Phantom Blog

Phantom Blog

Flora for the concrete jungle

A Tinker’s Cuss – Jim Wilson’s Blog, 26/01/16

Jim Wilson’s Blog, 26 January 2016

 

Around two weeks ago I lost my favourite doggie, Bella. The veterinary surgeons put her to sleep here in New Zealand whilst I was trawling around in the USA. There were cellphone calls backwards and forwards and then Bella was gone. That’s how these things happen in the big wide world and I never got to hold Bella for the very last time.

Friends will tell you to ‘let go’ in these circumstances and then you feel like fire-bombing their house, but instead of that you say something like “Thanks very much” and you hope that they go away and never come back.

What is the purpose of having ‘friends’ like that?

About a week after Bella died my brother-in-law popped his clogs as well. My brother-in-law was about the epitome of good social skills. He always knew what kind of good and soothing word to insert into a conversation and just when to do that. He was a fun-lover and one got the impression that there wasn’t too much complex stuff going on with him. What you saw was what you got and what he said was what he meant. He had a good ‘vibe’ about him.

I’ve had a lot of people die around me during these last fifteen years or so. Mostly it comes as a big shock and then it’s gone again but for their presence which I feel at the strangest of times.

Obviously, we carry these memories in our minds and bodies until the very ends of our days. Some of us do what we can to ward the feelings off because ‘loss’ is a very distasteful business. There are other people who trade in loss by endless Internet posts as if they are trying and come to terms with what has just happened.

There is nothing in life that is bigger than loss.

For my part, I feel that if I think about the ones who have gone too much then I feel I will go with them to wherever they are. I’ve often wanted to do just that.

But I am terrified of all this and so I try to hang on to life and vitality even though it can seem entirely meaningless and for long periods of time.

But I do want to live because I have work to do, French cars to maintain, and I haven’t had my say.

I think they call all this business of living in functional denial ‘go forward’. This means don’t look back and just keep on careering into the future. I don’t think these people who make up these glib expressions have ever owned old French cars. Or they’ve never lost a great love because glib people can never have great loves to begin with.

Life can be a dreadfully sad business.

David Bowie died the next week and I did what I could to steel myself against the news.

If it wasn’t for David Bowie I just would never have worn half the clothes

I ever wore in my life and nor would I have applied woman’s makeup to my face in the early 1970s. I was an ugly woman let me tell you that.

We (my mates and me) all did make-up stuff and we coloured our hair and some of us even had a go at women’s high heel shoes and pretended we were gay. We had the earrings and the hand gestures too. At the same time, we had dreadful acne. We’d squeeze each other’s pimples.

David Bowie’s biggest thing to me was that he had the capability of changing everything about himself in a very quick manner. One day he would be in suit and the next day he would be wearing a United States Air Force MA1 flight jacket. He never appeared to have acne.

Me and my mates bonded over a very few key recording artists at the end of the 1960s and going through the early 1970s. Probably the two main recording artists were Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie. The Beatles were who they were and the Rolling Stones were as well, but Hendrix and Bowie were probably our two main inspirations.

My mates were mainly musicians in Christchurch and we’d often meet for lunch downstairs at Beaths or Ballanytnes and it was always good fun.

You’d look around the table and see eyeliner and bright green or orange widely flared pants. The hair would be long and we’d get called names in the street. Borrie used to make our clothes or we’d get them at His Lordships.

David Bowie factored into almost everything we did in one way or another.

But I try not to look back and I just keep careering into the future and oftentimes that’s against the odds. I’m frightened you see.

I think death and old age frightens all of us. We look in the mirror and the make-up has gone.

Bella was a good little girl, she too had a remarkably gentle nature (like my brother-in-law) and I truly loved her. Animals have taught me a lot about people and oftentimes to just steer away from people. I wouldn’t wish the family I grew up in on anyone…. It’s not that any of them were necessarily bad either, they, like the rest of the world, were just lost. They lived in make-up.

 

Bella didn’t.

 

miss bell in the grass

Xerography Debt Vol 38, Cafe Reader Reviews

38

Reviews by Josh Medsker and Carlos Palacios respectively.

If you’d like to get copies of the Phantom Billstickers Cafe Reader, contact briana@0800phantom.co.nz or via our Facebook page to be added to our mailing list. Alternatively, all the issues can be downloaded for a small fee from Amazon.com for our international readers.

Xerography Debt Vol 37, Cafe Reader Review

37

Review by Eric Lyden.


If you’d like to get copies of the Phantom Billstickers Cafe Reader, contact briana@0800phantom.co.nz or via our Facebook page to be added to our mailing list. Alternatively, all the issues can be downloaded for a small fee from Amazon.com for our international readers.

Xerography Debt Vol 35, Cafe Reader Review

35

If you’d like to get copies of the Phantom Billstickers Cafe Reader, contact briana@0800phantom.co.nz or via our Facebook page to be added to our mailing list. Alternatively, all the issues can be downloaded for a small fee from Amazon.com for our international readers.

A Tinker’s Cuss – Jim Wilson’s Blog, 16/12/15

Jim Wilson’s Blog, 16 December 2015

 

Another Xmas is upon us.

At this time of year, we are meant to be with our families (such as they might be) and to be all joyous and giving and everything else that goes around under that dear old mulberry tree where life is confusing at best.

We may look at people on the street at this time of year and they seem to be happy and winging their way home with a Xmas tree under each arm and whistling too. Here in America, I see glowing people wearing four layers of designer clothing as the winter closes in. That’s what they do to keep people at bay.

But, at Xmas I always think of my friends who may be stuck on Methadone or may be in rehab or jail and they may even be dead because they couldn’t hack the pace. The pace quickens in our electrified and digital age. It’s love one day and a landslide the next.

I know everyone is pre-occupied with either American or New Zealand politics right now and the ‘political subjects’ of the day which may include Muslims, Guns, Donald Trump, Social Media and Climate Change.

In America in 2013 almost 25,000 people died of prescription drug overdoses and about 16,000 of the deaths were from prescription opiates. Heroin overdoses are not included in these figures. That makes the data all the more frightening. It’s not terrorism, it’s merely ‘junkies’. Junkies are the scum who come to borrow a glass of milk and sell your refrigerator for ten dollars.

So, that’s mainly what I think about when I’m not turning my mind to beauty. If I want to feel devastated, then I think of the people whose breathing gave out after one too many OxyContin.

Opiate overdose is a very lonely way to die and I’ve had a lot of mates who went way out west from far too many opiates or the ramifications of using those self-same drugs. Maybe it was the liver disease that got them or the heart attacks.

I’ve overdosed on opiates a few times and spent time in ‘Intensive Care’. I’m bound to say they were good drugs. I didn’t wake up thinking about politics, I woke up wanting to get loaded again with my mates.

My mates who died were all lonely people and in the end they didn’t ‘connect’ with anyone. They had no possibilities that excited them.

I also have friends who will pick up their methadone a day or two before Xmas and then consume it all at once. They’ll end up ‘hanging out’ on Xmas day and feeling a cold that goes right through to their very marrow. If they had twenty-five heaters in the house and even though it may be summer, it won’t make a damn bit of difference. They will have Antarctica within them until they get another dose.

I am speaking as someone who once spent a Xmas Day or two in jail whilst hanging out and that taught me a lot about life. No one is going to come and rescue you because no one can save you from yourself. That grip on one’s own throat is the hardest thing to remove in this life.

Drug addiction… Self-inflicted? I really don’t think so. I merely think that a lot of people in the world today do not know what to do with their Emotions and Feelings. Many people are in a very deep and miserable painful place and I feel for them. They might scream about John Key or Donald Trump for a while to alleviate the pressure of being powerless and isolated.

Or they might even drive accidentally into a bridge.

Personal responsibility? I believe in that as well. But I have to say I have met many  people in ‘recovery’ who, in my opinion, are way more toxic than they ever were when they were stoned. They might be dry and sober and yet spiritually malicious. They may be borderline personalities. Does praying to God help these people?

Yes, it’s no good trip for a lot of folk at Xmas. You may be around toxic people. Your own family might be a contagious disease.

But, my year went reasonably well. I have learned to keep moving and forge ahead.  I have something like 22 completed chapters of my memoir finished and Phantom Billstickers has done well and prevailed over the odds. That’s all very satisfying.

There’s been some great books this year and some very good music. I’ve admired some really gnarly cars and met some people I like a lot. I’ve taken some okay photographs and met some of the coolest doggies (and cats) on God’s Green Earth. I’ve walked in the woods a lot and admired mother nature for doing what she does. I’ve missed my own Mum a lot (1999 R.I.P) but I’m better with all that now.

I feel loved and that’s different for me. I’ve never really felt loved before and I’ve always been so difficult (in many ways) that it was impossible to love me. I regularly said ‘no’ to the ice-cream because I was afraid. But now I sense that I’m letting the veil down. It had to go and it belongs way back there in dear old Russell Street in Dunedin.

My parents were very good people but in our house sunshine wasn’t really allowed and the summer was outlawed. That’s probably why I listened to the Velvet Underground (and countless others) but those days are over now. I enjoy putting up poetry posters around the world like I mean it man. I now like sunshine better than a black jersey and a pair of sunglasses in a dark room.

Thanks to those who stuck to me like glue this year and all the others.

 

I am a work in progress.

 

Much Love,

 

Jim Wilson

 

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