That Falls Upon Us Soft As Snow…

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…is a quote from somewhere that seemed the ideal title for the taradiddle I intended to write today: a gentle whinge about the way that the accumulation of imperceptible parts can form an overriding whole that is apt to consume you. The perfect quote: all I had to do was attribute it. I had no idea from whence it came, so I read and I Googled and Lo! I found out that it is not a quote at all. As far as I can see, it has tumbled out of my very own head, and this knowledge, it will come as no surprise to you, has changed the whole nature of what I must now write.

I started by wondering why that particular phrase was in my head in the first place and, having found it there, why I automatically assumed that it had been written by somebody else, when I have a brain as adept as any other at throwing up such baloney.

I realise that it dribbled from my unconscious and coalesced into some kind of demi-axiom simply because it was vaguely relevant to what I had marshalled together inside my skull, in preparation for its transcription onto paper this evening. What I don’t know is what it was doing there in the first place. It is not profound, it is not clever, it is not even cute, yet I was convinced that it lay hidden inside my head because somebody else had said it first – and possibly in a context that did make it smart. That I can find no evidence of this kind of devalues it: like having a serviette doodle by Picasso bearing no signature other than Colonel Sanders; like knowing that the pithy epithet that you have cherished for so long is nothing more than some strange Pam Ayres/Val Doonican hybrid, formulated within your own head and trotted out betimes to looks of blank bemusement.

It is like the beloved song lyric that you discover you have been singing incorrectly for the last thirty years. Is the proper lyric ever as good as the one that you have lodged inside your head? Of course not. Is the song ever quite the same again once you’ve learned the truth? Unfortunately no. You will always slightly resent the obfuscation. You will always feel that the lyricist deliberately set out to deceive you.

And that perception sort of washed over all of my previous intentions, like a spilled carton of single cream in the fridge salad tray, and became all that I was left with. The soft detritus left by the step by step dissolution of what I believed I knew to be true overlaid by the dusting of what I now knew was not so – like snow renders everywhere featurelessly similar. Like truth that falls upon us soft as snow…

“The snow doesn’t give a soft white damn whom it touches.” ― E.E. Cummings

Don’t Believe a Word

Don't believe

I have a tendency, like all writers, to exaggerate. (See, I did it there.) I am hopeless – just not quite that hopeless. Everything I tell you is true – except the stuff to do with cats – but, as Spike Milligan said of his war memoirs, I might have jazzed it up a bit for comic effect. (If you are a regular reader and this is the first time that you have been made aware that this blog is not meant to be wholly ‘documentary’, please forgive me. The cheque is in the post.) I am exactly as I appear – except maybe not quite so much so.

I suppose what you get from me is a little like a caricature, perhaps the nose is a little larger, the eyes a little baggier, but the prat in the drawing is undeniably me. If you have been with me for a while and you feel like you know me, then you probably do (even if that puts you one up on me). Honestly, there isn’t that much to know. I do not exaggerate what I say, but I do exaggerate the way in which I say it. I might tell you that I am socially inept, when, in fact, I am probably better described as ‘awkward’. Not a total social misfit. Neither a physical nor a mental train-crash, just, I think, normal – albeit it a little odd at times. You see, I think that most people (with the notable exception of politicians) talk themselves down. I actually keep an odd blog ‘in hand’ in case I talk myself too far down sometimes and end up sounding like a total moron. When I say that I don’t understand, however, it is normally because I actually do not understand; when I sound exasperated, it is because I am. I hope that it is obvious when I am being ironic, but it is possible that I overestimate my writing skill. I’m not certain what I can do about that: to drop the irony would, on occasions, leave me mute. I could ‘signpost’ it somehow, but that would make me look like a smartarse (and how ironic that would be). What finds its way into this corner of the ether in the evening has generally bubbled up through my head in the course of the day. If it wasn’t for the japes it would be nothing more than a terminal whine.

Anyway, there is always more than one truth, isn’t there? History, they say, is written by the victors. I’m sure we’ve all been in the position where we have had to listen to two completely different, but genuinely-held versions of the same ‘truth’. You only have to speak to both sets of fans after a football match to know that seeing the same thing does not necessarily equate to seeing the same thing. Think of almost any current event covered by U.K./U.S/China/Russia media. Even with modern ‘proof’ the story differs. The police know that witnesses to any traumatic event will all have a slightly different story to tell, will have seen events unfolding in slightly different ways. Nobody is lying (except, perhaps, for the man with the stocking on his head) but there are a range of ‘truths’ to be told.

Bearing in mind that in addition to any number of honestly-held truths, there will probably be a similar number of downright lies, it is often up to you to decide where the truth lies. (Irony, paradox, oxymoron? You decide.) Generally, it will be somewhere close to your own perception of where the truth should be – which is why, with complete conviction, I can tell you (should you want to know) that at the time of writing (from the sun deck of my ocean-bound yacht) I am looking fit, bronzed, tall, dark and very, very handsome…

I never know how much of what I say is true.  Bette Midler

Don’t believe me if I tell you
Not a word of this is true…
‘Don’t Believe A Word’ – Thin Lizzy (P. Lynott)

P.S. I seriously think that ‘Don’t Believe A Word’ could be the greatest POP single ever: two minutes eighteen seconds, straight in, straight out, not a single note wasted.  If it is not the perfect pop record, I would like to know what is.  Let me know what you think…

P.P.S ‘This is my truth…’ is an album by Manic Street Preachers