Newsletter #9

My newsletter gets sent out 8 times a year – you can subscribe here. As an experiment, I’m posting each newsletter to the blog as well, to see if this is useful…

 

Higgs’ chilly Octannual Manual #9

A six-and-a-bit-weekly newsletter from author John Higgs

Imbolc 2019

This newsletter is now one year old! Huge thanks to all of you for subscribing and making it worthwhile. I’ve found writing it to be extremely useful, so I am committing to continuing it throughout 2019.

This will take us up to the mighty 2020s.

The 2020s will be a Golden Age in your life. It will not be the easiest of decades, but it will be the one where you are most fully yourself, when you are most proud of what you create and the period in which you act most in accord with your higher nature. In the far-flung future when people bring you to mind, it will be you in the 2020s they think of. I know this is true because a wee mouse told me.

2019, then, is time to prepare. This brings us to…


ONTOLOGICAL MARIE KONDO
That 2019 is a time to get ready might explain the huge cultural buzz about the Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. This applies Shinto ideas to the practice of tidying up and sorting your stuff out. Its success means that somewhere TV executives are trying to format Wiccan Cleaning the Windows and Daoist Brushing Your Teeth.

Marie Kondo advises getting rid of any household clutter and junk that doesn’t ‘spark joy’ when you hold it. This is healthy and liberating, but perhaps we can go further? Marie Kondoing your house is one thing. Marie Kondoing your reality tunnel is where it’s at.

Think about the culture you consume – are those TV shows, bands and websites really working for you? Which ones do you still get anything from, and which do you give them your time just out of habit?

Think about your prejudices – are they of any use? Do they really help explain how the world works, or are they just a shortcut to avoid thinking? For example, for years I’ve nurtured a deep prejudice about people who play golf. Would I be worse off if I took this prejudice down the skip?

Think about your beliefs – are they fit for purpose? Is it the case that some of them are a bit old and rusty? Do you own them or do they own you?

Think about the people in your life. Don’t Marie Kondo them! What are you, a monster? Hell’s teeth! Sure, problems arise, we all make mistakes, but unless someone is truly toxic, give them another chance. The 2020s are coming, remember, we’ll need all the help we can get.

If it helps, think of the 2020s as a more woke 1920s – a wild ride you’ll want to be part of, but not one that is blind to the growing shadows. Let’s all get light and ready and hold hands and dive in together, and see what happens.


DOCS AND PODCASTS
There’s a lot of interesting stuff around for fans of Bill Drummond, Jimmy Cauty and the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu at the moment. Paul Duane’s documentary about the People’s Pyramid and Toxteth Day of the Dead, What Time Is Death, is having its premiere on Feb 26 at the Dublin Film Festival. I was interviewed for this – whether or not I said anything worth including I don’t know.

(Paul Duane, incidentally, has another film starting to appear at festivals which looks interesting. While You Live, Shine is about the oldest music in the Western world. Worth keeping an eye out for – the trailer is here.)

Online now is How To Burn A Million Quid, a surprise podcast from BBC Sounds – a six part comedy recreation/fantasy about the JAMMs money burning. The makers have clearly dived deep into the mythology behind all this, but to my ears they seem to have missed the valuable jewels buried down there. To give one example, The Illuminatus! Trilogy is presented as a book to be believed, rather than a game that teaches you to question beliefs. That may sound like a petty nit-pick, but it is pretty fundamental to the story.

Still, the cast has Jeremy Stockwell as Ken Campbell and Kevin Eldon as Gimpo, and that surely is reason enough to download. You can find it on the iPlayer or the BBC Sounds app.

If you prefer your Ken Campbell to be the real deal, then the Seeker! Ken Campbell podcast (iTunes / Google Podcasts / ResonanceFM broadcast) is a must subscribe. It takes the surviving Campbell VHS and audio tape recordings and turns them into a polished archive of his one-man shows, including many performances never previously available.

It’s a major labour of love and you would pay handsomely for it, if it wasn’t free.


COMING UP
I’m starting to put together talks, festivals and bookshop appearances to support my book The Future Starts Here, which will be released in May (and for which Amazon currently have £4 off the pre-order price, just saying is all). If you’re involved in planning an event that would be a good fit, give me a shout.


AND FINALLY
Not that I want to encourage this sort of thing, but is it the case that you have been part of unwise shenanigans and you wish to blame me for your actions? If so, you are in luck, for Shardcore has launched a T-shirt especially for this scenario.

This picture alone almost makes this whole sorry incident worthwhile.

Until next time!

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