I have always read biographies. Anyone from Hitler to Jesus. Who or what genre it makes no odds to me, no hero worship is involved. My favourites? Micheal Powell, Humphrey Jennings, Eartha Kit and the pinnacle: Mr Joe Strummer. Who fails to captivate? Richard Branson, not so sweet Sugar, Spice Girl and ‘what’s his name?’ I suspect the employed ghostwriters over-egg the omelette (or is that the cake?) when prostituting the keyboard for a few quid.
Rags to riches and riches to rags. Sober to drunk. Drunk to an alcoholic. Junkie funky and pincushion arms. Their physical and personal tragedies do not concern me, we all endure pain and discord within life. There is no sympathy for the millionaire who loses his loot and begs sympathy for his failing. Although, one celebrity suffered terrible injustice; losing a lifetime of success stolen by lies, police and press. His name Micheal Barrymore, once I watched him perform at a private function, genius, pure genius.
The biography is a way to discover how people succeed or fail. I assess success is eighty percent chance, ten percent meeting or knowing the right people and ten percent talent. The reader can shift the numbers however they like; this is my conclusion. The higher the tree is climbed, the more trunk and roots below. It is not possible to be successful without a massive infrastructure. Some may use Steve Jobs as an example of talent, innovation and genius. No doubt he had these in tipper truck loads. Fact is, he still needed a massive infrastructure around him and without it, Apple would be in the barrel rotting with other ideas. You’ll correctly comment: ‘Jobs was the fourth richest man on Earth’. I reply the only relevant word is ‘was’ he’s dead, and not worth a penny. I would also comment ‘His lifetime accumulation of wealth was due to Apple products (which I love) being overpriced.
We can build a three-dimensional image of the individual within our mind by making the biography holistic. Read the book, watch a few videos, research the subject on the internet. The ones who count in my mind are those who made a real sacrifice. Joe Strummer, diplomat son, public school education, disillusioned by the illusion of society, London squats, homemade speakers, stolen microphone, London’s Burning, rip off idiot manager (inevitable), died of a heart defect aged fifty: widows net worth one million pounds. Joe did not make sacrifices for his success. He knew what he wanted to do, the path to follow, and lived it. To my mind a poet, his lyrics pure genius.
My brother Simon loved the Punk scene, leather jacket, drainpipe Levis and safety pins. He dragged me to The Sandpiper Club in Nottingham one evening, on the stage he sang a few words with the lead singer of The Tourists – Annie Lennox. The walls ran with condensation the lager wasn’t watered down. Booze, drugs, music intoxication, the trio of freedom for those with no reason to life. This is the power of music and art, two words which evoke a sanctuary, short-term illusions of happiness.
There are not another sixty years ahead of me: Reflections are mostly haunting mindscapes. I now realise success follows a path of absolute dedication. It is the commitment which is the success, those who understand this have succeeded no matter what the outcome. This knowledge has to be a magic spell. Once this alchemic formula is known, no human fails, failure becomes nothing, all feelings of despondency caused by failing to achieve a goal become vapour.
My mind returns to The Sandpiper, the band, people, atmosphere, era. The memory of the night is insignificant; I only remember my brother and his friends, and him singing with Lennox. No, the significant reflection is of the thousands of people who have stood on a stage, learned an instrument, formed a band and come to nought. Those who pick up a camera, make a short video, draw pictures, write an article, their work comes to nought. And most become old, trapped in menial jobs, overworked, underpaid, in debt or dead. Many think their foray into the arts is to be seen as a failure.
How wrong they are, how flawed the thoughts of failure. I wish my camera had been with me forever. I wish I’d written another million words. I wish I played my guitar for forty, not ten years. I wish I’d told my father to keep his corrupt business acumen. And you may say ‘You cannot wish your life away’. I answer this way: To attempt to fulfil any objective satisfies the purpose. I say I wish because I know the two words indicate failure. I wish, means one did not try, made the same mistake, or did not listen to the truth spoken by the true self.
‘I wish’ is the evidence of apathy and fear.
Anything I do today is part of an objective to follow the ideas which flow from my inner self. In the tennis court of my environment, Lizzy fires the idea back into my space with fearful speed. We will never hear the words, game, set and match because there is no end to the possibilities available to our future. The seconds of life cannot be wasted; there is no room for embarrassment or fear of someone saying ‘no.’
One certainty is this: All those who stood on the stage, watched bailiffs take possessions, read the court papers written by parasites, ended up with nothing. They did not lose or fail. They succeeded, the second they followed a desire. They may not have made the most, listened to the right advice or sacrificed all to succeed.
They will never have to say ‘I wish’. Because to say: ‘I wish’, admits nothing was done, a difficult choice not made, a risk not taken.
‘I wish’ indicates failure.
To attempt something without success means we have lived.
Thousand Words – Twenty Five Minutes (not including WordPress and Image set up)