Melancholy and chicken kebabs

Melancholy. What a word. I was discussing its beauty with Judith, a lurker on this blog, this morning. So beautifully… poised, it whispers sweetly of the warm darkness you find deep within a slough of despond. I have recently discovered some new melancholy music (it’s new to me, folks, ok?) in Quasi and Ray LaMontagne. The latter’s album ‘Till the sun turns black’, as if that wasn’t mournful genius enough by itself, includes songs with lines such as:

“I never learned to count my blessings
I choose instead to dwell in my disasters”

Gorgeous. Then there’s Quasi.

“Life is full life is grey:
At its best it’s just OK.
But I’m happy to report
Life is also short.”

Came across Quasi on Cully’s iPod. Cully is a maverick musician/artist who works as an arts staff worker for UCCF. Cully’s iPod is an unplumbed depth of exotic-sounding bands like the Violent Femmes. Exotic, and unheard of, to a boy with a sheltered Church of Ireland upbringing. Anyway, Cully does a good line in quirky songs himself, and played a great set at a gig a few Wednesdays ago. The gig was held in order to raise funds for UCCF’s CU Leaders Training weekend (CULT, as we like to call it) which took place last weekend. I was doing sound at both the fundraising gig and the weekend itself, which is how I came to be in charge of Cully’s iPod. So now you know.

After that gig, I dropped sound kit off at various locations, including my church (where I set the alarm off at about 11.45pm – apologies to any local residents who may be reading), and then stopped off for a chicken kebab, having gone to the gig straight from work and therefore being reasonably peckish at this point. On exiting the kebab emporium at about 12.15am, I weighed up my options. The thing about kebabs is, they leave a bit of a pong (on your clothes, breath, and in the room where you’ve eaten them), often only really noticeable the morning after. So I did the sensible thing and headed down to my mum’s. Mum, of course, was awake. With me in the kitchen and her tucked up in bed, she insisted on holding an inter-room conversation.

– “Did you have a good night?”
– “What?”

– “Did you have a good night?”
– “Yes.”

– “Are you having your supper?”
– “What?”

– “Are you having your supper?”
– “Yes.”

– “Would you not rather eat in the living room?”

Now that is a superfluous and irrelevant question to be asking at 12.25am. No. I feel bad enough for stinking out your kitchen never mind your living room.

– “No, I’m fine here, thanks.”

One Saturday, not long after this, I popped into my mum’s for lunch. No mention was made of the foul-smelling kitchen. Parents can be so forgiving at times. Just as well, really.

Over lunch we discussed funeral plans, cremations and choice of songs for same. Dad fixed his gaze on somewhere unspecifically distant.

– “I would like ‘Crown Him with many Crowns’, and ‘the Irish one’.

– “Whiskey in the Jar?” I volunteered tentatively, but I think he meant ‘Be thou my vision’.

In other sad news, Wiseman has got a girlfriend. What’s more, another friend, Jamie, has just got engaged. I began to wonder if I’m the only sensible/stubborn one left.

Then I remembered DC, and smiled. A cursory glance at him and I feel reassured that I won’t be alone on the singles shelf for some time yet.