Music that helps you shrug off addictions and grief


In the second of a two part article, Glasgow poet Cee Smith considers grief and the approach of Scottish group Colonel Mustard and the Dijon five

Over the past year I have tried to make a point of allowing myself to stop and appreciate my surroundings. A stranger interrupted such a moment to tell me she too likes to stop, telling her daughters to go look at some ducks whenever things feel too stressful. ‘It’s all ebbs and flows.’ It’s advice I have tried to take weekly, if not daily.

Cee Smith
Cee Smith

In doing so I’ve noticed how few dry and warm places to sit there are in our city centres. I tried to buy a cheap hat to keep the rain off me and found nothing but felt hats. Spring Season.

We are living in a fantasy of a utopian happy sunny society that we cannot achieve. Not until we control the weather.

With changeable, with an emphasis on dreich, weather it can be hard to stay positive in Scotland. Constantly battling through wind and rain can put a damper on anything. If there is nowhere to keep warm that isn’t selling something we will consume.

If grief is at the heart of what drives addiction and addictive behaviour then interaction and connection is at the heart of the solution.

An excellent animation, that’s been doing the rounds again, from the Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell series on Youtube illustrates this point perfectly. It is not the drug, consumerism or capitalism itself that creates compulsive behaviour but the desire to tap into our normal human needs and desires. To feel connected to the society around them.

Ultimately, this is the basic principle of mindfulness. Of taking the time to recognise your feelings and actions in your own current environment.

Above all, it aids in relieving the pressures of everyday encounters with our fellow human beings. Most of who, too, are suffering from their own personal grievances and loss.

We also must not underestimate the power of the weather and our surroundings in the path to healing grief.

Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 offer some respite from the grey with their insidious spread of their yellow uniform. If Björk can choose to wear only yellow for a year to heal after her loss, perhaps we should take note. If we cannot bring the sun out of the clouds with a switch, maybe we can switch up our wardrobe.

There’s no such thing as bad weather, after all. Just poor clothing choices. Since I wrote my last review of their single ‘These are Not the Drugs You Are Looking For’ I have experienced one of their formal live shows. Their guided dance routines, their devotees handing out stickers and badges, the singing along; even the biggest cynic can’t help but crack a smile and join in.

The gig, suitably titled Yellowland, is a showcase of the variety of Scottish music from Celtic blues Have Mercy Las Vegas, one of the best female-fronted punk bands in recent years The Twistettes, Scottish hip hop from Jamie & Shoony and the Girobabies fitting in somewhere in the middle of it all, it promises to be a night of infectious laughter, community building and above all, dancing.

This is not about forgetting our grief. It is important to be aware and respect it for how it affects our lives.

This is a time to celebrate it.

If the way out of addiction is connection, then community can heal grief.

Becoming aware is only half the battle. What we do with that information is the war.

If we move forward with the community aspect of the arts. Of showcasing our own voices, environments and emotions. Then maybe we can shake off the comfort of grief and all its entrapments and grow.

Yellowland is 5th March 2016 at the Barrowlands. Tickets available on Ticket Scotland