I’ve always liked anger.
Not ugly, violent, uncontrolled anger.
But the beautiful anger of the righteous, the anger of youth, anger with the establishment, anger (as John Lydon put it) as an energy.
This is the type of anger that spawned whole political and artistic movements that, in many ways, defined the latter part of the twentieth century.
It ended the Vietnam war and it brought down the Berlin Wall. Even as I write it’s sweeping away despots in Arab lands.
This anger has given us such pricelessness as:
- Robert Johnson
- On the Waterfront
- The first Clash album
- Easy Rider
- John Lee Hooker
- What’s Going on by Marvin Gaye
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- Searching for the Young Soul Rebels by Dexy’s Midnight Runners
- Ball of Confusion by the Temptations
- Joe Strummer
- Billy Bragg
- Gil Scott-Heron
- Bob Marley
- Curtis Mayfield
- Ken Loach
- George Orwell
- Dennis Potter
- and more and more and more.
These things have enriched my life beyond belief, instilling in me a questioning approach to all things and providing me with a finely tuned bullshit detector that may be my proudest possession.
In particular, I credit the late, great and much lamented Joe Strummer for helping a 16 year old boy in confusion and some despair see and understand the value of defiance.
And yet …
I wonder how much this world view accounts for my depression.
Anger of the ugly (but, I’m pleased to say, not violent) kind has certainly accompanied this less than delightful passage of my life. Indeed, there seems to be growing recognition of the significance of anger as an indicator of depression in men.
But I’m wondering whether my critical approach to the world, which started as a genuine reaction to life’s inequalities, mediocrities and untruths, has led me to this place of negative feedback loops and blaming bouts of bitterness.
I think maybe it has.
At some point the energy got misdirected and it is not easy to restore its settings.
Nevertheless, would I change anything?
Do I wish I’d taken my teenage cues from Queen instead of the Clash, Harold Robbins instead of George Orwell, Spielberg instead of Scorsese?
Do I wish I’d lived a life of blissful optimism and comfortable satisfaction?
Well, what do you think?
The only thing I would change is the effect my recent state of mind has had on others, my wife especially.
Apart from that … I’m just glad that I’m not sitting here writing about how Freddie Mercury changed my life.