Straight Outa Compton..Or Is That Clent…

One of the joys of having cancer is you never quite know what experience you are going to enjoy next. Don’t get me wrong some are simply ghastly. I will not go into detail but when you own a storma bag, you never quite know what is going to happen next. Nine times out of ten, it is fine, with no dramas. But occasionally, oh dear Lord, it is a force unto itself, and not a good one. You could describe it I suppose as a storma in a teacup, but that would jestingly play down the true depravity of what goes on.

So, leaving that over there in the long grass, one of the other joys of having chemo is the fact that depending on your treatment you have to take chemotherapy that is basically steroids. Double edged sword in many ways as it helps cure you, which is good but it has side effects, which is bad. By far and away for me the worst side effect, by a country mile is insomnia. This is a curse of the highest order, as sleep deprivation is one of the worst tortures known to man. Forget your water boarding, just dont sleep for more than one hour for three days and see how you feel. It is awful, your body drags itself around, but your mind and all the creativity that an agile brain bestows goes on holiday, leaving no forwarding address.

Lack of kip aside, one of the rare benefits of staying up all night watching mostly rubbish telly is that once in a blue moon you come across something that is actually worth watching. Case in point is that by sheer coincidence I stumbled across a movie called Straight Outs Compton. It tells the story of a group of young haples, initially mostly doomed young men, from the socially deprived district of Compton in Los Angeles, who it transpires have a real talent for rap music. They each have their own motives and justifications for choosing angry music of the ghetto’s to become their voice of frustration and angst. But, as I watched it would you believe i found myself strangely resonating with their desire to protest at the injustice that surrounded them. Just as it did in my teenage years as I embraced the punk revolution then, as I still do now.

Do not get me wrong, I make absolutely no parallel between the sedentary life of a middle class, English chap who frankly enjoys a comfortable and rewarding life style, but just so happens to have cancer, with the tough and unjust lives that these young rappers have to live. Absolute chalk and cheese is every way. I have never once been subjected to police brutality and harassment as happened regularly to these young guys. In addition I have never had to live in a world where gang culture is dominant and violence and sudden death are part of the landscape. Indeed my only brush with authority is the odd parking ticket, not quite the same is it. To be fair, getting a parking ticket has never inspired me to rap about anything, but, anger is an energy, and artistry is a skill set that finds its own path to release what ever lies deep within.

The truth is that I will never be straight outa Compton, more likely I will be gently undulating in and out of Clent, however, that will not stop me being inspired to blog, complain, and generally protest at what ever injustice I find inspires me to articulate what ever pent up anger and emotion is burning away inside. No different to any rapper or protest singer around the world, pussy cat dolls in Russia, NAW out of Compton, Bob Dylan, the list is endless and universal. The point is you can be diametrically opposed in life style but, human emotion being what it is, we all sing the same verse, just in different dialects, accents and slang, but, the message is the same. And for me this is one of the eternal beauties of the human condition, after all we are all much the same, just people with a story to tell. And just in case we need reminding there is no greater leveller than the storma bag, Kings, queens, paupers or beggars it works exactly the same.

Written by Austin Birks

March 7, 2019

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