It’s odd, because this feels like something of a prosthesis – a fake limb that gestures awkwardly; a supplicant to the phantom pangs of an amputation – to my former face, book, self.
‘All Things Fall Apart’ is my handle of choice for a number of inter-textual reasons. It nods to and echoes various poems, books, tunes and experiences which have – in their own and different ways – led me to write the way I do. Not, please note, ‘be who I am’. This is not a cathartic self-help introspection, it’s not a how-to guide and nor is it a therapy session. This is an experiment in writing; in pressing words into work to articulate my triumvirate passions of language, politics and culture.
‘Things Fall Apart’ was the title of a 1958 novel by the Nigerian anti-colonialist Chinua Achebe. Achebe – who struck a long chord between his upbringing and his political ambitions – borrowed the title from the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, who versed it in his poem ‘The Second Coming’. A writer with somewhat quixotic political allegiances, Yeats’ poem is open to several cross-cutting interpretations: at once revolutionary and conservative, Yeats – and his poetry – remains ambivalent. ‘The Second Coming’, more of you will note, was the Stone Roses’ long-awaited follow-up album, widely derided in the music press at the time but the record which enshrined now-classic tracks such as ‘Love Spreads’, ‘Ten-Storey Love Song’ and the 11-minute jazz-funk epic ‘Breaking into Heaven’. The latter conveys the immortalising – if not quite immortal – lyrics:
‘Listen up sweet child of mine,
Have I got news for you,
Nobody leaves this place alive,
They’ll die here, join the queue;
‘How many times will I have to tell you,
You don’t have to wait to die,
You can have it all, anytime you want it – yeah,
the Kingdom’s all inside.’
More on this later. But thanks for migrating from FB.