2014 : The Poison Harvest
As is traditional, a wrap up of 2014.
After the unapologetic FuckYear that was 2013, 2014 started far more promisingly. It was a year full of wonderful moments, and great discoveries. 2014 was also a year of great sadness, in three areas. My dad, who once told me that I had ruined his bowling career, made one attempt to contact me : this after having left several answerphone messages, and sending multiple letters and postcards. He called at 9.10am on a workday. Hardly the time I am likely or able to pick up the phone. I have made multiple attempts to call him since then, all of which he hasn't answered. My son is five. My dad has never spoken to him. Never called him. Never tried, or wanted to see him. My dad has never made the effort to know his grandson. For my son's fifth birthday, and for Christmas, my Dad sent nothing. Not a birthday card. Not a present. Not one fucking thing. He's 72. He's old enough to know better. But he doesn't know better.
We make decisions around the people we want in our lives. The bad people – those who act selfishly, those who lie to us – and I don't mean little lies – those who abuse our trust and our better nature, those who treat us as objects to be used and thrown away, they are the enemy. They are the people that cause more unhappiness than happiness. They are the agents of misery, and must be removed, as the cancer they are. They take emotionally and physically, and offer nothing in return. We need to surround ourselves with people who are honest, who are trustworthy, who are ethical, who feel the plight of others, and who act responsibly. Every person around us is someone we choose to have in our life, and they must be the people who want to be around. If not, we are telling them that us, we'll put up with their shit, and we have so little self-worth we will allow liars to abuse us.
Family is important. Our parents, our brothers. These are the people we should be able to trust with all things. My father, and my brother, have failed me. I have not held them to particularly high standards either : in fact, in the case of my brother, very low standards.
Basically, don't be a selfish jerk.
The other factor this year that has been particularly saddening is my brother.
In April, his partner of four years asked me if I knew “anything”. I had my suspiscions, as I have had for a while, that he wasn't being faithful. She had her own knowledge. Put the two together, and it presented a fairly damning picture of a man that had been unfaithful. Alongside a sloppy internet trail, and some detective work on her part, it soon became obvious he had been using multiple dating sites and profiles to live a double life, with mutiple relationships occurring concurrently.
It later turned out that in the four years they'd been together, he'd been actively and compulsively seeking out sex. He'd lied to everyone around him. And he got caught, very very obviously.
His sex life isn't my business. His lying is. I don't like being lied to. I don't like being treated as if I'm not worthy of respect. I don't like being implicated and dragged into other peoples lives. I don't like having people ask me if he's cheating.
Which is why I stopped lying when asked about him, because I knew the facts. For this, he accused me of “Pouring venomous bile” down people's throats? If it was bile, it was of his own making and his own doing. You reap what you sow. His Poison Harvest.
I initially dismissed it, but the evidence - and what a lot of it there was, enough for any court in the land to convict him beyond all reasonable doubt of these actions – was compelling and bountiful. These were not conclusions I reached easily, or willingly. When I ruled out all other explanations, this was the only one that made any kind of sense, no matter how immoral and abusive it may have been. I confronted him, largely wih the knowledge that not only had he – once again – lied and cheated. And, worst of all, when this all came to light, he simply refused to be honest with me. There were lies. Mealy mouthed cowardface statements such as “This isn't as bad as you think”, and there I was, actively begging him to just be honest with me. Whatever it is, it doesn't get easier by lying to me, especially when there is photographic evidence, and webpages where he repeatedly – and unambigiously – declared what he was doing.
2014 has been a very poor year. The person I spent nine months in the womb with has been revealed as an unrepentant, selfish liar. He may have thought that I was going to forgive him, but to forgive means to be able to demonstrate a genuine change of heart. There is no Infinite Get Out Of Jail Card.
There was a way out. One he refused to take. He refused – point blank – to be honest with me. He lied to me. And lied. And lied. For months. He had the option, every month, every week, every day, every hour, every minute, every goddamn second, to simply tell me his side of events. He refused to tell the truth, and since I had no other narrative to frame the facts, I based what I told people on the conclusions I reached that went uncontested.
And if I were wrong, he'd've loved to shoot me down in flames. Instead, he said nothing. Because I was sadly right. I did ask those who asked about him to talk to him. If they did or not, that was up to them.
The only thing he could have done to save the relationship I had with him was to be honest, and open, and instantly. Not to continue the deception for several more months.
I am worth more than that. I deserve to be treated with respect. I haven't been. He is the reason why some women think all men will cheat on them. Why some women think all men will hurt them. He is the enemy. A man who causes more unhappiness than happiness. A man who not only lies, but also thinks so little of me that he is prepared to throw away the last remaining friend he has because he will not tell the truth. We can be anyone we want to be, and he chose to be a liar, and a cheat, and an abuser of other human beings.
He had a strained meeting on November 22nd, the afternoon I said goodbye to Carter USM. Since he was going to see them that night, I felt it better to have a conversation before the show than to spend the show trying to find out exactly what he had done. He appeared honest with me, to a point. But the brazen brass balls of him to email me telling me about a cinema screening of a Pulp film as if I would forgive him after six weeks radio silence? No fucking way. I'm worth more than the way he treated me. He's 41, not 21, and there is nothing honourable, or ethical in his behaviour. I can only have people in my life I trust I cannot trust him.
What a shame, but this is entirely of his own making. And no one else's. No one forced him to do anything. Being 41 means taking responsibility for your own actions. These were his decisions.
To cut the cancer out of my life is my decision. As I said before, I don't have high standards. Just be honest, don't be shitty. The greatest adventure is growing old with someone. Why would I want to trust someone who lies on such a big scale, for so long, and fails to even admit it when faced with overwhelming evidence and facts? I'm worth more than sharing my limited time left on the planet with compulsive liars.
So this year, I made the decision to cut my brother out of my life. I don't want to associate with people who treat me with such undisguised contempt, who lie to me on any scale, let alone such a big one for such a long period of time and perpetuate the lie when absolutely exposed, and who think I have such low standards that I will tolerate being treated without any basic respect.
The rest of 2014 was overall, pretty good. My friends helped me through tough times. I was the sickest I have ever been as an adult, with a viral and bacterial chest infection, that turned into bronchitis, that turned into pneumonia in both lungs, that turned very nearly into being hospitalised. There were X-rays, and lots of antibiotics, and three weeks off work which is the longest period I have been off work for any illness in a very long time. It was truth be told, really scary to be so unwell.
I went to Brussels and Antwerp, both for the first time. Aside from having my bag stolen in Brussels, which is a first in my life, I enjoyed both immensely. I saw a lot of bands, and had a very good year. I didn't rest enough, though, and had a great disappointment on December 11th.
If you want to know what gigs I saw, you can always click here.
I also spent some time remixing music by bands I like, and to listen to those you can always click here.
I took some photos and you can always click here to see those.
A blessed end to the appalling year that was 2014. Especially April 28 and December 11. 2015? You haven't got much to beat, so 2014? F - must try harder. 2-15, the bar has been set low, you can easily beat that.