Thursday, July 31, 2014

I Just Woke from a Terrible Nightmare

I'm not joking. This is not a poetic (or prose) exericse. My heart feels wracked, tortured still from this nightmare. Yes, it occurred during the day. I was napping. Anyway, it was just awful. I shouldn't even tell you about it. Okay, I will. I dreamt my partner was an artist. He was acting just like me in the dream. I can't stop pinching myself. I can't wait to kiss him as soon as I see him and run my hands all over him and make sure it isn't true. The gods can be so cruel. The gods can be so kind. I can't wait to touch him and say over and over again, "You beautiful non-artist you!"

I is for Intent

What is someone's intent? It is not always as easy to suss out or define as one would like it to be. When a man wakes up and jumps out of his bed completely naked, then opens his venetian blinds at the precise moment a group of people are passing on the opposite side of the quiet street below, the intent on one side of the window is clearly to let in sun. However, the intent might appear from the other side of the window to have something to do with aerial flashing. Intent is always best left gauged by the intender, but intenders are rarely this fortunate in a world where virtually every other person's part-time job is construing the intent of others. (These people are best referred to as "part-time magistrates.")

A is for Alienation

A is for alienation. To alienate someone means to make them a stranger. So this word is disingenuous. This word is a liar. When you alienate someone, you don't make them a stranger. They don't make themselves a stranger. They absent themselves. Then they pretend they are a stranger. In the colloquial sense, they are a stranger (as in "Don't be a stranger!") But they are not a stranger. They know you and you know them--or at least they know you well enough for the alienation process to have occurred. Usually this means you have disappointed this person by not reflecting their values or by not having something which this person desires. This person is an animal. You can pretend this person is a pure spirit (in which case, alienation would be a harsh judgment of your qualities indeed!) but how many pure spirits do you know? To imagine a person who would alienate no one is a painful exercise. What would this person look like? Like a hand soap pump, perhaps? Or the emotional equivalent of a hand soap dispenser, anyway. A spigot. Surely this person would be a spigot of some sort. Even if it were a beverage they were dispensing, it couldn't really have any flavor. It would be a person like a paste that you were told is nourishing. But when you put the paste in your mouth, you couldn't be sure it was food. You would keep asking people about this person, "What is it exactly? Tell me again?" And the other person would talk for a while, and then admit they had no idea either. It's just everybody believes that is a very nice person. Everybody knows that person. Everybody absentmindedly consumes that paste. I am speaking purely of personalities here. Talents, for example, are another matter. A person who is not a tasteless paste, but rather a foul-tasting paste indeed, may possess a talent which overrides their innate ability to alienate.

Look at Insects

The portion of life that feels no pain, that is unstoppable.

The O.E.D.

I'm wondering if the Oxford English Dictionary is going to cave and include sharknado in the next edition. After all, there are plenty of other non-existent things in there. Unicorn. Chimera. Anyway, if people keep talking about something, it's real to some degree. And people won't shut up about sharknados.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Toilet of Aesthetic Arguments

Someone is attacked by metaphysics
while unclogging a real toilet.
And someone is attacked by reality
while unclogging a metaphysical toilet.
Both toilets seem to exist
only to repeatedly jam,
and there is no plunger,
no management,
nobody to even
really bitch to.
Just flush it.
Just flush it and run.

I Think XTC's English Settlement (1982) Was One of the Best Albums of that Decade

It's hard to believe this album only made it to number five on the U.K. Album Chart and to number forty-eight on the Billboard 200 album chart.

I remember learning of Partridge's difficulties with performing publicly the same year I had discovered the band.

That was unusual. The usual pattern was for bands to fly high for a few years, then go into an inevitable tailspin due to the psychological instability of one or more members.

 XTC imploded right out of the gate.

 But I don't think it matters, because they continued to make great music and to evolve after this. So they just weren't into the public performance side of things. So what.

 English Settlement is a theme album (the listener is sure) for which one can not quite pinpoint the theme.

 There are heroic gestures and mythic figures and strange, almost Rimbaudian journeys.

 There is killer sarcasm at a truly literary level.

There is innovative songwriting and weird cabaret vocal acting.

 There is the feeling that a moral compass is at the center of the work, that all the voices are in service of this.

There is jubilation and funny despair.

 It's a really great album.

It was worth a nervous breakdown. Seriously. I'm not being glib or poking fun. Things have prices. Maybe that was the price of writing such a brilliant album.

I repeat: it's a really great album.

 Still. Still. Still.

 Someone made a medley for the album: