The Midnight Gospel


[Denis Kovalev x]

Does anybody else get that warm, fuzzy feeling when you're really grateful? I think maybe it's more like when someone does something that feels altruistic or just nice. It's not something I experience often but it's one of my favourite feelings in the world. I often find myself re-reading nice messages or replaying memories of nice things in my head. There's nothing quite like the sensation you get when it feels like someone has really taken the time to understand you or your needs.

Over the last few days I've started to give this left-wing podcast a listen. It was recommended by one of my long-time friends who before this week I haven't spoken to much in ages (it was really nice to reconnect), so I decided I'd give it a go. I've never really ventured into the world of podcasts before (other than the beautifully batsh*t Welcome to Night Vale) but I actually really like the format. It's nice to lose yourself in other peoples' conversations - surprisingly this is something I find I can focus on. I think the presence of multiple hosts and viewpoints means my brain gets something closer to the extra stimulation it needs to maintain decent attention. In one of the episodes, the cast discuss Bernie Sanders' withdrawal from the Democratic primaries and what this (as well as the end of Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party over here) means for an organised left going forward. What really stuck with me was their analysis of some of the more unhealthy tendencies after political defeat, and what needs to be avoided and embraced in order for the left to work meaningfully in the future. We're definitely living through some of the most unprecedented times and I think it's really important for us as a collective to have some sense of direction (if not a lot of the answers right now). Especially when there's so many people increasingly at risk of being abandoned by official channels (welfare, health systems etc) which naturally pushes already oppressed groups further into the margins of having a comfortable life.

I've been asking people on twitter for some podcast recommendations. It's really nice that so many people I'm mutuals with took the time to send me some. If anyone has any ideas, I'm obviously up for some good left-wing content. I also like the strange, sarcastic and (somehow) atmospheric humour of things like Night Vale. Emotional topics are always a winner, too. I've come to realise that introspection is something that's really important to me and I spend a large portion of my time just reflecting on my own life & behaviour. Often to try and improve myself and to make sure I and others are happy, but sometimes just for the sake of it. I love to analyse myself and I love to analyse other people (although generally in a constructive or observational way). I think I just really love people. And thinking about people's lives. One of my favourite blogs is Humans of New York, for this reason. I could genuinely just sit and read about the lives of strangers for hours, days, weeks (who knows, maybe I'll have to if the lockdown goes on for as long as has been suggested!). I'm also super into Mara Wilson's posts at the moment. I've long been a fan of her twitter output and there's just something about her writing that really clicks for me. It's introspective, much like my internal monologue, and I love the little touches like her weekly fake TV show title.

It's interesting because I think as introspective or as interested in human feelings as we might be, there are some things you can only discuss with certain people. It's not even a matter of closeness or similarity (at least not in simple terms). I think you can have really constructive conversations where you feel like each participant is gaining and contributing something at the same time and there doesn't feel like there's a power imbalance. Sometimes things can be the other way around, though. If there's one thing I can't take, it's feeling like I'm telling people things I don't really want to. Telling people things for the sake of sharing because you want to be polite (maybe some people have better boundaries and don't have this problem) or feeling like the other person just wants to analyse you or give you unsolicited advice. It's not something I'm particularly comfortable with, and I think sometimes you can only feel comfortable being as vulnerable as the other person/people.

Yesterday I started the new Netflix series, The Midnight Gospel. It's written by Pendleton Ward, the creator of Adventure Time. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I loved the first episode a lot. The animation style is close enough to AT that it makes me nostalgic (especially for the later, more emotionally poignant and conceptually abstract episodes). The dialogue is excellent, too. The main character uses some sort of simulation device (in the far future), sort of like really good AR, to interview people from past/other worlds and dimensions during any number of disasters or odd circumstances. The disastrous circumstances are almost exlusively background noise, though. The dialogue is often just between two characters and is a sprawling, stream of consciousness back-and-forth about philosophical and ethical issues (e.g. drugs, addiction, death, loneliness, religion). It's very relaxing and is just the right amount of introspective for me (there's that word again).

Tomorrow I need to prepare for an online seminar. It's text-only, rather than a Zoom call which is a bit better. I'm stressed out because I'd have liked to have prepared for it sooner but I've been working for the last couple of days. I've also been reading for my next deadline and I've come to accept that I can't study for/work on two projects at once. Which isn't great when it's pretty much a requirement at university level (I always end up begging for extensions which I undoubtedly think I should get automatically given some circumstances I won't go in to now). It's hard because I often end up missing seminars for this reason, and I'm worried because of how this particular module has threatened a docking of marks for non-participation (more of a power trip than a policy that helps students in any way, from my perspective at least).

I've finally managed to pre-order a Nintendo Switch! It's a late birthday present so I can somewhat (??? r u sure m8) justify the money. I'm just excited to play New Horizons and Breath of the Wild finally. I do need to be careful not to get too distracted this month, though. I do still have to actually graduate.

As for the rest of my life, I've been reading about Afrofuturism in music and the political implications of the positioning of particular artists and characters within narratives that seek to re-write oppressive histories. I'm specifically going to be looking at Janelle Monae's music and futuristic themes for an essay on the importance of agency for groups seeking to liberate themselves from the status of 'Other' (à la Said). I've not quite decided exactly what I'm going to focus on in terms of themes (other than robotics and future tech) but we'll get there. I've submitted my diss now so that's out of the way, and a huge weight off my shoulders.

Other random news: I cut my partner's hair (well, the sides - it actually looks okay for a first time! it was a terrifying ordeal though because I was so worried about messing it up!); we downloaded No Man's Sky (which I hadn't played before and love so far - the soundtracks beautiful and I love documenting the fauna!); I've been working on a new freely downloadable blog theme; I've really been enjoying the free brutalism photos on unsplash; I drank a whole bottle of prosecco last night (despite having work at 10AM the next day lol); I stumbled across Alicia's site - she has so many awesome links and recommendations and I'm really excited to trawl through them properly, check her blog out if you get the chance!

That's pretty much all for now. I'm probably going to re bleach my hair soon but it needs cutting first. I'm planning to go silver, then eventually dark green. sPoOkY.

In the spirit of paris is burning Mara Wilson, I thought I'd end with my own Fake TV Show - Question Time: On Ice.