No wonder we’re tired!

Have you noticed? Do you detect the changes? Is it any wonder we’re stressed, depressed, hitting the bottle or driving like maniacs?

Social networking is the most recent ‘job’ for many of us. Before that came ‘Be your own insurance broker’ and before that ‘Be your own painter/decorator’. The increase in new jobs we have to do for ourselves makes us into frantic doer who’ve lost sight of everything except lists and alarms (I’m speaking for myself here…)

When I first had a car (and when I could afford to insure it) I’d go to my broker and get some figures. Probably by today’s standards they were quite high. But I didn’t sit for house – yes it is hours – trying to save £10 on annual insurance, hoping to offer a £50  voluntary excess of and checking whether it includes NCD protection.

The same for the house, potentially my supermarket shop, my entertainment packages, utilities, holidays,.. How cheap am I? How little do I value my own life here? (“Well not that much because I want everything half price.”)

Facebook,.. to me, it’s a way of making us pass the time in a focused out sort of way, not considering taxes, crime, corruption or anything else which is difficult to deal with. We can drown our human misery by watching ads and looking for people we know. I’m tempted to repeat back what I just wrote but will leave it hanging there for contemplation.

I’m not saying this is the worst it can get but it’s quite severe. The loss of our time is now something we take for granted. Yet it makes us furious without knowing why exactly.

We’re brutal to people around us, aggressive, isolated, and are beginning to forget how to interact. Comments I make to people here while queuing or doing work in the garden are met with blank silence. Maybe they think they’ll go home and write a post on their FB page and it’ll be OK.

We’re busy and I think technology has made us into exhausted, lost people who don’t really know what we’re supposed to be doing.

I’m not going to urge you to go outdoors or join a group or have an elderly neighbour over. I don’t know what to do myself.

All I know is my life is disappearing down the hole of virtual activity and searching out cheap deals. I’m selling my life at a low price. How long do I have to spend at my PC looking for that £10 off? It makes my hourly rate appalling.

I don’t know the answer because I know I’ll do it again in another two weeks when my car insurance expires. I’m weak and cheap. And a liar (my online profile says nothing to this effect); and a miser (I don’t do anything exciting with the money I’ve allegedly saved); and a hypocrite (I always complain about how expensive everything costs)…

But somehow (awfully) I’m comforted by the fact that most other citizens in the western world share these characteristics.

Developed world? Don’t make me laugh!


Without Reason: so big, they’re spilling out of the venue

A lead singer can make or break a rock band. They can look like they’re a solo act or be too weak to stand up to the other musicians. Without Reason fits together like a completed Rubik’s Cube.

This is a rock band for listeners who maybe don’t fit straight into the Rock fan mould. You can detect stylish funk and innovative rap inside their phenomenal sound.

For most the gig James on guitar is a steady element: there, guiding the sound, essential to the band’s feel but not making any big gestures musically. Wait til he takes the lead. Your head suddenly swivels round to focus on him and you’re swamped by his modestly executed, ringing, singing solo. All the skill of someone who’s learned his craft and wants to use it at well-chosen moments. Beautiful tones taking centre stage and you lose sight of the other three members who momentarily just support him steadily while he shines.

The rhythm section underpins the act with sure-footed power and force. Hear Ashley on bass, a chunky, generous feel to his style. Sometimes like an interesting conversation going on in the background which you want to listen to, other times like impatient fingers drumming as in their single (released early 2014) Weakest Defence driving the track on. His playing along with Luke on drums sticks the whole sound together with that rare skill of knowing when to stand back and when to step up and take the spotlight.

When Luke on drums takes the spotlight at the start of One Size you’re hit by a raw, primitive energy. Nothing else to focus on, just a drilling, penetrating rhythm like an awakening that hits you right under your ribcage.

His performance was steady and unwavering through the whole evening and in some tracks when he suddenly comes to the fore, you’re blinded by a giant talent.

You want to know how Louise the vocalist sizes up.

You can’t fail to be awed by her entirely fitting, wholly feminine influence. By feminine I mean assured, vulnerable, resilient, knowing and experienced. Her huge stage presence shows a unique way of communicating with the audience, almost one-to-one. Each and every one of us – men and women alike – was seduced by her power and masterful use of the stage.

Her voice has that husky, tempered tone and the occasional note held vibrato is worth waiting for: sensitive, alluring and tantalizingly short-lived. But she knows what she’s doing.

Shoot Pool where I saw them is one of the most basic, un-prettied up venues I’ve ever been to. Without Reason – with their grounded identity, their self-possessed aura and awareness of their ability – filled the room, wired themselves into the hard drive of the very mixed audience and I for one, expect them to be seen at ever bigger, more packed places.