Friday, May 29, 2009


The power went out at work.

The dimness, not darkness, was met with mild incredulousness and barely muted glee. I was just glad the light was out. I am a software guy at heart, and we like to be only illuminated by our screens, the brilliance of the things we peck out serving as texture on the lampshade that is the white of our screens. The front part of my office houses a video editing computer that is frequently utilized by people who are not mole rats and thereby need lights.

Weirdly enough, I was listening to Dark Night of the Soul (NPR stream) as it happened, wondering if I should record it since it appears that the infinite wisdom of licesners are holding it up. I think perhaps streaming out of the Proemethan lamp of National Public Radio is the right place for this; it hits me as PBS surrealism, quirky and slyly sensual, but not a touch dangerous. Danger Mouse had an unnerving steadiness in how he makes things things proceed ; it works with Cee-Lo crooning away over it, using it as a tightrope to traverse the ravine of the modern soul, or maybe just modern soul music, but it comes off too over-produced and under-inspired here, like an all-star Starbucks tribute record to David Lynch, for me to go through the trouble of trapping it to keep it at the ready on my phone, a holstered weapon or useful Bat-tool on my utility belt.

I had a similar thought about the similarly named Dark Was the Night concert (also streaming at NPR) I listened to last night as my daughter and her friend tried on their independence at the park last night. There is a sincere preciousness to the bands assembled, and you could hear Bob Boilen think these are special times as he rattles off their precious names: Dirty Projectors, My Brightest Diamond, The Arcade Fire, and the king of sincere preciousness David Byrne. I like all these acts, and am a general supporter of preciousness when it is wrapped around the spark of an individual as if to protect the little flame from being blown out. The album is a stellar listen, and a good cause, but I could feel people smiling a little too easily over whatever airwaves streaming audio streams. I felt enough already about it. These are precious times and we are precious for living in them, OK? Now, give it a rest.

There is almost a saber-rattling positivity to these precious groups that grates at me a little; maybe I am just too cranky to see the world so golden. I am embroiled in Herzog's maddening world of reality vivisected with the sharp scalpel of a personal, fragile spirituality, and that is coloring my view. In his walk from Munich to Paris chronicled in Of Walking in Ice, he nurtures the ridiculous of his zeal.
A pile of garbage on the plain does not want to leave my mind at all; I saw it from a distance and walked faster and faster, finally as if I was seized with mortal terror, I couldn't bear the thought of it being passed by a car before I reached it. Gasping from the mad race, I reached the mountain of garbage, needing quite a long time to recover from all this although the first car passed me several minutes after I had arrived.

(Tuesday 12/3)
This kind of desperate madness is what I want to see coming from preciousness, not an ordered tableau of talent or an expression of how wonderful my friends are and how fortunate I am to have them. There is nothing wrong with wonderful friends and the fortunes to be found in them, for I have both in copious amounts, but there is more than that in the world.

When I got back from a lunch break with Werner on the dark, frozen roads of rural of Germany, the lights were back on.

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