Something Old, Something New

8 November 2013
1:08 AM
Manila

M.–

Sometime in my early twenties, I had another blog where I tried to be funny. It was an attempt to see the humour out of the drudgery, as I was, I think, just beginning my job. (Or, I might have probably started while I was looking for a job.) I also wanted to stick it to the Man. I mean–fast internet? Yes, why not use it to slack off and watch episode after episode of Survivor: Africa while eating a humungous burger at my desk. Basic firewall? Why, let me update my blog while my boss goes home to his spiffy hotel.

It was during this time that I started an ambitious list of music that meant a lot to me and spoke of what my life was like. I called it, “The Soundtrack of My Wasted Youth.”

Here’s where I get to disappoint the both of us–I just uncovered it from a cave, and what do you know–I’ve only got three songs.

Reproduced below for our enjoyment.

THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY WASTED YOUTH

1. Teenage Wasteland – The Who

Really called Baba O’Riley, Pete Townshend wrote this masterpiece about waste. It’s everything that is my life, and probably will be in the next few years. “I don’t need to be forgiven,” coupled with “It’s only teenage wasteland,” makes it perfectly angsty and lost and unreal and valid, all at the same time. Plus, it fucking rocks, and I like to imagine myself entering a room with the F-C-Bb power chords streaming, feeling vindicated. This song takes me to the highs and lows and I’m FUCKING SWEPT.

2. How It Ends – Devotchka

Because I can’t say it any better, I borrow words taken from this review.

The music is what “…you put on when you want to wallow, when you want to brood, when you want to shut your windows and close your blinds and lose yourself in the wistful tragedy of love and loss and hope and nostalgia that bubbles to the surface in all of your darker, finer moments. And though it could easily be the soundtrack to One Hundred Years of Solitude (what, with all the horns and guitars and the crooning Nick Urata), it’s actually more spiritually related to the darker and finer moments of, say, Modest Mouse. (“Night on the Sun” the-world-is-ending-right-here-in-this-guitar-delay Modest Mouse, not the newly-minted disco Mouse).”

It’s a fucking tragedy, and I LOVE IT. “It makes you think. It makes you long. It makes you dream.” And it fucking makes you feel meaningful in every possible way, whether you’re jumping off a building, or in for a long drive in a taxi on an unknown street. “And if you can listen…without feeling the suffocating sensation of tearing flesh from bone that accompanies any true loss, then you haven’t loved and you haven’t lost and you shouldn’t kid yourself that you’re better for it.”

3. Mad World – Gary Jules

Originally by Tears for Fears, this is a great cover by Gary Jules. Curt Smith said, “It’s very much a voyeur’s song. It’s looking out at a mad world from the eyes of a teenager.”

It’s pretty accurate except for the tiny detail that I’m not a teenager (anymore). I prefer this version better because the piano chords fit me more as a voyeur of my own life more than the synthesizers, which would probably be also me in a higher plane of consciousness, i.e. on acid. Heh.

Written sometime around 2007

I am thinking, how many lives I must have lead. Am still leading. The above was a self immersed in sweeping power chords and heavy riffs, as if I was carrying the weight of the world. I wonder how much has changed over the years.

When it comes to music it’s as if I am always going off on several directions. But the core? Always, always jazz.

So here’s something new to add to that list made by my old self–an old song, too, but sung by someone new:

Someday he’ll come along…

It’s been an hour and I thought I would be able to write about this. But I have no words. Perhaps someday.

A poem by one of my favourite poets, who probably loves jazz more than he does poetry:

Sad Steps
Philip Larkin

Groping back to bed after a piss
I part thick curtains, and am startled by
The rapid clouds, the moon’s cleanliness.

Four o’clock: wedge-shadowed gardens lie
Under a cavernous, a wind-picked sky.
There’s something laughable about this,

The way the moon dashes through clouds that blow
Loosely as cannon-smoke to stand apart
(Stone-coloured light sharpening the roofs below)

High and preposterous and separate—
Lozenge of love! Medallion of art!
O wolves of memory! Immensements! No,

One shivers slightly, looking up there.
The hardness and the brightness and the plain
Far-reaching singleness of that wide stare

Is a reminder of the strength and pain
Of being young; that it can’t come again,
But is for others undiminished somewhere.

Goodnight,
T.

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