My recent move to London was much needed for disparate reasons, but more than any, because the course my life has taken during the past 10-12 years has served its time, and has run out of energy. As I say in the previous post, life is just a series of shimmies away from the pits/total dead ends, and it seemed to be reaching that point on the previous course. Obviously there is an element of wishful thinking to all of this, yet if I stick it out down here it is a change that must surely force difference and paths away from any dead ends in the narration of life that one must make. However, it was certainly wishful thinking to convince myself that my past wouldn’t follow me down here, and it did, exercising many of the issues I talk about in this blog http://johnledger.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/past-returning-to-haunt-and-all-roads.html
Once in a depressive spell, it is pointless to convince oneself (and certainly for others to convince you!) to see sense because it saturates everything, creating an objective despair. It is like one has dropped into their own underworld, where everything is the same, yet seems utterly different to how it did on their surface world. As a concept, to move to a metropolis, where everything that I write and make art about is literally on my doorstep, seems amazing. The reality of it can be so, yes, but when everything is happening all of time, a sample of everything from the world (positive and negative) is seemingly on the street outside, it can eventually be so much that everything begins to have a sense of meaningless to it, especially when you’re new to a place, haven’t got many friends yet, so have no anchor of familiarity from it all. So I had to return north. At the time, my mind, in its underworld, said it was for good. But as soon as I would be out of it I knew I would have to return south.
Whilst I was up in the north I felt that I needed to head to an area that I hadn’t had chance to before I came to London. This area is the Pennine hills to the west of my home town. Not so much the moors, but the spacious and bleak roads and hills that separate the moorland heath from the more lush and green areas further down the hills towards town. I wouldn’t regard myself as somebody who’s life is mapped out by the symbolic, but perhaps I am, or perhaps I need to be. The founding issue of all that has been in the past 10-12 years has been the loss of narrative, a feeling of emptiness, yet despair that nothing seems to be accountable or be able to stop (what I saw as) the immense suffering of the human race unfolding before my eyes in the 21st century. This concoction also gave a leg up for dormant personal disorders in order for them to become active, as they did.
This area became a important locus in the mind map, and narrative that I developed inspite of the larger sense of the loss of narrative; a self-defensive narrative. During this period, after walking up to these hills to the point that my anxieties about the world down there were drained of care, the emptiness of these hills seemed to resonate and give landscape to how I was feeling about life in general. The few objects on these hills, because of their loneliness, become powerfully present in the mind, have a monolithic presence (most notably, the cluster of wind turbines, which already embody some kind of hope for the future). They absorb the meaning which is generated by this wider landscape as one finds it resonates with their feelings of meaningless/emptiness generated from the world at large. Thus they fix themselves in my mind, especially when I listen to the music that soundtracks this past decade and a bit.
I felt that I needed to visit this place to try to help put a closure on a stage of my life. It may not work, may never work, but yet I feel an oath to visit this landscape whenever there is at least a glimpse of a departure from a part of my life which (despite of all the good points – mostly that the art I have made during this period is perhaps what I am most pleased with in my life) I do desire to leave now.