4 arbitrary units of suicidalness: LV15 Interview Pt 1
Next in the GYBO interviews is LV15. For anyone who’s not been on GYBO describing his role is tricky. He was the pin that stopped GYBO’s balloon getting too filled with hot air. And he had the wit and words to match – as you’ll find out below in the deconstruction of my simple opening question.
1. How the devil are you? And what’s the weather like in Liverpool?
I always struggle with this kind of question. It’s like the ones you get asked on forms whenever you have an appointment with organisations that deal with mental health issues in any capacity. They ask you something like ‘How suicidal are you today?’ and then underneath the question there are 10 circles numbered one to ten, which you have to select one to indicate your answer.
The obvious problem with this is how are you supposed to answer? What does one mean? What does ten mean? If we look at it logically then surely one should be ‘I’ve only just had the word explained to me and I’m still not entirely sure what it means but from the little I can grasp, I would say that definitely doesn’t apply to me’. Whereas ten would be ‘I have just committed suicide, fortunately for you, I also appear to have knocked the pen over the 10 circle during the process’.
So if these are the parameters on which the scale is based, it is impossible to answer. With a whole lot of imagination and empathy, you could probably make a fairly good estimation of what 1 on the scale would feel like. There is no way to know what 10 feels like unless you actually experience it by which point, if anything, the question has become somewhat moot. So immediately we have given ourselves a scale of 2-9 in which to answer because we can’t honestly commit to either end of the scale.
The next problem that presents itself is ‘if the actual scale of our responses are in the range 2-9, it has become more important to understand the actual value of the increments of the scale’ If 2 has now become ‘no, I don’t feel suicidal at all’ and 9 has become ‘I am currently assessing whether any of the objects in the room could be used to kill myself’. Then there are 7 gaps between these two extremes and considering they are using numbers to gauge the response, it could well be assumed that the gaps are supposed to be a standard length apart like as if it were a graph axis.
So all we actually have to do is try to remember the happiest point in our life, then try and remember the lowest point in our life, then quantify the difference between these two points and then divide this difference by 7. This should then present us with our standard unit of how suicidal we feel which we can then use to extrapolate our true position on the scale.
‘Well I definitely feel at least 4 arbitrary units of suicidalness worse than the time I was stopped by the police on my way home from a theatre show I had been performing in, only to then realise that the only reason I had been pulled over was because I was in a largely white middle class area at the time and was still blacked up. (Hey it was the 80′s, there weren’t a whole host of black kids in the operatic society to play the black parts and the notion of ‘hey well why don’t you make the black people in this production be white people?’ had yet to take hold in this unyieldingly miserable hole of ignorance and apathy).
Ignoring the main awful points of this story though, it struck me as wonderful that I had been an imitation black man outside of the confines of the theatre for less than half an hour before i was ‘randomly’ stopped by the police. It certainly made me pay more attention to what Public Enemy had to say. So if we take that as a good point where it seems like the world is coughing up a special secret just for you to digest in your own way. It must be at least 4 units more than that.
So if we take that as being the high point and let’s see…reading a post by not-i about his fucking meditation guru or whatever the fuck he used to talk about in those long rambling posts of his that had the properties of a magic eye picture as if you stared at it for long enough, eventually you would just see the word ‘BLAH’ written in ascii art. We’ll take that as a low point. On reflection, I probably feel about 1 suicidalness units better than that point. Which if we consult the scale will put us in the range 6-8, we might as well split the difference and call it a 7 because you really need to be careful of over analysing these things.
Seven then, Seven is the magic number, that is the circle we will hang our hat on (that’s one for the old school right there). It at this point though where you might realise that it’s only a seven if the scale is actually calibrated in the way you have just worked out. You can’t know that for sure, for all I know, some cunt in a government office somewhere may have some totally different set of conditions for the scale ranging from 1 – Oh I dropped the toast, to 10 – I’m going to take as many people with me as I can before they stop me. You just don’t know.
What are they doing with this information anyway? It’s on a form, it must be getting processed even at some basic level. What is the point of asking the question if the answer isn’t being monitored in some way? Maybe my 7 which was just meant from me as a sort of ‘well i’m here and filling in this form, it all seems pretty pointless to me but at least i’m trying’ when entered into the database immediately raises a bunch of flags because the computer has noticed that a large number of people who previously answered 7 have been sex offenders and you’ve just automatically got yourself copied onto a whole other database so you can be monitored.
So I think, generally, that’s why people mostly just say ‘fine’ when you ask them how they are.
As for the weather, well it’s Britain, it could be fucking anything going on outside that window. I just need to tilt my head by about 100 degrees, lift the curtain and check but then I wouldn’t have anything to do this afternoon. The most I am prepared to say is that there currently appears to be no auditory clues as to the nature of the current weather situation.
How are you? Thanks for asking, etc.
2. How did you get involved in music?
At some point, when I was a child, I heard some music. Reports are that I rather liked it and made every effort to hear more of it wherever possible. This led to a 4 year old me asking Santa to bring me a record player for Christmas. Unfortunately, this may have been my earliest experience of not getting my point across well enough and Santa brought me a fisher price record player (youtube it) which was basically a device that looked like a record player but only played plastic discs which had bumps cut out of them. There were like 4 of these discs and all of them just played fucking nursery rhymes in an annoying high pitched tone which most jewellery/music boxes could beat for fidelity.
This led to a hilarious family anecdote about me pulling out a catalogue on Christmas day and bemoaning ‘i don’t mean to seem ungrateful but this is the one i wanted’ and pointing to a record player that plays actual records.Which makes me sound like a four year old cunt for daring to suggest that maybe a device that could be used to play the thousands of records we already had in the house may be a better option than the thing which played four plastic discs. It’s not like I could go down to Woolworths and buy the latest hits on massive colourful plastic discs. I was stuck with twinkle twinkle little star for fucking years. That had to have had an effect.
Apparently as a small child I was also a fan of smashing records, particularly my nan’s 78′s (78 RPM, go look it up kids). Unsure as I am in which order these events took place, I am unable to accurately tell whether my predilection for smashing records was the cause of me being bought the unbreakable plastic discs or my reaction to them.
3. How did you get involved in Boomselection/GYBO?
The website b00mb0x (bmbx.org) started out in an IRC chat room as an argument between two people over which one would make the better mix-tape. Eventually this argument escalated to the point that both parties got themselves some software, made a mix each and put them up on a website for people to judge.
People’s overriding reaction was ‘meh, i could do better than that’ and so a bunch of us did and before too long I found myself with a copy of Acid and a bunch of tunes and I made some mixes. Realising that a lot of the dancey stuff I was using was mostly really long instrumentals, I started looking for ways to keep people interested so I started dropping movie dialogue, speeches and any other shit I could find over the instrumental sections just to make them seem less samey to the casual listener.
It’s a fucking pain in the arse sourcing loads of samples for an hour long mix though, so one day i downloaded a bunch of acapellas and wondered to myself ‘hmmm i wonder if i can make these fit?’ and then did so with remarkably average results. To the people at b00mb0x though, this was some kind of sorcery and I was paraded through the streets like a king.
I even won the best mixer award at the year end awards which netted me one of the most awful t-shirts I have ever seen but one which I have never worn and kept in a plastic bag for over a decade to try to stop it from becoming nicotine stained, largely because words can’t accurately express just how awful it is and so I need to keep it as near to original quality as possible should the occasion ever arise where someone says ‘oh it can’t have been THAT bad’
(I have another t-shirt that I keep in a similar fashion but for entirely different reasons. Well the general reasons are the same, avoiding smoke damage, etc. In this case though, it’s kept in that condition because it’s a reminder of the fact that I’m not a complete cunt. No matter what my brain might be telling me).
Anyway, shortly after these year end awards on b00mb0x. One of the admins of the site came to me and destroyed any hope I had of maybe doing something unusual by showing me boomselection and GYBO which he had recently discovered where it turned out there were a bunch of people doing the exact same thing that I was, only better. I couldn’t have given less of a fuck about boomselection because I’ve no time for such things. Tastemaker blogs are about as fucking relevant as people posting top 5 lists in youtube comments.
GYBO on the other hand was a different kettle of fish altogether. The good, the bad and the ugly (or as they would later be called, the who boys) all thrown together in one big mess with a great big dollop of ‘hey don’t take yourself too fucking seriously’ thrown in, which was a welcome change of pace from the rest of the internet that was largely dominated by Americans and their endlessly annoying ignorance is bliss level of positivity.
So I came, posted some bootlegs, nobody gave a fuck, I didn’t particularly give much of a fuck either and just hung around for the talking shit infused with the occasional bursts of ‘holy shit the Remix just played one of my tracks, maybe we’re onto something here’, which was of course eventually punctured the day thedigitalpunks’ out of key rap bootleg got played and we realised ‘oh, they’ll just play any old shit’.
A couple of tracks that LV15 did for GYBO challenges: