God Bless the Child

9 May

Morning and Yo!

I was actually holding off on this blog because I thought the postman would arrive at 1pm, but he arrived at 7.30am instead! No better way to write a blog than with an unwashed mouth and yesterday’s make up so with poor grammar and a groggy head to compliment the former I may as well crack on.

Today, Chewing Gum Dreams begins to place it’s bubble butt bottom on book shelves all around the UK, and all over the world through the power of Amazon and Amazon Kindle. If I never bothered saying it before- I got a publishing deal with Oberon Books.

I was in Stratford last night and made a quick stop by my old workplace coz my mate needed to piss and we couldn’t find any decent loos. I actually saw a girl that was still working behind the bar, I hadn’t seen her since August 29th 2009! That was the date I launched my poetry/music album (it was entitled Fixing Barbie) and this chick took my head baaaack in time to when I had a cupboard stacked with 3000 hard copies of an album I’d spent more than my life’s worth making. I spent 2 years performing all over the flipping world, and with them in the back of my rucksack I hustled until I had 23 left (they’re still in my cupboard if you want one 🙂 I’ll do ya half price if you tell a friend lol)

Today’s hustle is the same but different. I was half expecting the postman to have his van bursting with book filled packages, but he only had one little one…because this time a company is hustling for me and they’ve got van load. That’s something I’m not sure I even want to get my head around. The postman said good morning, handed me my tiny package, said it was going to rain today; “galstones today” he said, I told him I was a cyclist, he laughed and said ‘gallstones for you mate’ and then disappeared. Seriously.

I opened the package and looked at my own face on a cover again. This time my big brother didn’t design it on a family discount, everything was just DONE. You can buy it HERE when it’s available on Amazon, and you can download onto your kindle NOW!

Today, through the galstones (are you picking up that I can’t spell that word yet?) I’ll cycle to give a copy to Guildhall, to Brian at the National, the Bush and to the Yard. To say thank you.

A phrase has been in my head since Friday, song lyrics actually. I performed at Bush Revolution last Friday (should have told you, soz) and there was an amazing jazz singer named Vimala. She covered ‘God Bless The Child’ (originally sung by Billie Holiday) and sang with so strong an intention that she grabbed me at my core and revealed the truest truth behind that song (my truth anyway).

“Mama may have, Paapa may have
but God bless the child that’s got his own.”

You know what yeah…I started thinking about this a year and a half ago but her performance allowed me to process  things a little more. At the drama school I went to we discovered during rehearsals that I was the only one in the year whose parents (or parent) did not own a home. And I realised during that rehearsal process how much that meant. And then I thought about another thing; about a thing called ‘entitlement’; about parents who had rough times that ended up okay, and concluded that they could have anything they wanted with a bit of hard work and were clever enough to teach their children that, (I hear from certain people that feeling entitled is not admirable, personally I disagree and I wish the whole world felt entitled in one sense or another). Then there’s the others; those who were taught that if they worked 10 times harder than the hardest worker they might taste a drop of slight comfort, the comfort others have on tap, then there’s the others, those whose parents were not given the opportunity to come to those conclusions. (I’m not talking about being wealthy, that is not the comfort, I’m talking about something else that I cannot quite articulate right now).

Subconsciously knowing there is a place that is yours, or, more specifically to this post, knowing that there ISN’T, has a little (or in some cases) large effect on your perception, often without you being aware, indulge my extremist thoughts for one more paragraph, won’t you? I’m talking to what I will call ‘Hustlers’ now – those who have nothing to fall back on. I believe that whilst growing up, your subconscious mind becomes aware of this fundamental lack and it produces a desperation, I call it a ‘soft panic’ that sits in the back of your membrane, by the time that panic reaches your conscious mind it is transformed into either DETERMINATION or DEFEAT.

For us Hustlers, doing well, becoming the best lawyer, doctor, sales assistant or writer you can be is not about ego, it’s not about satisfying a childhood dream, pleasing our parents, or that good old chestnut ‘doing what you love’. It’s about life and death; in the world’s current state and the position we hold within it, we have no cards, and we have no alternate crown; if we fail, ‘then we fail’- we fail, and we die. I pray to God that as we share in our panic we may also share in our DETERMINATION and not our defeat. That that raw, desperate ‘soft panic’ actually produces that ‘thing’ that we see in those super determined lawyer Hustlers, actress Hustlers, doctors Hustlers and athlete Hustlers whose struggle and ‘started from the bottom now we’re here’ journey is one that we aspire to. That ‘thing’ they have cannot replicated through any means; it’s special, and those with their blessed safety nets, their back up plans and pocket money want it, but it cannot be acquired, and, Child, it cannot be given away, your parents paid with blood and sweat and may not have gotten much in return but they got that, so USE IT. Before this deceptive country is done manipulating you into believing you have a ground to stand on, understand you don’t; you must either fall into the abyss, or FLY. I pray you fly.

So evangelical, can’t help it.

M x

God Bless the Child
Billie Holiday / Arthur Herzog Jr.
Them that’s got shall get
Them that’s not shall lose
So the Bible said and it still is news
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
That’s got his ownYes, the strong gets more
While the weak ones fade
Empty pockets don’t ever make the grade
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
That’s got his ownMoney, you’ve got lots of friends
Crowding round the door
When you’re gone, spending ends
They don’t come no more
Rich relations give
Crust of bread and such
You can help yourself
But don’t take too much
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
That’s got his ownMama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
That’s got his own
He just worry ’bout nothin’
Cause he’s got his own

*I’ve subsequently found out through my friend of 15 years that HAILSTONES is the word I meant.


2 Responses to “God Bless the Child”

  1. Clive Holdsworth May 9, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    I like this cos my experience is different but is rooted in the same thing. We were piss-poor when I was a kid and the only thing I got from my dad was his attitude when he was faced with something new to be done. He never thought. “Can I do this” but instead worked out, “How will I do this”. He never thought there was anything that he couldn’t do – all he needed was to work out the technique. It’s wasn’t exactly entitlement but a rather weird sort of arrogant working class attitude problem.Whatever it is it’s served me well though. And I’ve made my way by living off my wits ever since. Like you say, there was never a choice, you just have to do it to survive.

    I LOVE your album cover btw. I’m gonna order it just for that – hopefully your musical talent is as good as your acting. And I’ll buy the book too when it’s out. Good luck 🙂

  2. Love Samantha May 9, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    Congratulations Michaela!!!! Thank you for this, especially the last paragraph. God bless you x

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