What is Independent State of Happiness?
Many famous circus and street theatre companies seem fond of including the word State into their names...Welfare State International, No Fit State Circus, the Russian and Chinese State Circus, and now even the Tollcross State Circus in Edinburgh.
The idea for an Independent State of Happiness came to me when attending Street Theatre development workshops with Spraoi, one of Ireland's leading street spectacle companies, in Waterford, South-East Ireland back around 2005... I thought it was a great idea for a rather monumental piece of street theatre..and so the title was born... with the content below arriving as Ireland teetered on the edge of economic oblivion... Independent State of Happiness also sums up for me that feeling you get if you're lucky enough to have been immersed in an amazing street spectacle or festival context, where the everyday becomes extraordinary and your local area is reimagined as some space of wondrous silliness, music, food and happiness, where you wander anew in streets cleared of cars and opened up for pedestrians and professional artists and entertainers to beguile and send a smile swinging your way... Be it yet small and short-lived sometimes, that independent state of happiness is what I aspire to create in my work...
Just to be clear though, the name Independent State of Happiness has absolutely nothing to do with any aspect whatsoever of Scotland's upcoming independence referendum, now nor at any stage since I set this website up around 2006... when I was still living in Dublin and had no idea I would end up in Scotland in another 7 years' time... with a website name that would end up being a whole lot more topical than I'd ever imagined. If you ever get hold of one of my pamphlets or see me in a workshop with my work t-shirt on, you'll also note the words 'It's a state of mind' written in bright blue graffiti in the right hand corner of my logo, which I hope clears the issue up pretty succinctly.
Mind you... whichever way the referendum goes, I hope we all, somehow, achieve a mentally independent state of happiness... and I'm guessing the content below might be relevant to some whatever happens...
The Independent State of Happiness Manifesto
As it rains and pours outside,
we fight for a better mind inside
striving for a sun in ourselves that will never fade
A state not bound by its economic sadness
but by the strength of its spirit in a day of darkness
A break from broken hearts and dreams
A state in which our will for happiness is greater than our leaders' failures
No European Union but the union of hearts and minds that makes us human
While we yet live, let us kick and scream and come through a state of madness to overcome the sadness
They can take my job and they can take my home
but they will never take away my independent state of happiness
At the end of the day, I shall stand and see the sunset shining
and behold, an Independent State of Happiness.
Ariel Killick, 2007/2013
In Breaking News - A Statement from the Leader of the Anti-Depression Resistance Movement
"Obviously we're very concerned people might think we're just taking the piss in setting up an independent state, but nothing could be further from the truth. We're indisputedly serious and have successfully (and quite artfully) jumped through all the required diplomatic hoops - obviously we did prefer Aisle number 4 in the checkout queue at Lidl but unfortunately there were some insurmountable technical issues, such as they threatened to force us to actually do our shopping there & eat their sausages for a week. We were also interested in our local dole queue but again we faced competition from certain individuals pushing a synthetic form of happiness that we're very much against. We advocate a form of happiness that ideally doesn't endanger the liver, the lungs, future seratonin levels, your ability to hold down a job or an intelligent conversation. We're very proud of our allied forces, the Samaritans, they're doing some really sterling work on the front lines, dealing with very serious situations and we would encourage people to support them as much as possible. Some of the resistance members have suffered serious losses and are quite battle-scarred but this just firms our resolve to increase endeavours for the resistance movement.
We fervently believe in the power of positive affirmation, breaking down the patterns of social isolation, the hidden healing powers of a heartfelt hug and refreshing tea in a lovely hot mug. We also give out lollipops. Not exactly the most fundamental part of our anti-depression resistance movement, the lollipops, but they do taste quite nice. We rather like hugs too, but we have had to draw the line at kisses unfortunately, which is where the lollipops come in handy...
Of course it is quite possible to set up one's own independent state of happiness, say, in an auspicious area of your conservatory for example, or indeed you could get to know your neighbour better by suggesting setting up an joint independent state in his or her front garden! As long as you don't invite a diplomatic delegation from North Korea for tea, it's a guaranteed winner! (Nuclear warheads do so squash the petunias...)
Obviously though, one can't be in a state of happiness all the time - the many rogue states of madness are constantly on the attack - on the various waves of this sea of life however, one can always put on one's inner rubber floaties and practise some preliminary paddling before taking on the deeper seas...
How successful is the state? Well we're happy to say our happy smiley hit rate has averaged some 12 ¾ grins a minute - but only because some people's smiles look a little like grimaces and honestly sometimes it's hard to tell the difference... we hope we got a smile from you..."
In the meantime however, why not establish an Independent State of Happiness for a couple of hours in your local area? Contact me for further details... but we'll need a 3m x 3m area and provide our own Entry Officer (and much more!) to welcome people to the newly-established State.
One fine day..I really am going to set up an Independent State of Happiness in the checkout queue at Aldi..or the dole queue.. or somewhere that dark, cold day in January when we all get our credit card bills....
© Ariel Killick 2014
™ Stàt Neo-Eisimeileach Sonais / Independent State of Happiness It's a State of Mind