Thursday, 17 January 2013

Spring Cleaning

       Happy New Year and that.

       Apologies for the lack of recent updates - I’ve been away for few days – a combination of laziness and being busy with doing some spring-cleaning.

        Here are some ramblings I started writing during that time that I thought I would share. Normal service will resume shortly afterwards…

Spring Cleaning
       I don't get to go home that much so my room here is pretty much how I’ve left it since when I was a teenager, the last major clean up I did being about ten years ago.
       There are even remnants of before that time – games and toys tucked away in draws, stacks of collectible cards and stickers kept together with rubber bands that have long since perished, posters from FHM magazine dated 1998… the list goes on.

       I felt like doing a proper sort through of absolutely everything in the room, top to bottom, going over every single nook and cranny, getting rid of everything I didn't actually need or that didn't hold an overwhelming degree of sentimental value. As a general hoarder of things it was amazing how much junk I had accumulated over the years. Never being one to throw anything away, I always maintained the sense that any object, no matter how random, would find a use some day, in some way.
       But recently I have refocused on what is really of importance in my life and where the real value in things lie - to prioritise that which is enriching in some way and what’s just clutter. I have too many CDs that I would probably never listen to again, too many videogames that I would never even have the time or patience to play. The walls were once covered almost every square inch in flyers for clubbing events from back in the day. The ones that had fallen off I had never bothered to replace, leaving a patchwork of ancient promotional material. In the end, they all had to go. I needed the walls to be bare and white again.

       You know what doesn't last ten years? Rubber bands (as I mentioned earlier, they dry out and disintegrate), sellotape (it stiffens, goes brown and falls off the paper), and white tac… that stuff just becomes a gross sticky, bitty mess that's a pain to get off the walls. I literally spent hours having to scrub it off the wall with tissue paper – sometime even taking bits of the wallpaper with it.
       There were also an ungodly amount of thumb tacks removed – so many that they couldn’t all fit back in the box that they supposedly came from. Again, some of them were a pain to remove– a few of them even coming from posters affixed to the ceiling, only accessible by precariously balancing on chairs and tables.
       The only posters that I did keep up were a few on the slanted portion of the roof, among them the crab from The Prodigy’s Fat of the Land album, Mulder and Scully standing side by side, the first Batman film and the iconic poster for Jaws - depicted rising from the depths to consume a nubile young swimmer.

       I also have a lot of boxes. Boxes filled with stuff from school and the early days of uni – mostly photos and letters – both of which have largely become extinct in this day and age where emails, texts, Facebook and digital photos prevail. Although you probably still have those saved somewhere on a hard drive or an online account, digital files lack that uniquely personal touch and don't have quite as strong emotions attached to them. Reading an old email although nostalgic, also seems second hand - a cold, mechanical copy of what somebody else created - whereas with a letter you know that that person once held the paper that you hold now, they moved the pen that scribbled those words, all the spelling mistakes, crossing outs, handwriting tics and little doodles informing you of something more of their character than an email or Facebook message ever could.
       It's the same with the photos in the photo albums, nearly all of mine having been taken with a disposable camera. There’s no editing, photoshopping or cropping – just a perfect snapshot of the moment, with all of its beautiful honest imperfections – each one a small miracle that it turned out well - as often you had no idea if you got a good shot or not, a mystery that slumbered whilst you waited patiently for the film roll to finish so that you could go to a camera shop somewhere to have them developed.

       All these I would keep – memories feeling at once both distant but strangely also like it was only yesterday – a bittersweet reminder of the frighteningly fleeting nature of our own mortality. Some of these people are now married, some have kids, some I have never heard from again, and some are tragically no longer with us. Some I still speak to, but most I do not. My life has changed drastically since those times, but still I feel guilty that I have neglected keeping in contact with certain people – ironic that whilst technology has increasingly made it easier to do so it has also become so much easier to be non-committal about it all and gradually sink into malaise.
       Or perhaps I’m just scared that seeking them out now in an attempt to reconnect in some way will only lead to disappointment: disinterest or simply indifference either on my part or theirs - a jarring disparity with the memory of that person and the love and camaraderie that we once held as evidenced in these many letters and photographs. Something that I wouldn't want to tarnish with an oh-so-casual Facebook friend request or message.

       If money and time were no object I would travel the world and seek out every person that had had a positive impact on my life. Meet them face to face, on their terms, in their environment. Just to see where they were, what they were doing and how much they have changed. To smile, shake their hand and say thank you.
       But unfortunately I am currently poor and pressed for time. Yeah, it sucks. May have to put that one on the back burner for a while.

       Anyway, back to the spring cleaning…

Early Jan 2013

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