MCMXC

This blog gets me crossing paths with individuals who have something to add about the world as they understand it.  Like the Discover feature on TikTok, imagination is an alluring quality.  

Jim Adams is a writer with a fascination for music, who concocts prompts for a blog.  He thinks of words for participants to find in song titles, or lyrics, in a blog format.

Participants discuss the songs with a common element, the writing prompt, as it appears in the lyrics, or in the song title.  I am very late to the challenge this week, but I have seen Jim’s observe about his prompts, “better late than never.”

Photo by Matt Jones from StockSnap

Today’s a Thursday–another favourite blog of mine, Beauty Beyond Bones, goes live Thursday evenings.  In fact I am posting opposite hers tonight.

Although, this fall, her focus has often been on the election, BBB being an American, I can still with a clear conscience recommend her blog.  She is a kind Catholic girl who writes about the inspiration Jesus has for her when her eating disorder challenges her.  She has been in recovery something like thirteen years now.

https://beautybeyondbones.com/

I am new to Jim’s challenge.  I have read some of his participants’ blog discussions and I have followed along some of what is new with Jim–he has organized the challenge right through to 2021.  He publishes the prompts carefully, only a few at a time, to let his followers know what is coming.

For November 8, Jim prompted “days of the week,” and the song I thought of is Monday Morning, by the band The Church.  It has taken me a good deal longer than I anticipated to get this post ready and finished, but I thought the finished post might be good enough that I should go ahead and post it, whether or not I’m so late for Sunday’s challenge.

The Church is a rock band with a dark flavour for their music, rarely undemanding, weird at times, and atmospheric.  It’s not from my part of the world, but I like it.

The Church

The Church in the year 1990 wrote Monday Morning, singer Steve Kilbey, drummer Richard Ploog, guitarist Marty Wilson-Piper, and, guitarist Peter Koppes, for the record Gold Afternoon Fix.  The name of the album is an expression from the stock market, made here into an album title with a bit of a sense of humour.

At the time, The Church excused the completed collection as an innovative disappointment.   The percussion on the melodies didn’t turn out.

One of the songs for Gold Afternoon Fix is entitled Disappointment.  “Late for an appointment, clothes everywhere/I cannot find my memory anywhere/Ah disappointment just doesn’t care,” Kilbey sings.

I think Monday Morning is a song that initially appeared only on the CD release of the album, not the LP.  For me, The Church is a charming band, and I believe founding songwriter Steve Kilbey has since allowed that his original opinion about the album needn’t have been so critical.

The Church began in 1980 as a new wave band, a music genre emerging after the punk rock scene.  The Church was pretty noisy, good, though.  By 1983 they were making more experimental music.

By creative failure, I only mean music that lacks integrity, bad music.  That’s not The Church.  They are a band I quite like.

The chief problem with Gold Afternoon Fix is really that the personnel couldn’t come to an agreement about the percussion.  The melodies are very acceptable at any rate.  For example, I like the tune Monday Morning.

Perhaps the song is about a weekend fling, the freedom of time spent away, as from office life, when a free heart gets heavy again, when Monday morning arrives, and the weekend has dispersed.

The Church was in L.A. and the culture of the day must have touched on the lyrics Kilbey wrote for the record.  The air was full of energy.  “Oh Monday morning, the cracks become quite clear,” Kilbey sings.

As far as the discography by The Church, Gold Afternoon Fix followed their record Starfish, their 1988 album, which was a major achievement for them, and which contains the exemplary melody Under the Milky Way.  The record Priest = Aura followed two years after the fact, in 1992, which Kilbey further views as the band’s show-stopper.  Steve Kilbey recalls fondly the 1990s in Sydney, Australia, he’s said on Twitter–I imagine that is the place where he withdrew.

Starfish

Gold Afternoon Fix is an album I like, and albums by The Church are often pretty good.  The band did have trouble getting the percussion for Gold Afternoon Fix correct, and drummer Richard Ploog only plays drums on four of the songs on the album.  The other songs have the beat of a drum machine.

Other than Steve Kilbey writing occasional new material with a drum machine, the band had never considered using that kind of percussion on an album.  They’d become known for being a great beat.  Richard Ploog, the drummer, couldn’t finish recording the drums for Gold Afternoon Fix, however.

Mr. Ploog’s interest in music had stopped meeting the vision the other members of the band had, for the songs.  Ploog’s energy was turning into contention, with the interest in music the other three artists had.

Ironically, one of the first songs The Church did is called Too Fast for You.  “Oh, and I hope I’m not going too fast for you/And don’t believe it when they say it’s over,” Kilbey sings.

Wikipedia says drummer Nick Ward played on their first collection; through the 1980s the band’s steady drummer, for a very long time, 1982-1990, was Richard, who left the band after Gold Afternoon Fix.  It doesn’t look to me like Wikipedia is altogether exact; I can see focuses that I don’t accept are right.  Mr. Ploog withdrew from The Church around 1990, to invest more energy with his better half.

In Marty Wilson-Piper’s blog, an entry Wilson-Piper wrote in October 2011, Wilson-Piper explains that Monday Morning is one of the four songs that Mr. Ploog is playing on.  Marty Wilson-Piper is one of the founding members of the band, along with Kilbey and Koppes.  He calls attention to Peter Koppes’ mandolin, on the melody, and that is somewhat enough to appreciate the tune.

Mandolin

Monday Morning is one of the last songs Mr. Ploog played on while The Church was a big commercial act.  They’ve remained to make records for years, but after 1990 they weren’t the same band, however good Priest = Aura turned out to be (a good album, too).

Artificial Photography

In my first year of school, 1996, I read a gathering about The Church.  There were some jokes about The Church’s concert film for Gold Afternoon Fix turning up in retail discount bins.  It was a joke about Gold Afternoon Fix not being their best album.

All things considered, fans’ excitement for The Church was unmistakable, and Richard Ploog got a ton of regard from audience members.  Gold Afternoon Fix also sold very well, commercially successful.  Ironically, the commercial rock was hard to combine with artistic integrity, Mr. Wilson-Piper’s comments reflect in his blog.

The difference between Gold Afternoon Fix and some of the earlier collections of music by The Church, like Remote Luxury and Persia, in 1984 and 1985, that the band’s vision for their music came across loud and clear on releases like the aforementioned, and was much more subdued, so to speak, by 1990.  To tell the truth, I don’t know that the meaning of a song like Shadow Cabinet is at all clear to me; however, Shadow Cabinet was the name of their fan webpage.  Though years ago, I am sure it would have seemed to be quite a simple page compared to how it might have been today; pictures and blocks of text, I recall.

I sat in one of the rooms of the home of one of my uncles looking for The Church on AOL.  The Church was one of my very first Internet searches ever, and certainly the first band that I researched on the Internet.

The meaning of the lyrics for Monday Morning are clearer for me than words like “Queueing in the ruins in the wake of the gale it’s/Harmony I say” in Shadow Cabinet.  I like the soul of what Steve Kilbey is singing there.

These days Steve Kilbey is a very small YouTuber, and both Koppes and Wilson-Piper have moved on from The Church.  Koppes continues to write and record music, as does Kilbey; both had new albums in September of this year.  I’m not completely sure what Wilson-Piper has been doing.

Fans of The Church are sometimes referred to as their Army.

Thank you to Jim for his prompt, “days of the week.”  You should take a look at Jim’s blog.

https://jimadamsauthordotcom.wordpress.com/2020/11/07/a-week-is-a-unit-of-time/

As well, you’re welcome to like, follow and/or comment here.

https://www.facebook.com/findingenvirons

https://www.quora.com/profile/Patrick-Coholan

https://about.me/patrickcoholan

Monday Morning

Beyond the city, and evening dust

Dreams and thunder rattle the rust

You had an idea that you won’t have again

She’s forgotten your name and hopes you’ll do the same

Start of the ash, and the end of the flames

Burning you turning you

There was a lifetime spent in the sun

Hundreds of chances, blew every one

Dice rolled, double six, double six, double six

Owner of trouble, flesh blood and bricks

You had an idea that you won’t have again

She’s forgotten your name and hopes you’ll do the same

The start of the ash and the end of the flames

Turning you burning you

Oh Monday morning, the cracks become quite clear

Oh Monday morning, take me back, leave me hare

Beyond the city, and evening dust

Dreams and thunder rattle the rust

You had an idea that you won’t have again

She’s forgotten your name and hopes you’ll do the same

Start of the ash, and the end of the flames

Burning you turning you around

//genius.com/songs/1178162/embed.js

Monday Morning

How Struggles Can Make You Sick

Abandoned supermarket cart

Too much stress, “bad” stress, can weaken you, deplete your resources and waste scarce time if you are not dealing with your lifestyle well.  Everybody endures stress.

 

Getting older, I believe that lifestyles of Generation Z are significantly common, but I am from a small town.  It is important to obey the Biblical commandment, to honor thy mother and father.  As the father did before you, if you are of a certain age, you too need to heed that you are following appropriately in his steps.

 

That being said, there is lightness.  I think with a touch of envy of the comparative ease of the generation of young people often collectively referred to as Generation Z.  That doesn’t mean that I can compete with the energy of the young and of the attitudes which characterize them, different than for someone my age.

 

Someone like me, I feel, is part of a culture that values stress, that putting a great deal of work into a lifetime is a necessity.  There’s nothing wrong with that.

 

Abandoned supermarket cart
Shopping cart

However, it means fulltime people endure an enormous amount of stress.  The more hours of work we take on, to make ends meet, the more stress we cope with.

 

I believe stress can easily bend one to its will rather than the other way round.  It is all very hard to manage.

 

In the film sequence preceding the climax of the 1978 feature film Superman, Lex Luthor conquers Superman with a chain of Kryptonite, until Superman makes a personal promise to Luthor’s beautiful assistant in order that she remove the powerful amulet–but a promise that puts at risk the woman who has his heart, Lois Lane.  All in all, it is an excellent film.

 

What I did, in my life, is an irregular passage through the years.  In 2008 when my employer closed its doors, I went on to work a part-time job while reflecting on what to do with my future  Then I went full time on government disability, as it was felt that I’d been “compromised” enough to give up on making a living through the avenue of work.

 

I had been reading some books on self-management and I didn’t think the stress of a new workplace was going to benefit me enough to do it.

 

A few years later, my father, perhaps frustrated by my reluctance, had an idea.  He was retiring from many years with a municipal cemetery, where he’d helped manage it from its offices.

 

A small cemetery in our town was searching for new operators.  It attracted him, and the trustees of that property were pleased to turn it over to him, so that he could direct it, pleased to have a focus in his retirement.

 

To my surprise, my dad invited me to help handle the operation of the cemetery.  We commenced in 2011.  The church at the cemetery, formerly of the United Church of Canada, had disbanded in 2006.

 

Headstones under repair
Important headstones of family generations in Maple Lawn Cemetery

We maintain the property ourselves, and work in the interior of the church in dire weather, setting our sights on attending to the cemetery once a week.  We made a not-for-profit out of it.  While I am junior, and there is no certainty how matters will proceed, in the seven years or so, lucky seven, that we’ve handled the cemetery, it has been a luxury of time and experience for me and an opportunity to enjoy the company of my father in his golden years.

 

We have had outside help from brothers of my father, my uncles.   On a few brief occasions we have talked about growth, but I don’t know if I can turn this venture into something in which I can continue in the long-term.  This post is intended to be expository writing, but working for a not-for-profit, when financial gains are generally hard-won, can lead to burnout, and to a minor degree that is what I am experiencing.

 

You see, I contribute several hours a week of work to the cemetery, and as my dad has spoken reassuringly of the flexibility to set our own hours, I have lately started to reduce my workload to a four-day week rather than a five-day.

 

I can’t help, for example, but want to relax on Saturday.  I think the decision to work less on Fridays is somewhat deleterious in that if you want to get ahead, you should probably be hustling with the same energy on a Friday that you do on a Monday.

 

I couldn’t help, in the past several weeks, to admit that the stress of putting nonprofit work at the center of my life, was making me feel a touch sick, by which I mean I was experiencing burnout.  I am sure this is common.

 

Dimensions: 5456 x 3632
Photographer: Ylanite Koppens

Whether this transition, to four days of focus on the cemetery rather than on each and every business day, will contribute to a soul-searching decision by my dad to relieve me of my work, I don’t know.  I think what will determine my chances of staying on are the quality of work I can produce in the time I devote to the not-for-profit.

 

How this has me feeling, perhaps, “sick,” is that I do care about working and I do feel some prestige enjoying the privilege of doing work that is shaped by our own efforts.  This is in contrast to working for a firm that is structured in predictable ways, with employee equity and positions and demands which could easily contribute to a high-stress load.

 

I am taking this risk because I believe I can do better work if I make strategies to cope with the burnout before there are related consequences.  I am counting on my own experience and abilities to do the same quality of work in a four-day structure than I would be getting done by committing the entirety of the work week to headway and progress.

 

I am sick to think of losing what I have worked for, and I am sick to think of bringing shame onto my father if the quality of my work does suffer because I am having trouble being afield of all that we do.  I feel like I should write something about feeling troubled by what I have to do to manage my role as operator, and maybe even think on how I could express an appropriate apology for how I am feeling.

 

Writing is the act of discovery. – Natalie Goldberg

 

Dimensions: 4635 x 3090
Photographer: Freestocks.org

If my father does finally decide, which I know he won’t do lightly, that I should be dismissed, it will be a sad day and for that, I will pay a price, of having the failure on my shoulders.  If that scenario comes to pass I will take time to mend.  It may be a self-centered attitude, but the best that can be done in the face of failure is to learn from what happened.

 

Everyone has experienced failure, and usually many, many times, sometimes with adverse consequences.

 

If you have never failed, you have stayed well inside your comfort zone.  Life needs to change and grow.

 

If my role in the not-for-profit does end in failure, I will at least have work experience.  I think I can draw on the time spent at this to draw conclusions that will inform my life in the future.  The situation that I think could result, however, is not going to be completely ideal.

 

It will be back to being “sick,” resorting to making ends meet with the help of a pension for disability, and with the support of my mom and dad.  Ain’t no one got time for that.  I will have then have the opportunity to look for a job if I feel I can weather the stress, or return to freelancing and try to find my niche doing that.

 

Dimensions: 2500 x 1995
Photographer: Rawpixel.com

Many members of Generation Z work as freelancers in the digital economy, and I would be competing with all of those people, which is daunting.  That being said, there are a few paths ahead for me to take and I will have to ask for guidance from fate and the intentions of The Lord.  I know I shouldn’t emphasize feeling sick about all this and I know I shouldn’t take on a job post that gives me more additional stress than I can handle.

 

For now, I will bide my time–for as much clarity as I can muster.

 

You are welcome to like, follow, and/or comment if you have feedback.  Lately, the blog has been fairly quiet, in terms of visits it receives, but you never know when some I’ve published here will pique the interest of a reader.

 

I appreciate the time of those who are visitors.  I have been tying my blog to the not-for-profit, and also trying to be jovial as I know it is as yet an amateur effort.  I feel blogging will continue to play a role in the time I have to write, as it is a splendid little spot of fun that has a pragmatic purpose.