2001).
Of course, living in real time doesn’t have to be quite so depressing—melancholia and societal angst is Radiohead’s personal musical flavour after all. Perhaps you have a different attitude towards time and the rapidity of a year. Perhaps you spend your days walking the streets like Haim. Perhaps you’re Lizzo and … yeah. You’re living your best life—I’m proud of you.
But maybe, just maybe, instead of “feelin’ good as hell” like our queen (Lizzo, not Lizzie…) (2016), you’re struggling to make sense of all these feelings you have about time itself and its seemingly autonomous capacity to fly on by like a magic carpet without taking you along for the ride (you’re not Aladdin).
Maybe you’re confused about space and time—how time fits into space and how space fits into time and how you fit into them too. Or maybe you’re just confused by all the weird stuff happening in the world. Confused about why MCR suddenly got back together again. Confused about why Angel Olsen’s new album hasn’t received nearly enough mainstream exposure and praise.
Suddenly, the 5Ws—who, what, when, where, why (and how)—are not enough to help us make sense of the world. A more authentic range of questions probably looks more like this:
Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? Why? Where? When? What? Who? ¿ʇɐɥM ¿uǝɥM ¿ǝɹǝɥM ¿ʎɥM ¿ʍoH ¿ʎɥM ¿ǝɹǝɥM ¿uǝɥM ¿ʇɐɥM ¿oɥM …
When nonsense replaces sense, and sense replaces nonsense, how do you make sense or make nonsense of anything (or nothing)?
I don’t have the answer. But perhaps stepping away from fast living, from craving instant gratification, is a start (don’t misunderstand me—that song right there is BOMB).
Get some sun, stroke a cat whilst it purrs, listen to our slowing down playlist, or any of the musical poetry embedded in this article. Take some time out from actively thinking and replace it with simply being. Like a flower in a field. “Like a tomato in the rain” (Kaiser Chiefs, 2008). It’s a good start, anyway.
As Jim Morrison once said: “I am the lizard king. I can do anything.”
Peace and love, friends.