Saturday, 5 January 2008

songs_of_love_and_pain.mp3

When I decided to post mixes on this blog, I intended to only post brand new ones, and not any that I'd made before. But then, as we are learning, on this blog, everything is permissible.

There's a reason I'm changing my mind. Maybe this will be an exception. The circumstances which lead to it are pretty unusual and include one event in particular I hope never to experience the like of again.

Here's the link to the file. It's about 97Mb, but should stream and download just fine. Nobody reported problems with the last one.

So why the change of heart? Why share with you a mix I made over a year ago, against my previous judgement of keeping things fresh?

Well, last night I was out, at Max, my brother-out-law's fortieth birthday party, at the Miners Arms, St Werburghs, Bristol. He and I have become pretty good friends over the years, we share a deep love for my sister, and various children, including their two and my daughter. Seems Max's thirties have been rather dominated by child rearing; their eldest turned 10 in September. I didn't really know him much before the kids turned up, but I imagine his twenties to be somewhat different to the last 10 years.

There were many folk at this party who I have known, some more than others, on and off, for over a decade, and they hail, on the whole, from the Bristol Free Party scene, and the Easton Temporary Autonomous Zone, where I lived for a few years. I've spent a good number of nights-turning-into-days dancing around fires, at festivals, in front of sound systems, in warehouses, abandoned buildings, pubs and a number of random venues with them.

There was one person, very dear to me, who was missing. He would've been more than welcome, and most of the people there were his friends, and held him in very high regard. But sadly, Joseph Jordan (Joe), my friend and brother in arms, chose to take his own life at the start of summer a couple of years ago. I don't think we'll ever really know why. Many aspects of his life appeared to be improving for him, after a very difficult few years. Of course he had things going on in his life, like most of us, that he would've changed if he could. But regrettably it seems that a dark cloud came over him that night, from which he could see no escape.

I still miss him greatly, and still find it hard to forgive him for leaving us all the way he did. It's events like the one last night, at which he would entertain, share the joy and love, and drown the sorrows that I miss him most. He was part of this gang, and although I spent time last night with many excellent folk who I feel privileged to count among my friends, he was special to me, and I'm sorry to everyone else who was there, but it was less of a party for me without him, though we raised our glasses several times and toasted his memory.

Our daughters were good friends and much the same age, I wish they remained closer then they are now, but they only get to see each other now comparatively rarely.

The last time I saw Joe we camped out, built a fire by a river here in Dartmoor, played guitar, tried to sing without embarrassment, told bad jokes, and talked about watching the girls grow up, and how much trouble they were going to cause us as teenagers. That last part at least won't change, it's just trouble I can't share with Joe now, which I hope to always regret.

Some of his artwork hangs in our home; he was greatly talented and drew fey creatures, dragons, and fantastical landscapes, almost as if he was showing us the world he wanted to live in. It's sad that great artistic talent is often accompanied by melancholy, but I suppose that's the way the muse sometimes likes to speak.

cover
detail from one of Joe's paintings.

This was a mix that I thought I made for him, posthumously, but of course I actually made it for me, and there are several parts of it which bring tears to my eyes. This weeping is part mourning, part reminiscing, and part celebration of the fabulous being that he was. The music touches on themes of love - shared, lost, and unrequited, and is very different, as promised, to the last one I posted. It's probably no coincidence that some of the artists included also lost their lives in unhappy circumstances, and were troubled along their own paths, Nick Drake and Elliot Smith in particular spring to mind. Many of the musicians on this mix are among my favourites, you probably wouldn't regret exploring their works further if you appreciate what you hear. The Drag City label gets quite an outing here too.

I'm sharing it in the hope that you it touches you in a way that reminds you of absent friends who you miss, and encourages you to keep the bond with those you love close, as we never know what the fates have lined up for us.

Before I give you the track-listing, I'd like to quote from one of Joe's favourite songs (real audio link) which I can still hear him singing in the echoes of my mind. It's written by a very talented and versatile musician, Neil Innes, and is probably very familiar to those of you of a certain age, though perhaps not with the pathos I attach to it within the context of this posting.

It's not much of a life when you're just a pretty face
Just to be whoever you are is no disgrace
Don't be scared if you don't fit in
Look who's in the reject bin!

It's the Raggy Dolls, Raggy Dolls
Dolls like you and me.
Raggy Dolls, Raggy Dolls,
Made imperfectly

Start

Artist

Track

Source

00:00Archer PrewittWay of the SunGerroa Songs
04:45Laura VeirsEther SingsCarbon Glacier
08:25Elliot SmithRoman CandleRoman Candle
11:52Sufjan StevensChicagoIllinois
17:39SmogRock Bottom RiserA River Ain't Too Much to Love
23:04Bonnie 'Prince' BillyAin't you WealthyMaster and Everyone
27:04M WardWere you there?Duet for Guitars #2
29:37The Tami ShowI Can't give you anything but loveGrind My Nails
31:58Gary HigginsIt didn't take too longRed Hash
35:44Devendra BenhartRejoicing in the HandsRejoicing In the Hands
37:20Judee SillCrayon AngelsJudee Sill
40:00Low and Spring Heel JackHands So SmallBombscare EP
43:50Cat PowerI Found a ReasonThe Covers Record
45:22Vic ChesnuttIn My Way YesSilver Lake
50:30Giant SandBottom Line ManChore of Enchantment
55:05LambchopCaterpillarIs a Woman
61:17Edith FrostTender KissTelescopic
64:45Nick DrakeNorthen SkyBryter Later

5 comments:

Lizzie said...

Thanks for that Tim, if it is any consolation I know that everyone who was present there who share missing Joe with you, were missing him extra, so in a way we got him there.

Lizzie

sophiesunshine said...

Thank you Tim, I was talking about Joe to a friend just yesterday and telling her how much I missed him too. So thanks for bringing his memory again, I wish I ahd been there with you last night celebrating max's 40th, miss you all a lot and feel much too far away sometimes. I am coming for 10 days in Feb half tem, hope we can all catch up.
Big love to you all and to our Joe
Sophiexxxxxxx

Kati said...

So beautifully said Tim,
That gaping hole that is not Joe....
I was not at Max's 40th but I can picture Joe there with you all. His big open grin, his dry sense of humour, his builders bum (which Maia has adopted beautifully), his love of fun and dear friends and him scheming with you and Max over a bevvi or two or more...
I guesse this is a perfect place to say that my Mum has put together a site for family and friends to look at pics of Joe, his work and Maia and to share memories. Mainly to help Maia remember, but of course for us all too.
www.earthpeace.co.uk/joemem
'Hold on to me while I cry'
Kati XXX

Janna said...

Thankyou from me as well Tim. That's a really beautiful mix and has made me feel very melancholy in a good way.
It's true that there will always be "A Joe shaped hole" in so many lives, and it is really good to stop and remember him with you lovely people. Also to remember as you wisely pointed out to never take our lives and our friends for granted. Big love,
Janna

Gill said...

Tim, you are so eloquent!
I have only just felt brave enough to listen to your mix - am now, and it is beautiful.
How much we miss Joe when in our party places - he was always there.
I'm not sure what I'm listening to now ("I wanna hurt him, I wanna give him pain") but the emotion is raw - that brings Joe to me too. But he's here is so many ways. I have a wine bottle stopper - it's a young elephant sitting on its haunches with rearing trunk. Every time I use it I hear Joe saying "Oh! That's beautiful!" I like that I have it and that it reminds.
If you, or any one, wants to write of memories or thoughts on the gallery page I set up for Maia - it would be great. She won't be so interested in looking now, but I think in the future it could mean a lot to her to see what a man he was/is to so many people.
(I have an unfortunate habit of putting capitals in my urls, so Kati's link won't have worked ): it's www.earthpeace.co.uk/JoeMembr/>I've attempted to keep it private, so it does need you to register to get in. If you've any new pictures to upload that'd be nice too ... maybe I should take a picture of my bottle stop ...
Love to you
Gill

Tim Stevens

Tim Stevens
Work
Consume
Obey
Be Silent
Die