Friday, May 11, 2012

The people who light up the dark, and why I adore them

My favourite people are the ones who aren't afraid of the dark. Life is fucked up, and so am I; thank god. We all are at least a little bit and that's what makes us beautiful creatures. It's the so-called 'normal' people who are boring (or in denial).

John Darnielle bared his soul on a stage in a corner bar in Richmond in front of a few hundred people, as he has on countless records, but seeing it live is something else. I realised just how many of his songs are about depression, alcoholism, death, abuse and the strange things people do to get by when their life is truly fucked up - all with an uplifting undertone of love. It was by no means a sombre mood; it was a celebration of making it through, happier and stronger. There's something special and instinctively perverse about a crowd cheerfully singing "I hope we all die". Because we will, and I don't know why so many people think it's 'depressing' or strange to talk about life's only inevitability.

Life begins at the acceptance of death.

Modern existence can so easily feel like a cave, artificially lit by distractions on TV and in shop windows. It's not ideal, but getting out into the sunshine often requires delving the depths of your own darkness. When you're ready to go though, music is an amazing companion.

Maybe we should consider ourselves lucky, those of us that have been forced to expose the darker corners of our mind to give the black dog nowhere to lurk. I admire those who simply do it out of curiosity, a yearning to experience life to the full without the constraint of fear or bitterness.

Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me that so many of the most creative, open, humble, honest, loving and happy minds have stared down demons in their life. I guess that's why I feel so disappointed every time I see Andrew Robb playing petty, superficial politics after his public battle with depression.

These are the people I want to populate my existance with. In a world increasingly full of people and shallow competition for our attention, I'm blessed to have people in my life that inspire me to live it. I'm grateful to the strangers I've connected with on Twitter who are open and honest without being self-absorbed about their own journeys through the darkness. And I'm happy every time I'm in a room full of like-minded people smiling, dancing and singing about how fucked up this life can be - cos it's even more fucked up if you can't face up to it.

Who cares about the people don't get understand and make their misjudgements - there are too many people in the world to give a fuck what they all think. It's awesome to share those unshackled, joyous moments of not giving a fuck about any of that shit with the like-minded; and to show anyone still struggling to look into the darkness how much fun it can be.

(I saw The Mountain Goats at The Corner Hotel in Melbourne on 10 May. It was awesome)

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