Moving On

“Just put the spade down please and come back inside, we can sort out the hole tomorrow.”

Her voice sounded tired, jaded even, as though she had seen this behaviour a thousand times before and just wanted this particular charade to be over with.  Which, in truth, she did.  She had her boyfriend to meet, holidays to ponder over.

“No, you know I want to do this, I want to bury myself, just for a bit!  I have to know what physical death feels like, where we lie in the ground for eternity.  Besides mam said you can’t interfere with me anymore ’cause of Dr Johnson’s orders!”

There was a faint hint of glee in the upswing of that last word.

It was true, the quack had said that James must ride out his emotions that, given the situation wasn’t life threatening, he should be able to act out what he said he wanted to do.

At this point I had given up and I could hear their continuing conversation drifting up from the back garden through the open window.  I’d retired to my room to drink in the solace of it, the place where I had lived for nearly 25 years before finally moving myself on.

I had known for a while that I needed to leave, that James’s dramas could take care of themselves and that he was as alright as he was ever was going to be.  It had struck mam and dad particularly hard that one, knowing that he’d need care, not constant but enough to keep them on their toes.  I’d done my part of course, I’d helped around the house, kept him company as I searched for a job, but we had agreed that I needed to move cities to find chance of work in my area.  This city wasn’t dying but it wasn’t exactly going through a boom cycle either.  There was a comfortable constant turn over of both jobs and people, so that the faces and policies in the local administration changed enough but not too fast to upset the local citizens.

“I’m doing it! I’m pouring the soil over myself!”

I peeped over to the edge of the open window and saw that James was indeed lying supine in his homemade burial, carefully pushing the clumps of soil over his lower half.  He seemed content, happy even.  His body was slowly being reclaimed by the cold earth of home.

He wasn’t overly fond of the insects and arachnids that made the soils and grasses their homes, but he’d put up with them if they wriggled and scuttled away from his thrashing actions.  Worms in particular fascinated him though, the flesh coloured tube of life dancing on his palm before he chucked them clean away, free to carry on their tunneling lifestyle.

It wouldn’t last long of course, he’d come to his senses and wriggle himself free of the pitifully small amount of soil that he’d managed to cover himself in and come screaming back into the house, tearing his body this way and that.


The air was close with the sun hanging low on the horizon, and the birds were flying their great mysterious circles in the air, but the cemetery was, as ever, quiet, calm and dignified.  In other words it was an oasis of peace in the busy little town.  It was just me, the dead and their secrets, silent as the great hanging stones that lay over them.

Driftin’ Back

Driftin’ Back‘ is a new 27 minute long mammoth song from ‘Psychedelic Pill‘, the album recently released from the the grizzled rocker Neil Young.  Psychedelic Pill marks his 37th studio album, and it is a strong return to form for Young, with his ever trusty backing band Crazy Horse providing the fuzz.  I do have a soft spot for long songs, as I personally feel it lets the listener become enveloped within the musicians own feelings, and truly lets the song develop a nature of its own.  The album is a wonderful sludge-fest which is filled with biting lyrics from Young, obviously recorded in a feisty and somewhat downbeat mood.  In fact this album is generously laced with long interludes of extended songs throughout, starting with ”Driftin’ Back’ as the opening song, and then continuing with the mini epics ‘Ramada Inn‘ and ‘Walk Like a Giant‘s slotted in.  To be fair this album is also a gorgeous 89 minute long bitter love affair, and one I thoroughly adore.

Discovering Neil Young came at a time that was just right for me, as I became engulfed in discovering alternative music from the 80’s/90’s.  Ever since starting to play the guitar, I had always loved the sloppy, imperfect musicianship of alternative bands (even though there is, of course, much technical and artistic skill in playing music).  I liked the rough and ready emotion of many of the bands, and Young’s music seemed to fit right into this.  Although he has graced many different musical styles over his long career, Neil Young has never been one for glossing over the actual lyrical depth or emotional content, and whilst it is easy to fall for one particularly genre in his epic musical oeuvre*,  I’d unceasingly ask to you to venture to hear his older music.  It can be devastating in its emotional charge, as found in songs such as ‘Needle and the Damage Done’ and ‘Hey Hey, My My (Into to the Black)‘.

For all the latest news and upcoming tours, a visit to his website will surely direct you to it.  It also has a Neil Young Times, a quite in-depth version of his own newspaper where you can learn about the various supports and causes Young champions (Young even has a new species of trapdoor spider named after him).  Young is certainly not adverse to airing his feelings, and championing his causes.  One of the first albums I heard by him was the uncompromising 2006 album ‘Living With War‘, in which he let rip his feelings on American’s invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, alongside the serving president at the time George Bush Jr.  His comment on why he felt he had to write this album (staggeringly wrote and recorded within a month) on being critical about American politics, he responded ‘I was hoping some young person would come along and say this and sing some songs about it, but I didn’t see anybody, so I’m doing it myself. I waited as long as I could’ (from Wikipedia).  This is all you need to know about Neil Young; he fights and encourages for what he believes, and will produce beautiful music while doing so.

I hope you can find the time to listen to the new song, ‘Driftin’ Back’, of his new album, and maybe become acquainted, if you aren’t already, with a rocker who never ceases to stop.  He has also just released his new autobiography ‘Waging Heavy Peace’ to widespread acclaim, and I think it will find it’s way onto my reading list.  Meantime, enjoy the music.

* I haven’t even mentioned his musical adventures in ‘Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’ or ‘Buffalo Springfield’, or his burgeoning career in directing films and documentaries.