Notebook (autumn journal)

November 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

– He remembers, slightly shamefaced, his self-description to J. as “an aesthete” – J. of the waistcoats, assiduously cultivated moustache, rampant sexual appetite (though not perhaps for a couple of years). He meant it, or meant to mean it: he knew himself to be more than the shrunken co-ordinates of small-town education, of small-gang, rough pleasures of intoxication & chat. (What a lot of haphazard work that word ‘be’ was doing.) He’d think later of Bryan Ferry: that it wasn’t a case of predilections, affects, daring, even of the endless glister of surfaces but of potentiality, the making-void of what is, the effect of being protean-but-finished as in a jump-cut of images from the buzzing circuitry of mediated desire (the close of Adam & The Ants’ “Prince Charming” video). A perfect but dominating congruence w/ the worldly (better known as ‘seduction’), being as being always other than what one is. He reads about Wilde’s last years in Paris, where Jim Morrison, puffy with booze & dope, would come to rest decades later: penniless, drunk when he could afford it, a lot less securely dressed than Stephen Fry portrayed him. The rain outside falls on the staid & the unstaid alike.

– The video for Camera Obscura’s ‘Tears For Affairs’: the presentation of the self as an already-existing whole – lace dress, bob cut, acoustic guitar mid-torso, expression not quite doleful; then the video for (his preferred song) ‘Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken‘, the flash of a couple moving through a 60s home-improvement version of Astaire-&-Rogers, the on-credit plastic of a world flush with employment, the flight towards something other than heartbreak. (The tambourine player in the ‘Eighties Fan’ video who looks like his Glaswegian tutor, rubbing his leg in slight discomfort.)

– The memory of the strange smell of his room at Warwick, of wet coats & boy sweat & warm radiators & books & what you do with them.

– He rehearses: “What I’d quite like is to have no feelings whatsoever.” To put it in terms she has no reason to reject. The hyperbole that always says other than the claustrophobic press of its statement. He knows he has to find more subtle ways of being silent. Or even to vacate dull care, into the enigma of fragments of language increasingly numbed to anything other than a private context, the drain of green from the falling leaves across the street from his window. Or, as he wants more than anything, into the weightlessness & synaptic flash of pop, the innocence for which pop’s love songs are themselves laments.

– A wet Sunday with Roy Orbison’s Monument 2LP All-Time Greatest Hits, reading so that he can’t listen too closely. But still the almost ambient swell & tremble of that bruise-blue velvet voice, the instruments doing their brittle work to stop it from overflowing itself. But always, early on the first side, ‘In Dreams’, with its trails of imagery from the video for the re-recording for the Lynch soundtrack: Frank, lipstick-smeared, spelling out the lyrics at knifepoint, Orbison, two years away from his death, looking as if encased in a wig & shades. The enormity of its spurious, echoplex-enhanced depth, the voice’s lostness in its own sugar-&-poison story, its luxurious abandonment to lack, to its own terrible reality, its defence against another, even worse.

– “The night continues wet, the axe keeps falling, / The hill grows bald and bleak / No longer one of the sights of London but maybe / We shall have fireworks here by this day week.”


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