Sunday, 21 January 2018

The Noise of Darkness: The Quiet of Dawn - Day 53

Day 53 (Monday 22nd January 2018)
53 years since the launch of TIROS 9, on 22 January 1965. It was the first weather
satellite able to provide pictures of the entire Earth. It orbited around the world
12 times per day and had a camera on each side with a wide-angle views so
every section of the globe could be seen twice per day. It proved a life saver
in 1966 when meteorologists used its real-time pictures in December 1966 to warn
the residents of the Fiji Islands of a rapidly approaching hurricane, providing
them with sufficient
 time to evacuate. (NB picture not taken by TIROS 9)
Today is the start of a very busy week for me. I feel slightly like it is the lull period before the next onslaught - it was my husband's birthday yesterday, my youngest son's tomorrow and then I have an Executive two-day offsite and an awards event to look forward to before Friday. I hope you have a good week ahead of you.

Today's post is by Perry Timms. I first met Perry when he was still working within corporate HR - he was Head of HR - Talent and OD for the Big Lottery Fund. It feels like a lifetime away, although he has not lost his energy and drive. Perry has run his own business (People and Transformational HR Limited) since August 2012. In October last year his book, Transformational HR: How Human Resources Can Create Value and Impact Business Strategy, was published and he is a well-known writer and orator. Perry is widely recognised as being comfortable speaking out for what he believes in. What is perhaps less well known is that he is sensitive, spends much of his time thinking and feels things deeply.

He cares about HR and its future. Living (and having grown up in) Northampton, he was until last year on the Committee and a former Vice Chair of the Northants CIPD branch. He enjoys socialising (with the right people) and football - he is a Northampton Town football fan. As you will see from the below post, he is passionate about music and is a self-confessed Soulboy. You can follow him on Twitter (his handle is @PerryTimms) or read his blog (on his business site), or his former blog (Adjusted Development). He is eager to connect with those with whom his words and thoughts resonate, and believes that it is possible to change the world..."one conversation at a time".


There’s a lot of talk of overcoming adversity, triumph and challenge that this marvellous series of blog posts has revealed.  I could sense how important the openness of the personal stories people have written about is both for them and others.  And how this series of posts was hard but necessary for some people to share.  I have quietly applauded all who have written for this. I have occasionally shared and commented on the posts.
And yet I’ve still been troubled somewhat.  A troubling that has been with me since 2016.  Maybe a little before then but amplified by socio-political events of that year and 2017.

I’ve seen the noise of darkness on social networks.  I’ve smelt the rotten decay of angered souls and lost minds.  I’ve felt the vicious attacks and utterly despicable words used by people and thrown like caustic liquid at the social media accounts of others.

In short, social media has developed a wretchedness that I’ve had to work hard at to shield myself from.

Not to shield myself because I want to stay “in the Shire” ignoring the imminent peril from Mordor.  

To shield myself from the feeling of despair that humanity is lost.  To shield myself from experiencing emotional trauma I could do without.  To shield myself from the distractions of false crusades I could never do good from.

I’ve experienced a lot more dark noise from my social networks than I have enlightened joy.  So I’ve withdrawn.  Many will have noticed this, some might have been pleased by this.  Some will wonder why.

It’s because I don’t want to be party to more noise and I want to be choosy about when to shine some light.  So that the light hopefully becomes more valuable, more unexpected and pleasant and has more warmth.

The dark noises would say to me:
“You’re a coward”“You’ve gone cold on us”“You don’t care anymore”“You’re not here for us”“How can you learn if you don’t face that which you disagree with and enter into debate?”“Echo chamber - pah.  You’ve regressed into an adult version of your playground gang”“You have a duty to bring about balance”“Don’t go, we miss you”“So all that evangelising about social networks - it was fake wasn’t it?”

Fuck that.  All of it.

I’ve withdrawn more because I care more. I care more about myself, my sanity and that of those who have come to mean the most to me.

So the light voices will say

“It’s nice when you appear”“I value it because it’s not there so often”“You make me think”“It shows I matter, that’s important to me.  I thought I was just another number in the network”“You seem gentler, more thoughtful, I like this”“Just what I needed right now”“Cuts through the crap”“Different”

And they’re my hopes, and aspirations and wishes and dreams for how I want to be perceived on social networks.  

Not ubiquitous, or constant.  Not reliable or ever present.  Not just there. Not too easily dismissed. Not overplayed.

Not noisy.

I adore a singer called Maxwell.  He came out in 1996 with Urban Hang Suite - one of the most defining soul music albums of the 20th century.  It - and he - were adored and lauded. Championed and extolled.

He followed a couple of years later with the album Embrya. It wasn’t adored - it was different, more esoteric.  

He then released Now, equally, not adored, a return to rootsy gospel soul-funk.

He disappeared for a while.  We missed him.  Then we forgot about him.

Then he came back.  BLACKsummer’s night.  One of the most eagerly awaited returns I can recall.  I loved it.  It still wasn’t Urban Hang Suite - nothing ever will be.  But my goodness did I value his return.  I recalled why I loved Urban Hang Suite and him.  Why I was moved at the concert I saw him perform at the Royal Albert Hall.

I was glad he was back and I was glad he was quiet for a long time.  It gave me time to appreciate him even more.  And he hadn’t returned; he was new, different.  Confident in his new self and his new music.  He followed up again blackSUMMER’S night.  Again, no Urban Hang Suite epoch-type moment, but continued worthy music and writing.

Maxwell resisted the urge to become noise, or disappear completely.  He was choosy.  Circumspect. Wiser. Warmer.

He had peaked at Urban Hang Suite, but that was OK.  We all have that.  

I’m using Urban Hang Suite now as “my finest moment”.  

I’m not going to destroy myself trying to recreate that.  I’m just going to continue to experiment and find my BLACKsummer’s night.  

So we can appreciate each other still. If you want me to keep creating Urban Hang Suites, we might have a problem.

Because there’s loyalty in this too.

Loyalty appears to be when you stick with people even though they haven’t captured that first moment of excitement and bliss, that wow and that spark.  I don’t think you can ever “be” that person again.  You can though continue to have worth and value, merit and impact and appreciate people for that and not what you liked at first.

I’ve seen loyalty and I’ve seen the opposite. I’m OK with it.

If you liked my Urban Hang Suite but haven’t like anything I’ve done since, that’s OK.  We have memories.

If you’ve never even liked my Urban Hang Suite then I hope you still enjoy the Smiths or whatever you’re into.  I didn’t write to please you anyway.

If you liked my Urban Hang Suite and even welcomed my disappearance or quietness and you like my BLACKsummers night “new me”, then that’s why we’re cool with each other.

For Dark isn’t a colour to me - it’s noise, coldness and rejection.

Dawn is musicality, warmth and welcoming.

Thank you Kate, all other authors in this series and thank you Maxwell.


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