October 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

1) Softly singing ‘European Son’ & the peak verses of ‘Heroin’ (“Heeeeeeroiiiiin/It’s my life, & it’s my wife”) to myself in year 10 General Studies, our teacher being sleazy enough either not to notice or to care, except to ask what I was saying. I hardly knew myself: the songs (I considered buying the 2CD version of Velvet Underground and Nico from Our Price, but got the single CD version in the end, the second just being mono takes of the songs) functioned as a talisman of disconnection, of the bodily haziness of a depressed adolescence, of the equivocal redemption (to adapt Ellen Willis) of another, unknown life.

2) Leaving the recital of Messiah in Ringwood church hall (Christmas 2008, perhaps?), waiting for the bus home & playing ‘I Heard Her Call My Name’ against the cold, barely hearing, between the molten ooze of the notes, pouring into the torrent of riff-scratch, the drama of revenance of disappearance (“& then my mind split open”).

3) Sitting outside Dalston Kingsland waiting for L., reading Ellen Willis’ blistering essay on the Velvets in Stranded: about the astoundingly productive contradictions half-heard in the barely-cohered agony, struggle & resignation of the songs. We walked to Clissold Park, sat in the sunshine, talked about whatever it is that life involves.

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