‘Our Group’

You know what. Last night I went out to dance. I loved it. I had a great time at the Dark Side of the Lune. Had a fucking fantastic time. Part of that was because lots of people were out and I love you all. Everyone who was out last night on the dancefloor part of me loved you all. Including the ones I don’t know.

However, if someone were to tell me that I was going to spend the rest of my life in Lancaster and every Saturday night I would be down the Dark Side of the Lune I would despair, I would probably hang myself. And then attempt self-exorcism. This is not because I disliked the people or the night but I want to do things with my life that involve you know, not being in Lancaster. This may shock people.

I went out to dance last night. I didn’t go out to gossip about who is talking to who or get involved in some sort of social bitchiness. Oh hell I bitch like a fucking trooper, but you know what, I bitch about things that I’ve usually already told the person in question, I cna’t think of many people I dislike enough not to tell them exactly what concerns me about them. Maybe two people and neither of them live anywhere near me.

I don’t think I know anyone out last night who danced with me who I wouldn’t consider to be a friend or more than a passing acquaintance. I really do like each and every one of you guys.


If anyone describes me as being part of ‘Our Circle’, ‘Our Group’ or you know anything along those lines I’m going to kill someone. I am not part of any clique, I refuse to be your friend if being your friend means I have to be part of ‘your group’. I am my own Mish. Mish does not do groups. Mish is a solitary and single person, so for fucks sake stop including me in things. Parts of my life are beginning to feel like I’m living in Avondale Road and for anyone who wasn’t paying attention – that was not a particularly happy time for me.

I like to dance not this constant mould that seems to grow up in Lancaster.
I like to dance and have the tunes fill me up and float me out into the lights until I’m swimming in the sound.

Yeah I probably am going to be in Lancaster for the forseeable future, no that wasn’t part of my plan it just happens to be true so I’m making the best of it. Lancaster is not the be all and end all of all things.

For fucks sakes people out there start living your own lives. Make plans and stop enjoying being sucked into this whole morass of hell. Stop being so keen to douse your own flames, start living, please gods start being and trying and stop fucking extinguishing your own sparks.

This is life, go for it. Stop with the ‘Our circle’ shit please.

There is more to life than this place and these people. Be real. Start being real. Stop drowning in this shit.

If this entry means that you all want to strangle me or at least never speak to me again, by all means go for it.

10 thoughts on “‘Our Group’

  1. I respect what you’re saying and how strongly you clearly feel about this, but I feel this issue is going to have to be something that you and I agree never to discuss in person, because I doubt it’s ever going to end in less than a row. I will be posting my own thoughts on this in the next week or so.

    If I ever described you as being part of my ‘group’ or ‘circle’ – it was meant to be friendly, warm and inclusive, not restrictive, trapping and narrow minded. Now that I know you view it in this way, I will make the effort never to do this again, and I hope you will take any slips in the spirit in which they were intended by me rather than anything else.

  2. I too respect what you’re saying Mish, and I can see your point.

    However, every time you refer to mould or malaise or whatever – I don’t know..sometimes it feels like an indirect attack on those of us who choose to stay here. and live our lives as we wish.

    Some of us ARE living our lives. It’s just camouflaged, because bits of our lives mean that we might *wish* to have this comfortable ‘morass’ to come back to when things get a little…odd

    One man’s comfort is another man’s prison. That’s just the way it is.

    "As poets, it is our duty to turn our faces from the mire, to look up and tell our fellow men that we have seen a better world than this."

    So be it Mish, so be it. But in the mire and the muck, in the group dynamics, the primitive animal behaviours manifested in social scenes…in the crap there is sometimes so very much gold.

    You are unique. Nothing can take that from you. It cannot be leeched away. You are what you are inside.

    Lancaster isn’t going to take that away, and neither is anyone else.

    You are, despite what appearances, despite what people project onto you, very real. You truly don’t need to state your Mishness over and over.

    Those who love you already love you for it. Sod the rest.

  3. Just to throw my own two cents in on this: I frequently refer to the different circles of friends that make up our larger circle, and I don’t make any apologies for doing so.

    The reason being: when I refer to a circle of friends, it’s an observational thing. Our friendship network is made up of clusters of people.

    True, some within our network do treat their circles as precious little things, bordering on cliques, whereas others just sit with their circle when in the pub, while others have simply never spoken to members of a particular circle.

    As for Lancaster – I love this city. It’s my city, it’s where I’m at home. I’m intrigued as to how you consider loving the place you live to be unreal – not everyone feels the need to travel the world for a sense of validation of their existence.

    That sounds harsh, but that’s essentially what you seem to be saying. My life is valid without doing anything adventurous. Stuff like flying the length of the county in a police helicopter, or being the only person to abseil face-down off a sheer cliff, or helping several friends through a domestically abusive relationships… well, those are just additional things that have happened in my perfectly valid life.

  4. I think I can feel where this comes from, I can very much relate to it. But at least you are one of those people who everyone wants to include in their circles, restricting as it may be. Imagine the frustration of standing outside that, for whatever reason being unable/uninvited to join.

  5. I echo previous comments.

    All I can say is: you’re being weird about posessive words again – ‘my’, ‘our’, etc.

    These words indicate connection – often very special, important links that are vastly important to many of us, including myself.
    But they are just connections, they are not ties. Group yourself how you want, dance on your own, see the world, we won’t stop you, but while it’s there we we seize the chance to include you in our lives with both hands. You don’t have to do anything, or act differently.

    Each of us considers their group to be different – the people I considered to be my perfect circle of aquiantances and friends (to quote REM) is different to Char’s, or Kenny’s. It is not a set in stone, exclusive clan.

    Because of the subjectivity, I can only speak for myself on this, but I’d like to think that my ‘group’, my kin, will always be there for me – and you’ll be a part of it, no matter how much you say "for fucks sake stop including me in things".

  6. Re-reading what I wrote, I realise that it didn’t come put exactly as I wanted it. But Jonno put it really well, so I’ll just say I agree with that, about kin, people to rely on. Myself, I’ve mostly seen it from the outside, looking at people who have these ties, and being intensely aware of what I don’t have. Especially when I look around and don’t know who to turn to for help.

    I realise that you probably have many many moments when you just stop and realise how much you just adore all these people, but you tend to blog the difficult parts, so that’s what people get to read.

  7. If anyone describes me as being part of ‘Our Circle’, ‘Our Group’ or you know anything along those lines I’m going to kill someone.

    Oi – I explained my use of that particular phrase this morning, but I shall do it again for posterity.

    Yes "Our Group" is an odd phrase which has the power to sound potentially cliquey. But – as I explained – to me it’s an all-encompassing phrase I use to describe everyone I have known or shall come to know in Lancaster as opposed to those I do not. I regard it as something which refers to a network rather than a mob of people strolling arm in arm, chanting from the same hymn sheet.

    "Circle" as opposed to "group" doesn’t rest so well with me as I feel it is more indicative of what you seem to be driving at. But really what you need to examine here is the intentionality behind the words. Is "our ___" coming from someone who actively encourages cliques oran "Us vs. Them" mentality? Or is it used by someone who wants to talk about who they spent the night dancing with or who they came back to Lancaster to be with – as a collective, umbrageous term to encompass the network they cherish.

    For me, certainly, it’s a lot easier than saying "well, there was Laura, Dan, Helena, Jonno, Elspeth, Char, Luke, Cath, Kate, Mike, Foo…." so on, so forth. Is it not easier to say "well, our group was sat at x-position", or "our group did this"?

    "For fucks sakes people out there start living your own lives. "

    I came back to Lancaster to rediscover my life. I came back to Lancaster to see "Our Group" where I feel loved and safe.
    I haven’t been to Japan – I haven’t snowboarded topless. But I have travelled the world, I’ve drifted from job to job, I’ve got my degree and made a staggering attempt at another…

    But nothing will ever compare to lying in the One I Love’s arms beneath a moonlit Ashton Memorial. Nothing will evoke the same emotions in me as when I walked in Grad bar last Hallowe’en. Of sitting in a cold corner, arms entwined with yours as we saw in the New Year.

    Lancaster is a place. "Our Group" is what makes it home. One day, maybe, I’ll develop outside that. But right now it is what brings me joy.
    I’ve learnt – again and again – that no matter how hard you run or how much you try to change your life, you can’t shed your baggage.

    Places do not kill people or extinguish them. Only the person themselves has the power to do that.
    Here I raise a glass to Mr Slee:

    You are unique. Nothing can take that from you. It cannot be leeched away. You are what you are inside.

    Lancaster isn’t going to take that away, and neither is anyone else.

    Amen to that.
    We build our own lives.

  8. Circles have only one constant, and that’s pi.

    I think of myself as being in circles, but those circles are not in any way fixed, nor are they constraints; when trouble threatens, sure, I’ll stand by the gate with a pike. But otherwise I’ll simply leave things to be as they should, and invite people to move the boundaries out whenever they will…

  9. Sure, everywhere has cliques and elites. Pretty much all of us will spend time in many examples of both over the years, though some folk have a manifest desire to deny it, or to prefer different descriptive terms.

    Over the years in Lancaster I’ve seen (and been involved in!) plenty of cliques and elites formed around or by ex-students, usually ones from the same university society. It happens. Such groups can be fun, they can be supportive, they can be distracting, they can protect people from the wider world until they are ready to move on to other tasks and challenges, and they can occasionally keep people in a rut due to inertia or other factors. Each individual will relate to these issues in their own way, be a member of more or less of them at the same time, and move through them at different rates, but I will say that the groups themselves don’t last any more than about five years, as the composition of the group will have changed to such an extent over that timespan.

    Communities take longer to form, and have rather different ties as far as I can see. A bunch of ex-student friends who socialise together are not a community, though they are each likely to become parts of communities over a decade or so. And kin, well, that’s about family. We are born with family, and, if we are lucky, we will gain more over time through births and through ties forged. We need both friends and family, and sometimes the area between the two is fuzzy, but usually you don’t know which friends are going to become kin until you have a lot of years to look back on and reflect.

    Personally, when referring to people, I tend to speak of individuals, unless there are formal groups involved, such as clubs, societies, religions, etc. I am well aware that other people are more free with possessive terms such as ‘my group’ and ‘our circle’, but I take them rather more seriously.

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