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Saturday, June 17, 2023

Council Skies

The title comes from a song by Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, which I really enjoy.  Have a listen...

I don't normally listen to much newly released music, but I gave this one a try and am glad for the decision.

I found the song after reading about the Gallagher brothers from the (former) group Oasis, namely Noel, and Liam.  For those that may be unfamiliar with the Gallagher brothers, they are mostly famous for:

  1. The above-referenced English & defunct band Oasis, and...
  2. Hating each other's guts.
While in Scotland I was talking to one of my stepsons and asked him if he was familiar with Oasis and the Gallagher brothers; his response was something along the lines of "Yeah, they hate each other, one of them writes songs and plays the guitar (Noel), and the other is bat$hit crazy (Liam)".  That answer had the benefit of being both eloquent and pretty much factually correct as far as I can tell.

A few articles and an hour or three's worth of video interviews and I now know far more about the Gallagher brothers than what is actually required for any practical reason.  There is, of course, a bigger thought and story here, over and above Noel and Liam:  Namely family dynamics between siblings.

Thinking back over my life, I realize that I have been pretty lucky in the sibling relations department.  Perfect?  Hell no.  It feels as if I haven't vested nearly enough time in keeping in touch with my sisters, which I own, and I need to do better.  As I approach the end of my primary working years, it's pretty clear that other parts of my life up to this point have been pretty much all-consuming, at least as far as my physical, mental, and emotional energy has been concerned.  Some of this is unadulterated ambition:  I desperately wanted to have a better life than I had growing up.  I think that, when it comes to that last point, I've been more or less successful.

When it comes to maintaining relationships with my brothers, I think that I've tried...probably more so since my brother Chris' passing in 2017.  As for Chris, I wish I would have spent more time with him.  Like me though, he also had a kind of inherent ambition, which made connecting doubly more challenging.  Then there were a few squabbles, of which 99.87% always had to do with politics.  I still, for example, recall the seeming mix of hurt and disgust in his voice after I repeatedly referred to Rush Limbaugh as "Pumpkin Head".  This was because Chris adored Limbaugh and he (Limbaugh) truly had an enormous head.  I think though that, for the most part, we both knew that the political arguments were more of a sport of sorts, and neither one of us liked to lose. 

I'll also note that, in retrospect, it's clear that my brother Chris was a deeply conflicted man who was fighting an ongoing (and losing) battle against self-medication.  I wish I could have helped more, but I also know that I did what I could at the time, including listening.  Among the many things I am grateful for is the fact that we were in regular contact before he passed.

Getting back to the Gallagher brothers, it's painful to think that two siblings are so disconnected.  I don't pretend to understand all the dynamics between them, but I know that our siblings understand our story better than others do.  That's true for the children of my parents as well as rock musicians from Manchester.  Denying the benefit of that connection...not having that person in your life who has some sense of your story and tragic.

My ongoing hope is to not make that mistake.  

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