I’ve always had an uneasy relationship with the word ‘fun.’ Although my general aim in life has always been to make the world a better, fairer and kinder place if I could, the talking up of ‘fun’ that often goes on amongst people with apparently similar aims has often looked like no fun at all.
The forced joining in at social events, for example, has always mildly terrified me and sent me looking for the nearest place to hide. Start up fancy dressing, the conga or that game where lines of adults pass balloons along between them without them touching the floor and I’m gone. Hiding in the kitchen or out the door and on my way home. “It’s just a bit of fun” I get told by people who are obviously a different sort of human from me.
I’m not and never have been one of life’s joiners in.
Then related to the party games fun is its dread corporate relation ‘the away day.’ Where team fun is not only fun, it’s obligatory. The hilariously competitive building of Lego towers, floating boats out of folded paper and cross-country runs, out in the dark, finding meaningless clues for made up scenarios. At the end of all of which some trainer version of a human puts everyone through ritual humiliations, about team roles and performance objectives, and it’s your duty to sit there and take it. No fun, ever, at all.
I could go on, so I will. Social media memes and other #itsallinfun taggings. The chain letter reborn with not at all hilarious group pressure consequences, sometimes, for those of us who are not and never will be natural joiners in. We exist, it’s a fact and we don’t do fun, get used to it, I’ve always thought.
Now I’ve always had more than a tendency to do things that do involve and absolutely need other people. But things that I think need doing to make the parts of the world I get involved in into better, fairer and kinder places. You can read year upon many years worth of these doings on here. And it’s not that there’s never any fun involved in these things, there is…but they’re not FOR fun… they’re for real. And finishing one I’ll habitually go and look for the next one, and the next. Which can be and has been great. And can also lead any of us into stress, depression and being generally worn out sometimes. Like me last year. Which I’ve written about and was no fun, no fun at all.
All of which stress and such burn out can take much time, love and friendship to recover from. As it did and I’m more than fine now, thank you to so many.
This all being partly how come I’m breaking the habits of my own lifetime and really enjoying doing something for the fun of it at the moment. There, I’ve said it and it’s all about The Mystery Literary Festival. Launched on here and to my great delight last week.
This Literary Festival, you see, doesn’t have to happen, could even be said to not matter all that much at all. It’s certainly not a matter of life and death and probably not earth moving, world changing or even near whatever that cutting edge thing is supposed to mean.
But it is fun. Just thinking about it makes me happy inside. Makes me fill up with ideas about all the things we might do, the group of us who are now sticking up our hands to give it a go and see what happens.
If it works great, if it doesn’t – well there’s almost certainly no harm done and who knows, it might even make the world a better, fairer and friendlier place anyway?
Which brings me to Immediate Records, one of the inspirations behind me writing on this particular Friday morning. I often think of this short lived 1960s record label, not merely because of all the joyous Small Faces records they brought to us all back then, but particularly because of the slogan they used on all their record sleeves.
‘Happy to be a part of the industry of human happiness’
Isn’t that great? And imagine how great it was to hold that actual record in my young hands and feel that what I was holding then was happiness.
‘Tell you what I’ll do,
I’d like to go there now with you’
Well that’s exactly how great The Mystery Literary Festival feels to me right now. Here in this making it up place. I wonder what we’ll do?
Huge thanks here to all the people who’ve said they want to be part of The Mystery Literary Festival. We’re going to be meeting within the next couple of weeks to start our playing around with the idea.
Also, a nod to my friend Stella Duffy and her Fun Palaces – you’ve probably sneaked into the back of my imagination without my realising it Stella!