20th August 2002

… the Tuesday Two-fer, here’s

… the Tuesday Two-fer, here’s Mike Golby on Leisure

Mike Golby - Sweetheart of the Rodeo
The Interview, Part Three

This is an “interview” in the loosest sense of the word.  I asked Mike Golby to share his insights in five areas.  He has done so and the album cover art below provides links to the separate pieces of this interview… 

Only rarely do I encounter a person who really speaks my language, a person whose clarity and depth of experience make me stand in awe of his or her abilities.  Survival is at the foundation, but it’s a random chance.  The world could have lost Mike Golby and never known his brilliant wit nor shared his wisdom.  Creativity is built on that foundation and that’s another random chance.  Creativity is a gift and Golby has been given it.  How he has shaped his creativity, how he shares it with the world is a choice.  I am proud that he consented to share these profound insights through the vehicle of this Web Log. Thank you Mike.

Mike Golby Interview - Part One Mike Golby Interview - Part Two Mike Golby Interview - Part Three

Mike Golby Interview - Part FourMike Golby Interview - Part Five





[This just in from Sud Afrique...  Golby has gone round the bend.  The boys in the white suits with the passive restraints have been called -fp-]

Leisure. Does it rhyme with pleasure? Many Brits and colonials would say so. How do you kick back, Mike? A lot of our activities are work, whether we enjoy them or pursue them avocationally. But there are time slices for each of us that qualify as leisure. How do you sort these out and squeeze enjoyment from them?

a) Leisure? Whazzat?
b) I am kicking back, Frank.
c) Nah, I don’t do that shit anymore.
d) I fall over.
d) After what I’ve been through? You must be joking.
e) Can’t slack off. PorridgeBoy’s out there.

Heh… that about says it. I haven’t had too much time for relaxing or leisure pursuits over the past three, four, or five years, but I’m getting there. Writing <b>is</b> a form of leisurely contemplation. It does me good and I do a lot of it. After doing a lot of co-dependency work on myself a couple of years back, I realized I was a certifiable ‘panic mechanic’, didn’t want to pursue it as a career option, and so broke the shackles. Writing is something I do for some ungodly reason and I’m intent on sticking to it. I’ll see where it takes me.

Still, running a family on my salary, being the only driver, etc. doesn’t leave too much time for doing what I really enjoy doing, i.e. getting the hell out of the city into the great wide open. I appreciate solitude and the big spaces. Andrea’s recent spelunking expedition, Shelley’s nature posts, and Jeff’s recent venture to the interior made for great reading. But I believe there’s something qualitatively different about African spaces where you can hear and feel the presence of God beating six feet deep in the heart of the country, where everything is tens of millions of years ago, and time and space don’t matter. It’s, well, cool. Ask Gary, he’s been out to East Africa within the past couple of years. I did the whole colonial, expat-Brit thing about twenty years ago when getting to know my in-laws. [Those old colonials are beyond pink gins and the club. They're a bunch of wild animals on heat.] Put me on a mountainside, on or beside the sea and I’ll switch from angst to ecstasy without breaking stride. The world, left to its devices, is music to me.

Otherwise, I don’t have much time to indulge my in-the-world, everyday pleasures, reading and listening to music. I’m catching up on Leonard Cohen at the moment. Music’s as expensive as books are here. You know the lyrics to an album before someone makes you a tape of it - only single people, working couples, or my kids have large CD collections. I took a two-week break from Bob and soaked in Cohen. Eventually I couldn’t bear any more of it [yesterday], slammed in Stevie Ray Vaughn and raised high the roofbeams. I’m an old rock addict and will never grow out of it. Classical music, played well, makes me weep. It’s too much. I don’t listen to it. For, I reckon, the right reasons. It’s too intense.

I enjoy jazz as much but prefer it live. I covered jazz for a national paper for around two years. Interacting with musicians who trusted me to reflect their music accurately was incredible. Especially as I play no instrument, cannot hold a tune, and cannot tell what-bar blues it is I’m listening to. Being present during those unexpected moments of magic when the music would, for a time, transcend itself and everybody feel it, was something else.

I don’t read novels as such. No time. People I enjoy, I regard more as painters of the word and will read whatever they have to say. Moving from ‘novelists’, I started into the likes of Kerouac at about seventeen and have read the usual library familiar to the middle-class bookworm. I do feel a void when it comes to classical literature. My tastes are as eclectic as they are catholic. What’s happened to Kundera? He dead? I still keep a copy of Hunter Thompson’s ‘Generation of Swine’ lying around for late-night [early morning] reading. No matter how often I read those columns, I still crack up each time I read them. The man is a thug, albeit an elderly one, and deserves to be dragged out into the streets and flogged like a rented mule. He has given the U.S. a disgusting name. He is depraved and all his books should be burnt. Especially the vicious collection of calumnies he heaped on poor Mr. Nixon. It was he, after all, who extricated America from Vietnam.

I’ve a few close friends of long standing, intelligent survivors of the good old days and people I’ve known since early high school. We watch Grand Prixs, drink tea, kick a ball around, and listen to their amazing jazz collections like little old men recalling an insane past. One of them might smoke some hash occasionally but the rest of us will just laugh at him. Come to think of it, while I’m the one who consciously doesn’t drink, they’re bloody abstemious for a bunch of former hopheads and, yes, enjoy live jazz as much as I do. We don’t share much personal stuff because, well, we’re men and we’ve known each other all our lives and you just don’t do that kind of thing. Besides, that’s what wives are for.

Yep, it’s an interesting phenomenon and I can’t say I’m completely immune to it. Old habits die hard [calm down, Elaine]. And, in some ways, it’s a good thing too. Wendy and I are bloody good friends and I have no secrets from her. We can sit and watch a day’s cricket in silence together, I can talk politics to her till the cow’s come home, or she can bat my ear for ages about anything she wants to. We enjoy the same movies [we don't watch much TV at all]. I did the whole art nouveau thing when I was a kid, soaking up every foreign film ever made, and so have missed out on a lot recently. But hell, I was the one who thought ‘Pulp Fiction’, ‘The Boondock Saints’, ‘Natural Born Killers’, and ‘Reservoir Dogs’ were comedies. Mind you, I’ve a far darker sense of humor than Wendy. My kids have inherited it as well.

Come to think of it, there’s a lot of laughter around our home and I do a lot of it around my friends. I guess that says quite a bit for such a dysfunctional bunch of people. Eh, movies. Burt Lancaster? I remember him well. My grandmother used to take me to the movies when I was a kid. She was ancient, in her seventies at least, and she’d slip me a large silver coin and whisper, “Remember, my boy, the Boer War’s not yet over.” She was Anglo-Irish. Great old woman although I believe she was a lousy mother. If I had to be a movie, I’d be ‘Withnail and I’. Now that was funny, beautiful, and sad. I suppose we all have to make choices, grow up, and learn to chill. When I’m in serious, personal blogging mode, I’m more the guy who drifts off into deep space in Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. Mind you, I’m pretty much like him anyway. I certainly wouldn’t classify myself a joiner - I’m pretty anti-social - and enjoy my own company. I never was a ‘team player’. Karate, skateboarding, surfing. They appealed to me.

Yeah, I’m relaxing right now, Frank, writing to you. To me, relaxing or leisure is just a case of ‘doing something else’, speaking to a friend, or meeting someone new.

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