Sunday, April 23, 2006

The static is crackling

For a Sunday evening stroll that was really quite unusually eventful. The mass of people roaming the streets, seemed strange and incongruent - well, not really. I guess it's the nice, lovely, sunlit weather that brings them out in force, finding the opportunity to step outside and seizing their skins, Rizlas, or whatever brand is preferable and making and subsequently lighting up a joint - y'know, just to celebrate. And what are they all celebrating? The fact that they're not dead yet, I guess. Down to the shop and inside, grabbing what I want, paying and walking out. On the way back my synapses and nerve endings triggering to attention at the smell of dope - and I would experience a sweet rush of dopamine, if it wasn't for the negating thoughts of impending maths, crushing down on my skull - bypassing the guards that stand at The Pearly Gates, leading to my brain - and making my head a treasure chest of misery and incompetence.

Seeing blue carrier bags - off-license licensed - and pondering the virtue of my relatively long-term sobriety. Sentences cascading and falling, being constantly written and re-written, within my photographic memory. Syntax gets muddled, and confused, rephrased to make more or less sense depending on context and circumstance. A literary etch-a-sketch forever - for this moment only - transfixed in my mind, words losing meaning and taking shape when dragged begrudgingly, reluctantly out of their dictionary definitions and transposed to mean something else entirely, muddling irony with contradiction and paradoxes be damned.

Walking back from the shop and suddenly a child starts following like some sort of long abandoned puppy - Where do you live? - lingering on like a particularly noticeable perfume - Do you know me and my big brother? - a puppy that has just learned to bark - boo! - and taking the opportunity to inexplicably fire off statements disguised as inquisitions - Do you know you're much faster than me? - and taunts disguised as facts - Well, I'm faster when I run - criss-crossing across tripwires and inevitably further fragmenting my already fragmented brain - Why do you smoke? - before getting bored at my monosyllabic, disinterested replies and giving up the chase.

Well, what can I give you to help you understand this mildly amused, abstract, fragmented state-of-mind? The endless walking - a pacing of the room if indoors; walking up and then down the street pretending that I actually want something from the shop if outdoors. It all must add up to something, surely? Surely? Here's the closest I've come to describing it today, in the form of Beirut. I hope you enjoy them. Understanding is something. You can decide what. I'm off to the long put-off maths I've been going on about.


Postcards From Italy
Mount Wroclai (Idle Days)
Interior of a Dutch house

Here's a short, extracted bio, courtesy of the site. Since I've done enough writing. You can tell I've been reading recently.

"While it may sound like an entire Balkan gypsy orchestra playing modern songs as mournful ballads and upbeat marches, Beirut's first album, Gulag Orkestar, is largely the work of one 19-year-old Albuquerque native, Zach Condon, with assistance by Jeremy Barnes (Neutral Milk Hotel, A Hawk and a Hacksaw) and Heather Trost (A Hawk and a Hacksaw). Horns, violins, cellos, ukuleles, mandolins, glockenspiels, drums, tambourines, congas, organs, pianos, clarinets and accordions (no guitars on this album!) all build and break the melodies under Condon's deep-voiced crooner vocals, swaying to the Eastern European beats like a drunken 12-member ensemble that has fallen in love with The Magnetic Fields, Talking Heads and Neutral Milk Hotel"

Listen to the songs and then shuffle, skip, dance, walk, walk, walk... keep walking. Can you hear your heartbeat within the percussion? Well, in the interior of a Dutch house, I can. The static is crackling, the room is upbeat and distracted and the music is pulsating from speaker to speaker, and it feels like you're in love. That is Beirut. Like it? Buy it.

*Note: all of this post is factual, with literary license. However, none of the italicised quotations from the kid are made up. They were all said, word for word.

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