That’s a really nice little couplet, isn’t it?
It relates to the similarly awesome surrounding song’s Los Ageless*‘s themes of desperately attempting to battle the horrifying and corrosive party-pooping efforts of aging. It’s so cleverly written though, that Annie Clark is aware how it could potentially become an anthem for jilted lovers and soundtrack many traumatic break ups. Annie Clark is clever enough to realise that, realistically, the largest effect any song written and performed by a woman can hope to have on wider culture is if it’s included on the soundtrack of a ‘Bridget Jones’ movie, so she might hit paydirt with this one.
I really love the line. I love how it flows, I love how many ways it could be interpreted. I love how Clarky sings it. I love it so much I actually got it as a tattoo.
…which, given the things I’m about to talk about, might have been a mistake…
Imagine if the lyrics were slightly different. Imagine if the song was actually about how finishing a relationship with Annie is likely to send someone loopy, because she’s so fucking awesome. The chorus would instead go ‘How can anybody have me and lose me/And not lose their minds too?’.
It would still be a pretty boss lyric, wouldn’t it? I mean, a little less nuanced and subtle than Clark’s songs usually are, but still an exhilarating anthem of female empowerment that is once again guaranteed that Bridget Jones movie spot.
However, what if the lyrics were: ‘How can anybody have me and lose me/Move to a different country for three years/Finally divorce me/And not lose their minds too’?
It’d be a bit weird, wouldn’t it? I mean, the rhyming scheme has been completely compromised, and the song’s whole melody would probably have to be rewritten in order to work it in.
Don’t worry, I am actually going somewhere with this:
Let me take you back to April 31st 2010:
I was living in Urumqi, Xinjiang, China, and absolutely miserable. In the past, my ocassional bouts of manic depression were offset perfectly by Hejjy- the most beautiful and awesome woman that God/Allah*** had ever created whom I described how I met in the previous post– whose love and very presence meant she often served as a five foot antidepressant. When I was with her I often didn’t even want to drink!
Recently, I had decided that the two years I had spent at the school in Dushanzi, close to the school in Kuitun where she worked, were enough. I wanted to further my career, encounter different areas of China, and get paid much, much more money. I mean, I was still the highest paid teacher at my school (because I wasn’t Chinese) and one of the richest people in the town of Dushanzi, but Is still wanted enough money to pay for an actual robotic clone of myself to do all my teaching work while I spent 24 hours a day drinking and fucking.
I obviously wanted Hejjy to come with me. I would just make it a requirement for any school willing to hire me- an extraordinarily accomplished teacher with references so full of ecstatic acclaim that you could still smell the dried ejaculatory fluid on the paper- that they also found a space of their staff for Hejjy. Or perhaps just accommodation for the both of us: remember, I would be on Robotic Teaching Clone wages, so if Hejj didn’t fancy working them, fuck it, I’d pay for whatever lifestyle she wanted. As long as she didn’t get fat. Then I’d send her on the first bus back to Xinjiang and replace her with one of the hot young thin girls who work at my school. Maybe one of my students? Lots of options.
Hejjy really wanted this. She could escape a life and an employment that had frequently become a chore. She could escape the tedious and sometimes abusive commitments that her connection to the Hui ethnicity obliged. She could truly be free: she would live the life of a carefree Westerner on all those cool American movies and TV shows (and porn. She watched a lot of porn) she watched.
But she couldn’t. Running off with me would assure she was renounced by her family, and bring shame upon them. Her family were strict Muslims in an area of China where Islam was an identity that was extremely important to uphold. They were also proud Huis, to the extent that they would have probably thrown a shitfit even if Hejjy had started a relationship with a similarly Islamic Uyghur. She hated her family and the restrictions and rules they tried to force her live by. But they were her family. They’d been an important part her ever since she was, like, really young. Her cousins had recently had the cutest little Chinese babies (which occur naturally in China) whose growing up she really wanted to be a part of.
And even though Hejjy wasn’t much more committed a Muslim as I was a Christian (she didn’t eat pork, whereas I considered haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers to be abominations), her culture and upbringing was nonetheless important to her. It was far too big an ask for me to request her abandon it all.
So, rather than just remaining in Dushanzi until we concocted a more fitting plan, I stupidly decided to try and meet our requirements half way and moved to Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi: 2.5 million people squeezed into a Blade Runner nightmare about the size of your local Tesco. It was 3 hours away on the bus, I would visit her once a month, and she me, so we would see each other every two weeks. I worked weekends, she didn’t: it was a fucking nightmare.
Without Hejjy to increase my neurotransmitters, I was forced to compensate by drinking a lot more. I drank far too much anyway, as Hejjy couldn’t be present to take my mind off how much I despised myself 24/7. Now though, I levelled up to the extent that had my two best friends been Oliver Reed and Shane MacGowan they would have been concerned enough for my wellness to arrange an intervention.
I arrived in Urumqi in January. The initial excitement of moving to the big city quickly soured. I’d place bets that Urumqi is the most insanely intense cities in the world, even without taking into account the constant threat of terrorism****, and absolutely the worse place I could have been at that point in my life. In that stage of my mental unease.
January became pretty grim. February was a very difficult month to get through. March was just misery upon misery. And I spent April constantly hating my life and everything surrounding it, and wondered how I could possibly make it stop.
I was always great at my job: I’m a fucking awesome teacher and never gave less than 110% (which I was sure to teach my students was the absolute maximum mathematical value). But there were long periods where I wasn’t teaching. So I drank and considered how much I hated myself.
But, but, but: May 1st was a bank holiday and Hejjy was visiting! Think of all the amazing things that we could do with the day to ourselves! Think of all the amazing places Hejjy would take me! She always knew exactly what to to and exactly where to go! She had worked out life and how it could be enjoyed! And she was always nice enough to show me!
But on April 31st, she sent me a text saying that she wouldn’t be able to come. Some work thing or something. I was already drunk when she sent the text (natch) so rang her up and screamed insults at her in a drunken rage. After I hung up, I drank some more, but this time I was drinking whilst depressed and angry.
It was the final straw. I decided to kill myself because, let’s face it, life fucking sucks, doesn’t it?
I can’t actually remember the act itself, but much like I can’t remember being born I can quite easily make assumptions based on the evidence. My flat was on the eighth floor, I took my clothes off, and jumped from the window.
OK, I’ve already written 1800 words and I’m not even at the fucking tangent I embarked upon instead of writing about the actual album, so I better speed up a bit.
I didn’t die, amazingly. One month in Urumqi hospital, dying a bit, not dying, dying a bit, not dying: you can imagine the drill. I was eventually sewn up well enough to be flown back to Salford hospital on a fucking helicopter (upon which I was given, without doubt, the best drugs I’ve ever taken! And I’ve taken a lot!). My Dad sorted me out an English sim card, and I texted all my friends to tell them I wasn’t dead. They were generally- in fact, I’d go as far as to say entirely– quite glad to hear this news, and all promptly replied to my texts wishing me well. All except one person. My ex-wife.
Yeah, I was married before I went to China. It’s not been an important thing to mention until this point.
My ex-wife- whom I’ll call ‘Samantha Mumba’ because when I was a bit younger I had this bizarre and difficult to explain assumption that we’d eventually get married- said nothing to me for a long time. Then she eventually sent me an email.
She told me how all that she knew about my accident is that a few weeks ago she’d asked me for a divorce to make our separation official (we were still very good friends and kept in frequent contact), and the next she heard of me this happened. She knew that this was obviously a suicide attempt- she was fully aware of my past attempts and my general mental condition- and she knew that it was her asking for a divorce that had pushed me over the edge. She said she could no longer live her life feeling that my condition and life was her responsibility, and so felt she had to officially cut ties with me. We would no longer have any relationship.
Gah! Do you have any idea how annoying that is??
Firstly, I hadn’t even accepted within myself that it was a suicide attempt. To this day I don’t talk about it to my closest friends and family, as I believe that face-to-face discussion about it with people I love would be far too much for me. I did write a book about my stay in hospital, but it was rubbish so only one friend read it (props to you once again, Kamal Asad). At that time I was just an ugly ginger bloke recovering from almost dying. Don’t politicise it! Just text me ‘Hope you’re holding up xox’ and save the Big Talk for later!
Secondly, and mainly: DON’T TAKE CREDIT FOR MY FUCKING SUICIDE!!
I’m sure that, secretly, loads of my close friends were kinda hoping that they factored in somehow: everyone secretly wants to be so important to somebody that they tried to kill themselves, don’t they? I mean, how awesome must you be!?
But- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr- the fact that- GAAAAAAAR!- Samantha took full credit for my awesome act of importance, and then just closed off communications is the most irritating thing that has ever happened to me. Samantha is now jaunting round the country somewhere with an enraging and amazingly inflated sense of her own importance. She truly believes that to have her and lose her could make someone lose their mind to the point of suicide even three years later!
Oh, and probably, like, mentally traumatised by her own fabricated conceit, but still!
All I’ve ever wanted is to meet Samantha one last time so that I could sit her down and expain to her how she’s a wonderful person, a brilliant wife and our divorce was entirely down to me and my attempts to treat depression with drink and drugs. And that she is not worth commiting suicide over, get over yourself you silly fucking moo.
Then I would walk out of the restaurant we were meeting in and make her pay the bill, because I was always a cheap skinflint who would constantly leach off her, so why stop that tradition?
Oh, and Hejjy was going to come and visit me, she was just playing a joke on me in order for her surprise arrival to be extra special. I mean, she really committed to that conceit, didn’t she? God, she’s amazing.
She first heard of me being being taken to hospital and most probably about to die while she was on the bus to Urumqi. The trauma of the whole incident has probably partially ruined her mental state for the rest of time. Nice going, Alex.
She still stayed in constant contact with me afterwards though, daily Skype calls for more than a year. I might tell about how our relationship had to end in another post. These entries aren’t just going to become my memoirs now, I promise: there’s two or three albums coming up on the list that I can actually think of things to write about.
Oh yeah, shit, the album!
Yeah. Good album. Now way near as good as her last one but, y’know, really good all the same
Age: 35 (+1)
Album Number: 6 (+18)
Album Length: 41 minutes (+5)
Very Good Songs: 5 (+10)
Brilliant Songs: 5 (+25)
AMAZING Songs: 1 (+10)
% of Album Worthwhile: 84.6153846154
Fnaaar! That’s her bum!
Previous Entries: 2014 No.4
and, erm, let’s say ‘Strange Mercy’ was, like, 6th in 2011
Meta Critic: 88
Plus, an extra +100 for giving me the chance to vent a little. Thanks, Annie
*I thought it was called ‘Los Angeles’ for the longest time. Because I very rarely actually read things, I look at a sentence’s first letter of so, trying get a sense of its general ‘vibe’, then move on with my life. This is understandable though, because my life is absolutely 24 hour gangsta tripping and pussy slaying**
**As in I kill a lot of cats. Like, a lot. Try and guess how many cats a single may would be able to slay in one 24 hour period. I honestly get through roughly double that amount
***She was a Muslim, which meant our relationship was always under the looming threat of her one day going full on fundamentalist and just suicide bombing the both of us. To be honest, this made things that little bit more exciting, added an extra spice to the relationship, y’know?
****Yes, I do consider these particular acts ‘terrorism’, because they are done to attempt to further the cause of a definite political goal. As I previously noted, I don’t believe a lot of nasty things that happen that get called ‘terrorism’ are actually terrorism. Oh, and me just agreeing to it being called ‘terrorism’ does not mean I endorse it*****
*****I totally fucking do! It’s so cool! Go and be terrorists, kids! BOOM shake, shake the fucking ROOM!!!
Thank God I wrote this on a Saturday: it’s taken me going on 5 hours