Mausoleum. San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2013 by Ramesh
Mausoleum. San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2013 by Ramesh
Today I leave the bed unmade and walk around my own house like a ghost. Hard to say if I’m slipping into something or out of something. Kneeling on the carpet I wonder, “Do we get to feel the feeling again of Italy, of blooming inside?”
Pictured Work by France-lise McGurn
The sun is high and spring is beginning to show itself — how can there be any doubt that this moment is, in essence, beautiful?
Like Jep Gambardella, I have spent my fair share of time walking alone through cities, night and day, drunk and sober, lonely and elated. The experience has not always been joyous but it has rarely been worthless.
At the end of my tenure in Berlin I lived at the edge of Templehoff Airport. In those days my life consisted of many long walks. I would wake and swim laps with Lucy at the Templehoff public pool, following which we would have breakfast at the church and then go our separate ways, her to the studio and me to wander. I had a regular loop that went around the perimeter of the airport, through the Volkspark Hasenheide, and then back down the main drag of Hermanstrasse toward home.
Berlin is a lonely city at the best of times. That sounds counterintuitive, considering its reputation as a beacon of hedonism, but to live there (especially as an expatriate) one must be willing to endure a certain degree of isolation. Toward the end of these walks I would come to a triangle, the intersection of three roads, in the middle of which stood a church.
The building was tall and gothic, fitted with a belfry and seemingly carved from a single piece of stone. It was the past, present, and future realized in one impenetrable object. How much darkness and rebirth has Germany seen in little more than a century?
Churches have the unique effect of calming and blanketing the anxious soul while simultaneously issuing an unanswerable question. Peering through the great front doors, which were to my observation always locked, I could see only obscured slices of the high ceilings flanked by myriad blackened stone cherubs and stained glass scenes, blue and purple light swimming in the void.
Just the mystery of that incomplete picture would summon music from the far reaches of my mind — angelic choirs both haunting and beautiful. It was as though, with my face against the door, I was for the first time feeling the heartbeat of Germany, a remembrance both spiritual and corporeal, an experience to which I could somehow relate but would never truly understand.
Sometimes it may feel as though we are lost but only in this searching do we see the richness of life.
Go Doug! F@cking fantastic.
Recalls great memories from our time in Berlin and New York. Here’s to many more…
Doing a little research today on Belgian music and came upon this nugget. Massively good-get involved.
Fat Ronny (or Dikke Ronny) aka Ronny Harmsen was DJ at the Ancienne Belgique club in Antwerp, Belgium. The legend will that he’s the DJ who accidentally launched the new beat music by playing a 45 RPM record on a wrong speed.
This tape was recorded in the late eighties.
01 - He Said - Pump
02 - Vicious Pink - The Spaceship Is Over There
03 - T.A.G.C. – Big Sex
04 - Ministry - The Angel
05 - Severed Heads - The Ant Can See Legs
06 - Eurythmics - Monkey Monkey
07 - Alan Rankine - Rumours Of War
08 - Simple Minds - League Of Nations
09 - Blancmange - The Game Above My Head
10 - Westworld - Sonic Boom Boy
11 - Carlos Peron - Nothing Is True
12 - Brian Eno / David Byrne - Regiment
13 - Robert Palmer - The Silver Gun
14 - Jah Wobble, Jaki Liebezeit, Holger Czukay – How Much Are They?
15 - Fingerprintz - Wet Job
16 - Signal Aout 42 - Pleasure And Crime
17 - Severed Heads - Now An Explosive New Movie
18 - Crash Course In Science - Flying Turns
19 - The Neon Judgement - TV Treated
20 - N.Y.C. Peech Boys - On A Journey
Watching My Own Private Idaho, my faith in art is restored. Not that it was ever gone, but sometimes it takes something so pure and consistent to remind us why we create: to try and achieve a work that will outlast us, and which accurately depicts — yet says something new about — the human experience.
I don’t know if it’s because I have a best friend who is dirty blonde and from Seattle, because River Phoenix is (as both an actor and a person ) so compelling, or because the aesthetics are real and just right, but somehow this film stirs in me an emotional curiosity that I have not felt for some time.
I believe every artist’s work can be imagined as an arc. Zoom in and, as with a sound wave, you will be able to see microscopic squiggles, ups and downs that form the greater arc. Always the artist is working toward what he or she imagines to be his or her most significant work, but it is almost as though there is an unseeable force, something that may be classified as fate or zeitgeist, guiding the situation. At some point, without warning and without an awareness of it happening, all of the pieces will fall into place (the right people, the right context, the right content) and the artist will make the undeniable thing that has been building inside for so long: a classic.
My Own Private Idaho is magical because it is fantastical yet moves like real life. The slow peeling back of the onion-like layers of River Pheonix’s character is far more effective than any sensory onslaught with swelling music and tear-jerking imagery. He is, in looks and emotional aspect, like James Dean—someone you want to love and be loved by, a tough exterior encasing great intellect and tenderness, someone you want to bring close and protect from the world.
What I draw from My Own Private Idaho is that the human experience is a great story unto itself: the equal mysteries of your closest friend and the universe at large. Great art takes that mystery, that deep, penetrating sadness and joy and desire for completeness, and translates it into a powerful vibration, which can be felt in the body for days, months, years, or even a lifetime.