17/06/2010

Interview with a Wild Man – Jim Beattie of Primal Scream


Oh yeah. I am SO good to you baby.

Here for your curious pleasure, your whimsical attention, your inner wild liberation is Primal Scream legend, songwriter, musician and all-round wild man, Jim Beattie interviewed in a hazardous fashion by me.

If you can bear the excruciating first couple of minutes of me faffing around with the camera and sounding like a donkey’s ass while Jim demonstrates great patience you may feel wildly empowered after watching the whole thing. (I chose not to cut those minutes, or any of the other bits I could have cut. I am weird that way. I like it real, raw and slow y’know.)

Jim talks with dangerous candor about music, being in a successful punk rock band, writing songs, self-expression, music, creativity, seeing naked breasts for the first time, (at a David Bowie / Ziggy Stardust gig) individuality, Future Shock, fashion, making axes from tin cans as a child, music, karma, how he uses gardening to “lose himself”,  fear factors, the Sex Pistols, mindfulness, music, why people should read more, cooking, de-cluttering, being in the now, how to find your inner wild man, google Earth, architecture, music, making furniture instead of buying it, how we’re all voyeurs, woodworking, psychos, his wild take on life’s purpose, music, going hill-walking so he can “breathe” and yes, even religion and politics.

Meanwhile, I inappropriately disclose childhood abuse I experienced, talk and laugh too much.

Anyway, after the serious ride of being a famous punk rocker and songwriter, Jim has now chosen to be of service to young musos, artists and other creative people by actively supporting and helping them to set up in business through Glasgow-based Ico Ico.

I wanted to interview Jim not just because he is a legendary punk rocker and I was a punk but also because he is one of the kindest, funniest and hard-man grandest people I’ve met. I wanted to get some insights from him that might help other creative wild types live a bigger life.

Wanna hear some of Jim’s tunes? Check out his Primal Scream favorites:

Velocity Girl

Gentle Tuesday

both written by Jim.

For more Primal Scream check out current line-up website, some other Primal Scream website, fab unofficial Primal Scream website, Primal Scream photos, history and songs on last.fm and NME’s Primal Scream news, pics, lyrics, photos, best songs, discography, concerts, gossip and tour dates.

Footnotes:

I have interviewed hundreds of people in person, on the phone, via email. You would have NO idea of my interviewing skills watching this video interview!

Video interviewing is a whole other kind of other thing entirely! I am a video interview virgin so be gentle with me.

If you are disappointed not to see me on film – so am I! I had a great outfit on, and lipstick, but forgot to film myself. *sigh* In my next interview I might sit side by side. Oh God, just the idea of that makes me feel a little faint…

The blog I mentioned at one point when we were talking about simple bliss whose name escaped me at the time 1000 Awesome Things – amazing!

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09/06/2010

Slow, slow, quick-quick, slow

Slow, slow, quick-quick, slow. Oh, the rhythm of the tango.

If we dance through life then the tango is my dance. What’s yours? Waltz? Foxtrot? Tango? Maybe a bit of line dancing – why not?

Even while I’m a person who’s happy to go from sound asleep for 10 hours to massive, intense, multi-tasking action to ‘make up’ for my love of sleep, I’m feeling a pull towards a slow waltz. Yes, I think I’m gonna take the slow road, even while as the picture above shows, that’s a topsy-turvy, new perspective for me.

I don’t think I’m alone in noticing a deep, quiet yearning for a slower pace.

So I’m now evaluating how I dance through life on an every day level. One step at a time.

Time. Well let’s forget about that. Let’s consider for a moment perception. Perception of how we move in the world. Do you rush? Do you walk slowly?

A lot of the pace we find ourselves setting is not just about the tasks we set ourselves each day but also, quite simply, where we live.

City dwellers always move and talk faster as a general rule than those living in rural areas. Living in the city and attempting to slow down requires a conscious swimming against the tide of, (sometimes pretty frenetic) energy that surges around you every day.

While in the countryside, surrounded by powerful manifestations of natural cycles through plants and animals, the seasons and an overall sense of a ‘slower’ pace, the full force of Mother Nature is setting your internal pedometer and mental acuity without you even realizing it. You are HUMAN after all.

So now I am noticing these differences. I’ve become aware. I’m aiming for slow-slow-slow-slow-slow —s-l-o-w and will be happy with a little quick-quick in there now and again, of course.

Even in nature a slow-grazing rabbit must be ready to run fast, a lazing, energy-saving lion to dash for a gazelle, a feather light seed to move quickly in the wind, a snail to tuck itself into its shell.

Snails. We love snails here. Having had a dry spell there have not been many about. But during lovely, saturating rain yesterday we had a snail encounter that illustrates several of the points I think I am making today.

Our bus broke down. Us passengers were off-loaded. Some were grumpy. I just don’t see the point of grumpiness about things like this. We were standing on the pavement about to walk when I realized a woman was calling a taxi.

Ever the friendly opportunist, (I’ve always lived with dogs and cats) I asked if we could split the cab with her? She was very sweet and happy to tell me in her Irish accent that it was a free ride on her employer’s account. Lovely!

As we waited in the drizzly rain my daughter excitedly drew my attention to what she had been studying – three gigantic snails in full slither all over the top of a garden wall in amongst lush green shrub.

Wow! They were beautiful. We stared and stared. They were moving pretty quick in the rain, in their natural element, out in the morning, happy and getting to it after being in their shells so long. My daughter wanted to give them something to eat.

I had a few big crumbs of bread in my bag (yes, I know that is a bit weird, but I AM a fairy story character, OK?) so my girl put the crumbs in front of one of the giant snails and he/she slithered at it and ate it while we watched, enchanted.

I am telling you this, possibly tedious, (slow?) story to illustrate how magical experiences have the space to happen in those slow moments when we are forced to wait, to look around and wonder. (Remember “the waiting place” in Dr Suess’s “Oh, The Places You’ll Go“?)

While some people might say it was a nuisance to have your bus (or car) break down with a different perspective it can be a gift out-of-time, a valid excuse to not just embrace but fully indulge the slow. Even witnessing, as we did, one of the natural leaders of the slow movement – and pretty mascot of the Slow Food US / Slow Food UK – the snail.

I am loving the Slow Movement, Slow Food (follow it slowly, of course, on Twitter) and slow everything else even while I am still catching myself doing a bit of quick-quick quite often. But then snails slip into their shells very quick-quick.

So maybe snails understand the rhythm of the tango just as much as me but prefer a slow waltz generally. I guess they keep their schedules pretty open: find food, eat it, evade death, appreciate your amazing hermaphrodite-ness, enjoy slithering and making out with other snails.

There’s a lot of good stuff to learn here. I am going to stop setting myself a ridiculous number of things to do each day. I am liking this idea of taking the slow road and making a slow, mindful, energy-saving and aware mindset my default position.

You gonna make like a snail or are you enamored of the cheetah? Unlike most animals in the wild, we have a free choice (if we allow ourselves to live wild that is).

Footnote: I must add that I’ve actively practised s-l-o-w while writing this post, by putting back the delivery time on your email subscription instead of rushing to make it by 11am AND forcing myself to not check the 26 emails which arrived tantalizingly in my inbox while I was writing it. This was NOT EASY for me! But change never is, is it? Also, thanks to Bindu Wiles for her wonderful 21.5.800 project which has supported me in staying focused and centered today. What a gal is Bindu – check her out.

PS Lovely Jackie Stewart of Flowerspirit has a wonderful post about the healing effects provided by a particular flower essence on this very issue. This flower helps us, as Jackie says, ‘slow down and be present’, can you guess it’s name? I love flower essences.

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26/04/2010

Are you saving time? Shame on you

Check this out. Yesterday I saved 6 minutes while gardening, 3 minutes making breakfast, a whole 20 minutes reading the paper, 7 minutes taking a shower, 9 minutes walking the dog, (by not stopping to talk to a neighbour), 1 minute vacuuming and 14 minutes checking emails (by just deleting them all unread, what the hell – time is money isn’t it?).

Today I counted up all the minutes I saved yesterday – 60 minutes! An hour! Now I’m using this time I saved yesterday to write to you today.

I’m being facetious of course. That’s not how time works is it?

I know you’ve been told, (repeatedly) ‘time is money‘. Think about it. Time is NOT money!

Time and money are two completely different things! You don’t actually save minutes like coins, do you? What is the point of “saving time”? And yet how often have you been persuaded to buy a product or service because it “saves time”?

I’m guessing – (and since I’ve written hundreds of ads with ‘saves time’ (or worse, ‘saves time AND money‘ as the number one product or service benefit, it’s an educated guess) – very often.

I do not know why we have all bought-in to this “save time” and “time is money” rubbish. Are we just easily-led? Is it a direct result of the late 1980’s financial cavalcade?

Or maybe we just thought we needed some kind of vaguely rational-sounding idea like, “it’ll save my time, my time being so very valuable n’all so I must buy it” instead of simply admitting you want it because it looks lovely, will be fun to play with, makes you feel good or any other less logical but much more truthful reason.

Nothing saves you time. No one can save time. Not even you. As Robert Burns put it 200 years ago in his Tam O’Shanter poem

“Nae man can tether Time nor Tide

the hour approaches Tam maun ride”

So no, you can’t stop the tide turning, or time passing and you sure can’t put time in a piggy bank for later or ‘save’ it for application elsewhere.

You choose what you do when. You. You don’t save time. You choose what you’ll do and when you’ll do it.

The other myth perpetrated by marketers is the idea that everyone is “time-poor”. No-one has any time any more. Argh! What are they talking about?!

Imagine suggesting this idea to a farmer in Papua New Guinea or a forester in Sweden or a Masai warrior in Africa or anyone working close to the land: “Excuse me, I know you are time-poor so would you like this tool to save time?”

While they might, being human, take the tool, they would think you were insane. Poor of time? Time is time. No more time, no less time. Day, night, season, cycle of seasons. It’s just time.

This time-poor idiocy works for marketers because it escalates the whole frantic, running-around-thinking-you’ve-no-time-at-all hysteria, oh dear! oh dear! like the White Rabbit which then has you ping-ponging straight into the arms of the first marketer saying he or she’ll SAVE YOU TIME!

Plus, I think the present theory of being “more productive” with your time and all this buzz around “productivity” is just a new spin on the same old save-time crap.

Well, screw ‘productivity’ and ‘saving time’. I wanna live, damn it, and I do not want to be counting the minutes while I do it, (which is why I’ve never worn a watch even when traveling 14,ooo miles on various modes of transport).

How about considering this kind of scenario instead – allocate an hour for something you really enjoy. Say from 3-4pm on Saturday you’re going to do a bit of knitting, dig the garden, draw a picture, make a scrapbook, watch birds, build a matchstick house, repair a machine in your house, clean your tools, read a book, sit in a café, whatever – and in fact the more banal the better.

I am amazed at how long, languid and lovely an hour can be when you have set it aside for something in particular. We spent an hour, as instructed, counting our garden birds for the RSPB’s annual bird count. Yes, I know that sounds incredibly boring and I must admit I wasn’t really looking forward to it and suspected I might resort to counting the minutes instead. However, it felt like that pot of gold at the end of the time-rainbow: floating, stolen time.

All we were ‘allowed’ to do during this one hour period, apart from talking, making notes, doing something together and ‘being’ together was watch and count which birds visited our bird feeder – and not miss any. That’s all.

It was beautiful, stolen time. It was mindful time. Weirdly, one of the best hours we ever, em, ‘spent’. And we didn’t even have to save up that time before spending it! We just spent it. See, time is not money. It’s free and it’s all yours.

Image borrowed from Rocio Montoya

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