Saturday, April 14, 2007


Haven't you ever thought about the difference between what doesn't make sense and what you're used to doing?

There are times when you get up bright and early in the morning and see the legions of office and shop workers scurrying towards their bleak everyday destinations, looks of grim determination on their withered faces. All cheap suits, bad shoes and bus passes. It appears so alien it's like you belong to another species of creature. Or you might witness the measly 30 minute lunchtime breaks where these same battery hens form orderly queues in the fucking godawful Tesco Metro to buy their 'meals'. (By the way, since when did a bag of crisps, soggy sandwich and tin of Coke constitute a 'meal'?) The beckoning allure of weekend alcohol culture is the release and the conversation. And finally and wearily, the congested chase to get back to the trouble waiting at home. Do we really call this evolution? You call this a life?

Routine is the mortal enemy of fulfilment: doing things the same way, at the same time, in the same place, for no particular reason other than to continue doing it all over the next day. It anaesthetises before first killing what's inside you, and then by default what's around you.


Anonymous said...

Being an office worker myself, I can only but grimly concur with your post and sentiments. Do I envisage a whole lifetime of office drudgery? Not if I can help it. I'm well aware though that the coward in me is holding me back from doing something different in life. That coward is someone and something I really need to sort out...

Nick said...

I wholeheartedly agree. Sadly, a begrudging "routine" allows a measly enough income to afford such escapism found in records, art, cinema, holidays.

SYpHA_69 said...

Yeah, this post resonates with me. I work retail, have been working with Barnes & Noble for over three years now, and it's one of the dullest, most soul-crushing jobs I've ever held in my life... the epitome of boredom. My ideal life involves being free of this daily grind, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. Well, unless my book becomes a bestseller, but again, don't see that happening anytime soon. But man, you wouldn't believe the asshole customers one has to deal with in retail... rude, disgusting, obscene, ill-mannered, sloppy scum... the very definition of atrophied, withered children, to paraphrase from an earlier blog entry on here. The kind of people you never want to encounter in life.

mic said...

Work is work , no matter what form it takes it can still have drudgurey. If one is not an artist all one does is be lost in bewilderrment and laking , if that lacking exists . Most do not even think of this, would not comment wholeheartedly about any lack and continue we are seemingly pre-programmed to do what we do , the best or only safegauard against the mundacity of life is music laughter and a mass of self depreciation. For example the film (Gasper Noe,s I stand alone) mmmm is it really that bad , lighten up we are what we are with all our dumb faults .

pelao said...

struggle and drugs!
contempt for the rut!
no words here on fire!
my rant is the spy!

Daniel said...

I like your blog a lot I've been reading it occasionally for a while; and I like Racket and Birdseed.
However I think this post is quite childish and indicative of narrowness and a detached judgmental instinct I sometimes hear in your music. There's no insight there, nothing a thousand mediocre writers haven't already given us, and no step outside yourself.
Speak of boundaries and closed doors is all very well but if you're unable/unwilling to make the basic step to understand something as basic and widespread as this, at any level higher than a television sitcom, then you close your own doors. You float above it as though in a glass bottomed boat, but you have as much of a sense what goes on down there as the tourists do.

It's undoubtedly better to be outside than in, but if you will be outside then it's best to remain so and not to deign to faintly judge. The greek's gods just laughed and carried on with their own affairs. But it seems even our ideals are more tethered.

William Bennett said...

I agree with your underlying sentiments, Daniel, and I maintain I'm not being one bit judgmental despite you judging me so, though I have noticed how these words have touched raw nerves of more than a few people. You see, I find the contemplation of an apposition of opposites an effective way to better understand means to avoid what I don't wish for and to palpably enhance our own quality of life. I call to account not to judge anyone other than through my own potential failings, and that is the only lesson to be learned here; and to accompany your excellent metaphor of the Greek gods, with me, art is essentially about detachment from that which we experience for better or for worse.

Daniel said...

I guess my point is, then, that you've clearly not experienced what you're now detatching yourself from in order now to observe. It needn't be mired in the filth, but this just doesn't ring true. Don't think I'm saying that what you describe isn't shit. I just don't think you see precisely the shit that's there, or the consolation. It's an easy target that everyone misses and you missed too. However, I guess I wouldn't have bothered saying anything if I didn't think you had some insight elsewhere though.

Though the suggestion of "touched raw nerves" is a cliche and, worse, misplaced. Your assumption seems to be that it touches raw nerves because it rings true. You can make nerves twitch just as easily by repeating the cliches that prevent us from getting a proper view of the thing.

Anyway, your blog made me listen to whitehouse again, and Mouthy Battery Beast is a heap of fun so enough of the bitching.

William Bennett said...

Daniel, 'touching raw nerves' is in no way misplaced because, tellingly, I'm not referring to your own response but to those of others outside this page (and by the way, any phrase that employs some type of collocation can be dubbed a cliche, the accusation of which is a cliche in itself) - and there lies the slightly perilous nature of this personalised style of dialogue, whether in the music itself or even outwith it. Also, I do have to say your (seemingly) implied contention here that you have to experience a thing in order to understand it I profoundly disagree with.

Either way, I'm sorry that you feel the way you do on this issue and will respectfully leave it at that while thanking you for your honest and kind comments.

charles said...

This is all too negative - there are far worse ways to live and earn a living - this is why all over the world people aspire to living in cities and working in offices - office work has allowed us to escape from low paid menial work. Most of the world lives at a subsistance level. If you really don't like office work, you should try the alternative.

Miss Kerry said...

" no insight ?"
I beg to differ.
Only someone who empathized deeply with the downtrodden nature thus glimpsed, could feel enough to know how truly dire it can be.
As someone who revels in the daily grind ( I suffered thru a life, that did not allow for such taking for granted such things ), I find the structure holds me up- if I do not suffer for that which is not within my limitations.
Yes, there are far worse ways to earn a living. And indeed, the world is far worse for nearly all the population.
What I think William is saying here, is these people have no JOY. No interest beyond suffering. They have locked themselves in a prison of their own making, suffering the bonds and refusing, nay being ignorant deliberately in many cases that so much excists to show that it is not suffering that teaches us, but as i say- joy. If you learn thru suffering its DESPITE.
I work the daily salt mines, but I have a attitude, I go to work to make people happy ( because that is what I am naturally good at ) and sometimes they buy things.
It took me years, to understand how to let myself let go and not torment myself- with self pity, of how awful (even a job I MANAGED to keep briefly, with nice people - ) life was.
Its the perverse want to BE a slave to this, in your MIND and self that William is saying is the obscenity.
And he isn't stooping to condescend to them with pity- that would mean he felt himself better than them. ( And I would garner, he knows all too well this is a impossible comparison.)
But carpeting over the sheer grim reality isn't going to express what he sees as, intrinsically a prison of these people's own making.
That would be deliberate ignorance.
The person who claims William is detached and judgemental should consider this, any GOOD scientist worth his salt is properly detached in observation. They MUST be. Being emotionally detached from ones hypothesis is vital. If not, your going to be swayed by some sort of gloss.
He has made a monumental effort to DETACH himself, from something as I said earlier, he empathised with. And why not? HE didn't choose these sad sorry treadmill lives of banality. HE was brave enough to observe such, among others and SPEAK of it, IN PUBLIC, despite knowing full well it may well be taken wrongly. And even if elucidated, STILL. Because of slack of proper intelligence in the way it must be had.
This is courage. And why would it take courage?
Because he FELT strongly about it, felt the pain of those people and wanted to show that he KNOWS you dont HAVE TO DO THIS.
And In the Kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is King.
Use some logic.
If he was just a asshole, his lyrics and essays would just be slagging off. Yet, consistently they are erudite, thought full and thought provoking. People do not just change their character.