I’m not a Muslim – I’m not really religious in any meaningful way – but I’ve always had an interest in Islam. This interest is probably a mish-mash of things: the lingerings of Orientalist stories from my youth, and the fact that the belief seemed such a mystery to me.
I’ve lived in areas with plenty of Muslim neighbours, but I’ve not known much about what they believe. Certainly, there’s a lot of investment in the West in presenting the faith as the origin of Everything Wrong With The World, so it’s the sort of thing I’ve long had a niggling desire to get a better handle on. Because surely tabloids aren’t the best source of qualified comment on the religion, right?
Doom? Doom. DOOOOOOOOOOOOM. It’s a good word. One of those multiple-vowel words that have a plasticity turned to enjoyable goop by repetition. It’s also a type of metal music, though it furcates into numerous equally heavy (though to outsiders, often similar-sounding) strands.
Doom music is an unmitigated bummer, a reminder that Life Is Hard So Why Bother sung from basements at brain-rattling volume through equipment that smells like spilled bong water and hot dust. It’s a release in only the way realising you’ve reached the bottom of the barrel can be. It’s about [dis]comfort with horror, and in its original form emerged as a reaction against post-war austerity, industrial isolation and the general Shittiness of Living. It’s something you’d expect to be extremely un-fun, which it is, but luxuriating in that precise bummedness is, well, if not fun, enjoyable.
Do you like parties? I don’t mean goon-in-the-backyard, sausage sandwich kind of parties. I mean the sort of parties which involve military officers, pomp and pecking order. You know, society wankfests that lumber on intolerably despite the apparent desire of everyone else to be anywhere else?
It’s a genre that’s only bound together by a spirited fuck you. Its denizens run the gamut, from church-burning nihilists to hairspray-supported hedonists; from kvlt blackness to tits-out stupidity. From funereal dirges to brain-freezing speed runs. The sublime to the ridiculous. Speed to heroin. True to poser.
It’s got it all. It just adds studs and unreadable logos.
So during the hell year of 2020 I ended up watching the Met Opera’s Ring Cycle while avoiding, y’know, everything. I’d wanted to see Wagner’s cycle, and once it was done, hours later, I was keen to see where the story had come from.
First mistake: though the opera series shares names and themes, this version is a lot different. I mean, I’m not certain it’s been adopted by Nazis as readily as Wagner’s work has been, and there was a lot less in the way of either modernist stark staging or rabbits or horseback.
I’d been looking forward to reading this for a long time. I’d sweated on the ebook availability of Tricky’s autobiography, as it wasn’t clear if there’d even be one, and when I finally checked back and there was one, I hoped I wouldn’t be disappointed with the book.
(I mean, I was, but that’s unsurprising for an autobiography: they’re rarely the documents we desire.)
However this one begins as it means to go on:
My first memory is seeing my mum in a coffin, when I was four years old.
That’s a better opener than I’d any right to expect, so I was hooked.