Some Kind of Strange English

Gah! I made an unfortunate discovery today. Quite a few years ago, 1997 I think, I was introduced to a wonderfully eccentric young lad called Cris Bruce via a girlfriend I had at the time. They both lived in the states, having come from Virginia. They were good friends and decided to do a trip over to this side of the pond. When introduced, I immediately warmed to Cris, he was very bright, engaging and naturally funny.

Cris Bruce

Cris had a great talent for words, he loved writing poetry and keeping an illustrated travelogue of his adventures. I think one of the things that originally made me start to like him was that he told me he came from a town called Mechanicsville, It made me laugh and I really thought that he was pulling my leg. He wasn’t. There really is a place called Mechanicsville, which in itself was brilliant introduction, for a young man like Cris.

I didn’t know him for very long but never forgot him, some people can just make that kind of  lasting impression. My flatmate and I gave him a place to stay during the Bristol leg of his UK travels. He was an excellent guest, never short of conversation about his observations of life and the bits of the world he had explored. Looking back now from an older perspective,I think Cris was one of those people who liked to grab life by the proverbial balls and give them a good squeeze, to see what would happen. He wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and immerse himself in strange and new locations, even if there was a reasonable degree of risk involved in doing so. After we parted company and he went on his adventuring, he wrote me a letter a few months later, talking about one of his adventures, which had involved being back in the U.S. He’d been invited to an acquaintances house for a social meeting, while their parents were away. The small do, partly involved being offered Morphine and hanging out in a jacuzzi in the back yard. In Cris’s altered state, and in a moment of poetic intensity, he found a kitchen cupboard, crawled partly inside it and wrote something on the slate wall at the back of it, he couldn’t remember exactly what, but it was along the lines of:

“As long as you live in this house  and as long as my words remain undiscovered, this house will never be entirely yours, there will always be a little piece of me, hidden away, occupying your space without being noticed”

Except, I’m certain Cris phrased his hidden words far more eloquently. Cris was a bit of a concern, in that brief time that I knew him, he told me stories about his experimentation with getting high. In the UK, when a kid wants to do that, they just connect with a friend of a friend and buy a bag of weed or some pills, or just buy some alcohol. In Cris’s world at the time, it seemed to be about getting loaded by drinking cough meds in non recommended doses or worse, raiding some poor sod’s stash of legitimate pain killers or other meds. It seemed a bit mad and I advised him against this as a future behaviour, though it struck me at the time, that it wouldn’t be advice he’d heed. He seemed very much a free thinking spirit, if not just a little misguided.

The letter he sent was hand typed, it seems a page has gone missing forever somewhere along my own life path. I guess, he would have liked the thought of that, a page of his words going on its own travels, not content to remain in one place.  Cris kindly enclosed a photocopied reproduction of his self penned poetry book, called ‘Some Kind of Strange English’

Some Kind of Strange English

In the advent of information age, I’d tried looking him up online on a handful of occasions. Usually when prompted by either hearing something by Lou Reed or Risingson by Massive Attack. He’d liked both, he loved the Lou Reed track that appeared on the soundtrack to David Lynch’s ‘Lost Highway’ and I remember a brief call I had with him when he’d travelled to New York, we both gushed enthusiastically about the Massive attack song.

I recall at the time, I was kind of amused that Cris was into Lou Reed, there was something about him that reminded me of Lou. Since then, I’ve seen things about Lou that  reminded me of Cris. Maybe it was how they spoke, they seemed to share a similar energy to each other.

Anyway, looking Cris up always wound up  a fruitless task, part of me thought ‘He’s probably not wired to the net because he’s still out there adventuring’. After a few years though, when he occasionally popped into my mind and I found no reference anywhere to collections of his work like the one mentioned above, I started to imagine that life had perhaps taken a bad turn for him. It seemed it could have gone two ways, he was either going to reappear into the world as a new kind of guitar-free Lou Reed character or he was going to turn up dead.

I could slap my own face now, I’d been looking online for Chris Bruce, not the correctly spelt Cris Bruce. I keep his book of poems in my little work space, today I pulled it out and noticed my grammatical error, I was listening to Risingson at the time. I Googled Cris Bruce for the first time, got nothing. Refined the search to Cris Bruce+Mechanicsville. I got a result, but not the one I’d hoped for. Cris died on May 17th 2008, age 30, of a heart problem. Although he’d been taken to hospital, the nurses were unable to revive him. His blood toxicology was clean, its just that his ticker had decided to pack up on him.

Cris Bruce 2

My discovery was a bit of a blow, having considered the fate of Cris for so many years and hoping for only the best outcome, to think that his wonderful quirky character is no more is  a final answer to that lingering question. The full stop on the last page of his poetry book. For that, I am truly sad.

Apparently there was a gathering somewhere in Mechanicsville, to remember and celebrate his ‘Vibrant’ thirty years on Earth. Had time, knowledge and more convenient  geography been more favourable, I would have gladly attended. Now I just consider the strange kind of irony on page one of his 1996 poetry journal, a picture of  anatomical hearts.

hearts2

These song’s are for you Cris.

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klPGfv9Swbw’]

“…starving in his own sentence, the poet crosses himself,

there were words etched where he rested, and only those

who laid paper birds on his chest could read those words, none but those.

Sudden, is the life

and death, of the few who strive.

Under covers, in the dark, feeling around for whatever’s gone out.

There must be a light switch”

Cris Bruce 1996

RADIO HIAB-X 2013: Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality 2013 from hiabex303 on 8tracks Radio.

Two thousand and thirteen had its own musical flavour, I seemed to gravitate towards electronic grooves and music that, in my mind, would be the perfect soundtrack for floating around in Virtual Reality to. My enthusiasm for the Oculus Rift VR headset was constantly in the back of my mind, perhaps because I’ve been keen as a gamer to see a true paradigm shift away from monitors and screens into a realm of infinite creative possibilities, something totally immersive. The music from that I discovered in this year stoked my imagination. Enjoy this mix.

HIAB-X Headquarters.

I’ve tried a couple of times to write about how I spent the majority of my free time during the last six months of last year. It was the reason blogging and much of my other digital activity fell into a deep and procrastination-free coma.  Rather than post out of date info that was sketchy at best, I’ve just decided to write a new post and start over.

As a little bit of background, here’s how the project began. In 2007 when my career path took a U-turn and ventured into the world of stone masonry, my wife and I had also just been through a year  of minor upheaval as we’d decided that rather than moving house, we would refurbish our existing abode and extend it. Our original plan was to add some extra room onto our kitchen by buying a small plot of our neighbour’s garden that was immediately adjacent to it. When this didn’t go through, we decided instead to buy two wooden cabins to use as extended spaces away from the main property. A ‘his’n hers’ kind of arrangement of outbuildings, If you like.

Time passed and the buildings became functional, I used mine as a workshop for man jobs, and because the cabin was a respectable size with two small annex rooms, we put in a sofa bed, should we need to put up guests. It was an ok setup, damp and cold in the winter. I never felt satisfied that as a usable space, that it worked as well as I wanted it to.

In the meanwhile, my career in stone masonry fully blossomed and the cabin became a place I infrequently visited. Sometime earlier last year, It occurred to me that both cabins would benefit from some retrofitted internal insulation. The materials were ordered, arranged to be delivered at a future date after I’d had time to prepare the spaces, then promptly delivered on the non agreed date one week after ordering. A large palette of styrene backed plaster board, probably twenty large sheets of the stuff arrived one rainy Friday afternoon. Plasterboard doesn’t do rain very well, so I was forced to throw my plans out of the proverbial window and fill my cabin as quickly as possible with the sheets of board, I hadn’t been in a position to clear the place out and now I was filling it up, and taking up half of the available floor space in the process.

What do you do? Well, due to the unpredictable British climate and the desire to not have to keep shifting twenty sheets of giant plasterboard back and forth between cabin and garden, I decided to start work by working around it. “It’ll take a couple of weekends” I told myself, and the gods of D.I.Y had a good laugh.

A couple of months later both cabins were insulated.

So, close to tears, sitting in the chaotic midden of quadruple handled personal belongings plonked over to one side of my cabin, I began thinking. It had been my intention to return to business as usual, I had a work bench area in the main room and a designated guest area in one of the smaller rooms. At the time, I was considering how to decorate over the plasterboard to give the spaces a more welcoming finish for both myself and a wouldbe guest. In addition to that, I’d spent much of last year feeling frustrated that my artistic creativity had been the victim of ‘too much going on’ and no appropriate space to occupy, where my creative juices could flourish. You see, on any given week day evening or weekend, when not working down the cabin, I’d fallen into a trap of sitting at my kitchen table and zoning out in front of my computer. We live in a small terraced cottage, each room is functional but there isn’t a suitable room to bang on a stereo and get out the creative arsenal without encroaching on someone else’s plans for vegging out at the end of the day. I’d long accepted this, but felt creative inertia chewing away at my soul like an angry malnourished rat.

Sitting in my personal midden, an idea popped up rather innocently…”What if, I shifted my work bench over to the small guest area, and what if I turned the main room into a more comfortable recreational area?” followed by “What if, that area was decorated to look a little ‘Bohemian’?”  At the time, I’d recently seen an image on Tumblr that I’d felt a wistful bit of affection for:

boho

Although not entirely to my tastes, it seemed like the person whose room this was, had made themselves a little nest of comforts and stimulations that harkened back to another era. I liked that, and the seeds were sewn in my own imagination. I set to work moving my work bench, then cursing the fact that, having built plasterboard insulation around it, I now had a bloody great gap to sort out, which I did.

The following months saw a flurry of intense activity during my evenings and weekends, sometimes that activity just involved going down the cabin and taking a perch then staring intently into the contents of my own skull. I was working out problems, imagining things that hadn’t materialised yet, just basically building the space in my own mind. I’d come to the conclusion that I’d borrow from earlier ideas I’d tried out in my early twenties, where I’d cheered up dismal bedsits with strategically placed Indian bed sheets to hide flaking, lumpen ceilings and cracked plaster walls.

My wife had been banned from entering the cabin since about June, I’d sold her the idea of there now being a second living room, come reading room, and I wanted her to see the final product without worrying about the gigantic mess leading up to it. During my working days on a large construction site, I’d noted that a fair amount of useable timber was being skipped; off cuts from roof joists and the like, so began rescuing bits and pieces to recycle and repurpose them. My original idea had been to make storage using old scaffold boards, but with my bohemian direction starting to take shape, the idea upgraded to using joist offcuts to fashion shelves that would start in one room, turn corners and continue into another room. Silly ideas began floating up.

  • It needed flocked, damask wallpaper.
  • It needed skirting board
  • It needed to have a bank of shelving areas to store various house cluttering artefacts, like ornaments, movies and books.
  • It needed to look fucking cool with some alternative lighting methods…just in case the need to dance around should occur.
  • It needed a much comfier and welcoming sofa bed than the shitty Ikea one I’d kept down there.
  • OK, the cabin needed to be multi functional because of the above and more.

These aims and ambitions kept me busy all the way through until December the 31st, by which point, if it hadn’t been the Christmas break, I’d have seriously burnt myself out. It’s pretty hard being a stonemason by day and an interior mover and shaker at any other given moment of free time.

Finishing touches and a grand scale tidy up took place and completed around five p.m on New Years Eve 2013, later that evening I escorted my wife down the garden to see the fruits of my labours over the last six months. I must admit, I felt very uneasy about the prospect as her former banishment from entering the cabin had potentially conjured up ideas of some kind of palatial den, that may or may not have lived up to expectation.

She was thoroughly delighted with her visit, so much so, we spent the rest of the evening celebrating in there. You know you’ve done a good job when your wife is happy to spend her evening in the shed!

Slideshow of the cabin so far: Hover over an image to skip back and forth.

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As it stands, the cabin will remain a work in progress, it needs to be lived in and added to, I may well add images of its development here as I go along. Needless to say, it’s now a great little place to be creative, or just read and listen to music.

 

 

In Love With My Radio 1983-85

In love with my radio: 1983-85 from hiabex303 on 8tracks Radio.

A kid walks into a barber shop and says “Give me a Paul Young Haircut…” This playlist represents what was rocking my Ghetto Blaster between 83 and 85.

42

42

 

I turned 42 a few days ago. As birthday’s go, it was quite unremarkable from the point of view of opting to go to work, the usual wakeup start of 6 a.m, then a day spent in the cold, doing my usual stonemasonry routine in a nine hour day. I had a celebratory meal with my family after work (which was lovely) then came home and the day was just as good as over. It added a sharp contrast to my 41st, which was spent lounging around in the beautiful Caribbean sun of Grenada, I have now vowed to myself that I won’t do a working day on my 43rd, 44th etc. I felt quite flat.

Entering 42 has been a poignant experience lurking in the back of my mind, mainly because it has provided me with a little opportunity to dwell on the numbers involved. It caused me to reflect on ‘halves’, specifically half of my lifetime, twenty one years ago.

At 21 in 1992 I’d just moved to Bristol, having left the comfort zone of my familiar home county in Norfolk. It had been a massive step in my independence as a young man, no longer reliant on the familiar faces and locations I had always known as home. It was a leap into the unknown and uncertainty. I took the move in a brazen spirit, it felt a little risky and dangerous, I won’t deny that deep in my heart I felt the call of adventure and the unknown variables just meant excitement to me.

Historically, twenty one years ago was a pivotal junction in my life, the choices I made in relocation became life changing circumstances which echoed on to present day. I live in Bath now, having spent eleven years in Bristol. Those years, upon reflection were like a burning forge for fashioning the man I would eventually become. I won’t deny that they were emotionally incredibly difficult years in the most part, much of my life in Bristol became a stormy season of letting go of ‘kidulthood’ even though I wasn’t aware of this at the time. I’d wrestled with myself and my often complicated emotions throughout the most of it. I generally don’t look at my ‘twenty something’ years with much affection, I was lost, directionless, emotionally lonely, acutely aware of being in a boat without a rudder and terrified of what that actually meant in the long run. At the same time, the connections I had made with new friends had helped me through the most difficult of those times, I will always be grateful to those who cared.

By the time I reached my thirties, I felt a great relief, It seemed that the most desolate and difficult emotions had passed. Life still seemed difficult but I felt that I’d survived a lot of the shit I had either put myself through or been put through. This gave me a core of resilience, I knew I had it, and it pleased me to know I could survive. Is that how one starts to grow up?

I’m quickly heading into the tenth anniversary of meeting the lady who is now my wife, this adds another contrast for processing half of what happened over the course of twenty one years ago. She has been the greatest personal catalyst I have ever known, my lover and my best friend.

Becoming 42, has been a ponderous experience because of the above reasons. I know that I have lived my whole life all over again since being 21. In turn, the memory of my twenty one year old self has been akin to remembering being a child; something I could never have anticipated feeling. Unlike the string of small recollections I have about being an infant, the memory of who I was as a younger man, seems very fresh, as if two decades worth of living feel like something that happened last year. It makes me feel a kind of emotional vertigo.

It’s easy to imagine further down the line, advice I would have given my younger self, changes I might have made to do things differently, but, I don’t really go too far into those thoughts because I’m mostly happy with who I am and how life has changed for the better. Remembering half a lifetime ago is bittersweet, of course there are things I would do differently if I could do them all again, yet at the same time I’m very aware that my greatest mistakes and challenges have also been my greatest teachers, and now I’m old enough to appreciate such an insight. Isn’t this a case of Ouroboros eating its own tail?

2142

*Hat worn like a lemon for artistic purposes

 

 

Let’s Have a Riot.

Nocturnal adventures are currently experiencing a grey mist which unfortunately obscures my recollection of travelling six out of seven days a week at the moment, so I’m a little disappointed to not be adding much content to my @Night section. Regardless, the pace of 2013 and all the things I’ve been involved with remains largely a relentless procession of days, mainly involving a significant degree of hard graft. I’m currently involved in a building project that has been going on for nearly three months. I’ve helped disembowel the basement level of a house in Bath in view to knocking three rooms through into one large open plan space, then building an outdoor extension onto that. The project has taken me away from general stone masonry practices and moved me out of that comfort zone into learning quite a bit about general building techniques. I’d say, on the whole I’ve learnt quite a lot. Sadly, by 8pm on any Friday evening my mental activity is so diminished that my brain resembles a soggy house brick.

To let off a little steam, I went up to Worcester last weekend (Jan 27th)with my friend Auri, to engage in an excellent activity called ‘Zombie Riot’. Like the name suggests, the activity was an organised riot, with 50% of it’s combatants made up to resemble Zombies. It takes place once a week at a trading estate a couple of miles from Droitwich. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, how well organised the event would be or quite how much fun would be involved. In retrospect, it’s easy to imagine how badly it could have been done in the wrong hands. Fortunately, the event was in the very capable hands of a company called RAM Training, who consist of ex soldiers- infantry and airborne. These guys really know how to orchestrate a controlled riot and make the whole exercise a massive dose of fun.

Wash your bloody hands! – Auri and I getting some decontamination.

The day is divided into two riots featuring two equally balanced teams, each team gets sent off to a training  bootcamp of either zombie rioters or military police. (Attack and defend) My friend and I found ourselves in  the Zombie group for the first half of the day, we were garbed up in protective clothing and gory face paint then taught various strategies for breaking through riot police defences and tackling people down to the ground in a controlled fashion. In spite of the cold January wind breezing around us that morning, the bootcamp training soon got all participants warmed up and having a good laugh within a short space of time. We were briefed on what to expect when the opposing team would arrive and we were encouraged to utilise the boxes of crates filled with plastic bottles half filled with water as throwable projectiles. For the larger build, stronger players, a small group were shown how to overturn a car parked in the middle of the first riot zone.

Training whizzed by quickly then we were told that the enemy team were making their advance to the main riot arena. The arena itself was a somewhat neglected corner of the trade park, dilapidated corrugated iron buildings sitting on waste ground with abandoned, smashed cars littered around them, for mood, the setting was absolutely perfect.

Me getting into full blown Zombie,’ I’m going to seriously twat you one’ rage mode.

It was incredible how quickly the mood of our group elevated to an amped state of pre-riot aggression, once we knew that the other team were within the perimeter of the arena, we were encouraged to growl,scream and shout all manner of Zombieisms just to stoke up their sense of apprehension. We were kept behind a wire fence barrier, which would be smashed down at the command of one of the marshals at a particular point, until that moment, we lobbed wave after wave of water bottles at the huddled group of riot police cowering behind their Armadillo shields. The command was given and Team Zombie went full charge into the cluster of opponents. It was delightful mayhem, the Armadillo shield barriers lasted a second before we crashed through with the full intent of taking down anyone resembling a slightly fearful riot police officer. Naturally  they were trained to counter attack with foam covered batons. The rules of engagement were quite simple, If you are a Zombie, tackle your opponent down to the ground. If you are  riot police, strike  Zombies six times to take them down. Once defeated, players are out for a couple of minutes before a marshal prompts you to get up and join the fun again. I got beaten down almost immediately on the first attack, It afforded me a brilliant couple of minutes watching the rest of the combat take place. I was reminded of my childhood, during the Winter months,when there was black ice on the playground, kids would take a long run up to a patch of ice and do a sliding skid, usually in a procession of other kids. Occasionally someone would collide with someone else and fall to the floor. Someone else would yell ‘Bundle!’, which would prompt all other kids in the nearby vicinity to charge at the fallen duo until there was a pile of clambering children writhing about on the floor laughing. The riot wasn’t a million miles from this as it was clear that combat would start to form clusters.

Riot

To keep the riot ongoing and fresh, the game would seamlessly be marshalled into separate waves taking place at three or four locations within the main site. By the time the riot was into it’s fourth wave there was a strange combination of everyone being fully familiar with riot dynamics and physical fatigue. It takes a lot of stamina to charge and tackle down armoured, shielded opponents over the course of about twenty minutes.

I really enjoyed the primal nature of the combat, that incredible rush of being firmly in the moment with two simple objectives; attack and survive. It’s a very similar mentality to how I feel when I’m paint-balling, another fabulous source of adrenaline.

The final stage of the riot was a simple theatrical state of closure. The riot police were ushered back outside the riot complex and the large metal barred gates were closed and locked. Zombies yelling abuse and taunts on one side, Riot police doing the same from the  other. I found a rubber severed human foot near where I was roaring, so I picked it up and slam-dunked it  so it bounced off someone’s helmet on the other side of the gate.

This neatly took all participants to lunch time, where we indulged in a much needed food break. This was provided by the organisers as part of the package. Hot soup and a variety of baguettes. Absolutely perfect for the energy expended during the morning session.

Unfortunately,Auri decided to duck out of the afternoon’s riot schedule having discovered that rioting wasn’t quite as exhilarating as jumping out of aeroplanes…

After lunch, the inevitable roll reversal took place. My team and I kitted up in riot gear while the other team went off to learn Zombieisms. The Riot police first exercise was an unexpected treat, we were given paintball guns and taken into a warehouse area designed for training armed squads to enter scan and eliminate any targets, I think it was called a ‘Room sweep’. The onus was on team work, two people would enter a corridor, scan and fire at any obvious targets before shouting ‘Clear!’ which would allow two other squad members to advance further into the compound to repeat the exercise while having their backs covered by the first two. A bit like a baton race but with guns. Our excellent instructor, guided the training and threw a flash-bang grenade into one of the rooms just to add to the   authentic combat training atmosphere. An air raid siren droned throughout the entire exercise which created another level of tension to the procedure.

Shoot2kill

After everyone in the Riot police group had had a turn at this tactical exercise, we were then taken into another warehouse to learn how to use Armadillo and Snatch shields.

The Armadillo shields were pretty cool, when used correctly, they lock together edge to edge creating an instant wall between users and rioters. This does require all riot police moving in unison and barking repeats of orders issued by a commanding officer. I wound up being an Armadillo carrier for the afternoon riot, I found the shield quite uncomfortable and a cumbersome weight after a while but in the spirit of wishing to fulfil my team roll and also defend myself when the barrier was ultimately smashed through, I clung to the bloody thing and used it as best I could. It may have been a Moose to carry but it certainly performed with excellence at batting away hurled objects and charging undead.

The afternoon riot was somewhat more intense than the morning one, all participants understood their roles perfectly, as if the morning had merely been a warming up exercise.

When my group entered the compound and advanced into riot zone one, we noticed that larger projectiles were occasionally smashing into our defences, the sight of a plastic beer crate whizzing through the air being a particular example. My team worked well, the Armadillo defence seemed to last a few seconds longer than the other groups morning effort. We seemed pretty effective at beating down our attackers with the foam batons, I think I only got tackled down effectively once. I’m not a violent person by nature but I do acknowledge that there is an element of my character, call it my dark side, that relishes in combat games whether they be electronic, paintball or riotous. I admit freely that I took great delight thwacking people in the chest,hips and knee areas while snarling “Get down, GETT DOWWNNN!!!’ It fed and satisfied my inner fascist.

Riot gear

I’ll send you home in a fucking hearse!

And then the second game was over. We all marched back to the main warehouse to change out of our riot gear, shake hands with our opponents and part company. The day ended on a high, I could see it in everyone’s faces, they were exhausted yet elated. The event had been everything promised in the title and more, we’d had a riot, both figurative and literally. I felt  so impressed with the overall organisation of the event, the RAM training team are superb and provided an event designed with meticulous attention to detail, which in turn gave the whole day a total sense of value for money. As we began to get ready to leave, we were informed that for £10 we could obtain a download link for photos taken by the RAM Training guys during the day, for £20 we could also buy a DVD with footage of the riots. I couldn’t help but pay for both. With hindsight, I would have just bought the DVD, the footage was excellent and really captured the energy of the day. The photos on the other hand were a little disappointing as the bulk of them featured mostly other people, if you  are attending with a large party of friends this would work better, if it’s just a couple of you then there are a lot of pictures of relative strangers to sift through. Quite a few of the shots  were poorly lit with dubious attention to composition. If you are thinking of attending a RAM training event, then I’d definitely suggest getting the DVD version of your day, it provides a very satisfactory ‘action replay’ of your memories.

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAs6CnKdiqU’]

The day was superb value for money (£60 on Living Social) I fully intend to do it again, bringing more reinforcements with me next time.  For anyone who has found this review whilst looking up the Zombie Riot, I’d recommend turning up in clothes that you don’t mind getting mucked up or damaged. The day, as mentioned is brilliant fun and involves a lot of physical activity so I think it helps if you are feeling fit and don’t mind a bit of rough play. There were plenty of ladies involved in the rioting so don’t go thinking it’s just fun for the boys.

Link to Ram Training below.

 http://www.ramtraining.co.uk/zombie-riot.php

2013- Brief update

Added some new playlists to Radio HIAB-X and included two new sub-sections ‘Childhood’ and ‘Forties’ as the ever growing mass of my personal music collection makes it online and is listenable. At some point within the next couple of months, it’s my aim to create downloadable PDF mock CD sleeve files for each playlist. This is generally intended for my own anorakish pleasure, whilst adding a further historical dimension to those audio archives.

I suppose it’s fair to say that HIAB-X.COM has become a kind of dumping ground for the general contents of my mind, a slow uploading of thoughts, feelings and music that have kicked around in my head for many years, dreams and their imagery also form part of that.I used to keep handwritten dream and life diaries, I used to make mixtapes and CD’s for friends, you could consider that this website provides a ‘One size fits all’ dimension to those formerly separate strands.

I often read that we live in a Narcissistic age and I admit that I feel a degree of discomfort that I may be guilty of indulging in that spirit, however,  I also accept that with very limited means of truly making a mark on the world, such collections as this are a personal time capsule where my intentions are to share with those who might be interested, be you a friend, family member or just some random web surfer looking for something to pass the time away.

 

 

World’s End

The actual playlist on my computer was 20+ tracks covering my favourite tunes from 2012, when it came to creating this compilation I had to strip it down to twenty of my favourites for the year where Terence McKenna’s ‘Timewave’ was supposed to reach it’s Omega Point. Needless to say, it didn’t, you get another musical compilation and I in turn can look at the empty playlist for 2013 and wonder what audio delights the next year will bring. Enjoy my 2012.

World’s End from hiabex303 on 8tracks Radio.

Protected: Knowing the Signs: Part 2

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Knowing the Signs

Bit of a random factoid post here, probably more of a mnemonic,visual use to me than it will mean anything to you, however, It’s interesting of you are a dream geek. I’m striving for lucidity in dreams again. I’ve enjoyed a few lucid dreams over the years, as mentioned in the previous post, my twenties was a time when I put more conscious attention to the matter.

After many years and countless solitary sessions of searching for the answers to life’s mysteries, I have returned to where I began. Dreams. It simply boils down to the following personal philosophy:

We spend roughly a third of our total life spans asleep and dreaming. A third.

Even in its most common state, the nightly dream is a vibrant world of limitless possibilities and personal symbology. Without  emphasis on the esoteric, it is a realm in which the living can commune with the dead, where alien life can be encountered, where one engages with archetypes, where other worlds or dimensions exist etc. Everyone experiences these things yet we do so passively, as a kind of automatic witness to frequent oddness, where the absolute strangeness is processed after the event with a shrug and a forgetting before the continuation of the day cycle.

I once read a philosophical point of view that happened to mention that the truth of who and what we are is something we will spend our lives looking for answers to and that the collective illusion is that we seek these things externally, with little consideration to the notion that these things lie within.

As I mentioned in my last entry, my first ever lucid dream had such a powerful influence upon me, I have not been able to shake off the afterglow of it even though it was nearly sixteen years ago. The problem I had after it occurred, was being able to make it happen again at will. I wasn’t self disciplined enough to stick with the assorted daily practices to help make it happen again and on the few occasions when it would, I found that I lost lucidity very quickly to become frustratingly passive in my perception of events. I stopped reality checking, I eventually stopped trying altogether. Lucid dreams pretty much concluded and now I think I was foolish to let go of them, especially with my ongoing life long fascination with dreaming.

It just seems absurd to be a passenger of dreams when you could be the driver, because if the experience is so immersive, if you wish to visit the stars, you can, if you wish to talk face to face with Buddha, you can, if you wish to talk to a long lost loved one, such as a grand parent, it is all possible and seemingly equally as real as reality presents itself. To be lucid is to be engaged in a highly unusual paradox, you are both awake and asleep. I’m absolutely intrigued by the potential for exploration and the possibilities that may accompany it. I’m seeing lucidity as a gateway to a much more profound and greater universe, without the need to ingest an external substance to have the experience.

This entry is pre-lucid, that is to say, I’m working on creating the right conditions again to invoke the state of consciousness where I realise that I am experiencing the dream. This entry contains some personal reoccurring symbols that generally seem to be significant in my subconscious based upon their frequency. Some are reasonably regular, others are a little more obscure, but they all share the common ground of being constant symbols over the course of my dreaming years. I guess as I’m doing this, I’ll flesh the images out with a little exposition.

The Eagle Transporter from Gerry Anderson's 'Space 1999'

I have lost count of the many times that an Eagle Transporter has appeared in some form during my dream sleep. It was the first space craft I ever fell in love with, even as a child I had a great appreciation of the finer points of its design. I pestered my parents for the die-cast Dinky toy version and became quite obsessed with it. Needless to say, I’m certain that  my subconscious attachment to the space craft has been the basis of its ability to turn up randomly during dreams. I mostly dream of seeing models of it, always an unexpected design variation that yields surprise and fascination. When I have looked online for a decent image of one, I have come to appreciate that my fixation isn’t necessarily unique, and that other people seem to share a love for it. Complicating matters somewhat, it would appear that the Eagle has been through many design modifications from fan designs and alternative types that were featured in the original 1970’s TV series. From a personal point of view, it stands that I really should ask myself whenever I see an Eagle Transporter “Am I dreaming?” or just give myself a good pinch. I see Eagles in my dreams at least three times a year.

R2-D2 is another reoccurring icon, although less frequent than the Eagle Transporter. Perhaps its presence in my dreams just stems from my childhood sci-fi roots as it was another object of my initial attachments during my formative years. (Thinking about it, it would probably explain why I’ve collected a few models and toys of it over the decades) R2-D2 is a slightly more stable dream object, it tends to remain relatively unmutated by my mind. Having said that, I once dreamt that I peered through a small aperture in some exotic hardware, when I clapped my eyes on the circuit board within, all the micro chips were miniature R2 units. Since the Star Wars prequels, my attachment to this little robot has waned a little, it appears in dreams once every couple of years.

Tornados are a strangely reoccurring dream phenomena. I say strangely as 1. I’ve never seen one in reality (footage doesn’t count) and 2. I don’t think they represent a weather phenomenon when they’re inside my head. I’ve had a few dreams where spiritually advanced beings have descended from the heavens using tornados as a kind of transportation. I can remember times when everyone has fled in terror, I’ve been tempted to run also but something has instinctively kept me waiting for the tornado to get closer. Each time something rather magical has happened as a result of keeping my nerve and waiting for it to arrive. Frequency of Tornado dreams: about twice a decade.

Returning to places like some kind of ghost haunting past abodes often features in my internal world architecture. One place that often springs up is one of my old flats from when I lived in Bristol, in a place called Ashley Road. The dreams are often quite unpleasant, I find myself moving back in, trying to establish a new residence. I often feel defeated by the very act of my being there again. They say that dreams of the house represent ‘self’, it seems to ring true. I see returning to Ashley road as a fear of moving backwards. In reality, times there were not particularly happy, I was still trying to find my path in life and the results were often mixed. I think it’s impossible for places to not leave their residue, good or bad, ingrained in one’s spirit.

I’d sometimes reflect upon the other characters who lived there and say to myself “We were all in the Ashley road of our lives” It was a place of transience, of self induced difficulties, of psychodrama. When we were ready, we all moved on while new people moved in to work their shit out.

Another former location of residence I periodically return to is my old bedsit at Wick Road in Bristol. Just mentioning it and bearing in mind the other previously mentioned abode make me realise that both places left quite a psychic fingerprint on my subconscious mind. I can attribute that the the extreme emotions I felt in both places. There were periods of happiness in both, there were also times of deep unhappiness and mental anguish. No surprise really that I return to them in some of my uncomfortable dreams. Historically, I lived in Wick Road, then moved on to Ashley Road, they occupy the same continuum of the period from 1994-2004 (which I generally cite as the most difficult era of my youth)

Returning to the Wick road flat tends to exhibit a very similar vibe to the Ashley Road dreams, that Is to say that, If if find myself back there, I always feel like I’ve taken some kind of evolutionary step backwards. The feeling is always one of defeat and the familiarity of the most miserable emotions I felt living in both. Now I’m bringing these icons into focus, I recognise that both places always present themselves in night time settings and they both share the same characteristics of having unexpected changes in their interior architectures. This may be due to the very nature of dreams, from the point of view of a person aiming for lucidity, if nothing else, the modified interiors should be seen as a massive indictor that a dream is occurring. I find myself back at Wick Road- at least once a year.

I can think of no other significant anchor point for comfort and security than my grandmother’s house back in my hometown. In terms of personal locations from my memories, it represents the place of consistency and stable continuity. I began my life there. Although my wonderful grandfather died in 1981, my grandmother remained living there until her own death in 1996. Throughout my life until that painful year, a visit to see her was always accompanied by a simple feeling of comfort and welcomeness. I find it no surprise at all that I still periodically find myself back there. Sadly since Nanny died, my dreams of being there have often been tainted in some way by the knowledge that she is no longer here. They aren’t nightmares as such…only the ones where I return to find the house empty, in decay or with someone else living there. At other times I return as If I have been a time traveller, I walk through the kitchen door to that old familiar feeling of comfort and peace, she is still there. I often find myself producing a camera and suddenly wanting to photograph everything I can as I can’t quite believe my luck for having the opportunity to be with her once again, my desire to photograph her environment is a need to have some physical record of how things were, solidifying visual keepsakes.When I think of achieving lucidity, a conscious, self aware return to this house is one of my primary objectives. These dreams occur on average twice a year.

OK, I could go on and I’m going to but It will be in a second entry. Part 2 will feature in the section ‘Level 2’ which requires a password. If you are interested in reading Level 2 entries, you’re going to need to make yourself known to me, either via Facebook or one of my other social media connections. Sorry, you are the faceless internet you are anyone combined with everyone. I don’t mind sharing some personal information but I like to know who I’m sharing it with.