Saturday, 24 January 2009

Goals, Green Day, Daisies and Dublin

Friend DH appears out of the blue on the Facebook radar, a small comeback sonar ping currently over Dublin. I choose the ping with a purpose as DH has always been a poet interested in language, audio, music and poetry. I realise I have created a possible acronym there by accident, LAMP. I hate acronyms, I once had to sit through a whole morning of SMART target setting, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-related. I did a little drifting off now and then and ended up with Supercilious, Managerial, Actuarial, Regimented, Tosh scribbled in my notebook. I think I was having one of my cynical days triggered probably by the speaker referring to all feelings as soft data and therefore not measurable and very unreliable for the purposes of accessing whether a target has been achieved.

Of course I am aware that such approaches do have their place if sensitively applied to the human condition. I suppose I even do a version of this when trying to think about personal goals but the word goal sounds so back of the net, success or failure I have a tendency to dribble around the pitch a little too much, look at the crowd, examine the daisies growing in midfield, wonder if the ref is going to blow for time up, worry about the other players on the pitch and brood over whether they need a goal to bolster their position in the team more than me. I am probably just too English, too polite, too much the person who queues in an orderly fashion to feel comfortable with the word winner. Even achiever feels rather a bolshy word sometimes.

To achieve, to realise, to attain is very good, it validates you as a human being everyone should have their fair share of achieving. The child who never experiences achieving something and never sees that achievement being recognised by others will always have to work that bit harder as an adult to find that validation but the big proviso is of course how you go about it. No-one has to be a loser even if someone is a winner but unfortunately some games we play seem to demand measurable outcomes. There is that cringe making moment I have seen when the plucky gallant losers are cheered for taking part, the speech about ‘it is the taking apart that is important not the winning’. As the member of a school netball team that lost every match we ever played and always got the wooden spoon at tournaments, trying to smile through the ‘it’s good just to take part’ speeches, I came to realise that taking part is only good if you feel you have some hope of winning in the future, taking part and losing all the time basically sucked. This may be why I spend so much time looking at the daisies on the pitch, I created my own version of winning that makes the just taking part speech convincing. I may, of course be indulging in making an art form out of excuses created for not achieving goals but I can live with that, I like daisies. Oh you think you do, says the inner winner who sounds remarkably like the PE Teacher who took over from our old one at school who used to be so consoling about our constant failure. The new PE Teacher had trials for new and better players, got us new netball skirts, ousted the fat, slow, dim and unfit and managed to win a tournament. We, the old guard, unchosen, slow and in threadbare netball skirts took to smoking in the small copse in the school grounds, sitting on damp fallen logs and exchanging stories of other areas of perceived failure; boys, parental expectations, unravelling the mysteries of tampon insertion if you went by the instructions in the box, getting into X rated films, auditions for the part of Juliet, Lady Macbeth, Joan of Arc in joint productions with the boys school and always being asked to help out with scenery or props, being secretly fond of the Beatles when the Rolling Stones were seen as so much more riskier and dangerous. I gained more from those times in the copse than I ever would have from winning at the Under Fourteen, County Netball Tournament. It is in retrospect one of those coming of age films but with lots of Embassy Fags and discussions about whether you could get piles if you sit on damp logs for long enough . As I think about it that song by Green Day keeps running through my head like a soundtrack, 'something unpredictable but in the end is right'. No need to speak to the therapist and the Life Coach about my angst about scoring goals now, much cheaper to write it through in a blog.

Here is Dublin friend DH's (who I would not dare place in any acronymed genre) interesting website full of poems, sound and visuals. I liked Flock state. He has quite a following I am told. It runs on Quicktime I believe so if nothing happens when you click on the link consider humble pardons proffered .

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