It's been so long since I've posted anything of substance that I've basically forgotten how to do this. HOW DO I EVEN LIVEJOURNAL. So I'm just going to type and see what comes out, and then post it and then feel awful about it for a while and be avoidant about looking at the comments and oh you know how it goes.
Seriously, though, I feel like I literally don't remember how to write anything longer-form than a tweet. A series of tweets, maybe. "(1/3)". Like trying to make a speech while struggling to keep your head above water, shouting it out in gulps of air. It feels like the internet's all broken and polluted now anyway, no air between things; we didn't used to have a word for "content" when it was all content. Not that I was, of course. I guess in some ways I'm more content now, more settled -- or set -- in my ways, less inclined to stand for certain brands of bullshit. Oh god though listen to me, puffing out hot air like a pompous great wheezing walrus, "I am this, I am that", words, words, and do you see what I did there, and besides. Is any one of us not basically just wandering around in the dark? Maybe running our hands over the outlines of something half-perceived, or maybe just petulantly kicking something and hoping it isn't a wasps' nest?
I had a voice in here somewhere.
Memory goes, but not memories. I can't always remember the name of the thing any more. (It was all there, only the names were not.) Things I thought I had stored in my head turn out to be broken links, digital husks; but the fingertips of past relationships come reaching out of the mist, too too solid (oh, for goodness' sake, stop that, you are not Lord Hamlet (no, stop that, too)), and the old music gets louder, the needle returns to the -- no, don't force it, you can hear it if you just listen.
The bits that make sense are decoupling like a slow-motion explosion. Blow the bloody doors off and see all the people.
The things in my life I want to write about have too much backstory, they're compromised by context, they're anchored to things I can't say. They're shot through with the threads of other people's secrets, and untangling my own loose weave will mean unravelling other people's hidden seams. Everything is tied to someone else; sometimes it feels like every thing in the world is a place where something, a thing I was doing when. The smell of his aftershave, 10 years later, still makes me turn my head. The arms of his jumper around my shoulders. Hooks in my flesh.
Maybe if I stack up enough half-sentences they'll start becoming.
I always think of you, and the above of you, when I hear the song below.
It's always a kind of injury, love, but sometimes a wonderful one. It's sickening to see the internet has shit over language; rolling news shit over the enlightenment; Dawkins, Churchland and their ilk shit over humanism; imported, positivist, legalistic neo-calvinism shit over religion; the left and right conspiring to shit over mercy; medium-equivalantism shit over literature; imported individualist liberation libertarianism shit over shared ecstasy and the collective unconscious.
It's amazing how the moment that our distant relations, marginal acquaintances, potential employers, police, market researchers, mobs-in-waiting, pamphleteers, moralisers, marketeers, and security services took an interest in our lives coincided so perfectly with the last time any of us made a mistake, did something inadvisable, failed, had an ambiguous thought or action, or created an uncommerical work. We're well into DDR land now, aren't we -- we all swallowed the blue pencil, not the red pen -- and I guess it will go rotten from the inside out.
Don't forget who you are.
By the way:
(I'm considering putting playing that Opus III track into a letter of final wishes when we draw up a will).
Oh goodness, I'm sorry for not replying to all this sooner, but it's the same wanting-to-say-everything-and-ending-up-saying-nothing (Original Fail is inherent in everything at every level, it's probably fractal). Thank you for the words and the songs! I always loved 'Hello'. Life _is_ a strange thing, isn't it, but I don't think I have a clue how to use it yet. Maybe that's a good thing.
I wish I could talk to you properly some time. You make so much sense of things and it feels so much more... authentic? [not sure what the word I'm looking for is but that's close enough for this time of night] ... than when I try. :-}
I like the sound of Original Fail, it's theology for our time! :-)
I guess you'll recognise how I've tried to reply two or three times and deleted it as pompous or tangential wind. I like the sound of tangential wind: maybe we can tack our way forwards (or other man with a watch pointing at his yacht in the club-book montage type terminology) with its aid, :-) .
I don't know if it's always been like our generation: an dancers and an orchestra trying to put on a ballet wearing full NBC equipment, attached to tangled air lines. In the end I think we just kind of develop our endogenous valium and it helps because it means we don't hurt people. Like the way people say that there's endorphins released when there's physical pain. But it does mean that everything goes horribly 1950s. Hey ho.
I think, when you're here, it always seems more authentic to hear stuff coming from other people: other people always seem much more convincing as actually existing than I do. I've certainly always appreciated you expressing it.
Words-and-pictures wise, these days I mainly indulge in either cheap sentimentality, the avant garde, or medieval, baroque, or modern religious stuff. (Kind of skip from the end of Bach and Poussin to the start of Wagner and Delacriox, everything in-between is a horrible burden).
Which reminds me of Müller's wonderful Hamletmaschine. It always reminds me of you when I read it because of the "Bla bla" near the start which I remember being a favourite of yours, but particularly Hamlet's speech at the start of Act Four, which I'll comment separately.
""" I am not Hamlet. I play no role anymore. My words have nothing more to say to me. My thoughts suck the blood of images. My drama is cancelled. Behind me the scenery is being taken down. By people who are not interested in my drama, for people, to whom it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter to me either. I’m not playing along anymore. [Stagehands install, unknown to Hamlet-actor, a refrigerator and three TV sets. Humming of the refrigerator. Three programs without sound]. The scenery is a monument. It portrays a man who made history, a hundred times life-size. The petrification of a hope. His name in interchangeable. The hope has not been fulfilled. The monument lies on the ground, razed three years after the state funeral of the Hated and Honored One by those who now rule us. And the stone is inhabited. [...] My place, if my drama ever took place, would be at both sides of the front, between the fronts, over them. I stand in the sweating masses and throw stones at the police soldiers tanks bulletproof glass. I glance through the double-door outfitted with bulletproof glass at the oncoming crowd and smell the perspiration of my fear. I shake, choked with nausea, my fist against myself, standing behind the bulletproof glass. [...] My drama has not taken place. The script was lost. The actors hung their faces on the nails of the garderobe. The stage-prompter rots in his box. The overstuffed plague-corpses in the audience don’t move a finger. I go home and kill time, at one / with my undivided self. Television The daily revulsion Disgust at prefabricated babble At manufactured merriment How do you spell FRIENDLINESS """
From Act Four of Hamletmaschine, by Heiner Mueller, as translated by Dennis Redmond.
I can't think of anybody in Hamlet who I'd actually want to be, though solving that question ("where can we live but Hamlet?") reminded me to dig out my tape of "Valtemand and Cornelius are Not Well At All", which it turns out is not what it says on the tin, because at some point I taped over it with "All That Fall".
So, anyway, I had a new year's resolution to actually try to reply to email rather than being chronically cowardly about post-awkwardness un-awkwardifying, but I seem not to have managed it yet. Maybe this will help chip away at a bit of the ice? I'm sorry I am rubbish. :-/
It's not just the longformness, though, it's the picturelessness, the adfreeness, the weird obsessiveness, the actually-made-of-people-ness. All that seems to have gone underground. I guess, being of the badgery persuasion, I should just start digging.
I had a look at one of those old newsgroups (yes, that one) for the first time in ages, the other day. It's still going.
And *that* group? Every few years I look in on it, recognise a few familiar faces - with dismay: "You're *still* here?" - and move on, silently. The handle I had in those days is long gone, deleted and purged... And recycled by some clever young man who will be terribly, terribly embarrassed when he discovers the baggage attached to 'his' rather dated name. It's actually more embarrassing, not less, that some of it is quite well-written, orang-utans in ill-fitting shirts and all.