The City Nowadays – Truth In Words

These are not my words. Of course, all credit goes to L.A. Salami, check out my recent post on him, look him up, listen with all your heart and soul.

“I’ve got heartache, headache, high cholesterol, low self esteem.
The terrorists are out to get me because I approved of Noam
Chomsky beating on his chest. – Illegally downloading music’s become too easy – it’ s destroying the culture.
But I don’ t wanna pay for it – fuck that. I’ve got bills to pay, I’ ve got food to eat – I don’t earn that much money –

There are jobs nowhere, I can’t find any!
What happened to Rock and Roll? What happened to Hip Hop? What happened to the cinema?

Films used to be…Great. Now they’re easy to make, easy to sell, easy to get bored of – everything’ s 4 stars or more – Everything’s the best film of the year – Fast food films – Fast food music – Fast food politics – Fast food ideologies – What’s the worth of working to live at the cost of your soul? So much so that you don’t want to live at all?”

– L.A. Salami – The City Nowadays

Murakami’s Beautiful Worlds

My favourite writer is absolutely, unequivocally Haruki Murakami. It is like with my favourite film, (500) Days of Summer – no other writer, nor no other film even manages to come close. It is a funny thing this. There’s a cavernous gap between these, and then the second bests. I’m mostly certain nothing will ever even come close. And maybe this is close-minded of me, or maybe I believe and see too much in one, singular thing. Yet, it is comforting to know that the meaning Murakami holds within me, is constant, it is reliable, and cosy.

Why do I adore Murakami so much? It’s a hard question that I suppose has no clear answer, probably like most things in life. Maybe if I looked deep and hard enough, it would be there, lurking in some corner of my mind. But why bother? The mysteriousness is part of the intrigue, the fun. And considering this is Murakami we’re talking about, it seems perfectly applicable, for he is the master of mystery and ambiguity.

The first book I read of his was Norwegian Wood, it wasn’t calculated at the time, I just found it on the shelf. Though, looking back, it’s the perfect, accessible place to start. Now, I’ve read the majority of them – Kafka on the Shore being my favourite, I can honestly say that the one moment picking that one book from the shelf, has been one of the most influential things in my life. Especially within my own writing.

When I read what I have written, I see him in there, little specks of his inspiration. Of course, I’m not fooled into thinking it is anywhere near as good, and neither am I anywhere near as talented as he is. But it is there. It’s strange how we… appropriate parts of another person: their writing style, their thought processes, their words, even to an extent, their ideas. In most cases, we do not realise it, maybe not until a later date, maybe not until we realise which parts of us are truly ourselves and which parts are benevolent pieces of others.

Murakami is among the very few people who have managed to make a mark on my world, and how I view the world, and how I write the world.

I get the feeling I need to write more about it, about him. But for now this is all I can find, all I can understand and transcribe into words.

-Chris ❤

She & Him, and a Train Ride

A few years ago when I was taking my A-levels. For those of you that aren’t British, we take A-levels between the ages of 16 to 18, to gain entry to university – ideally…

Anyway… each morning I got a 7:40am train to one of the nearest colleges, around a thirty minute train ride away. They came, always late, horribly cold in the winter, and perpetually smelling of stale piss. And thanks to the rail system here, costing a fortune. Though, I endured it. What for? I wasn’t really sure. At that point I really had no interest in my education. I suppose I was doing it because… simply there wasn’t anything else to do. Or so I thought.

I trudged into lessons, nihilistically meandering through each endless day. I found it tiringly hard to care about anything, much less the results at the end of a three-hour examination.

And then I went home at 6:00pm, ate, played video games, and went to sleep awaiting the next mundane day. Life went on in exactly this manner, with little to no change, for two years. Slowly, it wore me down. There were very few people I could call friends. Each day brought my anxiety and depression to new levels.

Then it all ended. My examination grades were worse than awful. I hadn’t applied to university. Nothing had changed – and so it went for the two years following…

Then I applied for, and went to university… for a week , that is. Before my anxiety got the better of me.

Though, that’s mostly irrelevant to this. So, back to the train, and the worse times.

One of the only real things I remember of that time is my love for a musical duo called She & Him – consisting of actress Zooey Deschanel and guitarist/singer/song-writer M. Ward. I would get on the train, usually on a seat by myself, put my earphones in, and lean my head against the window in a pit of self-despair. All while the tunes of She & Him broke through the otherwise deafening silence. In those thirty minutes between stations, between the mundanity of two places, music like this was my respite, my safe haven. There were others too, Laura Marling, Camera Obscura, Belle and Sebastian, Emmy the Great, Cults, and many more. Though, She & Him somehow made the biggest impact on me. Sure, maybe some of it resided in the fact that I had… maybe still have a MASSIVE crush on Zooey Deschanel. She’s impossibly sweet! ❤

I heard her voice and his guitar playing and it would take me away from the juddering of the train and the incessant whining of my mind. And on a lunchine distract me from the fact I sat by myself, that I rarely talked to any other person throughout the whole day. It was a place I could relax, a home away from home. A break between lessons where my leg would jutter and my stomach churn with anxiety. Somewhere I could be alone… just me, happy, sad, fucked… whatever. It didn’t matter. Only the music mattered.

Frankly, looking back, it was the worst time of my life. I wish I could go back as I am now. I wonder how different things would be. Yet, maybe they wouldn’t be so different after all. Though, I like to think they would be.

There’s one more train ride/day that stuck in my head. A time much more poignant to me. Maybe I will share that as soon as I know how to tell it.

 

-Chris ❤

 

 

 

Holly Henry – When You Need ‘Something’

Around a year or two ago, I wasn’t in a great place. Of course, I’m hardly in a great place now. But compared to back then, things are peachy – and this, I take comfort in.

Back then, the world was an infinitely complex place. Even more so than it is now, and that’s saying something… The thing is, my mind at that time, is now something I cannot comprehend. I cannot even imagine the thoughts that were running through my head. The utter ignorance of everything I contemplated seems absolutely preposterous, selfish, irrational. And the biggest thing of all … I don’t know why, what for?

In the grand scheme of things nothing much has changed in my life. I still only have a few friends. I still sit in the house for most of every day. I’m still more or less the same person. Really the only difference is my short week at university – https://amongstallelse.wordpress.com/2016/10/09/home-once-again/ – That was an experience I will never forget. One I will re-take next September, but actually see through to the end this time!

So, two years ago I honestly found pleasure in nothing, not even my writing or reading. And then, I stumbled across a YouTube video. This one to be exact:

I remember it clearly. It was one of those moments where you sit back on your chair, stare at the ceiling and just think… just think. There was no clear train of thought. I remember sitting there, listening, wondering. There are certain people who catch your attention, be it with words, appearances, personalities, or with something a lot more ambiguous altogether. Other people rarely or ever see that one thing, that attraction that you yourself cannot ever decipher. It is there, and that’s all it is.

This is how I felt…feel when watching Holly Henry. (hmm, I hope that doesn’t sound creepy…) I don’t know whether it is her singing, her voice in particular. Or, without sounding shallow, maybe it is her appearance. She is an attractive person after all. But… attraction in that physical sense doesn’t really compute that well with me. I think it has to be something deeper, something more meaningful. Even if it is not clear what that actually might be.

Then I came across this in possibly one of the worst months – if I can recall January/February 2015. It doesn’t feel good to look back to that moment of my life. There’s something tainted about even the thought of it. Anyway, here it is:

Listening to this now, I notice a mixed bag of feelings. On one hand, I’m proud, happy that I have moved onto a less traumatic part of my life. And on the other, a sadness and anxiety lurks within the fact that I got the way I did to begin with. Also, a complete strangeness that I can’t pin down – something akin to a distant outline on an impossibly foggy day. Or an off-beat murmur in an otherwise healthy heart.

There are people and things in life that are needed. Even if you do not know them personally, even if they do not know you. Sometimes just existing. Doing what they do, is all that is needed.

For me, Holly Henry is like that. A bastion of hope. A source of escape and pleasure when I needed it the most. When you find these things, you have to latch onto them, pull them as close to your heart as you can, for it might be the one thing that manges to shine through in an otherwise entirely dark world.

-Chris ❤

 

 

Tiny Storeis – The Perpetual Motion of Music

The Perpetual Motion of Music


My feet were cold, unsettlingly so. It felt as though my toes were clinging to life, holding onto the relative warmth of my lower leg. I got the feeling that at any moment they might let go and be forgotten forever. They were the only part of my body that wasn’t covered with a bedsheet. I tried to pull them under, but no matter how much I willed it, and how much I fought, they remained in place, like statues on a cold winter night.

Music started to play – classical. I didn’t know who, Bach, Debussy, Beethoven, I didn’t know the difference.  It was in between loud and quiet. I pictured notes bouncing from the wood panelled walls, and the thick rug that I somehow knew to be at the bottom of the bed, absorbing the low notes.

I had never thought of music as something that perpetuated emotion. It seemed to just be ‘there.’ People made it, people listened, people made money, that’s as far as I thought it went. Yet, somehow, as I lay motionless in that bed, it struck me. Notes flowed through my body, sounds that I recognised, emotions and feelings that I could share. It was a strange , as though I was being filled with an overwhelming sense of sadness, that somehow manged to border on appreciation and understanding. The music was talking to me, directly to me, something which people failed to do altogether.

And then the music stopped. Replaced by a loud screeching of someone dragging the needle of a turntable over the record. The lighting transitioned from a warm glow, to a bright incandescent assault of light. Yet, in the room there were no lights, and no record player. There was only a bed, and a rug…

Still, I tried to wriggle free. I tried to break the chains that lashed my body onto the bed. I willed for the music to come back, for the notes to stick their fingers into the locks that bound me. So that I could leave this seemingly doorless room. Enter another that wasn’t so bright, so stark and all-revealing.

Things began to fade. I saw the wooden walls fall away, revealing a world of white behind them. The ceiling floated upwards and vanished into that white. I glanced to my side as much as I could, the floor had gone. And then I saw the rug, drifting upwards much slower than the others, leaving me behind in this half warm, half cold world. I tried to reason with it, for it to fall back down to this world, to lay itself over my cold toes and make them warm once again. But it was a rug, and it didn’t know I existed.

I felt alone, exposed. I wanted the light to go out, for the whiteness to take leave as swiftly as it had come. Somewhere deep within me – after seeing those floating notes, and sharing in things I thought weren’t meant to be shared – I knew that the only way out of this bed would be for me to find the key hidden within the covers, the duvet, the pillows, wherever it had come to rest so comfortably. Then again, the idea of finding something without the ability to move, to search, was lost on me.

Maybe this bed, this world of white, a world without music, a place without anything at all, maybe it was now my home. For all I knew there was no key to unlock the chains. The chains were invisible, surely that must have meant the key was also…

How could I find an invisible key, to unlock an invisible lock, within an invisible world?

For You, Angus and Julia Stone – Those Moments

I’ll admit it. My choice in music isn’t to everyone’s taste. And maybe there really isn’t the broadest range to what I like. I am a picky person in this regard. Probably in all other regards too. Nevertheless, good music, is good music.

Angus and Julia Stone’s ‘For You,’is probably my favourite song of all time. It is one of those things I hold so close to my heart. Something I feel as it enters my ears. It stirs a deep-down part of me that rarely ever sees the light of day. This mysterious being residing in the furthest depths of my mind. It is both ecstasy and pain. Both resentment and hope. It is love.

Maybe it is because there’s never truly been a person that I could ever sing this song to. Sure, there are people who I wish I had sung it to. Maybe it is because it harks back to those simpler times when nothing really mattered, when everything was just practice for the real word. Though, I suppose the trouble is… I got nowhere near enough of it. I’ve always been too fearful of what’s waiting around the next corner. Too fearful to even talk to a the person that I now remember when I hear this song. And yet, what’s done is done. It’s in a long-ago past that frequently comes back to haunt me. Maybe it’s because since then… I’ve not felt anything like it

Maybe it’s best to not know at all…



The future holds the answers, I suppose.

 

Song