The back story to the single “…vicious dog…” is that I anger. Much of the time I do the right things to lessen my anger: I run, I meditate, I sing, I watch dumb comedies, I have sex, I don’t eat too bad or drink as much as many, I pray. Still my anger takes quite a while to leave me. My old shrink once told me that anger is a natural emotion & that it’s what we do with it that matters. Funnily enough, of all the many many people I’ve met through years of touring, travelling, working in customer service and generally walking the beat, I reckon I’m in the top 20% least angry. Still my anger preoccupies me. How do I become less angry?, coz quite frankly it knocks me off balance, harms my mental health and damages my relationships.
Ok, so what angers me?:
I anger about loved ones letting me down, I get angry when I am met by several rude or aggressive people across my path in quick succession, I get angry with myself for squandering my gifts, for stray words escaping, for wasting beauty, I get angry because of fatigue, angry coz it’s in my DNA, and people are not only rational; but most of all, I get angry that the power of a tiny minority of the world’s population is spent oppressing and brutalising the poorest and most vulnerable majority and that the aspirational classes go along with it for the sake of a ‘few extra crackers’, all the while ignoring what’s going on, and minding their Ps & Qs and performing their parts in the media-led circus chorus. I anger often for different reasons, as many do, so why aren’t we talking about this more often? Coz the results are seemingly increasingly violent – whether in the home, on the streets, between nations, between interest groups.
A funny thought crossed my mind: if we live in such an angry world, why does it appear that the vast majority of artists (in all fields), who themselves as people anger so regularly, so rarely refer to the emotion or map it out, confront it, do a portrait of it, diarise it, dramatise it – whichever, in their work? (except maybe in rap & metal and that’s usually fairly unreflective stuff) Is being an artist these days just a mask-wearing exercise?, presenting what we would like others to think of us, not the truth (what the Sociologist Erving Goffman calls “Impression Management”): only showing our good sides: so much for Yin and Yang or if you prefer: the fact that ‘we’re all sinners’, and that our compassion has its limits when stuck in the hurly-burly of life, hey if we read the Bible you get to see that even God Himself angers!
Sure, I get it that nobody wants to listen to angry songs all the time, that we need an escape from the horror of the world, most of the time we feel like we can only handle gentle things, we need some peace. & so we sing pretty songs about virtuous things. I do too, often – just not on this occasion. In this song I wanted to look at my anger & the path by which I have become less angry. I am proud of the improvement. I sleep better at night. My wife gets a mostly tolerable husband. Anyway, in this year in which we are investigating violence against women and children, I thought I would address men & call them to account: to be more self-aware, to look at their anger – whether they express it aggressively or passive-aggressively or in my case mainly masochistically (see self-abuse is still abuse! and ‘misery begets misery’).
Anyway, the moral in all this is that I think one can become less angry & one should persevere in doing so. Your path will be different to mine & I got a lot of things wrong, as well as a few things right, but you must become less angry. We all must (women included btw), coz it’s getting pretty awful out there & the vulnerable suffer too much. So young guys, there’s still time. You CAN make improvements: so loosen up, open up, find your means to become more physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, spiritually FLEXIBLE – that you may better deal with life not happening the way you wanted or expected it to. Make love, not just with your dick, but with your heart, your hand, your voice.
By Malachi Doyle. 19th April 2016.