Ordinary language is all right.
One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.
Compare to 16 months ago:
1. Breathe - Fabolous - 19
2. Party and Bullshit - Biggie Smalls - 18
3. Kevin Rowlands 13th Time - Dexy's Midnight Runners - 9
4. You're Wondering Now - The Specials - 9
5. II B.S. - Charles Mingus - 8
6. The Jump Off - Lil' Kim feat. Mr. Cheeks - 8
7. Happy People - R. Kelly - 8
8. B R Right - Trina feat. Ludacris - 8
9. Yeah - Usher feat. Lil' Jon and Ludacris - 8
10. I Love You (Listen to This) - Dexy's Midnight Runners - 7
10. I Luv U - Dizzee Rascal - 7
10. Hovi Baby - Jay-Z - 7
10. Just Blaze, Bleek & Free - Memphis Bleek - 7
10. Orange Rolls, Angel's Spit - Sonic Youth - 7
L 10. Get By - Talib Kweli - 7
10. Lean Back (Remix) - Terror Squad feat. Ma$e and Eminem
All played within the past month, except for the second and third; for some reason I haven't played the Biggie on my iPod since getting it (I last played it on my computer in April, probably sometime later than that on a CD or something I burned), and the Dexy's is still at #3 despite last being played almost a year ago (on my computer, that is - I think I've played the record a handful of times in the past month on my stereo).
Can you tell that it bothers me that iTunes doesn't know about every single time I hear every single song? The Trina, for instance. I think all 8 of those must be from the past week; but that's far from accurate if I add up every single time I've heard, on my headphones, while walking around somewhere: fuck a dime, I'm a silva dolla, holla.
(A gasp every time.)
'the part/of your head/that used to be/your face'
Three or four minutes of silence on a record is enough to make it seem like it's been stopped far longer.
It occurred to me to say it seems as if the guitarlike, midrange sheets of noise on the first disc of Kesto become slightly interminable over the course of the disc not for the intended reason (oh the terrible noise), but just because they never seem to change key - or whatever you'd call it for horrible noise. So I thought I might say that the record would have turned out better (don't get me wrong - I've been listening to malfunctioning electronic equipment all day with pleasure) had they actually varied the sound a little. But now I realize what dumb thing that is to say. What was that I said above? Interminable? Oh, yes.
'Slipping away', 'becoming damaged': as if I really encountered my memories of the past in any other way than post-mortem, so that I would be justified in talking as if I knew what the memories were like, before. The things I end up missing the most are the ones I never knew were going to be missed because I was already well on the way, never having cause to give them the one or two momentary thoughts that would call them forth, keep them alive.
There's this track on Kesto, which it turns out is called 'Telemiitit' (or 'Telemites' in English), that's been tugging at me every time it goes past. It took me a while to figure out why. My college girlfriend (I could just as well say, high school girlfriend; at this point I can hardly even believe the whole thing was real) Anna went to China twice in college. (Or three times?) What I remember, hearing this Pan Sonic track, is sitting up in my room, my old room at 1234 Michigan Avenue in Ames, up all night while Anna slept. She fell asleep but I stayed up, at her request, so that she would be able to get to her shuttle to the eventual plane to China on time. At some point I put on A, which is both fitting and a totally stupid choice of record for someone who hasn't slept. And that's what 'Telemiitit' draws out in me, now, that feeling: of holding yourself up, of being alone no matter who's around, because everyone else is dead to the world. Of waiting while the rays of sun shine through the shades. Of having to restrain yourself from waking up someone who's right there, who could keep you company, because you're thinking of her now, not yourself. But now, the deliberate desolateness of 'Telemiitit' is overwhelming. I've actually cried while listening to a Pan Sonic 'song'; for all that they seem to encourage emotional failure of some sort with their scrupulous (but pointedly not heavy-handed, or complete) removal of the human element, I wouldn't have thought they could get that out of me. This is not to say that I expect the same from anyone else. Thinking about that early morning, I realize something that makes the bottom drop out. The first time Anna went to China, we were together. The second time, we weren't. But I can't even remember which time I'm associating with the Pan Sonic record; I had to be lucky enough to find that mention of her first trip in June 2000 to figure out that the first trip must have been in the summer of 1999. And I need to know which trip it was, because after we broke up, for a while, though I wouldn't say we remained friends, we remained something - something enough for her to maybe have needed this favor and me to have missed her so badly that I would have agreed to even favors that tore my heart out. And I feel just the slightest tinge of the obligatory in my memory to be unsure - was I seeing her off as a boyfriend, or a still broken apart (it took months and months after that, I might even say years) ex-boyfriend? Even what bits I had left of my past are slipping away from me. No. Not even that. They're becoming so damaged that I can't salvage them; the inability to know, alongside the awareness that it's maybe a 'good' memory, maybe a 'bad' one, is worse than just having forgotten. It never fucking stops.
What I've been reading (in some sustained bursts, some scattered glances, some stolen respites from proper work, some recurrent fascinations):
Stanley Cavell - The Claim of Reason
George Levien and David Leverenz (eds.) - Mindful Pleasures: Essays on Thomas Pynchon
Herman Melville - Moby Dick
Lewis Mumford - The City in History
Hannah Pitkin - Wittgenstein and Justice
Thomas Pynchon - Gravity's Rainbow
Ishmael Reed - The Free-Lance Pallbearers
Max Weber - The Protestant Ethic and the 'Spirit' of Capitalism
Every book I touch makes me wish I could read ten more.
That would be, of course, on my iPod. At home, a bit of this and that (Pan Sonic's Kesto, strangely - or not so strangely, I guess - drawing me five or six years toward my past; Charlie Parker doing the same even if I never properly heard his officially approved good stuff before; Mingus from the seventies), but to be honest, I seem to be bent on wearing out my Junior Boys record, even to the point of consciously becoming tired of it and then leaving it repeating anyway, just to see what happens. The other day I dropped back to sleep after waking up, having put the stereo on; by the time I woke up again in the early evening, every song had this amazing texture to it, and at every point it seemed I was hearing something I had never heard before.