Relying on the cliches of Joy Division to soothe the soul

Photo: NME

It’s been an odd few months. I quit my job, woke up into a new world after a four-week drinking session, swapped red wine for stout, spent a lot of time on my own thinking about stuff and now, two significant people in my life have found significant others in a post-apocalypse landscape of hope and uncertainty.

Significant person 1: Can’t go for a walk, having breakfast with the dude from next door.

Significant person 2: I had a date last night, he works in tiger conservation!

I got both messages within the same half-hour. The first one while I was having a Poogle and the second as I had my first sip of coffee today on my terrace in the sun.

So, for the first time in years, I’m on my own and I’m kind of sad and excited at the same time. These seismic shifts in life offer us the opportunity to move on and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. The old me would have bought three bottles of cheap wine, got self-indulgently drunk, and listened to Joy Division on the terrace until I passed out on my cacti. Cacti, you are safe.

I have self-indulgent tendencies. Bad ones. Ugly ones. Ones that become crazy monsters in the dark. I can drink an entire bottle of whisky and stare at the floor for hours and hours. Like when my ex left me in 2005 and I came home to an empty house and a note. I went straight out, bought a bottle of whisky, put Closer by Joy Division on, and stared at the floor until the sun rose into an empty house on Rose Street.

I showered, didn’t shave, didn’t pray for my sins, and went to work, where I lost my temper and threatened a co-worker with a trowel. I got sacked, went home via a whisky purchase, and put Closer back on. Repeat, repeat, repeat, fucking repeat ad infinitum.

Photo: NME

But I’m getting self-indulgent again. I need to avoid that state of mind or I’ll wind up back at the Sisyphean drawing board with an Albatross around my neck. I talk to my therapist about the Albatross a lot, it’s a strong theme in our sessions. She’s become the wedding guest that I’ve stopped in the street to tell my story. She has the face of an angel and this uncanny ability to deconstruct my bullshit and throw it back at me like a chimp in a zoo. Sometimes during our sessions, I stop breathing and she tells me to breathe. I like that. I’m not in love with her. She’s a lifeline, end of story. Let’s move on …

But what’s next for this tarnished jester who ‘struts and frets his hour upon the stage?’ Now, this could be an opportunity to be a sad self-indulgent bore. No. Never. I’m taking the bull by the horns and driving that beast into the land of milk and honey.

I’m going to build a beach bar in Samoa with my bare hands and ‘give up the booze and the one-night stands, then I’ll settle down in some quiet little town and forget about everything. Full of sound and fury, signifying’, something.

And to my significant people who have moved on to significant others. Dance on. Be happy. Please call me sometimes. I’d like that.

NB. Anything in quotation marks is by Shakespeare or Gerry Rafferty, not Joy Division. However, Closer (below) contains plenty of Joy Division lyrics.