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A Tinker’s Cuss – Jim Wilson’s Blog

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I did this thing when I woke up this morning, I picked up a magazine and the headline was ‘Perceive your utilities provider as a partner’. 

I’ll never do that again. There has to be more to life. My electricity supplier will never become my fluffy dog. Though I suppose that they will start to market themselves as such some day soon.

So what does it all mean?

I then switched on the Internet and everyone seemed to be clamouring and screaming to be noticed. People were sharing and trading ‘likes’. I don’t think any of the photos were true and most of the comments were obtuse or left-handed at best. The news certainly wasn’t true, but then everyone knows that now.

We are most probably alone and our lives belong solely to us and not to some politician or news outlet. If we were to be lucky, then we would merely play a bad hand very well. And, as they say, “expectations are pre-meditated resentments”. People are goofy. There are days when we are completely insane and as Dostoevsky put it, mankind does not do much to its own advantage.

On the Internet there is a brutal poet and he posts brutish posts and usually about twenty-five a day. He likes to claim that Obama used to satisfy him, but I don’t think anyone ever could. He treats the Internet like it is a brothel. He threatens to unfriend people all the time if they don’t notice him. I unfriended him. I have a hard dick for him. He makes no one’s life easier.

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog because I just never knew what to say. I tried to watch everything go past me and to not get hooked up in it. I concentrated on loving the people and the doggies that were important to me. After all, that’s the only game worth playing. People seem to be lonely. It feels simplistic to say, but people need love. In fact, all you need is love and not a hot steaming Internet account. If you are in love with your computer then I would suggest you trade it in for a bologna sandwich. You may get more satisfaction when the grease roles down your chin.

I went to see Bob Dylan in Chattanooga, Tennessee last November. The show was in a beautiful old and ornate theater, the Tivoli, capacity 1750. During that week Donald Trump had been elected president and both Leon Russell and Leonard Cohen had died. There was a big earthquake in the South Island of New Zealand. It was a very meaningful period of time. It felt like the dogs were barking for us all and one hardly knew which way to turn. Whilst all this was happening, many people were eating pie, putting the pounds on, and taking more and more selfies.

It was shortly to be winter in the USA, but it felt like it already was.

Bob Dylan played the Tivoli without a backdrop and without stage lighting apart from the very basic theater lights which didn’t flicker and which didn’t change colour either. There were no giant videos beside the stage of children getting killed in Vietnam in the 1970s. There were no guitar changeovers (not one) and there were no roadies running across the stage wearing sunglasses. None of the band spoke. No one smiled. There were no short cuts to success, just the beautiful essence of the songs and the musicians themselves.

At this time, people all over the world were debating whether Bob Dylan was a poet since he’d just won the Nobel Prize for Literature. People were fighting with words. They were being cynical, opinionated, sarcastic and bitter. Bob kept his own counsel. This was a matter of dignity.

At this time, Chattanooga was ringed by bush fires that people were deliberately lighting. The city authorities suggested that people wear surgical masks in the streets. The population wanted blood. In New Zealand, shopkeepers are currently getting harassed and beaten up by 11-year-old kids and amphetamine trades higher than Wall Street. Perhaps there will be a day coming soon when we will all be wearing Kevlar vests to go down to the mall.

My sister is still alive if anyone remembers my last blog. She has terminal cancer and she is on heavy-duty opiates. Apparently, she can take visitors for about a half hour at a time and then she needs to sleep so as to get some rest.

I’m pretty sure I know the voice she hears the most when she falls into a slumber. She hears my mother yelling to her from the bottom of the stairs at our old house on Russell Street in Dunedin in the 1950s.

My dad never yelled, never raised his voice, so I think my sister just waits quietly for him. Some day soon she might hear a lot of his voice. I do, every day. He is my guiding light. 

My father never went to high school and yet he quoted Shakespeare all the time. He said that the quality of mercy is ne’er strained or whatever he said. Often, for weeks, the only things he spoke were Shakespearean quotes. I think he knew that it was best to not offer up any thoughts of your own because life was baffling and Shakespeare had already said all that needed saying.

“Is this a dagger which I see before me?” Yes, it most probably is.

A smile from my father (once or twice a year) was worth a million dollars. It was worth more than any business I’ve ever seen. Business is full of daggers. People come to you all the time equipped with sharp ends and dubious prospects.

Here’s a man, my dad, who could break down a car engine and put it back together on the kitchen table. He’d have to use a couple of chairs as well if it was a V8 engine. He required no help and, as usual, he had nothing to say.

Bob Dylan never comments much either. I think this is learned behavior and he hardly ever remarks on that which surrounds him. He doesn’t waste words on stuff that will never change. People say what they want to believe.

In Chattanooga, Bob Dylan wore black and he led the band out to the stage after the show was finished. They didn’t take a bow, they just looked off into the far roving distance in a yearning and deep way. They stood still for several minutes.

There’s a lot of ‘acceptance’ in just keeping your trap closed as Al Swearengen might have said. The world has enough trouble. Our dustbin is full so don’t go putting your crap into it.

Recently, I got some really nice messages from a woman who knew my mother. This woman was a child when my mother was the housekeeper who looked after her and her family in their home on London Street in Dunedin. My mother was described as a glowing, warm and enthusiastic person who lit up the house as soon as she walked in in the mornings. These messages have buoyed me for a month now. That was my mother.

The older I get, the more I want to be close to my parents. Both of them are dead now of course, but each day I just get to see more of the genuine sense that they made. They didn’t see any point in crying over spilt milk, they worked hard and they were as good as they possibly could be to each other and to the world. Nothing about them was a pose and they were simple and unaffected people.

That’s worth a million likes.

A Tinker’s Cuss.

Jim Wilson’s Blog.
It’s been a while since I’ve written ‘A Tinker’s Cuss’.

I’ve been to Singapore. This is a hollowed out island state where if an addict approaches a doctor for treatment, then the doctor must advise the Central Narcotics Bureau. The quality of mercy is being severely strained in Singapore.

Thailand? When I was there Chinese money was being put into developing shopping malls at around eight seaside resorts. There are numerous laws against anyone speaking out against injustices. A bloke was arrested in Bangkok for putting up post it notes in the streets. These pieces of paper contained political messages. They say Thailand is a democracy and so it must be. I believe the king has just died.

Houston? There are approximately 47 fried chicken stands at the airport and another 35 barbeque joints. It is, therefore, a mighty friendly place. Kaboom Books (www.kaboombooks.com) is one of the better bookstores in the world.

I saw Bob Dylan live in Philadelphia and I am due to see him again next month in Chattanooga. He’s had 35,000 people a day tell him he has the worst voice in the world for around 40 years now and so in Philly he did about six Frank Sinatra songs. I doff my hat to him. He has not commented about his Nobel Prize yet and he’s not posing for selfies either.

“People got a lot of knives and forks and so they got to eat something.” – Bob Dylan.

Kelly and I have been working on my writing. We have worked over 16 chapters out of 52 chapters of ‘Dose’. This work has been most enjoyable.

I have also, on the side, written about 25 chapters of a new manuscript about my life as a billsticker. This manuscript is called ‘Glue’.

I don’t watch the news here in the USA because of the electioneering. In a single hour there might be twenty advertisements for Hilary Clinton whereby she decries Donald Trump and 10 advertisements for Donald Trump whereby he decries Hilary Clinton. Also, in my area here in Pennsylvania, there are two millionaires who are standing for the Senate (Pat Toomey and Katie Mc Ginty) and their advertisements are all over youtube clips as well. They seem to be arguing about abortions.

I don’t think any of these four candidates is worth a tinker’s cuss. They are merely hopeful and delusional faith healers to a nation that is truly broke.

I only watch the television to catch the advertisements for O.I.C. (Opiate Induced Constipation). Approximately 80 people are dying a day from opiate overdoses now. Pharmaceutical company painkillers far outweigh Heroin.

I read The Trentonian newspaper every day. Trenton is the capital city of New Jersey and it is about ten miles away.

The August 30th issue tells us that one Anton Williams was arrested when police noticed a razor blade nicely tucked behind his ear. In his pockets the police found crack cocaine. He was using the razor blade to cut up the crack for customers. I can see some fashion designer latching on to this before nightfall.

The September 4th issue tells us that Allen Howen, 47 years old and a man born without arms, was arrested for selling drugs within 500 yards of a park and 1000 yards from a school. His street name is ‘Flipper’ and when the cops got him he was also drinking a 24oz can of Bud Ice and he was as happy as happy can be.

The September 27 issue tells us that a senior policeman (Ed Leopardi) committed suicide whilst under investigation for taking a prostitute back to police headquarters, having anal sex with her and then wiping his dick clean on the curtains. It was in the dead of night and he was also wearing Raybans. The camera got him. I believe some cop sold the clip and it is on the internet right now.

I don’t think any amount of politics is going to fix this. You’d have better luck in Haiti.

Americans love to eat so as to ward off the bad feelings. America is a very syrupy nation (Russia is not). Americans love sentimentality. The other day in the supermarket I was behind a woman who had seven different types of potato chips in her cart. Then she had various chocolate concoctions, bagel chips, creamed donuts and seven different types of soda so as to keep the evil spirits at bay. Her son, who was about fourteen, was beside her. He was leaping up and down and eating a six pack of Kentucky Fried Chicken as we all waited.

I just guess everyone here is afraid as to what is going to happen next.

I love America because it’s all there right in front of us and it’s in technicolour.

I drive a Mustang right now, V8 of course. There is no point otherwise.

What I love about America is the freedom to be crazy and the freedom to express one’s own self. Lots of places in the world don’t allow this.img_2666

A Tinker’s Cuss – Jim Wilson’s Blog, 11/04/16

Jim Wilson’s Blog, 11 April 2016.

 

My dad never went to WW2. He was a tractor driver on a farm up the Pig Root in Otago and he was either excluded because we in New Zealand needed to keep the farms going or his broken lungs stopped him. My dad was an asthmatic and he gasped for breath his whole life through and more so when he felt lonely or misunderstood.

I remember being vaguely embarrassed about my dad not going to war when I was a kid in Dunedin in the 1950s.

My uncle went. He was with the 23rd Battalion. His records show that he went to Scotland in 1940 and then in early March 1941 he arrived in Egypt. Egypt was quite a curly place at the time and my uncle served 14 days field punishment in late April that year for drunkenness. I am quite proud of this because if there’s one thing you want to do when you are young it’s that you want to flare up with your mates.

My uncle came home in 1943 after being medically discharged and he could never put a sentence together again for his whole life. His discharge address was the Clarendon Hotel in McLaggan Street, Dunedin.  I’d say that’s mighty staunch.

My family moved into Dunedin from the country in around 1950, a year or two before I was born. My Uncle Les loaned my parents the money to put a deposit on a house in Russell Street. My uncle’s records show that he was given a gratuity of 144 pounds, 16 shillings and sixpence. I think this is how much El Alamein was worth. That’s a hell of a way to earn money.

My parents moved into town because by the early 1950s there were three kids at high school and this was getting expensive on a farm labourer’s wage. My mum cooked for the single men who worked on Shag Valley Station and that didn’t pay much either.

I was the late-comer to the family. I was born in Dunedin and I will always be born in Dunedin.

My closest sister was twelve years old when I was born and now she is dying.

I was ‘Sweet Baby James’ and my two oldest sisters who were 16 and 17 years old when I was born loved me to bits. My brother who was fourteen when I was born was the best mate I ever had. He showed me how to love people and he once stood up on a table at a pub in South Dunedin and lead the whole bar in ‘We Shall Overcome’. This was in about 1963 or 1964 and during the American ‘Civil Rights’ era.

When I was a kid, my mother would sometimes say that I was a ‘mistake’ and my father would sometimes say that I was ‘nobody’s bastard’. This was because they were unhappy. People are sometimes cruel to other people when they are unhappy. I’ve never seen a happy person be cruel to anyone else in my whole life.

My brother died in a tractor accident in a road gang out near Ravensbourne when I was fourteen. My two eldest sisters died of cancer within a month of each other in 1989. In 1990, I sweated out the methadone working on a farm about seventy miles out of Nashville, Tennessee. I cried every day for my sisters and I gradually got back on my feet.

My old man worked in the store at Fletcher Steel in Dunedin when I was a kid and every single day of his life he got up and went to work. We moved to Christchurch when I was fourteen and my dad was working for Stainless Castings by then and they took him north. There were a lot of flies in Christchurch and it was really hot.

I love my mum and my dad.

My Uncle Bertie owned a milk bar in Palmerston in Otago and my Uncle Jim clicked tickets on the trains for the New Zealand Railway Service. I am dead proud of my family and they could never do a single thing to set me against them, not then and not now.

Even though my parents always voted for the Labour Party I think my dad knew that no political party could ever save him from his own propensity for depression. My mother was a passionate, fiery, tempestuous and very mischievous woman and there are just not enough adjectives in this life to describe her. But she couldn’t be like this in front of my dad and so she learned to hold herself back in almost all her expressions. I know she loved me when I did bad stuff and she loved me more when I eventually got to jail. I enjoyed jail and I made some of the best mates of my life in there. I also created a lot of mischief. One day I saw a homemade Molotov Cocktail (model airplane glue, glass milk bottle, somebody’s shitty underpants stuck in the neck of the bottle, add fire) explode on a wall about three feet away from a screw’s head. Trust me, it’s amazing what you can get to enjoy if you try.

My sister who is dying now is probably the one who I loved the most. She didn’t like me when I came along because she was twelve and I got all the limelight. She gave me ‘War & Peace’ to read when I was six and she used to play piano in our lounge. When Dunedin got its first big mainframe computer sometime in the early 1960s she was working at the Dunedin City Council and she aced an intelligence test and got to work on it doing data input, I guess. She got her photo on the front page of the Otago Daily Times.

My dad never went to high school but he quoted Shakespeare all the time. He’d say, over and over, that the quality of mercy is not strained. I think he basically missed working on the farm by himself and to this day, I still feel like I’m a country boy myself. I love Nashville like you can’t believe. I miss Nashville and specifically the Nashville piano sound every single day of my life but I can never tell what I’m yearning for, whether it is Nashville itself or my mum and my dad or my brother or my sister who is currently dying.

Even though I’ve had a wild and tempestuous life myself I was always really just some kind of hippie. I think the difference was that I never really cut my hair. My mum used to tell me to stick to my guns and so I have. You can hurl a sidewinder missile at me but it’s really my choice as to whether or not I hate you back. Sometimes I think the internet was invented because people had a real need to spit at each other.

I put up posters against the Vietnam war in the 1970s and I am sometimes upset about this now because I have met a lot of American servicemen who were badly hurt in that war, but I’ve also been to Vietnam and I’ve seen the immense damage there as well. I think the damage is called ‘Capitalism’.

I also put up hundreds if not thousands of posters against the Springboks tour of NZ in the early 1980s. I once pasted up posters on the side of a bus in Cathedral Square in Christchurch with my great mate Harry Sparkle.

I am going to miss my sister. She’s a fiery one and I have always been attracted to women like that. You could never depend on my sister to say the right thing in any circumstance. She’d only ever really tell the truth. We are a thousand million miles apart and yet emotionally I can hear her heart beat. This is what has been getting me down lately. You see I want to go home to Russell Street and start the whole goddamn thing over again and have us all sing a Hank Williams song and for my dad to look at me and smile and for my sister to hit them keys Nashville style. I want my sister and my mum to calm down and I want a mother’s love strong and secure. That’s all a little boy needs to get through this man’s life.

But I’ve learned that life is a long hard song and most things are a long way easier than being in the front line at El Alamein.

It’s ANZAC Day on April 25th. Buy a poppy because… Well just because the quality of mercy is not strained. Whatever you are going through in your poor forsaken life someone else is going through worse or the same. The exact worse or the same.

Them Nashville cats, been playin’, since they’s babies.

 

Jim and Sister

 

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

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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