Tales from the Engine Room No.8

Tales from the Engine Room No.8

Cherish What is Important….

Back again but I feel it’s been far too long (well over two months) and I must admit life has distracted me and taken my mind and time away from music and in turn these blogs. But a window of time and opportunity has arisen so I will take the opportunity to bang away on my keyboard and put together some words that hopefully make sense and carry some form of resonance in the wider world. I have found talking and writing allow me to find perspective and are also very therapeutic in ones attempt to keep the ship steady when all about storms rage and perils await and by doing this calmer more peaceful waters will be found.

So here at last is the latest Tales from the Engine Room

life and death

I am in reflective mood, which is a common and regular place for me to sit from time to time, as it gives you a chance to reassess things and the direction you are taking in life. Mortality is an ever present thing in all our lives, we all live and we all die and in between a lot of us wonder why, then there are the others who just don’t give a shit and remain unaffected by it. But I feel less wondering should be undertaken and instead more embracing and appreciation should occur. It’s not always possible when we get caught up and spun around by the modern world, our day to day lives and commitments, but it is in fact incredibly essential to a good life. Death is something we are all sure of, at times I must admit it plagues me and at others it is the driving force for all I do, I like most humans wish to create something of meaning and something worthwhile from all the chaos and the dark matter that surround and binds all life throughout the universe.In my universe the something of meaning is not measured by money, fame or possessions but by achievement measured on a personal level and by the inner peace and contentment this brings.

I have recently been rather touched by Wilko Johnson. He is someone who as a musician and person I have greatly respected for many years, despite the fact he is a wonderful character. His original band, Dr.Feelgood, influenced so many other musicians and especially those of us who were part of the punk scene. He admits he has struggled all his life with his darker side and depression but on recently hearing he would die of cancer he has found an inner peace and a state of euphoria. No longer does he worry or concern himself with a past he cannot change or a future that does not exist and will he will certainly never see, instead life is amazing and he appreciates all those small things we see and ignore everyday but by their pure simplicity can bring us joy and happiness.

Carpe Diem Rings

We waste so much time on inconsequential things and some people waste their lives by allowing a negative past to taint and undermine any happiness in the present. If the present is sorted, running smoothly and happily, and in turn we un-clutter our minds, then there is a damn good chance the future will be an equally good one or better. As human beings we really do not need that much for true happiness, it comes from the simplest things. The people we love, appreciate and hold dear and who in return gives us those same simple heart and soul cleansing elements – friendship, intimacy – whether it is a cuddle, laughter, a simple kiss or the joy of sex between two people who genuinely love and care for each other without it being tainted by lies or indiscretions, the countryside, the sun rising, a home-cooked meal, the smell of the sea and the sound of the waves etc.

butterflies

If we forget or deny the simple things that keep us on a path to happiness and instead get weighed down by modern life’s daily grind, the bills, work, and in turn fail to cherish the people close to us and instead live the ‘grass is always greener…’ philosophy we will most likely stumble from one shallow and pointless encounter to another without fully appreciating the people and experiences that gives us that chance to have a more balanced and contented existence. But initially and fundamentally none of this works unless you are at peace with who you are and where you are, and if not content with where you are, at least know where you are heading.

It’s time to remove the bitterness from a past life and move forward with good heart. It’s not an easy journey in a world where we are besieged by such a high level of choice, temptation and endless ways to communicate as it can always seem there is something better on the horizon or round the next corner. Instead that energy should be put into what we already have and into who we are. Remember, where there is love there is life…

Ghandi Quote

And with all this in mind I must now leave you, remind those close to me and the few who are far closer than any others how much I love them and then give myself a firm kick up the arse so I can finish the vocals on my third album and move onto recording the fourth which is virtually all written and currently being rehearsed and fine tuned.

Remember as long as we do the best we can, nothing more can be asked of us…

Check out the links in red, some offer interesting tangents and some are more direct. Until the next time…

with love and faith

Ruben x

Tales from the Engine Room No.7

Tales from the Engine Room No.7

Is Love a Tainted Dream….

I think this is by far longest break I have had from these Tales from the Engine Room blogs. This life thing, even at the most basic and simple level drags you along and consumes time. It’s now time to consume some of that time with words…

Is this thing we call love merely a dream or is it an illusion never to be grasped physically but only existing in the realms of the mind? As I have touched on before in a previous blog, I have come across people in life who fall in ‘love’ with every partner they have a relationship with, regardless of the length of time or the truth of the matter. I just do not understand this, or view it as even being remotely possible, but more likely it is unlikely love really exists but is instead is just desperately desired.

There are so many lonely people in life who seek their love, their soul-mate, that most of the time a mass of compromises and the desire not to be alone fuels a relationship that is bereft of real love. My life experience has led me to believe it is a very rare entity. There has however on several occasions been the belief it may exist, usually during those early heady days. Early on you can believe that the seed of love may exist but these early thoughts are generally always quelled quite quickly by reality and the dulling of that initial lust and desire. Once the lust and desire is out of your system and there is nothing more there in terms of depth, a bond, friendship and that special something that binds your souls together, its time to wise up and move on.

I think desire and infatuation can cloud reality, create the illusion of love and some use the idea of love to get what they want from another through deception. It is just so hard to find another who loves you as much as you love them, equally, it is as we know most of the time a bloody minefield. That minefield will test you throughout your life together by throwing in the odd spanner or test for your resolve to love one another. Whether that be just the day to day grind of life or others with lustful desires, these mines are many in number and therefore I hope your love is bulletproof, well armoured and more importantly true.

In reality time and experience are the true levelers. I have only tasted real love a couple of times in my life but when it all falls apart you are left questioning whether it was or was not love and even if it was why you could both let it implode and neither of you had the fight or belief to save it. My belief is that real love will survive and outlast everything life throws at you, the personal changes you both go through, health issues and even on occasions infidelity.

In my book, and I believe in most other peoples, infidelity is generally always the deal breaker, relationships are built on trust and belief in each other and as soon as you enter the realms of deception or fail to communicate openly with your partner it’s a hard and jaded road to recovery. That’s if recovery is possible or desired. I must say when it comes to infidelity I have either been lucky, as have not really experienced it or maybe it was that I was just well deceived and was instead blissfully blind to it. I hope and feel that has not been the case.

I feel there should be a natural balance between lovers and within their relationship. If you are continually giving, are selfless and considerate of your partner but get none of this in return I feel doubt and questions may and should surface. But there again balance is not always a mirrored thing and each partner may offer the other a set of completely different attributes that benefit their relationship.

When life has trampled on you, when your spirits are low and your health is ailing who is their to give you the comfort, love and support that’s needed to see you through? Who is your rock and confidant? Who always sees the best in you, tries to understand and more importantly believe in you? The answer should always be your lover and soul-mate, although I also realise close friends can also offer a similar support structure although with a different form of love without the same closeness and bond.

I think I will leave it there for this installment. Points have been made, questions put forward and hopefully positive and beneficial thoughts and debate created. But at the end of the day only you truly know if your in love and if you have found your life partner and soul-mate. If you have, I wish you well in your journey through life together. If you have not, remember when you seek it you will most likely not find it, it will find you, maybe even sneak up on you when you or it are ready, until then enjoy the journey and experiences life offers you.

Check out the links in red, some offer interesting tangents and some are more direct.

Until the next time…

with love and faith

Ruben x

Tales from the Engine Room No.6

Tales from the Engine Room No.6

The Human Points System….

It’s been a wee while but life caught hold of me, pushed me, dragged me and spun me around while I was travelling along the path I am currently on. I’m not sure if there is enough of you reading this to give a damn but I have heard murmurings plus enquiries to where the next Tales from the Engine Room is. Well, it’s here…

I must say it has been a bitch of period since I last entered the Engine Room and in fact it’s been that much of a bitch I have only managed to squeeze in couple of days vocal recordings since my last blog post. Someone very special in my life has been struggling with their health so I took on the mantle of ‘house husband’ to help out with housework and kids, this of course has been my priority. Add to that a visit from the ‘dark lord’ which saw me lost in my dark depressive hole holding out for hope, light and escape from that unwelcome place (until the next time). Also further adding to everything I have been in town/babylon far more than I’m used to, with all the nonsense, pointless drama and wildlife you would expect, I’ll take a sigh of relief when me and the ones I love head back to the outer reaches of civilisation in the very near future.

Somewhere amongst all of that I should have been on the Steve Lamacq Show but after Rich Legate on behalf of Steve Lamacq exchanged emails and arranged a date and time for my appearance they failed to call me and have ignored all my emails since. So safe to say my name maybe blackened to the point it and me have been blacklisted from appearances on Radio 6. Maybe in retrospect I should not have announced my intentions to give away albums during my appearance prior to the show but I am one of the unsigned underground artist Radio 6 say they support but they are obviously not this one…

So after that rather expansive introduction and bringing you up to date on my happening let’s muse on some more thoughts from the Engine Room…

The concept of money has always troubled me, then add to it modern consumerism and some may see that as heaven but I see it more as form of hell, all those temptations and the endless pointless shite that we don’t really need. Don’t get me wrong I do dip my toe in it’s waters but I tend to use it for my purposes instead of being consumed by it. Although I must say when in manic part of my bipolar cycle I have to be ever so careful not to get caught up in a pointless spending sprees powered by my excessive energy and restless mind, that has me buying for sake of buying, and me and those close try to manage this. An old friend once commented on two of my personality contradictions, me as a person and my beliefs mirrored by me using and liking some useful and beneficial electronic goods and gadgets, they labelled me a ‘Techno Anarchist’. I don’t go in for labels but it was somewhat accurate and made me laugh.

I’d rather barter or swap and if this is not possible then I engage with the expanse of the internet to find the bargains of bargains. But these ancient past times of trading without cash are dying out in the western world and instead we are slaves to cash, plastic and product desire.

The reason I think I am touching on the subject of consumerism is because I have been temporarily been dwelling right next to a town and shopping centre and I struggle with such places especially when low or depressed. It overwhelms my senses, I struggle to relate to it or the mass of people that embrace it and I would rather be in my self made bubble or somewhere remote with trees and fields. Maybe because of the way I’m wired that it overloads my senses, I feel claustrophobic and my social tourettes is at it’s very worse, plus lets be honest, the more people there are in one place, the more nonsense and negative energy exists. I find the human race amazing and beautiful but at the same time self destructive and disgusting. Just look around amongst all this beauty and wonder the natural world offer and you will find the human race killing, destroying, lying, over-populating and living far beyond our means…

So let’s do away with money and have a human points system. It does not need much explanation because quite simply the more compassionate, loving and community thinking human being you are the more points you get and therefore the more you can ‘buy’ or ‘invest’ in and the better quality of life you will have for making yours and others lives better. It would turn the human world on it’s head because as we know the biggest liars and most despicable human beings can be found at the top of our current worlds pecking order, or crawling, fighting and destroying in an attempt to reach this hallowed destination. It would not be that hard to employ, we already have a points system if you are sick, disabled, a migrant, etc. And if you really wanted to embrace all the crass elements of the modern world then why not have a game show version instead of the national lottery. Maybe they could have a chute into which they eject all the murdering, lying, violent, greedy, polluting, sadistic and generally low-life individuals that ruin what could be a peaceful and lush world. I also think if you mindlessly breed without considering living sustainably or the quality of life your children will have in an increasingly over-populated world with dwindling resources then you also loose points. One more suggestion would be these self styled celebrities that pollute the minds of people by having them think that looking good and being a self obsessed egotise is more important than good humble values with true creative and artistic talent. There are endless possibilities for this seed of an idea…

Check out the links in red, some offer interesting tangents and some are more direct. Until the next time…

with love and faith

Ruben x

Tales From The Engine Room No.5

Tales From The Engine Room No.5

Friends, Lovers and the Rest….

It’s been a wee while but life caught hold of me, pushed me, dragged me and spun me around while I was travelling along the path I am currently on. I’m not sure if there is enough of you reading this to give a damn but I have heard murmurings plus enquiries to where the next Tales from the Engine Room is. Well, it’s here…

I have always found life a fascinating thing, although at times it is far too pervasive for my liking because I’ll be honest I prefer my reality to the one offered by conventional society and the media machine that supports it. Hence living outside of it or on the edges all my adult life. Some may perceive me as a funny fucker, others anti-social and maybe they are right in the wider context of things but my world and the friends that occupy it keep me sane amongst all this human madness. I’m not referring the madness in the context of a mental disease just the actions and paths a lot of people take that have a negative and detrimental impact on others. Although seeing what goes in the world maybe people are mad and we are fundamentally doomed.

I greatly value my friendships while realising that there are very few friendships that cut deep and are full of all the ingredients that make those people true friends and not just acquaintances. I believe that true friends make us smile when the are not here and in the bad and sad times are the rocks upon which we stand. So I considered what makes a true friend and at the same time what I feel offer to my friends. Fundamental to any friendship is a commitment and consideration to your happiness. This is not just making you laugh but a consideration to your all over well being, to the point they are not afraid to step forward and offer their opinion and perspective if you take a wrong path or make the wrong decisions. A true friend should also be a good influence and moral barometer. I consider myself lucky to have a small handful of true friends although because of the life I have lived they are spread far and wide across this island and beyond. I think if you can count your true friends on one hand you are in deed very lucky as they are so few and far between.

What I have found to be even rarer is a true genuine soulmate or life-partner. I meet people who use this word ‘love’ every time they have a new partner and I just don’t understand the freewheeling use of this word. Sometimes it’s hard to see beyond the lust and desire to see what you really have. In my experience I have rarely met anyone that offers all the attributes of a true friend and those magical factors that captivate you, make you feel at ease, content and leave you spell bound. Love, true love that is, I believe is eternal, lasts and survives whatever life throws at you, including the changes that will effect both of you on your journey through life. I think this is even rarer in our throw away consumer society where its been made easier to get something new rather than repair and maintain what you already have to stay with that someone ‘special’.

If I look around at all the people I know in, or know of, in relationships I think it’s becoming harder to find your real soulmate as I see too many people in dysfunctional relationships or seeking what they should be getting from their partner elsewhere. Maybe this is not just an indication they are not with the right person but that they are afraid to venture out into life on their own again, who knows, the internal politics of relationships can be so hard to fathom from the outside. The grass is not always greener on the other side but you will never find that lush meadow if you are not you and you do not love yourself.

Although you rarely meet true friends or a partner that offers you true love I think it’s really simple to find and attract people who could possibly fit neatly into these roles within your life, as I said before just be you. I say simple, but since we can all be ‘actors’ in our social interactions and be what we think people want us to be to ‘fit’ in, this can be made harder as it takes time to unearth the real ‘you’ or them. I have always tried to buck against this on a personal level, but within society and all our wider interactions its not always as straight forward to do this unfortunately.

I hope you are with the partner that enriches your life as much as you enrich theirs and if that is yet to happen I wish you well in your journey to find them. And if that has happened or is yet to happen I hope your friends are the rocks to give you the firm footing in life we need to be us.

Check out the links in red, some offer interesting tangents and some are more direct. Until the next time…

with love and faith

Ruben x

Tales From The Engine Room No.4

Tales From The Engine Room No.4

Words are Weapons and Words are Tools…

Although I don’t write these blogs to any regulated timetable, it’s time for another installment of Tales from the Engine Room and I must say it is a challenge writing something that firstly I must find engaging and acceptable but which is of also of interest to you the reader (or readers if there is more than one of you). All this while attempting to not go off on tangents and instead stay focused on the original train of thought. All aboard!

Words are the embodiment of the people we are, our souls, thoughts and feelings but they can also be the mask behind which we hide and perform. It depends on the occasion, the company, the individual or situation. We are all to a degree actors, performers, players and charlatans but how many people are we happy exposing our true selves to? Do some people ever. Sometimes we have no choice because we are governed by our environment. The more insecure, the more threatening or extreme the environment the greater the mask employed. But to undertake a role all the time, to continually projecting a false persona can be a tiring and an emotionally crippling task ultimately cutting you off from connecting honestly with anyone, let alone yourself.

Even with all these words and the ability to communicate so many people fall short of true honesty, instead opting to avoid simple truth and expression by offering acceptable but empty answers. This can happen on endless levels, footballers are trained for press interviews nowadays, which are repetitious, bland and vacuous never allowing there true characters to shine through, that is if there is one. On a personal level I have experienced these half truths in close relationships, as I’m sure a fair number of us have at some point. In a close relationship if your intention is true and you believe in and feel connected to the bond and friendship you have, should you not be open and honest? Is that not one of the cornerstones of a strong relationship? But as we know the fact is that not everyone is and you can be left on uncertain ground or not knowing someones true feelings. If that occurs its safe to say that person is either being guarded or not being honest and this is never a good basis for any relationship to exist on. Simple words and the expression of these ease uncertainty and create clarity. It can be hard letting go of the mask and the boundaries created from a life of experience but it does give you a better chance of true happiness.

As a performers, singers, writers we allow the songs or the characters we play to employ and conjure up words in order to entertain, communicate and share a emotions or a moment in time. If I was to name my artistic trade I would say I was a wordsmith, I’m not sure if I am worthy of such a mantle as the dictionary says of word-smith:

1. A fluent and prolific writer, especially one who writes professionally.
2. An expert on words.

I have never considered myself ‘professional’, dedicated yes, but I’m less of an expert and more an admirer of words and language. Also being the person I am I have a driving energy and well of emotions to draw from and to vent. The central point of my art, my music, is the words but words are also central to my life and our lives’ as a human beings. I realise words don’t always have to be spoken, they can be written or signed too. Words convey so many things, emotions, commands, instructions, feelings that allow everyone else the ability to perceive what we are attempting to communicate but as we know even with what we consider the right and well chosen words we can still be misinterpreted. If the language contains a vagueness or a truncated form of communication someone somewhere will read or perceive the sentiment, message or dialogue in a way never envisaged by the author or purveyor of these words.

You take an experience or situation that when it becomes a finished song it may bear no relation to the original seed that was planted. Songs are their own entity and exist on their own and although the original seed is there you create something that has a heightened state of drama. You then hope this resonates with people, an audience. But when push comes to shove you have to use words, language and dialogue that allows the listener in. I love the appeal of occupying a character and voice to embody the song. Words and music are the religion I think most people relate to, plus this religion cherishes, nourishes, thrills and challenges the human soul more than traditional religion of separation and hypocrisy.

Don’t get me wrong, the music, imagery and graphics are all important and vital elements of what makes up the whole and are well considered, but they are are merely vehicles for the words. The use of language, it’s delivery, style and the use of pronunciation all play a part as everything is stimulated from words used to provide life to thoughts and ideas. I’m a teller of tales an observer of life, living life as far away and on the edge of this greed and hate filled consumer ghetto. I look in and occasionally dip my toe. We all can feel the energy on the streets is not good, there is ill will and disease at the heart of many people nowadays. We have lived lives of excess in the west, lived in debt and forgot the simple elements that make life worth living. But words will never be enough without the emotion, the honesty and intent to make a difference.

All these words are great to communicate and express things with but without the all important action to back them up their substance is greatly reduced…

Check out the links in red, some offer interesting tangents and some are more direct. Until the next time…

with love and faith

Ruben x

Tales From The Engine Room No.3

Tales From The Engine Room No.3

My Acoustic Bass Made Me Cry…

My acoustic bass made me cry, a strange admission I admit, but an honest one. I will say I have had a bitch of time recently with a real bad period of darkness and despair which was followed by some rather rapid and mixed moods. This basically sees me energised and manic and then hour or so later (sometimes longer if I’m lucky) a sudden plunge downwards. The depression is no easy ride but it is constant, as is the creative hyper energised periods which I generally deal with pretty well. I must add that at the moment due to having buggered, broken and damaged foot that has not settled or healed in 4 months it has meant I have not been able to exercise to my usual level to burn off the excessive energy I have during hyper periods. The energetic and physical pursuits I generally employ are kettlebell, getting out on the downs and coast on my mountain bike, walking very fast everywhere…oh, and of course sex. There is so much energy that exists or builds up that times it needs to be vented. There are less physical practices I find very good like reike or taoist breathing exercises. I have adapted and employed a lot of taoist techniques over the last 12 years stemming centrally from my introduction to Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy by Mantak Chia.

But lets get beyond that because it gets boring covering my special needs, lets instead consider the healing power of music. There I was in shitsville bouncing up and down like a rubber ball and I simply played my bass, something I could not do until that point and when I had finished I cried because it acted as a meditation and release. This gave my mind some of the peace it needed from it’s overactivity and in turn this acted as a means to release the stored up negative energy through my tears…. reiki is also good but it is not part of the musical angle I’m edging for in this blog. A majority of people don’t perform or play music but the majority of us with a soul listen to music and this is an incredibly rewarding experience.

Music regular saves me from myself, saved myself sounds rather dramatic, but it does convey how I feel. For months I have not recorded anything, but in the last couple of weeks I have got back into my routine of waking, sorting myself out and then recording lead vocals or whatever else maybe required. It’s such a great release physically, emotionally and mentally. I have been busy putting everything together, as well as drumming up promo interest in the new Slave Manifesto album release which as left me little time to do any recording… or to be honest, I have not had all important creative desire to do so. I have however been writing and rehearsing my fourth album which will involve a collaboration with a graphic illustrator, I’ll say no more at this point but it is a project that has fantastic potential… it will be worth getting hold of a physical copy because I feel it will be a very interesting album on many levels, musically, artistically and mentally. The vocals I’m currently recording are for the Slave Love album.

Emotion and depth (I find) are essential things if music (and the artist) are to have any genuine resonance and connection with people. That’s the music I love, and I know so many others do. The music that you connect with, that speaks to you, has the blood, guts and energy that captures a feeling or moment in time. Songs that have an essence of something real and true. Music can heal, act as a release or merely entertain. You can feel part of the artist, the time, their energy or maybe you get something else from it, but the fact is it is there for anyone to tap into at anytime once captured by a recording. Music by numbers, the plastic pop game, it serves it’s purpose, but it is vacuous for a reason, it is not supposed to engage you, it’s elevator music for the masses and at the end of the day there is a time and a place for music with depth, and a time for something lighter. But whatever music we listen to we are creatures ruled by emotions and music has this in abundance. A song or album can act as a signpost and reference point for moments and memories that occur in our lives, our friends and our loved ones lives, whether these be happy, sad, love filled, love scarred, quite, loud…

I must say I have been greatly enjoying the comments and interactions with these Tales from the Engine Room blogs.

with love and faith

Ruben x

css.php
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons