What was the last thing that moved you to tears? What gives you the strength to carry on? Inspired by Idles, this post celebrates the sustaining power of love, friendship and heartfelt honesty.
What was the last thing that made you weep?
For me it was seeing the simplest demonstration of love, when I might least have expected it.
This past Bank Holiday Monday (26 August 2019) I watched a video of Idles* at this year’s Glastonbury. I’d heard of but somehow never heard Idles until that day.**
Their music has such purity of feeling. It is chaotic, brutal and cathartic. Almost frighteningly honest and sincere. A fragile emotional heart beats right under its surface.
Idles singer Joe Talbot peppers their performance with heartfelt words of gratitude. He gives thanks to the audience. He gives thanks for his wife, for his daughter, and for the NHS. He gives thanks for his life, humbled that he has made it through addiction and all the strife of the past to be present at this pinnacle moment in his life. He is clearly overwhelmed to be here.
One tiny moment quite overwhelmed me with emotion. I wept tears of joy at a simple, gentle and pure demonstration of loving support.
Around 45 minutes into their set, the band takes an extended pause between songs. Talbot is now overwhelmed with all the pent-up, inexpressible emotions flooding through him at this moment. Words fail him. He stands with hand on heart. Tears flood out.
Then the loveliest thing happens. A woman with a baby strapped to her front walks on stage. She briefly embraces Talbot, kisses him, gently whispers to him, then walks off. As she moves away, their hands grip softly for one last fleeting moment, then let go. She has given him the strength to go on.
“That was my wife”, says the singer. “She’s a nurse in the NHS. And my daughter. Thank you.”
Perhaps seeing this moment provided release for my own pent-up feelings and stress as I started to unwind at the start of my holidays. Perhaps I am just an old softie.
It seems that at least some other souls out there find this moment as touching as I do. The YouTube video of this Idles performance has a lovely comment, timestamped to the moment of Mr Talbot’s embrace with his wife, left by one Luke Berrie:
“Sometimes I just come here for 45:00. So pure ❤️”
Synchronicity and opalescence
Love, friendship and heartfelt honesty keep us going when this world seems cruel.
I want to share two small but lovely instances of synchronicity from these past few days. Respectively, they celebrate love and friendship.
First, just a moment prior to this Idles moment, I’d seen a lovely tweet from my friend Sean Jones, commemorating his 24th wedding anniversary.*** I wish to congratulate Sean and his wife on this wonderful moment, and to with them a great many more anniversaries to come.
Second, my friend Emma Dixon shared a beautiful thread of tweets comprising a lovely story of synchronicity and the enduring power of friendship. Please click on the tweet below to read her tale of “joy at the randomness, hope for a benevolent world and love for my friend and for the universe”:
The world will be a better place
The current state our “post-truth, post-shame world” can feel overwhelming. Mounting political extremism, democracy in crisis**** and a seeming open-arms embrace of environmental catastrophe produce feelings of horror and of powerlessness.
Love is the perfect solace and the perfect sustenance right now. Just as it always is. Love will always be there. Love will always out. Love can give us all the strength to keep going.
Please take a moment today to let those you love know what they mean to you. Pure expressions of love and of emotional support are never wrong. They are particularly welcome in these times of ours.
Let it out. You will feel better. The world will be a better place for it.
What was the last thing that made you weep?
What gives you the strength to keep going?
* I gave Idles a go following an enthusiastic discussion of their music at the start of an August 2019 edition of the excellent The Three Track Podcast in which host Gabriel Ebulue is joined by actor Daniel Hoffmann-Gill to talk about Black Flag’s stunning My War album. “It’s just a righteous pain”, says Hoffmann-Gill. My War is searingly intense. If you are in the mood, here it is…
*** Having spent the best part of the past week immersed in their music, I highly recommend Idles’ excellent (and brilliantly titled) Joy as an Act of Resistance album.
** I am indebted to Jane Furniss, who tweeted that the 24th wedding anniversary is the opal anniversary. (HT @Jane).
**** Stephen Fry provided a perfect description of this tragic moment for democracy (in its UK incarnation) in a tweet this week.
- Idles hands. Full image and two details from a drawing by MJCarty, August 2019.
- The photograph of Idles singer Joe Talbot holding his wife’s hand is a still from a YouTube video of Idle’s 2019 Glastonbury performance. I make no claim to the copyright for this image, and will remove it from this post immediately if required.