John Walker's Electronic House

Rum Doings Episode 208: Thousands Of Loose, Flapping Tentacles

by on Jan.20, 2016, under Rum Doings

In our 208th ever Rum Doings, our topic is, is David Bowie better than Gandhi?

In what can only be described as a Rum Doings way, episode 208 is a tribute to my father, who died last Saturday. The aim of this episode was to attempt to capture the reality of a side of grief, in all its frankness, truth and ghoulish flippancy. I think – perhaps too often – people tend to talk about a person’s death with a great deal of reverence, and in hushed tones. I love my dad to bits, and have written about what a special person he was here. Rum Doings has always been about talking about what’s truly on our minds, and this episode is no different. Don’t expect hymns and solemn nodding.

We talk about the suddenness of my dad’s death, what happened at the time, and the fantastic things that were somehow wrapped up before it happened. We consider how impossible it is to empathise with intimate grief until it’s experienced, and analyse how it can hit you. I go into my bizarre tummy-tentacle theory of relationships, with diversions into exploring what it’s like to be in that moment of hearing such terrible news.

If the tone makes you feel uncomfortable, know that it makes me feel good, and dad – as a sneaky RD listener – would have enjoyed it.

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8 Comments for this entry

  • FeralP

    Thanks for doing this episode – it was really interesting to hear death talked about frankly, as it’s usually such a taboo topic. Your attitude towards this certainly seems more healthy and honest than is typical.
    I’d be interested to hear more about your theory on relationships, in particular – if you’re not choosing a partner based on shared interests, what do you look for?

  • Zaytoon

    Thanks for this episode. I imagine that when the same happens to me one day I will go back and listen to it again.

  • John Walker

    FeralIP – Shared interests aren’t of course a bad thing for a relationship – not having anything you both like doing would probably be problematic – but I’m arguing they tend not to be a sensible motivation for one. I think the act of starting a relationship based on commonality could end up being quite a narcissistic thing – “how is this person like me enough for me to date them?”

    I think differing interests and open minds are amazing options – someone you can learn from, and teach stuff to. That’s incredibly bonding. Also, entirely anecdotally, I’ve found that Laura’s complete uninterest in video games is a really healthy thing for me, giving me greater breadth. (Insert fat joke.)

    Oftentimes, I think it’s the person we’re not immediately overwhelmingly attracted to who can be the better fit. That instant OHMYGODIADOREYOU thing can often be those few tentacles we’ve errantly assigned greater value, when in fact they reflect our self-destructive instincts. It’s certainly why I ended up in a series of short, tumultuous relationships with girls who weren’t very nice to me. The person who feels… comfortable, safe, less exciting but more concrete, can often be the one who will last.

  • James B

    I suspect that a stranger’s condolences are somewhat meaningless but please accept mine just the same.

    I’m far too English to start phoning up my parents and tell them I love them. They’d inevitably assume that I was either on drugs or wanted something. I have however had a somewhat-too-long conversation with my mum about fitting a new antique brass door knocker to our front door.

    Can I say well done for this episode without being even a little patronising? ‘Twas splendidly placed on the irreverent / affectionate spectrum.

  • Troye Wallett

    Thanks John. You put so much goodness into the world. Keep doing what you are doing.

  • FeralP

    Thanks John, that’s an interesting new perspective for me on that initial ‘passionate’ feeling when first meeting someone. Certainly, I agree it’s not necessarily always a good indicator of how good your relationship with the person in question would be. This is relatively new territory for me, and I appreciate hearing other points of view.

  • Will the WTF

    This episode blew my mind! Triumph all round, apart from on the clumsiness of the fainting of course.

    I think there might be a slightly different kind of tentacle for something distinct from a volume of shared interests making a bond. As in not taste, but dearly held beliefs and agendas political and so on. If those chime together wonderfully, then you have something. If you can have a collaborative band mentality about your days out grocery shopping, isn’t that wonderful? I hope that doesn’t cut against the less exciting, safe, concrete goodness. I suppose you can authentically have the same inspired mission and be dull together. When excitement is derived from an incompatibility, a contradiction in the partnership’s hopes, then oh dear. But if the tastes exposed in smalltalk are so different that you can’t find a way to spend time together without one of you coming out in a rash, that’s not helpful. Woman I had some chemistry with and adored, lovely woman from spain but been here most of her life, didn’t know what Monty Python was. Had to cut her loose. So I’m back to waiting for someone right and trying to get ready and healthy and sorted and succesful to be right myself.

    Do I sound like I’ve been lonely for years? Hmmm.

  • evert

    I am very sad to hear about your father, John. Even though I don’t know you I know what a difficult time this can be, having lost mine a few years ago. It is good hear that you can remember him fondly.

    You touched on something that struck very close to home for me: that it took a while to fully process his death. ie, when some band he liked was touring or some game he liked was announced/released (Witcher II I think), I immediately thought “Dad would be interested in that”.

    I put off leaving a comment because I knew that I would not be able to avoid talking about my own father, so – sorry about that.