I painted my walls white today.

It was uninteresting.

I failed to get rid of the woodchip wallpaper, apparently the walls might fall apart if I do that, its a 300 year old house, the landlord would not be amused, so I painted them white. At least they are no longer dirty yellow in colour.

Whilst painting I thought.

I usually think that too much thought is bad for one, but today I did seem to come up with three good ideas. I know, 3 good ideas from me in one day is unlikely, probably why I have a headache now.

The second idea is that I can paint a picture of orchids and use it for my botanical illustration students and in a video animation for the Rude Mechanicals songs Orchid and Big Lies – which has the line “orchids grow best where seamen is spilt”, an old folk belief that orchids can only grow where animal seamen has been spilt.

The third idea was that my subconscious is sabotaging me. Its like that song by They Might be Giants, “Where your eyes don’t go a filthy scarecrow waves its broomstick arms
And does a parody of each unconscious thing you do”. Only mine isn’t just doing a parody of me, its deliberately preventing me from doing things. It looses the keys every time I need to leave my flat. It stops my ability to count every time money is mentioned. Every tiny glimpse of success it sabotages. On my graduation from Art School I sold all my rather grotesque 12ft oil paintings for vast amounts of money, a top gallery wanted to be kept informed about my work and I was given a year long residency. What did I do? Gave up painting and did live art instead. A couple of years later I was doing part time work as a model, I landed a job in a Sony ad which paid £4000 for one days work. My agency thought they were on to something and paid for me to train as an actor. What did I do? Had a brain haemorrhage that put me in hospital and took three years to recover from. Now once I would have said that I was not to blame for the haemorrhage, but now I wonder if it was actually self sabotage. Many other instances like this have happened, like sacking the drummer and violinist, which also meant the bassist quit, just as the band was beginning to get somewhere etc. So what I ask you now is – how do I stop self sabotaging? Do you get the same thing? And if so have you come up with any way of stopping it? Perhaps I should have part of me surgically removed? This isn’t so much an idea as a big question.

The first idea was to read Jeremy Henty’s poem Ugly Little Boy for the next Rude Mechanicals Naked Podcast. Jeremy was our drummer when the band started. Ugly Little Boy were the only lyrics he wrote for it (he liked to be known as Ugly Boy) but for some reason it wasn’t played that often although I thought it was very fitting somehow. Jeremy passed over to the next world two years ago. A friend of his got in touch with me recently which brought the lyrics back into my head. So i’ll be reading them as part of our next podcast.

Of course if I’d become a successful artist back in 1999 I would probably never joined the Rude Mechanicals, never met Jeremy, and not writing this blog now, and you wouldn’t be reading it.

A dastardly plot emerges, or is it breakfast?

3 thoughts on “Sabotage!”

  1. You have admiration and respect for chaos. Everything seems so ordered, structured by humans whose vision and aggression you very rarely share. Structure and order are thus enemies. We already knew all that. Old hat.
    A newer wig to the old hat… The second law of thermodynamics is about entropy: all structure will vanish, leaving the Universe in a homogenous state without crystals, molecules or form. Just as tourists, as they get older, increasingly choose soup. The second law of thermodynamics gives us the notion that time is linear: that time has a beginning and an end. This is the western civilisation model of time.
    The First law of thermodynamics, however, is the conservation of energy. It generally implies that chaos can slow down through gaining structure, and structure lost, by destruction or entropy, yields more energy. The First law gives the notion that time is circular (or at the very least, fractal). This is the model of time in most indigenous cultures: Aboriginal, native American, Sami, etc. Creation is cyclic.
    These two models of time, and two theories of thermodynamics, are contradictory. Is school physics we are expected to believe in time based on the second law, and yet we are also expected to believe both laws simultaneously. This is, of course, nonsense.
    It does have an advantage.
    If you resist, through destruction and “Sabotage!”, you can sit back and reflect that:
    Chaos is not absolute disorder. Chaos includes creation, crystallisation, models and shapes and forms – just as much as it includes their demise. The First Law agrees with this, as does experience. So it’s ok for there to be structure. Just because other people’s structures can seem awful, it does not mean that structure itself is to blame. Your structure and progress can be quite valid. Also, it will crumple and change anyway, without you having to sabotage it.
    “Random” is not what people think. The usual visualisation of “random” is that every particle is equidistant: there are no clumps of matter, no discernible forms at all. Mathematically, and in experience, that is nonsense. Part of “random” is that patterns exist, or can be perceived. So if you find yourself involved in something with form and structure to it, that does not mean it is a betrayal of “random” or chaos. It’s part of it.
    So let your life have form and shape. It’ll fuck up anyway, through time and chaos. Celebrate the shapes you are, or can be. Or at the very least, let them take a direction, and see where they go.
    Sometimes it’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s not about people. It’s about the idea, the concept, which you are manifesting. Loads of people simultaneously across the world are working on, or involved with, the same new thing or concept. It is becoming manifest, not because YOU are doing it, but because it is ITS time. So if you’re not always fond of your own work, there is still reason to be involved in letting the thoughts grow.
    A way to stop it is to rationally embrace reasons not to Sabotage.
    And accept that
    There is no compunction to sabotage
    There is nothing cosmically immoral in not having a shape, or in having a shape.

  2. Tricky. It’s hard not to make the decisions one needs to make. Sabotage is usually an unseen consequence. The best one can do is to gravitate towards and become soul mates with people who have inexplicable good fortune, and garner their opinion on all important matters

  3. Hi – ‘random’ can be quantified as ‘7’ – I once took part in a commission for Kellogg’s – the cornflake people – they wanted to establish how many individual shapes of flakes was necessary to establish ‘random’ – we found that 7 individual shapes would do it – so if you ever are bored enough to sort the shapes of flakes in a packet of cornflakes 7 is the number you will find – unless of course the packet has been very badly shaken or deliberately ‘sabotaged’.
    However and quite unrelated to such profoundly unimportant deliberation I miss you and am hoping the present viral plague will fade away so I can meet you for lunch in ‘the Arts’ one sunny(or rainy) day.

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