Spacehog, struggle, and my own familiar place within: Art.
My Journey to LEEDS?
Just a moment! I successfully survive the topsy, turvy world of rock’n’roll for the last 20 plus years by the skin on my teeth, write a whole new personally groundbreaking album, record it, then have to write about how I arrived at it? Well, okay then! But, I must go on record and state quite categorically that I’m loathed to. Why? Well, I wouldn’t want to read it for a start. Not to mention, I feel it would be impossible to have much impartiality, especially in relation to how one arrives at one’s own art. Don’t know. Mysteriously? Feels like just another distorted reality and therefore another bullshit lie. You see, I am not a journalist. Therefore, if I must go on, let’s agree to gather our collective consciousnesses in willing suspensions of our disbeliefs towards this ridiculous continuation of yet another shared fallacy. I was asked to write one thousand words about my journey to LEEDS. Perhaps it will give me relief to my feelings of immense loneliness? Don’t know. I do know I need help (insert maniacal laughter here). I must be forced to avoid my own isolation. So, thank you for asking. Perhaps I’m merely faking reluctance? An attempt at British reserve. Shy. ‘Roy’s the shy one’ was what I was described as a boy. Fuck that! I feel real fulfillment creatively in this music and am grateful to have achieved it. I’m even more grateful for the feeling of enormous indebtitude to too many to mention. However, I must warn you, I am going to use this precious opportunity to question our/my motives around what this piece constitutes.
The word journey can possibly suggest being a passenger at times. My father worked for British Rail when I was a child. These days, on trains I’ve noticed we are no longer referred to as passengers, instead, ‘customers’. I find this abhorrent. Mr. Hitler, another abhorrence and an evil mass-murder didn’t call it a journey. His infamous biographical work refers to it as his ’struggle’. A more appropriate word I feel. And at the risk of being labeled a nazi, I’d suggest that my ‘journey’ too has been more akin to a ‘struggle’ of sorts? My life, and I suspect that of any decent artist worth their salts is mostly a struggle. Birth is never easy. I know. I am a father. I am also merely a lowly musician making a terrible journalist here, possibly on purpose. You see, that is the why of why I am a musician and very much NOT a journalist. And why I was compelled towards embarking on ‘my journey to LEEDS’. Ah! The paradox of the piece.
I’ve been interviewed countless times over the years since I began my career with Spacehog in 1994 and even before that. Never would I have been asked to do what I am doing now back then. Why not? Because, the internet hadn’t yet become available to us the masses. I once came close when I was asked by my late dear friend, Ingrid Sischy, if I would be interested in interviewing Iggy Pop for an article around his ‘Beat Em Up’ record. Oh boy! She knew I was a fan of Mr. Pop due to a letter I’d told her about that I have on my wall framed that Iggy wrote me in my late teens. She thought that it would be sweet. It was. On ever increasing levels.
But this is different. It poses the question ‘has the internet made our lives better?’. It’s certainly heralded some amazing improvements, but it has also brought about some massive black hole-like misalignment of gravity of our common perception around what is really real. And as an artist I find this all very curious and perversely beautiful. An opulence of human imagery shared globally and on a biblical scale has improved our potential towards mass-mis-beliefs. It’s confused how we perceive the difference between technology and spirituality. Sudden awareness of this potentially apocalypse-a-daisy-like danger has brought about a whole new urgency to understanding this conundrum. Hastily, we’ve hauled a power-nerd on to the stand to find out. Answers came there none! Which is what ‘Everything’s Dandy’ is. Sadly, or not perhaps, it can’t be surmised in a thousand words. But there again, it doesn’t have to be. I’m releasing it. ‘Everything’s Dandy’ is a being you see. Like my other records and the records of my peers, it has a life of its own, even beyond my own life. Like you and me. It will have a history unto itself.
Lazy journalism or the bloggers sphere co-opted by the media is changing our relationship to our own understanding of the truth of ourselves. Truth. As a result, the politicians have run out of control, and so they have built a ‘fake version of society’. Hello Mr. Trump. He’s responsible for making the city I love a playground for the rich that it is today. The morning after he won the election, here in New York, the feeling on the street was very similar to that of the shock of 9/11. Disbelief. Now depression. To what is now a miasma of misery. Reality TV realized. As the devices we carry estrange us further and further from our own morals, willingly, unwittingly. Because we, as consumers (assuming someone is reading/consuming this) are more comfortable with this familiar upholding of the complicit ‘lie’ because it’s impossible to see beyond it. The Blockchain has the potential to be a new universe of truth possibly, too early yet perhaps. But until we have a viable alternate, here’s yet another piece of our own shared collective ‘dreamland’ which we are all willing to support, at all costs because ultimately we know there is no other alternative. Scary.
This is how I arrived at LEEDS and ‘Everything’s Dandy’. My own flawed way of acknowledging this, our shared idle preposterous fantasy. We’re living in the flames, together. And I’m in love with the nihilistic thrilling pornographic existence of it all. Only, I’m prepared to acknowledge my own deceit within it. That’s a good place to start. Perhaps the only place. Like 9/11, we’re still watching those images of the planes flying into the twin towers over and over again and somehow expecting a different outcome. Sometimes, I/we need that denial as a buffer to survive it. To have the possibility of a chance at rescuing ourselves from our elegant ruble. Perhaps we are all now our own massive installation work of art on repeat. It’s not just the fear of missing out anymore (f.o.m.o. to my son’s generation), but also the fear of not inputting (*f.o.n.i.)(( I just made that up)). If more gives us a better chance statistically of being realized into the world and thus more of a chance of being heard, then we are truly doomed to a ‘likes’ culture. And that is why, I suppose, I am now writing my own article. At which point I think that my best bet is to state something purposefully inflammatory and derisive for now reason. So fuck you you racist piece of shit! Didn’t my old mate Steve Jones do this years ago in a way, with the Pistols on tele when I was a kid? And so, I am at a loss. Am I just out of touch? Where do I/we go from here? Here I find myself back at my own familiar place within: Art. I will continue to seek my own personal refuge in art, mine and others. In this instance it’s my music. And fortunately for me today, my struggle over the years has brought about some small wisdoms. I must always try to maintain my own spiritual exit. For this is LEEDS. We all need a LEEDS. A personal sanctuary. It’s not nostalgia. It merely is. So, if you want to know truly of ‘My Journey to LEEDS’, listen to my new record. It’s all in there. Read between the lines. Because that is where we can do and say and feel anything or be anyone, go anywhere we like. I must.
Sometimes, when I feel the setting sun coming on strong, I must paint it rising to survive the darkness. This is how I continue and the possibility of holy pathos within that communion. And if any of this makes sense to you, it sure doesn’t to me, then I’ll meet you in that place.
~ Royston Langdon
Listen: “Someone” off the forthcoming records Everything’s Dandy by LEEDS
Everything’s Dandy will be released on May 4th
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