Thursday, September 23, 2004

where are you from? love is a place (ask yourself, ask anyone)

Earlier this week in my Canadian history course, certain ways of stereotyping First Nations peoples were attributed in part to "a psychological anxiety about not being from that land" on the part of the European settlers. (Apparently I don't pay enough tuition to make me actually remember what this was specifically referring to.) Concurrently, we were studying the Book of Genesis in my "The Bible and English Literature" English course. To quickly recap, Adam and Eve are exiled from the Garden of Eden due to their sin — a geographical shift that mirrors a shift in their relationship with God. In essence, then, we are all in exile, both spiritually and physically, from our "homeland" (uh, issues of population density notwithstanding).

The idea of being anxious about not coming from the place you find yourself seemed somewhat ridiculous to me at first. True, I've never lived outside of Ontario, and I didn't even leave the province until I was 18, nor the country until I was 19. However, by the time I was in Grade 6, I had lived in Leamington, Mitchell, Guelph, Elmira, Kitchener, and Waterloo (to be fair, the last two are pretty much the same thing). Those are all pretty close to each other, but not when you're young and your parents can't drive you anywhere, so people twenty or thirty or fifty miles away just vanish from your life. We stayed in Waterloo after that, moving once within the city. Then I came to Kingston for school. I am currently sitting in the fifth bedroom I have had in the last twenty-four months, not counting the one I still have in Waterloo. I am not from the places I repeatedly find myself, even though I'm at least in the same country. I've been in this apartment for almost five months now, and the walls are still blank. If I had a psychological anxiety about my pseudo-exile, I think it's been replaced by a psychological anxiety about when I have to leave and start over again.

I don't remember anything of Leamington and Mitchell, because I was very, very young when we lived there. Obviously I have no concrete memories of leaving Eden either. Yet I think that most people, at one time or another, whether they respond to them or not, do experience feelings of spiritual exile — of not being in the place they belong in relationship to God, or whatever their notion of divine power is. We are all anxious about not being from the place that our hearts belong to. And as I examine the physical, geographical ways I have wandered, I realize that they are really little more than signposts to my heart's exile, all these places I have found somewhere between Eden and New Jerusalem — deserts and forests, oceans and mountains.

Right now, I am not sure where I have ended up.

Nothing has changed,
for men still sing the song that Adam sang
against the world he lost to vipers,

the song to Eve
against his own damnation;
he sang it in the evening of the world

with the lights coming on in the eyes
of panthers in the peaceable kingdom
and his death coming out of the trees,

he sings it, frightened
of the jealousy of God and at the price
of his own death.

The song ascends to God, who wipes his eyes:

"Heart, you are in my heart as the bird rises,
heart, you are in my heart while the sun sleeps,
heart, you lie still in me as the dew is,
you weep within me, as the rain weeps."

-excerpt from "Adam's Song," by Derek Walcott

On an unrelated note, the people who pass my window on their way home from The Cocamo on Thursday nights cause me to lose faith in humanity.

*Metric, "Love Is A Place"

Thursday, September 09, 2004

beware your local record store clerk!

Last night I had a bizarre nightmare about John Cusack. In addition to his acting career, he owned a record store, and he had recorded a song under the alias "The Somebodys" that was on his latest film soundtrack or in the trailer or something. When people came into his store looking for the song, which had never been officially released, he would gruesomely dismember them, make a sort of bed out of their limbs and lie back on it to smoke a post-murder cigarette, and then go steal their record collections.

True story (sort of).

Thursday, September 02, 2004

between the click of the light and the start of the dream

At long last, the resurrection of The Local Black & Red, and the permanent barial of the 2002 archives. No one cares about thinly veiled prom whining and Kitchener punk shows I went to in highschool. If you do, I suggest you find more productive uses of your time.

The Arcade Fire's debut full-length album, Funeral, will be released September 14th on Merge Records. I am pretty horrible at describing them; the best I've ever done is to compare their music to the sound of a small-town romantic dropped into the middle of the urban jungle and then recorded at various levels of medication. Or, their Exclaim cover story says:
They harness a larger-than-life sound into five-minute pop symphonies filled with crashing crescendos, new wave dance beats, folk simplicity and operatic grandeur, all delivered with cathartic aggression and delicate tenderness.
Whatever.

Two MP3s from the new album are available for a limited time at Said The Gramophone and another two at Teaching The Indie Kids To Dance Again. Merge is attempting to make another three tracks available for streaming, but they don't really work. You can also download three songs from their debut EP from the band's official website, which you should not browse the remainder of if you have an irrational fear of moths.

The Arcade Fire play Clark Hall Pub in Kingston on Wednesday, September 29th. You will wet your pants — metaphorically speaking.

*The Arcade Fire, "No Cars Go"