‘They liked your song called ‘African Son Rise’ but they laughed when I played them ‘Been Down’’
‘What dya mean they laughed at it?’ I said.
I felt a momentary twinge. Felt weak, stupid, naive. Music did that to me. I righted myself quickly, but a mild tang remained. My mum was staying with a family in Africa, currently Rwanda, where she was helping victims of atrocities. I was living on a beach in Sydney. I guess just trying to help myself. There was a relative life-equation involved here; could a middle-class white boy from England have had it tough? It was exactly this kind of thing that gave me the urge to try to justify myself. This…This…guilt maybe. It is what had finally brought England to its knees. Lost its white identity. The guts gnawed at from the inside out. No, I hadn’t been gang raped, and I hadn’t had to take a machete to my sister. Hell, at least one of those was true.
What was a guy to do to get some respect, I wondered.
Though it was true I was in green pastures today, at least for now. It didn’t stop the fear though, nor the madness. Funny thing that. The stealth killers of Westerners. The mind had a way of torturing the soul when not occupied with matters of survival. 2000 years of civilsation proved it; if man was ever to really find a state of peace, all hell would break loose. He couldn’t handle it. He’d get bored and end up going insane or murdering his neighbour. Vice , pressure, hardships, poverty, suffering. These things we struggled daily to escape seemed, at the same time, to be the very things we needed in order to be qualified to live. If things got too good, too easy, there was some universal law that would address the balance by throwing in a curveball. Look at Aids, Cancer, obesity, peacetime murder and suicide rates, depression, drug addiction, even in some inverted way terrorism too. I read someplace that more people died in England in 2006 from suicide than from the Iraq war. How many miserable looking people lived in the West, how many people disatisfied with their life? You just had to look at the mounting massive public debt as people tried to satisfy the hole left by curing the daily struggle to survive. 100,000 units for a mortage? You were basically paying 100,000 units just for a feeling. Surely that defined insanity. And the closer you got to curing all ills, the meaner those stealth killers became. People just started to kill themselves. Maybe it had to be that way. All things must find balance. The universe demanded it. But, god damn it, ‘Been down’ was a good song.
‘Well, glad someone enjoyed it’ I relented, finding my sense of balance again. At least someone had listened to it, I figured.
There was a pause during which I realized how much I loved my mum. I could never live up to her amazing selflessness and ability to give. It just wasn’t in me the same.
‘When are you heading back, mum?’
‘I’ll be back around Xmas time, back home to L.A. I have Nairobi first then South Africa for a while to visit friends.’
‘Look after yourself out there, wont you’
I knew she would be ok. They still had respect for the Matriarch in Africa. As mean and cruel a continent as it was, I always felt she had a better chance surviving there than on the streets of L.A.