My friend, Producer Mark Ovenden, posted this about his ground breaking show ‘Loud and Proud’ on his Facebook page a while ago. I am honoured to have been chosen to front this show and thankful for having had the experience of working for Radio One.
Friday October 9th
All you fear is fear itself,
Check out your own backyard before you check out someone else.
Janet Damita Jo Jackson’s ‘Unbreakable’ has been soundtracking my days recently. I love everything about it – from design and styling to the lyrics and feel that we are practically twins under the skin, being fierce black women, earth signs AND firehorse babies (just like Halle Berry and Mike Tyson both of whom I am also obsessed with). Her lyrics resonate and echo my exact feelings about love, loss, fighting against the establishment, loving yourself and dancing like no one is watching.
She’d be an A1 neighbour: someone I’d invite out on a Coffee Patron bender with and enjoy making fun and sense of this world. I know we’d laugh long and hard at life and its ridiculous wardrobe malfunctions. Bumping back down to earth musically inspired, I write a glowing review for DMC World online.
The themes of ‘Unbreakable’ have set me thinking about my little universe. I’d recently worked at the WAKE UP festival : it’s like Atzaro’s Healing Ibiza but and it all takes place at Gala Night in Benimussa outside San An. If you embrace the alternative lifestyle, then this is as profound an ‘experience’ as you can get, mingling with and enjoying the talents and skills of some of the best (and the kookiest) spiritualists of every persuasion and discipline. It’s a full-on festival of music, rhythmic dancing, meditation, talks, chakra balancing, drumming circles, laughter therapy, smudging, yoga of every kind, tarot, crystal healing, reiki, hypnotherapy, gonging, doing whatever it takes to realign, balance and focus – to wake up the spirit and put us back on the spiritual path, rejuvenated and refreshed. I gave a talk on ‘Keep Talking’ which aimed to encourage better communications. It was truly beautiful maaan. But now the results feel as shortlived as the after effects of a lungful of poppers.
Why? Well, I am being haunted by The Myth. You know the one that says the island bounces you back to where you came from if it doesn’t like you. I keep telling myself that it’s just a myth, an urban legend, that it’s not true. I know that that sort of legend can only make relatively sound and reasonable people tough it out for the all the wrong reasons. But pride can be such a dangerous thing. Love too. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been swayed by all of the above during my time here. Then I chance upon this …
11 August · Edited ·
is reached through the doorway of grief and loss. Where we cannot go in our mind, our memory, or our body is where we cannot be straight with another, with the world, or with our self. The fear of loss, in one form or another, is the motivator behind all conscious and unconscious dishonesties: all of us are afraid of loss, in all its forms, all of us, at times, are haunted or overwhelmed by the possibility of a disappearance, and all of us therefore, are one short step away from dishonesty. Every human being dwells intimately close to a door of revelation they are afraid to pass through. Honesty lies in understanding our close and necessary relationship with not wanting to hear the truth.
The ability to speak the truth is as much the ability to describe what it is like to stand in trepidation at this door, as it is to actually go through it and become that beautifully honest spiritual warrior, equal to all circumstances, we would like to become. Honesty is not the revealing of some foundational truth that gives us power over life or another or even the self, but a robust incarnation into the unknown unfolding vulnerability of existence, where we acknowledge how powerless we feel, how little we actually know, how afraid we are of not knowing and how astonished we are by the generous measure of loss that is conferred upon even the most average life.
Honesty is grounded in … admitting exactly where we are powerless. Honesty is not found in revealing the truth, but in understanding how deeply afraid of it we are. To become honest is in effect to become fully and robustly incarnated into powerlessness. Honesty allows us to live with not knowing. We do not know the full story, we do not know where we are in the story; we do not know who is at fault or who will carry the blame in the end. Honesty is not a weapon to keep loss and heartbreak at bay, honesty is the outer diagnostic of our ability to come to ground in reality, the hardest attainable ground of all, the place where we actually dwell, the living, breathing frontier where there is no realistic choice between gain or loss.
‘HONESTY’ Excerpted From CONSOLATIONS:
The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning
of Everyday Words
© 2015 David Whyte and Many Rivers Press
So what if it’s not the island that bounces you back. What if real life out-trumps the legend?
My sister Elicia’s Whatsapp shatters the post-deadline calm. My Mum, Blanche, has been rushed to hospital with a heart attack. Her condition has been stabilised without surgery but the surgeons are concerned and keeping her in for tests and observation for the next week or so. Elicia has a 5am flight, the rest of my family are unavailable so can I take over the vigil. ‘Of course, no problem’ I say. No matter that Google Maps confirms that I am currently 2,360km away and unable to do anything more constructive than Whatsapp, Skype and phonecall my family, my friends and the hospital non stop and bounce like a ping test between them all.
I call the ward at 04.00 UTC then write an update to the FAMILY Whatsapp group. Mum is stable and settling into the ward. Tests will be done over the next few days and they are keeping her in for observation until the results are clear. Any phone calls for her are to be directed to the following ward number. I ask the family if we can organise a visiting rota – that sort of thing.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 10TH
I don’t sleep and am exhausted when day breaks. I have horrible flashbacks of me going to see my Dad, seven years before. In the flashback I am about to board my flight to Manchester at Charles De Gaulle having worked Friday night somewhere in deepest Southern France. I have flown back to Paris to fly back out at silly o’clock to see and comfort him, when my sister Audrey calls to tell me that I’m too late. My dad has just died. I hadn’t even boarded the flight. That sense of uselessness swung hard at me like a prize fighter then. And I can still feel the full force of the KO even now. Today my mum is seriously ill and somehow her situation has triggered a ‘red button’ scenario. Reality check. I have been happily living in Europe for thirteen years, have had the best time ever too but in all that time, the one thing I have consistently missed – and missed out on – is my family. Maybe it’s a good time to reconnect, to get to know my Mum and my family better? Is work and dj’ing and living a gloriously sun-drenched Ibiza life really so important to me that I would sacrifice my – and our – personal needs for it? Hold on. Who am I? And why am I still here when my family need me over there?
Without a suitable emotional (and sometimes moral) sat nav you can get terribly lost in the Land of Loss. But no more Ms Denial for me.
Shit gets more real by the day. I’m as guilty as the next smartphone addict for not memorising names or numbers and for relying on my phone for everything. It’s a sign of the milennial times that even my BFFs can’t recall my phone number without checking their phone or my Facebook. I need an anchor. I am a responsibility-free adult, cut adrift on this island where I have no significant other, I don’t have kids and I don’t even have a cat or a goldfish. Finding someone close and reliable enough to mind my spare house and car keys was a mission. And as for that time when I found myself choking on a Schtroumpf with no-one close by to Heimlich it out of my gullet, that took the fun out of Haribo for a while, I can tell you.
In ‘choking alone-single serving-no next of kin’ terms, there is absolutely nothing to keep me here. This house (ok penthouse apartment) hasn’t stopped whirling for long enough for me to make a soft landing in Oz. Still, my ruby slippers will always have magic.
The people in A1 block aren’t A1 neighbours at all. Their Neighbourhood Watch has consisted of them watching me and spying on my landlady through the twitching Judas. They never say hello and prefer heatedly shouting and complaining when I’m a) parking b) (un)loading luggage or shopping into / out of the lift c) opening my front door d) closing my front door e) breathing f) not even there to be guilty of any of the above. They make no secret of saying (in Spanish) that they think English people are ‘tonto’ and show my Loco Landlady little or no respect. Loco Landlady has flashes of lucidity (good day / sober / not ill) but most days she can’t find the keys to her own house let alone to this apartment. When I moved in she handed me forty identical looking keys on a fob then tootled off with a shrug. As for the possibility of her next of kinship, she has a horrendous track record with cars and insurance and as such is as useless to me or my family in a crisis as a little toe is in a very pointy shoe.
My friends Sophie and Lee have become the closest thing I have to family here: yet even they don’t know the names of or have the contact details for my immediate family. In fact, the closest to kin is my 90’s ex, Simon Bushell who knows my family by name and close friends well enough to find them should anything happen to me here. My squad? The people who have that information on lock live in London, Manchester, Paris and New York. This pulls focus. I’m done with this free falling and falling away of things. Where will you go when the party’s over? Ask me tomorrow – when I wake up.