Tuesday, 8 April 2014

What shall we do with the dreaming blogger?

You may or may not know that I used to be in a band. Yeah, musician in a band - a radical concept, I know. In fact, I've been in a number of bands, including 47's band, which played all of one gig (but it was fun), and my own, wherein we managed to stumble our way through a few, but with audiences averaging 6, that doesn't really matter too much.

It does say something when you play a gig and the most interesting thing that happens is the presence of marshmallow foam from Cybercandy.

During my three years at university, though, I played in the biggest band I knew since I'd been in the youth symphony orchestra at the age of about 12. I still don't know why I joined, really, but it was something typical of a wanky art student wanting to get through a creative/expressive block, and since that's the same reason I started this blog it's something that never leaves. I don't even know why I stayed so long, since I was ritualistically bullied by the musical director and my section leader. Twice a week I went to rehearse, and twice a week I waited to be yelled at or humiliated by somebody - for no particular reason; I wasn't too bad at my chosen instrument, even: I was just an easy target.

Maybe I've got a neon sign above my head that I can't see. It's masked by the glare from my halo.

But I digress. I kept going, despite the abuse - I had friends there, plus when it all came down to it, I liked the music. And we played more concerts than I'd have ever thought possible, too.

In the back room of the community centre where we rehearsed, there was a large and dusty library of titles which we had never played and never would, old and broken instruments which didn't work, and a pair of antiquated timpani, which I usually hauled out into the big hall myself since I occasionally played the things once my bullying section leader had left, bequeathing the instrumental duties to the one person left in the section (me!). Countless times I sat at the back of the band waiting to play my few notes, and even more times (could they be counted) I wondered how easy it might be to slip off into the back room for illicit sexual activities while the band was playing its 49th verse of Geordie Jack-Tar.

Particularly in my second year (my first and third were different), my nights were characterised by steamy, sweaty self-indulgence while my brain conjured up images of exactly what one (or two, to be exact) could get up to in such a room, how to do so without being caught, and the logistics of having sex on a timpani. I even considered writing a story about it, although I had no idea how - noting down my nocturnal fantasies always came out like a rather clinical bullet point list.

I haven't forgotten.

My dreams have been stranger than usual recently, although (as opposed to the odd sexual situations they tend to throw at me) they have mostly been concerned with Getting Stuff That I Need To Get Done Done, which is both depressing and worrying and more the sort of thing my mother dreams about than I do. However, two nights ago, wholly without any reason to be doing so, I found myself revisiting that back room, naked, with none other than a famous British journalist I shan't name (because you never name a journalist!) as my sexual sparring partner. While the bank played something in the other room that could have been anything. Possibly the theme tune from Ground Force. I didn't really notice, as I was more concerned with hair, skin and filthy filthy filthy sex.

I've no idea whether this is my body dealing with sexual urges in a healthy way (it wasn't a wet dream - I haven't had one of those for a while) or addressing an unresolved issue, but anyway, it was a nice (if completely baffling) situation to have presented itself. I should start a library of these things.

And then last night's dream involved me in a suit with a clipboard.

My brain is really weird.


Anonymous said...

When you say you were ritualistically bullied, were you just no good and/or not listening to instructions and therefore getting repeated negative feedback?

Anonymous said...

I ask because you repeatedly talk about being bullied by people who are in charge. To me it just sounds like people are telling you off for not doing as you are told.

Innocent Loverboy said...

No - I was being bullied.

I don't deal well with negative feedback, this is true - however, I wasn't not doing what I was told; I was just there. I stood out a bit because I was different from a lot of other people in the band - university student, socialist, vegetarian, intellectual, percussionist - and being as I am, I was an easy target for verbal abuse.

In pretty much every case where I've been bullied by people who have more "power" (as is, although I don't believe too much in hierarchy), and this band is a very good example, I don't do too much to fend off any of it, because I develop some sort of victim mentality (one of the cornet players told me that she was pleased that I was there because she got shouted at otherwise!).

I wasn't doing anything wrong; I was paying attention and kept my mouth shut (even when there were things I objected to happening) and yet I still got yelled at (at one point, "wanker!" at me right in the middle of an important concert).

Many's the time when one of the other band members told me that they'd originally thought I was related to the conductor, as there had to be some sort of connection to why he was giving me so much abuse, and that they wouldn't have stood for it.

I was being bullied - of that, I am certain. Then again, it's me. This is what happens to me.

Anonymous said...

So it's a large group of people in the world that are at fault for picking on such a supposedly easy target?

It's not that you irritate people in an arrogant, egocentric, passive-aggressive, abrasive, confrontational manner?

Interesting that I know several people with all of the qualities you describe and none of them consider themselves to be repeatedly targeted by bullies.

Innocent Loverboy said...

I won't deny that I can irritate people, but I don't set out to do that. In fact, all of the qualities you've set out there don't really apply to me.

I was nothing in band if not passive. I sat quietly at the back and didn't say much or do much, except for in response to the bandleader's questions and comments. I wish I'd done more, in fact - he unfairly fired a member of the band for no reason other than that she hadn't come for a couple of weeks (and I was the only person who e-mailed her to check if she was OK, as he boasted about having made her cry), and I should have said something there and then. But I didn't. I was scared.

I wouldn't say I'm confrontational. I've been working, over the past few years, on developing a backbone. I still stand up for myself and then wobble and feel picked on. But I do wonder if it's not the case - if people just are picking on me because they can.

And because I let them.

[[NB: I don't know who you are, but you do remind me of someone very specific. If you are who I think you are, then you can approach me with any problem you've got with me through other ways, or leave a comment here, if you want. Whatever you may think, I am listening to you.]]