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Thursday, June 25, 2009

In the Midst of Life we are in Death

Not the jolliest statement to start a KMSA Blog....but having just lost the fourth good friend , in a month to cancer, I, to put one of my humorous spins on it, am beginning to feel like the nerd in the line who isn't being picked for the rugby team, as they all go off to answer the Last Big Question.

This particular friend was Steven Wells, who became well known in the UK. in the nineties, as one of the influential Gonzo Journalists / music writers on the New Musical Express, and along with that other Swindon , near Oxford born writer Everett True, was an acerbic influence on my writing life and all things Rock related.

In later life he took the leap and went to the States and wrote a column for the Philadelphia Weekly, and it was there on 23 rd June 2009, he left us to it...

So to crave the KMSA's indulgence, I have put in below the last column he wrote for the PW on 14th of June 2009... and doff my visor to a fellow Scholar Gypsy, and know that eating a Cheese steak on South St Philly without him...won't be quite the same again.

Why is it that the people with the most profound stuff to say are also those who are the least capable of being able to express that profundity?

I am talking about us. The mutoids. The abyss starers. The already organ-bagged cancer boys. While we are in some mere state of deterioration, our ability to comment is still possible. It might even be occasionally interesting. Certainly every writer who has ever contracted cancer has thought so. We can make cancer jokes. Existentialist jokes, even. The world is ours!

But then as one nudges closer to the edge, in the eye of the tiger storm (Tiger Storm, quite possibly the worst line and the best band name ever written), one is more inclined to shit oneself (literally and figuratively) than to throw shit at the system. Which is wrong and weak and lazy but kind of understandable. As is my wife’s fury this morning upon her discovery that a pair of pre-adolescent oiks destroyed a 95 percent-completed jigsaw puzzle (of cats) in the family waiting room. Even as her own dear husband was having his savagely jigsawed abdomen dressed in a hospital room but two doors away.

But life isn’t that banal or that stupid. Life isn’t about grit and grime and squalor. Life is getting angry at destroyed cat jigsaws. Life is the amazement at seeing the Vanity Fair title erupt as a scarlet mohawk-cum-quiff across a dainty Johnny Depp’s forehead, and the drooling anticipation of watching a Brian McManus-recommended terror-comedy on my computer later tonight. And of course the sight of tireless, tie-less and tire-burning liberal rioters taking to the streets of Tehran.

I speak as someone whose greatest craving at this exact moment is not world peace and universal democracy or a rational and global redistribution of wealth, but a can of ice cold ginger ale.

And of course all this bollocks is written by an idiot who has polished his image as an existentialist, atheist hard-man and anti-mope, forever sneering at the tribes who wallow in self-pity -- the gothers, the emo kids, the Smiths fans -- the whole 900-block-wide marching band composed entirely of the white male urban middle classes who are convinced that (as the most affluent and pampered human beings who have ever walked the planet) theirs is a story worth hearing. Blissfully unaware that they are but a few generations away from regular visits to the doctor who would wind parasitic worms from their beer bloated assholes using sticks. (Check out the AMA logos, those smiling beasts are not snakes.)

You could blame this fallacy on poor education, cultural deterioration, or simple moral decline.

Me? I blame it on sunshine. I blame it on the moonlight. I blame it on the boogie.

RIP Steven Wells ( aka Swells, Susan Williams )

Sir Dayvd of Oxfordshire...who by the time this is posted , at the weekend will have left the 21st Cent, and anything with a plug, a charger, and electricity far behind... and will be taking himself and just his Soul to the Healing Field at Glastonbury, before getting his mind blown watching Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Blur and Crosby Stills and Nash .. ( one more day to work wooohoo )


  1. Yea, I can't go to a specific pizza place in town without getting a plate-load of mushrooms at the salad bar in honor of Bill (not cancer, but killed in a car accident when we're in college).

    And you're right, it's never the same.

    "I speak as someone whose greatest craving at this exact moment is not world peace and universal democracy or a rational and global redistribution of wealth, but a can of ice cold ginger ale."

    Great line. I hope Swells is now enjoying the best ginger ale of his life (afterlife).

  2. One part of growing older is losing friends and family... Some at young ages...and we have DQ Blizzards "along with Brandon" just as we used to...

    In this my 50th year I have learned that the ones we love the most are most often the ones we lose.

    However, there are so very many more out there who come into our lives for some cosmic purpose...and LIFE goes on...

    All the more reason to not waste the moments on stuff or times or people who don't bring happiness and peace and pleasure
    to our world.

    Lady Suzanne,
    remembering to savor every moment and to greet each day with a smile on my face and hope in my heart

    I kept the CarpeDiem license plate from my PT Cruiser which has gone on to its new home - reminder to Seize the Day!

  3. I feel like a complete ass thinking I was too busy to read this blog two days ago. What a lesson! Besides sharing my surname, Steven seemed like a kind of friend you can't seem to live without. What an earthy autobiographical eulogy!

    I lost my mother and father to cancer, but I have never lost a truly close friend yet. Of course, I can only count those on one hand at the moment.

    I agree with Lady S, others are put in our path for reasons yet to be known, a quest we soon will indulge in across the pond next week!

    Having come close 4 times now to joining the "Cosmic Ginger Ale Club", it seems that I have not been deemed worthy of the Last Question yet. I look forward to sharing the answer with Steven Wells on that appointed day.

    In honor of your esteemed friend, I bestow an honorary title of Knight of the Moleskine, Spirit and Ale upon Sir Swells of Philly!

    Sir Hook Who Use to Be Afraid of Dying and Living, But Now Is Not Afraid of Either of Warrick