Originally I was going to write something about luck, this being Friday the 13th and all.

I’m a moderate believer in luck, I think.

There are – as far as I understand these things – statistical likelihoods of things happening or not, so in one sense is “good luck” simply another term for a favourable outcome happening? One’s perspective is important. To say that someone is “born lucky” or “under a lucky sign”, to assign predestination to such outcomes, makes some people a bit chary. I’m reminded of that quote attributed to various golfers:

The more I practice, the luckier I get.

Working on lowering the odds of good things happening. To an extent, you can indeed – indubitably – “make your own luck”.

But, but… I play Backgammon. While I am aware that the Backgammon odds of certain dice combinations are fixed (30% chance of rolling a particular number, nearly 6% chance of a particular non-double combination)… I have also played Backgammon repeatedly with my mum, and there are no two ways about it, she is a Dice Whisperer.

Needs 5-1 to hit a spot and make a prime… Oh, lookit that. (Then rolls eight doubles to finish.) Worryingly, this skill seems to have been passed down to her granddaughter.

Knowing what to do with the doubles is practice, but getting them when you need them is something else, perhaps.

Then, after I’d been mulling over all this, it was then suggested to me that I could make the L post a reference to one of my favourite bits from one of my favourite films, Dazed and Confused, specifically Wooderson’s motivational speech to Randall Floyd, havering over whether to “play ball” or no.

Man, it’s the same bullshit they tried to pull in my day. If it ain’t that piece of paper, there’s some other choice they’re gonna try and make for you. You gotta do what Randall Pink Floyd wants to do, man. And let me tell you this: the older you do get, the more rules they’re gonna try to get you to follow. You just gotta keep livin’ man. L-I-V-I-N.

Matthew McConaughey in fine form, there. I went for the low-res version of the many versions because that’s how I recall watching it REPEATEDLY on tape in the 90s.

L-i-v-i-n… It’s “just” a little stoner joke in some ways, but like everything in the film it has a few layers going on. Researching this today took me through various McConaughey clips and stories. The phrase resonates with him for obvious reasons, and some perhaps less obvious. I dig it. It’s a call for authenticity, perhaps, foremost.

To link (later) to my original theme, perhaps one aspect of what might be termed the Tao of Wooderson (lol) is a notion that participation is an essential component of creating your “luck”. Showing up, maintaining, remaining true to your inner visions… however you want to phrase it.

I’m aware, sure, that there is a certain triteness to sports motivational-sounding trueisms such as “you’ve got to be in it to win it”. That doesn’t stop them being relevant, I don’t think. There are all sorts of other factors involved. I am not suggesting a naïve and blindly optimistic approach to life. You need to remember your Buddhanature AND your National Insurance number, as Ram Dass almost put it.

But, one needs to keep going at it. Even, perhaps especially, when it seems you’re on a losing streak. Those come and go, a matter of perspective, and numbers… but, increasingly, I’m a strong believer in livin’.

Cheers for the suggestion, JCG!

It had to happen. The last couple of years have seen the commencement of 20th anniversary celebrations that it was once easy to think were hundreds of years away from happening. The youth’s blithe ignorance of time. Pronounce that ‘ignore-ance’: it’s maybe not unawareness, just disregard.

Mainly this is misery. It’s manifesting in bands that once stood shirts open and lithe, pouted for cameras, smacked their pert bottoms insouciantly with microphones, made music to throw yourself about to, now become lumpen middle-aged leaden-footed parodies of themselves. Suede, Manic Street Preachers, I’m looking at you, but not too closely.

Apparently, (old man take a look at my life) watching chart shows and music pop tv, I’ve got this annoying trait of constantly referring to a pet theory of the circularity of culture, with conversational non sequiturs like “A pox on this cultural looking back… the 80s are now as the 60s were to us in the 80s,” or indeed the 90s, as it has now cycled on to. 20 years on, to use a phrase half as good as Alan Bennett’s. Bands sounding like older bands and the older bands coming out for a second or third crack at the whip.

In this scheme, nostalgia is exactly what it used to be. “Imagine how fans of the Stones in the 60s felt by the time Mick Jagger was gurning all over the 80s.”

jagger_bowie_gurning_doom

Terrifying. I dunno. We are almost constantly being disappointed by our heroes ageing, and trying to avoid changing, yet changing, and becoming disappointing, and how it reflects back at us. Wordsworth got it in the neck from Browning, and so back and forth.

However! Sometimes backwards-looking doesn’t end in catastrophe. Dazed and Confused, I just discovered, one of my all time favourite movies of all time, just celebrated 20 years of existence. I missed the actual anniversary, last year, but, uh, yeah. Yet when I saw it had was been thenly, I took the opportunity to have a re-watch for the first time in ages.

I still love it. That messy mass of characters, wonderful conversational non sequiturs, moments, inconsequential events, that, in fact, surely, have whole life consequences.

Here is something I discovered also while riffing around on Linklater and DAC. Quite very much enjoyed the song, and I love the “Not back on it… still on it” tone of the accompanying video. Plus a fine lyric:

“For once, once in your life
won’t you do what feels right
instead of waiting for the next big compromise?”

That’s what I love about movie characters: I get older, they stay the same age.