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.