30 May 2006

if you've looked to your right, you'll notice that i'm reading the magic mountain.

yes, things are going to be heavy around here awhile.

it is the last pillar of 20th century literature that i haven't read--unless someone wants to make a convincing argument in favor of dance to the music of time. i picked it up first as an eleven year-old, but even at the peak of my precocity it proved a bit much. i see why now : back then, i had no concern for the concept of time--and no conception of it either. whereas now--oh, now!

the distractions - "time goes by so slow"(from the north by north west : liverpool & manchester from punk to post-punk and beyond, 1976-1983 lp, released june 19, import available for preorder here.)

i shouldn't mislead the reader; time passes here, w/ increasing rapidity. as hans castorp says, "i've always found it odd, still do, how time seems to go slowly in a strange place at first," for me, that strange place being by myself--but we are quick to grow accustom to the old way of being. rather, this is an opportunity to talk a/b the best single released on factory records not recorded by members of joy division. indeed, maybe you'll think it even stands up to the best of curtis, sumner &c.

apparently, joy division were fans, the distractions frequently opening for that band. apparently, this is also why they were signed by factory b/c the distractions have much more in common w/ the pub-rock than the punk rock. granted, they were a pub-rock band w/ a synth player & a peter saville sleeve.

"time goes by so slow" ululates. it's in the skewed sound of the lead guitar as it hits the final chord in the progression; it's a sound that's almost extramusical, like an electrical signal urging you to grieve rather than fingers positioned just so on a fretboard. the sound is mirrored in singer mike finney's wail, which demonstrates less of a concern for pure musicality than for having his emotional state register accurately to his intended. to be sure, his are words backed by actions, not only by the band, but in his own efforts; in the second verse, he puts up a statue of his girl in albert square, making eddie argos seem like a slacker w/ his simple pop song. it's an improbable claim, but like george bailey's promise to lasso the moon, it resonates.

resonant, too, are hans's cousin's words in the magic mountain. he values the four times a day he must take his temperature for seven minutes, for it truly teaches him what time actually means. perhaps, this is also the reason lovers are so content to do nothing more than lie side-by-side for long periods of time--w/ distractions to be sure, the mingling of hands, the occasional caress, for we are merely human, after all. it is the desire to stand athwart time if only for a moment. anything more, really, and you begin to wonder where the time has all gone to.

that said, it's nearing two months since i last saw x. this second month has gone faster--but how do i mean that? only subjectively, that is, i can't presume to speak for her. what is, as hans asks, the organ or the sense that registers time? our relationship to time is indexical; it can be witnessed indirectly, as the shadow of the gnomon marks the ground, but we cannot see "it" w/ our own eyes. a bit like love, then.

and though it's been nearly two months, w/ what ease, w/ what quickness, can i call her to mind. i know she's still out there; i receive signals, as it were, every so often, but not direct communication. it's like a form of echolocation : i broadcast my voice via this here site and now & again something bounces back at me. it occurs to me now that the guitar lines on "time goes by so slowly" ring out like an s.o.s., and i can understand finney's distress b/c he obviously has received no response. how heartening, then, to receive that response, however indirectly; how wonderful to know that a person like that is still out in the world--even if i cannot see her w/ my own eyes.


Otis said...

"the last pillar of 20th century literature that [you] haven't read"? Really? The Man Without Qualities?

fred said...

done it, dude.

actually, i still have a few volumes of in search of lost time to go. would you consider the tin drum? parade's end? (or is that one longer than it is important?)

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granata said...

The Distractions are back with their 'Black Velvet' EP available for digital download with a limited number of CD promos. See Occultation Recordings website (http://www.occultation.co.uk) for details of how to order, and keep an eye on www.thedistractions.co.uk/home.html for news of the forthcoming 12" EP and CD album due in 2011.

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