The Key to True Happiness: Does it Even Exist?

Do you feel like happiness is more elusive than ever? Like God must have skipped you when he was handing out the “happy” gene?

I have to admit I used to feel that way. And it never made sense to me because I had a great childhood. But then suddenly depression hit me like a brick wall. For the life of me I couldn’t understand why I should feel depressed when I had so much to be thankful for.

At that point in my life I chased happiness like it was a runaway freight train full of gold. I seemed to have read every resource out there on how to be happy. But somehow true happiness seemed to always be out of my reach.

It wasn’t until this passed Fall that I had a grand realization about happiness.

But let me be clear that when I speak of happiness, I don’t mean the constant state of feeling elated each and every waking hour of my life. What I’m referring to is a general state of mind. Of course I expect highs and lows in life – anything otherwise would be unnatural and unhealthy.

So what happened in the Fall? Well, first of all I started back to work full time. The previous year I had been part time as a way to “ease back in” to work after my long illness.

Everything was going quite well until I started feeling those signs of depression again. I know them now, and I wasn’t going to wait for a major setback before taking action.

I immediately (quite literally the next day) dropped down to part time and that’s where I’m at today – and I’m thriving.

Now, you might be wondering how I manage to keep up a blog if I was struggling to keep my full-time day job. Well, this is where the big epiphany came for me – because I asked myself the same question.

You see, when I was teaching full time I truly enjoyed it. But the problem was, I had no time to myself when working those kinds of hours. I desperately wanted to write, but just couldn’t make it happen.

Not having time to foster my passion for writing made me feel trapped. I had to go to work every day for a certain time, and when I came home I was exhausted. But I didn’t have any choice – or so I thought.

When I switched to part time it meant I now had my mornings to myself. After getting the kids ready and off to school, I can now do what I want (to the degree that we can all do what we want ;) ).

I can write all morning; I can clean up the house; I can do errands; I can do whatever I think will make me feel productive that day.

So, the key to true happiness? Choices. It’s when we feel that we have no control over what’s going on in our lives that our happiness starts to dwindle.

And although I enjoy teaching, it wasn’t enough to fulfill me. I needed an outlet for my love of writing and now I have it.

You may not be able to currently do something as drastic as going from working full time at your day job to part time, but there are many other ways to give yourself choices in your life:

1. Choose to give yourself the gift of time. Allot a certain hour or half hour of the day to do whatever it is you want. Even if it’s only 15 min, this will feel very liberating.

2. Choose to follow your passion. Give up unnecessary activities such as T.V. and Facebook. This will give you more time to pursue want you really want in life. Think about it…Do you know anyone whose passion in life is to watch more T.V.?

3. Choose to say no. Say no to the myriad of after-school activities you have your children enrolled in (they may even thank you!). Say no to a co-worker when they ask you if you have time to take on yet another project.

4. Choose to be honest with yourself. Lying will get you nowhere – especially when it’s to yourself. Are you living your best life? What realistic changes can you make that will make life more fulfilling?

5. Choose to give yourself choices. Seem redundant? Think about it. Often we keep telling our selves we “don’t have a choice”, when actually, we always do. You just have to be willing to open your eyes and your mind to all the possibilities in front of you.

6. Choose to be happy. Stop chasing. Just be.

And lastly, take your focus off of your state of mind and start counting your blessings. Put your focus on helping someone else. You’ll hopefully realize that not only are you not as bad off as you thought, but nothing breeds happiness like doing something for others.

The age of Androgynous fashion is upon us

Why “masculine fashion” goes into the dust? That’s not superficial opinion, that’s truth. So called masculinity does not have any place in the brave new world and it’s not the bad thing. Moreover, I will say that’s what I expected for: no more stereotypical “manly” images in the magazines with the damn “muscular” assholes and “bad boys” with jeans, T-shirts and cigarettes.

I am happy to consider it as relic of the past, I like to think that this new millennium we are returning to Tradition, which doesn’t have anything “masculine” or “feminine” in itself, but where is neither male and female, for you are all one Androgyny.

The XXI century is the brave new old time of retro-futurism, where everything “old” is coming back with the new intention. I’m talking not just about clothes, but about everything: music, street art, photography and, of course, about how we make and dress up ourselves. Boys grow the longhairs, girls make the boyish haircut. The new generation smoke the pipe, old-school cigarettes, drink absently, try to pretend to live in imaginative cyberpunk 80th like in Gibson’s “Neuromancer”. Few years ago, newspapers were writing that our age is the time of gender-less dichotomy. It was… the 12th century, when Christian saints were writing that men don’t dress up and behave as they should, but instead of it they are, ‘effeminate.’

Few centuries later, there will be France fashion in Europe, where being ‘effeminate’ is absolutely conventional among aristocracy. At the same time, there is Kabuki theater development outside the Europe, on the island, where sun always rise and where it is typical for men to play women’s role. Few centuries later, when the 20th century comes, it will be great and right to be masculine for every women in every society. At the same time clothing manufacturers like Wiseman Clothing say they are producing “…more clothes aimed at neither sex and considered unisex,” that´s absolutely great for you to being cute, delicate and subtle boy in the decadent society. Just smoke, drink absently, feel yourself naturally… and all we know that that’s very natural for man to be subtle, to have delicate hands, to be shaved, long-haired, slime, to play guitar and write poetry, to make up like Kabuki actors did. This is the brave old new world, which I like and where everyone of us could feel ourselves free from all the gender stereotypes and breath without any fear to be too ‘manly’ or ‘effeminate.’ Just grow long hair and shave your chest bro!

The evolution

The 20th century is not the first time of gender fluidity in fashion, and I guess you have already realized it. In fact, the real blurring in gender threats was already at the beginning of the century.

The motherland

Russia is one example. Just look at the such kind of poets as Zinaida Hippius. She lived in the imperial time, in the years of Christian conservative dictatorship. However, she still hated all the revolutionary trends of her time and in the same time weared the men’s jackets, smoked cigar’s and wrote her poetry as a male.

She was actually like the Joan of Arc of the ages shattering, when cigar was her sword and jacked was her armor. We could also put our attention on the image of “seraphic boys” in the symbolical art and who could be treated very “effeminate” from the modern culture point of view, where sporty man with weapon and military costume is kind of trend, despite every gentleman and Byronic hero would laugh of such masculinity.

Times they are a changing

But times change and now we see another male trend in the jacket and subtle hands of the new Sherlock Holmes, in the hairstyle of the new Hannibal and in the behavior of the John Snow. Definitely, there are no doubts that times are changed. That’s not only about Europe, Asia is even more androgynous, despite its conservatism and strict society. Just remember about the Japanese bishounen in animes or “effeminate” cute boys in South Korean dioramas. Just don’t forget about powerful girls in the North Korean movies or about the soldier women in the Chinese films.

That’s how you realize how gender stuff is blurred, even when people don’t fell it. Even when people still live in the world of the meaningless conventions and symbols. Amen.

Airheads Discography

Boing!!

boing200 Album
27 January 1992
#29

CD– Korova 9031-76303-2
Scrap happy/I might fall/Right now/Funny how/Easy/Counting sheep/I don’t mind/Congratulations/Wish you were here/Isn’t it rich/Everybody needs/Funny how (original version)

LP – Korova 9031-76273-1
Scrap happy/I might fall/Right now/Funny how/Easy/Counting sheep/I don’t mind/Congratulations/Wish you were here/Isn’t it rich/Everybody needs

CASSETTE – Korova
Scrap happy/I might fall/Right now/Funny how/Easy/Counting sheep/I don’t mind/Congratulations/Wish you were here/Isn’t it rich/Everybody needs/Funny how (original version)

CD (1991 release) – Korova
Scrap happy/I might fall/Right now/Funny how/Easy/I don’t mind/Congratulations/Wish you were here/Isn’t it rich/Everybody needs

 

Congratulations

congratulations200 Single
1991
(as Jefferson Airhead)

CD– Korova KOW45CD
Congratulations/Something blue/Congratulations (demo)

12″ FANZINE – Korova KOW45TX
Congratulations (Airhead society mix)/Congratulations (demo)/Something blue

12″– Korova KOW45T
Congratulations (12″ mix)/Something blue/Congratulations (demo)

7″ – Korova KOW45
Congratulations/Something blue

 

Scrap happy

scraphappy200 Single
20 May 1991
(as Jefferson Airhead)

CD– Korova KOW46CD
Scrap happy/Take my train/Scrap happy (demo)

12″– Korova KOW46T
Scrap happy/Take my train/Scrap happy (demo)

7″ – Korova KOW46
Scrap happy/Take my train

I have a spare CD copy of Scrap happy if anyone is interested in buying it.

 

Funny how

funnyhow200 Single
30 September 1991
#57

CD – Korova KOW47CD
Funny how/Keep the apple/Funny how (album version)

12″ FANZINE – Korova KOW47T
Funny how (12″ mix)/Keep the apple (12″ mix)/Funny how (album version)

12″– Korova KOW47T
Funny how (12″ mix)/Keep the apple (12″ mix)/Funny how (album version)

7″ – Korova KOW47
Funny How/Keep the apple

 

Counting sheep

 countingsheep200
Single
16 December 1991
#35

CD – Korova KOW48CD
Counting sheep/Take my train/Counting sheep (demo)/Keep the apple

12″ FANZINE – Korova KOW48T (with free 6cm metal badge)
Counting sheep/Take my train/Counting sheep (demo)

12″ – Korova KOW48T
Counting sheep/Take my train/Counting sheep (demo)

7″ – Korova KOW48
Counting sheep/Take my train

 

Right now

rightnow200 Single
2 March 1992
#50

CD – Korova KOW49CD
Right now/The enemy/Through my window/Right now (demo)

12″ FANZINE – Korova KOW49TG
Right now (12″ mix)/The enemy/Right now (demo)

7″ – Korova KOW49
Right now/Counting sheep

 

That’s enough

thatsenough200 EP
1993

CD – Mother Tongue MOTHER1CD
That’s enough/They don’t know/Someone should have told me

10″ – Mother Tongue MOTHER1T
That’s enough/They don’t know/Someone should have told me

 

Second album?

A (possibly dodgy) CD-R featuring demos of the second album occasionally crops up on ebay.

 

Why I love Airhead

Kent-based four-piece Airhead lined up with Michael Wallis (vocals and guitar), Sam Kesteven (drums), Ben Kesteven (bass) and Steve Marshall (keyboards).

Signed by WEA/Korova as the Apples in September 1990, they became Jefferson Airhead before dropping the ‘Jefferson’ from their name on request of Jefferson Airplane’s record label.

Bow Wow Wow bassist Leigh Gorman was enlisted to produce the band’s first Korova recordings, and the first fruits of these saw the light of day in February 1991 when the sulky, baggy-sounding mid-tempo Congratulations was released. The song’s artwork was similar to 60s-psychedelia-inspired pop art, a theme which continued for all but one Airhead releases. A second single, Scrap happy, followed in May that year as the band’s fanbase continued to grow.

Autumn 1991 saw the release of what is perhaps now the band’s best-known song, Funny how, to good reviews and heavy airplay on BBC Radio 1. Its catchy couplet, ‘It’s funny how the girls you fall in love with never fancy you/Funny how the ones you don’t, do’ ensured it remained a floor-filler at indie discos, and years after the band split up, the BBC chose it as the introductory music on their Match of the Day football programme. Funny how climbed to number 57, the first time Airhead had troubled the top 75 chart.

The band’s commercial peak and biggest singles chart success would be with Counting sheep, the lead single from their debut album. This soaring, poppy 1991 Christmas hit was backed with the standout b-sides from the previous two singles Take my train and Keep the apple, and it even managed to break the top 40 by reaching number 35. This was pre-Britpop in the time when any sort of chart action was seen as a success for bands pigeon-holed as part of the indie genre.

Airhead were offered a session for BBC Radio 1, so in early January 1992 they duly visited the famous Maida Vale studios in London to record four tracks for Mark Goodier’s Evening Session programme.

The broadcast of the session later that month co-incided with the release of sparkling debut album Boing!!, which collected together the band’s four singles so far and six new songs. Produced by George Shilling, it garnished great reviews in the music press and peaked in the album chart at number 29.

A final single was lifted from the album in March that year. Right now was to be the bands third and last top 75 hit, reaching number 50.

Between the release of Right now in 1992 and the following year, the band were dropped by their record label Korova, only to be signed by Mother Tongue to release a further EP. This period also saw bassist Ben and keyboard player Steve leave the band. Roger Wells took over on bass and Michael was to play keyboards when required.

The new line-up went to Falconer Studios, London, in March 1993 to record new material, self-produced by Michael. The results of these sessions appeared in record stores in August 1993 with the band’s final release, the That’s enough EP. The three tracks showcased on this CD/10″ showed a darker, brooding and somewhat broken Michael over a less-poppy arrangement. The EP wasn’t a commercial success, and although the band continued to play live in search of a new record deal, the writing was on the wall.

Band members have cropped up in various other acts since then, but fans of Airhead can’t help feel the long term-promise shown by the much-loved debut album (which commands £15-30 when it crops up on internet auction sites) was never allowed to be fulfilled.

Band members

michael2Michael Wallis
Vocals and guitar

sam2Sam Kesteven
Drums

ben2Ben Kesteven
Bass (to 1992)

steve2Steve Marshall
Keyboards

 

  • Roger Wells played bass 1992-93.
  • Sam and Ben were also in The Popinjays.
  • Michael and Sam were also in Spike.
  • Roger was in Resque.
  • Sam plays drums with Wonderhorse (see also Channel 4) and is now a photographer who has worked for Time Out in London. He was also the subject if the identity parade in an episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks in 2004.

It is believed that some members were in a band called Inswinger in the mid-1990s.
The producer of the band’s early singles, Leigh Gorman, now lives in Hollywood.
The producer of Boing!!, George Shilling, is still based in the UK.

Why I love Airhead

I’ve been looking for Airhead on the internet for some time but not come across much so I thought I’d put together a few pages to ensure the band has small corner of the internet to itself. They didn’t achieve much chart success, I’m not sure if they were even ever cool to like, but I think they deserve some sort of online acknowledgement.

Boing!! was the first CD album I ever bought; as a result it became the soundtrack to my formative teenage years along with other great early-90s indie. I also also bought Michael Jackson’s Dangerous in the same transaction, thank goodness that didn’t go on to influence my musical tastes quite so strongly.

Most of the content on this site is made up from the scraps of information found in the 12″ fanzine singles, bits I’ve stolen from the internet or things that people have emailed me. If you have anything more substantial then please get in touch.

There is also an Airhead Facebook page at facebook.com/airheaduk (not to be confused with Finnish death metal band Airhead).

Happy Tweaking

Continuing my ‘HappyTweaking’ series (:D) I spent yesterday doing all the twiddly things to the site that I’ve been meaning to do for a while but never got round to because they seemed too little.1) It occurred to me that the design of this site was very much geared around simplicity and that there was very little to suggest lilesville. Pedantic, I know, but a picture paints a thousand words. I googled and found a nice black and white spiral image which I adapted to make a favicon, a separator (I’ve never liked that grey swirl very much) and a Photoshop brush to embellish the header image. Now I feel like I’ve got much more of a logo and a defining image. Shiny.

2) I added Gravatar support and used the fractal motif as a default image.

3) I bought the domain townoflilesville.travel – you can now reach this site from it. This time next year I shall have to think about paying for hosting.

I’ve also been reading lots of articles on improving blog content and writing quality. Over and over again I read that ‘Good content keeps people coming back’ so I’m trying to update every day and make sure what I write is interesting and relevant, although I find it hard to read my own stuff and critique it objectively. It’s good practice for November though.
One day I would like to be considered good enough for submission into 9rules – but I’m not there yet. I think it would be a nice gesture if the 9rules people offered help and guidance to people whose websites aren’t up to scratch but who are willing to learn and take criticism. They could call it 9schools!