Life, like the video for The Shop Assistants Safety Net, can be a tad blurry around the edges. Now, you might be excused for thinking that this post would be a) about The Shop Assistants or b) about the fantastic pop song Safety Net. I think it fair to say both get but a cursory glance as I attempt, perhaps improbably, to argue TVV as my safety net or more accurately one of my safety nets.
It was many years ago a friend urged me to read TVV and I did. I did so sporadically as life then was more than a little tense. Every now and then I’d poke my nose in and be: transfixed by articles about bands/artists that I had thought most (including myself) had forgotten about; curious of band/artist I had never heard of but probably (based on the article) should have known and liked; and in admiration of numerous articles and ICAs crafted with such care they could have made a respected NME journalist blush with embarrassment.
I’m a clinically diagnosed depressive. Yes. That was an extremely clumsy admission but I just couldn’t find a less clumsy way of stating it. I’ve lived under the cloud since my pre-teen days and have survived the slalom of suicide attempts, suicidal ideation and self-harm; considerably longer than I ever expected … here I am, still. So, what in the name of the wee man has this to do with TVV? Good question.
At a particularly low ebb I began to delve into TVV on a more regular basis. The world, it felt, was falling out from under me and I needed something to tether me, something to offer the slightest chink of positivity on the darkest of days. The details of this issue I won’t go into but, suffice to say, someone attempting to kill you and your partner because you’re gay (as well as a long-standing campaign of other hateful, harmful acts) does, I would argue, have a tendency to put a dampener on things … hello, 21st century! During this time TVV was something of a lifeline. A wonderful distraction that informed and entertained in equal measure but, most importantly, distracted.
A previous foray (some years earlier) into the world of social media and forums (specifically to do with music) had left me despondent and on one infamous occasion, in tears, as my character (for reasons that I have never been able to determine) was mercilessly assassinated online, by a stranger. I wouldn’t ever describe myself as a fragile person but I guess, at times, we all can have our moments. Following this, I stopped using any form of social media. I still don’t use any … except TVV.
Most days I take a peek at TVV and remain in awe of the work that goes into the blog; the thought, the planning, the writing … it seems very much to this bystander to be a full-time job and a job that others too are appreciative of.
It’s a testament to JC, and others that contribute and use the blog, that differences of opinion (never, as far as I have read) descend into personalised diatribes or attacks. Of course, there are differences of opinion, but these seemed to be accepted or responded to through kind, often comedic, retorts.
It can be all too easy to criticize something that I don’t like but I do always try to balance any criticism with positive reinforcement, where appropriate. Sometimes it’s important to let someone know just what a splendid, positive impact they’re having and that’s the point of this comment. JC has provided me with a safety net, a little oasis of calm, and for as long as the blog is here, I’ll pop in, smile, nod approvingly, or, on occasion, disagree with a certain this or that. It’s also important to doff my cap to the friend (you know who you are) who has, through their recommendation, provided the best possible medicine for what ills me.
I have posted this article anonymously on TVV not because I’m in any way ashamed of my illness … I’m absolutely not and speak about it openly with those I know… but because I have no social media footprint and wish to keep it so.
The above words came in via the TVV e-mail address, so I know who the author is. I was humbled by the contents of the e-mail and it led to an exchange of correspondence, the result of which brought the three tunes and the image at the head of the posting.
I’ve mentioned this before on numerous occasions. It’s the sense of community that keeps me going on those days when I wonder if I can be bothered after all these years when I feel I have not much left to say that hasn’t already been said. It’s an undeniable fact that this place is all the better from the guest contributions, whether it be from postings and/or the contributions via the ‘Comments’ section.
There was one occasion in the past when a group of us, at my behest, got it very wrong in terms of a response to a posting in connection with a band that wasn’t to my taste. It caused a bit of hurt as the intended humour behind the responses backfired badly – thankfully, the very heartfelt and sheepish apology later offered back was accepted, but I still cringe when I think about it. It was a lesson learned and never since forgotten, and very much a one-off mistake during the past 14 years.
It’s heartening to learn that TVV is doing some good for at least one person out there. That alone, I would say, is enough to inspire all of us.