Contradicting what my extraterrestrials friends from the Groovy Galaxy told me the other day, I DO think that writing matters, that it changes something, that is has some small value at least — the value of digestion.
Impressions can be raw, un-chewed, can pass right through your system without any nourishment being taken up. Or they can be reflected upon, considered, pondered, digested. That end product, digested experience, is somehow what I bring to the world (apart from my music, which is on another plane).
But how is this digested product of value to the world? I don´t know, but I guess by being read and heard by others, who thereby carry it in THEIR consciousness, who somehow make it part of their being.
This is rather clear to me when it comes to music. If it has touched me deeply it leaves a mark, gets to have a special place in my heart. A great photograph (or painting) can have the same effect. It “impresses” (itself on) me, I am touched, I remember it and carry it with(in) me.
Thoughts I am less sure about. You read a book, sure, it can make a big impression on you. but even then you might forget it in a week. Poems can be stronger in this respect. Many a poem helps to establish and keep alive national identity, insights about different subjects, can create contact with elevated energies, feelings of thankfulness, humility, love or pride.
My own ditty “All you need is broadband” might have had some such effect. (Many people don´t even know that I wrote it, which gives the whole thing an old-fashioned Anon-feeling.)
Anyway, I am a scribe and think, and definitely hope, that my reflections on life, myself, you and the universe are somehow of some value to humanity. If not humanity, then the Cosmos (“no energy, be it ever so mental or aristocratic, is ever lost”).
Postscript: I can definitely say that being a scribe is a gift to myself: while writing, at least my own energies are vivified and strengthened. Presently I find it very hard to imagine life without the possibility to write down my thoughts.
“What?” Isn´t that a bit rude, to call us a something and not a someone?
Beg your pardon, I thought you were a talking washing machine. I mean, that´s how they look on our planet.
(in chorus) Happy Unbirthday to you, Happy Unbirthday to you, Happy Unbirthday dear Whjker79RHjk/YuTY6, happy unbirthday to you!
Thank you. What did you just call me? Whjker79RHjk/YuTY6…?
Yes, that is what we call you in our galaxy.
And what galaxy might that be? No, don´t tell me. It probably has a long, complicated name.
No at all. We come from the Groovy Galaxy.
I seem to have admirers all over the place. Groovy? Still live in the sixties, do you?
Actually it is a shortening for…
Don´t tell me! I am just fine. So, welcome Wjle789ajkseyuiweYuYu from the Groovy Galaxy.
But Wjle789ajkseyuiweYuYu is not our name!
No, it just means “it is us”. You can almost hear it: Wjle-789-ajks-eyui-we-YuYu.
Yes, I am beginning to hear it. Anyway, how did you know it was my birthday, I mean unbirthday?
We know all about you, so that is nothing strange. And we thought it was a fitting day to visit you. Traveling to your remote planet does take some time, you know. We´ve been at it for — what is it, pals? — 20 light years.
Well, I do feel honored, Wjle789ajkseyuiweYuYu. I mean, sorry, that wasn´t your real name…
That´s okay. Since the word evidently sticks, and you already have memorized it, it can be our n i c k n a m e. But enough of us and our names. How are you doing? It took some time to find you, since you are not in your usual habitat. We visited your regular watering holes and people just told us “He has moved, no further info”.
I am in a kind of monastery, in the last house…
in the village of Sárkányháza. How symbolic.
You yourself are feeling it, the quietness of not being in the middle of things but outside them, removed. That´s why you called it monastery. Actually it looks like a big, nice guesthouse sort of thing. All this apart from killing dragons, of course.
Of course. Yes, you are right. I am here to get away from things and people and getting close to myself.
We know all about it. Still it is good to hear it from the horse´s mouth, so to speak.
Yes, as a Saggi I know about horses and blinkers. But I have also taken up archery. Becoming human, slowly…
Yes, yes. (long silence) We see you have become friends with silence. That is good.
Sometimes I run out of words. And since so many words have run out of me in this lifetime, I thought I´d give them a rest.
Words mean so little sometimes. And so much at other times. Sometimes they are premature, sometimes they come too late…
It is never too late.
There´s always another tram or bus coming.
Yes, but I see now how foolish it was to miss some trams.
Don´t fret. You are still here; there comes a tram; just hop on, as they say in Budapest.
Ah, Budapest! One could be happy there. I felt it at Keleti the other day. But how typical — I felt it just as I was about to leave the city.
At moments of separation we feel things stronger, are more “alive”. Unless we are alive every second.
What a cliché that is. But still, a good aim. And I suppose we are separating every second, from the second before it. This moment is different, from any before it.
(Sings, out of tune) “is different, it is now.” Just watch out so that the next moment — which doesn´t exist — steals you from THIS moment — which most definitely exists. By the way, do you mind if we smoke?
Just go ahead, I have a gas mask. What brand?
Djarum. We got the idea from your blog.
You really are readers.
We read it from your mind before you published it. So don´t look for our IP number in your statistics.
What else did you read there?
“Don´t be a clown”. We strongly suggest that you follow your own advice. Leave the clowning and get down to serious business.
Yes… serious showbusiness.
Or just business. Have you given yourself any new year´s promises this year, by the way?
No, I seldom do that.
Do it now.
Why not, my unbirthday is a new year in a sense. Let me see. I promise to myself that I will…
I have it, but I will keep it to myself.
Good. Many ears are listening in the ether. Just remember that you are still clowning, still entertaining. That´s great when you have a party at home, but don´t try to entertain the World.
First, you can´t do it, second, you are doing it for the wrong reason. If you did it for the right reason, you could do it.
Well, time flies when one enjoys oneself. Is there something special you would like to have as unbirthday present?
Let me think…. Birthdays is something that have melted away in my life, and as to unbirthdays, I am not used to getting presents then. That would be an awful lot of presents!
Well, 364 presents are not that many.
You are right, that´s a small number in an enormous Universe. I have it! An indirect present. Make A.P. Montata happy!
That was an unusual wish. We really are in no position to make anybody “happy”, but we promise to forward your wish to the Great Wizard. Now remember, writer: writing changes nothing, or almost nothing. That is a hard lesson for writers, we know. And don´t entertain, or, only entertain at home. And please, don´t end every one of your posts with a video!
You mean like this one?
That was actually very funny. And quite fitting for this day. Once again we wish you, our hero, a very happy unbirthday. We have to hop on our intergalactic bus now and be on our way. But, just like Arnold, we will be back!
I hope so, dear admirers. You came, and you made my day. Thank you.
S7e89rwklcyuqw! That means “Auf Wiedersehen” in our language.
I am about to make a big discovery, or realization — or just statement — about music and listening. We think these two quantities always belong together. Music is something we listen to, and we listen to music. Not so, not necessarily.
I would suggest that listening is akin to tasting in the sphere of food and drink. Of course we often eat without tasting our food, more than in the sense of “I taste this to see if the hamburger and Coca-Cola are okay, if they taste like they should, like they always do.”
After that, taste no more, ladies. Just EAT.
Eating in music would be hearing. If our ears are open we hear music, but we don´t necessarily listen to it. It´s like eating or drinking something that you are very used to; you merely verify and ascertain that this is what you ordered or bought. But tasting — as in really feeling what the food on your plate tastes like, at this very moment — does not enter the picture.
There will be much more to say about this, but I just want to jot down first impressions. Entire genres of music, it seems to me, are not really meant to listen to: techno, folk music (which might be surprising), and (less surprisingly) a lot of modern pop music coming out of the factories. I mean the hit-factories.
Since such “hit songs” are created to offer minimal resistance to our musical “teeth” (they are the opposite of al dente) the hit-makers restrict, cut down and minimize surprises. They want us, the listeners (rather the hearers) to feel “at home” from the start. The song should be like meeting an old friend we haven´t seen for some time. No surprises, just hearty recognition.
“Hit” is actually a wrong term. If these songs at least tried to hit me! No, massage or lull to sleep are correct terms, or, to be a little vulgar (which this music also is, so I am not apologizing) jerk you off in a non-obvious way, so that you hardly notice your own tiny orgasm.
A fool sniffs not the same scent that a wise man does , said (almost) William Blake. (He talked about seeing — trees.) Leaving fools and wise men aside, people sure seem to have different relations to scent and perfumes. Helen Keller likened smell to the fallen angel of the senses. She also called it “a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.”
Not bad for some molecules in the air.
There is a spectrum from bad to good smells, but this picture does not hold if you look (sniff) more closely. There are things in the supposedly “good” corner that at least I find awful. And there are supposedly good but still despicable — at least questionable — olfactoryhabits.
I have only read about kings and aristocrats of yore who only bathed once a year, but who used overwhelming amounts of perfume. It would be interesting to actually visit a salon with such stinking (?) luminaries. The bad habits I am thinking of is using perfume either to mask other smells, or to add something not really necessary to neutral smells. What´s wrong with neutral? Water and air, neutral and lovely — but not appreciated enough.
I have a hard time falling asleep in bedclothes washed with perfumed washing powder. Whole houses sometimes smell of washing powder! People also walk around in clothes that smell of washing powder. I can understand if you want to smell of perfume, but not of detergent.
Scented paper handkerchiefs… Am I now supposed to perfume the inside of my nose? Who is going to climb in there and explore it? And perfumed toilet paper… give me a break. It would be better to stop eating food that rots in the gut. Why not invent a food that makes shit itself smell good? Ah, let it just stink: it is one string on the olfactory harp.
Then we have the lovely scents, good perfumes and incense, great soaps. The perhaps most beautiful (non-human, I must add; people are an altogether other story) smell comes from burning wood. It is far from french perfume, yet the word itself is close. Latin per– “through” + fumare “to smoke”.
Smoke gets in your eyes, and perfumed toilet paper gets on my nerves.
Speech is civilization. The word,
even the most contradictory word,
preserves contact — it is silence
which isolates. (Thomas Mann)
Of these three — speech, contact and civilization — I would say that contact is the most important and essential one.
We need not necessarily speak, and “civilization” is a dubious thing. As a sharp observer asked: Is it civilization if a cannibal eats with knife and fork? Much of what goes under the name of civilization is cannibalism with fancy make-up, and table manners, and tie.
Contact, however, seems more and more essential to me. This can be a question of human intercourse, umgänge, and such. Nice enough. I love to sit at a sidewalk café and chat with friends and strangers about all kinds of things.
But what seems even more important is a more general contact. When I look at you, or you, or the room I am in, or the small bottle of Metaxa I just bought, or my hands, or anything else, then I can have contact with you / it /me . Or not.
I can be there — or not. Present, or not.
When it comes to big city life one always hears that because of the great masses of city folk flowing like lava in the streets it is necessary to screen out impressions, sounds and people. One couldn´t survive otherwise.
I am no longer sure about that. I definitely suffer from street noise and big crowds and the rush hour energy. So I withdraw and retreat into myself.
But is it really myself I retreat into? Behind that train of thought lies the premise that I end HERE, just where the big noisy world starts. Within a radius of maybe two meters (including my aura) live I, beyond that lives the rest of the world.
But what if I am bigger than that? Then I am cutting off something that in a way belongs to me, or that together with me is part of something bigger. Maybe we are two fragments of a Whole, and in that case contact between us is not only inevitable, but also something that is desirable to recognize, accept, affirm.
While FULLY looking and establishing actual contact with you, the room, the bottle of Metaxa, or my hand, I am perhaps not shrinking at all, but the opposite. What I feel when looking earnestly at you — really bringing you into myself as an impression and “taste” — is possibly my greater self. Of which you are a part (?).
There is a wonderful saying that mirrors this train of thought.
Or sit I. Here is an interesting variation on the same theme.
One could say that the question is about being personal. Impersonal means denying any connection between us, certainly any kinship.
We (I) often look at waiters and chamber maids with an impersonal look. That is “normal”. What is maybe worse is to look with an impersonal eye on friends, acquaintances, even our lovers. Nobody home, vacant eye, no contact….
No eye contact, and no I contact. Looking inwards into “I” is at least as important as looking out.
Besides, we live with ourselves 24 hours a day (some of us 25), so if we have a poor relationship there, we will have lots of sad drama, all the time.
One more thing we can have contact with is time. This time, this hour, this second.
You, my dear, might still be here tomorrow, giving me a chance to be real and present, which I wasn´t yesterday and today. But the yesterday moment will be gone, floated far away on the river of merciless Time.
As the Incredible String Band sang: “If I don´t kiss you, that kiss is untasted, I´ll never, no never get it back…”
To the questions “What is a good photo?” and “What or who is a real photographer?” I have, from two professional sources, gotten the answer that the crucial factor is intention.
A good photo is a photo which was intended that way, and a real photographer is someone who shoots with intention.
The more I think about this, the less I agree. To begin with, a photo can be intended in a certain way and still be boring, only eliciting a yawn, or a laugh.
This thinking also excludes Dame Fortune, the goddess of luck, from the whole process. Even the best photographers in the world, I am convinced, have dealings with this Lady. Can we assert that in street photography we intended that gorgeous couple to step in front of us just when we walked by?
Some of the most boring but “beautiful” (BBB) pictures are full, overfull, of intention. I almost said bad intention, because most every factor is controlled, which means that there is really no air, no breathing room, no place for Nature, chance, luck and other unaccountable factors to enter.
So, no, I don´t agree that intention is the magic factor. However, if we split the process into several steps, then I can agree in part.
And let´s not just split into steps, but personalities. I see in my own photography a small family working together:
1) The Impulsive Amateur (child)
2) The Careful Editor (father)
3) The Arbiter of Taste (you know who)
I am sure many photographers have no amateur at all in their family, but I do.
I sometimes have a clear intention when heading out to take pictures, but most often don´t. I feel like a hunter leaving for the dark forest, with the wife shouting after me “And be sure to bring home dinner for the whole family, you hear!?”
Yes, I go hunting and I never know what I might catch. Intention plays a very small part for the Impulsive Amateur in me.
However, when I bring home my prey, look at what was caught in my net, I change identity from The impulsive Amateur to The careful editor.
Now there is much more intention involved. I choose to keep some pictures, throw away others, change some to black and white, and so on.
But in this phase also I don´t want too much intention. I try to be friends with chance and luck. It was the same when I worked with synthesizers and created many great patches just by twirling knobs randomly. (And of course listening to the results.)
[I suddenly realize I am the same with strolling. I don´t want to know too much about streets, where they are, where they lead. That way, I explain to myself, I get to see many places that people with pigeon-like talents of orientation, people seemingly with maps in their heads, never get to see.]
So even here I leave some place for luck and chance.
The third role, Arbiter of Taste, is kind of an extra step, but it decides what you, the viewer, get to see. There is even more filtering here, this is the smallest hole. Only what I think is very best comes this far. And of course I revise what I think is “very best”, I get more and more picky.
As the writer of Bluffing in Photography wrote: “Professionals have one great advantage over amateurs. They hide or destroy the majority of their work.” This is the job of the Arbiter of Taste.
We have seen tons of cute animals online, not least on Facebook. These sweethearts are so lovely, but not really memorable, not as photographs.
This poor little ugly duckling, however, not cute at all, I will always remember.
I guess Christer Strömholm must have had pictures of cute cats as well, but wisely he chose to show us something else. I feel more love towards this little monster (though happy not to get scratched by him) than towards any cuddly cutie pie.
[I was trying to be funny when I came up with this headline, but actually it´s quite fitting.]
What does it mean to play a role in life? I am not talking about theatrical roles or “life roles (whatever they are) but about people adopting different roles towards each other. These can be short-lived and incidental, or long-lasting, as in marriages or between parent and child.
Roles we play with colleagues at work or waiters at our favorite restaurant are short-lived, though regularly recurring. Predictability is the keyword.
Roles we play with a partner can be more chronic. A usual variation: one person playing the parent role, the other the role of an irresponsible child. Such roles fit each other like hand and glove, which makes it hard, and rather uninteresting, to abandon the roles. “Why should we, when we fit each other so well…?”
But what happens if one of the persons leaves her/his role? Then what is the other to do? Where does the hand go when the glove is gone?
It very probably finds itself another glove, often very similar if not identical to the old one. And so the beat goes on — the same beat, same tempo and same (dis)harmony — identical roles hiding behind different faces.
This new glove makes it difficult — and, again, uninteresting — for the hand to change. Why should it, now that it has another fitting glove…?
However, if the hand is abandoned and left alone, glove-less, it might radically revise its role playing. No well-fitting glove-partner reinforces its old patterns, thus it is more free to find new roles. Or, radically, no roles at all.
(Of course, even if takes a long break from gloves (= pattern-reinforcing partners) it can still fall back into the same pattern when it meets a new partner, even after years of lonely life.)
I imagine that if it manages to leave its old roles behind it will be like a spontaneous actor — no script but all the freedom in the world. It can choose, in the moment, from millions of temporary mini-roles, all based on honesty of the moment (which is more than whim of the moment), instead of being weighed down by one or two roles that hijack it for for their own agenda.
A role, it seems to me, is a collection of habits, almost a syndrome. “This is how I usually act, react, think and feel.” Situation A leads to perception/ reaction B, meeting person C leads to reaction D, E to f, etc.
Habits are predictable and based on the past. Perhaps I, to be frank, would like to go from A to F, but I am so damned used to go to B… so I will probably just go to B!
Going from A to F (or J or Z) is what I would call “rocking” (the boat).
In a way roles are close to what we call “identity”. What people recognize as us is possibly just lingering roles and stubborn habits. When they see us acting “our way”, they think “Yes, that´s him all-right”. They could better say “Yes, there goes his old habits, his encrusted roles again.”
Habits are sometimes called “second nature”. Which leads to the question: What is first nature? and to the scary follow up question: IS there a first nature…? Or are we mainly a bundle of cohesive habits that are fused into roles, non-changing (or very slowly changing) patterns of practical, mental and emotional behavior?
Habits can be changed, with much persistence, and much desire to change them. If habits are changed, roles can be loosened, leaving more place for real spontaneity and in the moment-responses, instead of memorized reactions and reflexes. In short, more Now and less reruns of the Old, less sinking feeling of “There I go AGAIN... for the nth time!?!”
Desideratum: second-nature of roles and habits giving way to first-nature of the Real Actor. Aim: rocking the boat so as to get rid of “well-fitting” gloves.
Blah blah. It is quite obvious to me how abstract all this is. I have not fully digested these ideas; as yet they are mainly in my head, intellectual.
But it´s a start, if not yet rock´n´roll.
Hoochie Koo: To live a rock and roll lifestyle, free from worry and anxiety. Being a true free-spirit. (Urban Dictionary)
This wasn´t just a geographic journey but almost time travel, a trip to a different season.
If one equates (as I do) sun and warmth with summer than I left my old, cold season behind and jumped almost half a year forward. And now, backward.
The stones tell an interesting story about time, and the meeting between mineral and water. And about waves. And about repetition. Droppen urholkar stenen — the dripping wears away the stone, the waves lick and polish it.
Ett litet avsnitt ur min kommande, i magen väldigt länge liggande, bok om salonger. (Människor som föds efter mer än nio månader betraktas som genier. Kanske blir detta en bok för genier också .-)
Fullt medveten om att jag kan ses som Pojken som ropade “färdig” kan jag nu meddela att värkarna har satt in!
Ett parallellt spår till salongens borttynande är konstens eller rättare konstnärers gradvisa hemlöshet.
Om en konstnär inte bokstavligt lever i kappsäck eller sover på parkbänkar har han troligtvis ett hem. Men om han inte är stugsittare med eremitkynne är hans ”andra hem” troligtvis ännu viktigare för honom. I salongen fann konstnärer under flera hundra år en fristad där de var älskade och beundrade, där de för omväxlings skull kunde äta sig mätta, pokulera (och kanske det andra ordet också), argumentera, konversera utan skyddsnät, konspirera, starta nya ismer, framföra sina sonetter och sonater för en entusiastisk alternativt buande, och inte bara konstpolitiskt väluppfostrad och vattenkammad, publik.
När salongerna efter hand tynade bort eller blev blaskigt utspädda drog konstnärerna upp sina bopålar och flyttade vidare – weiter, immer weiter! Caféerna blev under en period denna vildvuxna grupps nya fristad. Men även detta dubbelboende upphörde så småningom. När jag hälsar på i mitt hemland Ungern med dess fashionabla konditorier och mycket smarriga bakelser och frågar vännerna till vilket café konstnärerna går ler de generat, som om jag ställt en dum fråga.
Konstnärscaféer finns inte längre; konstnärerna träffas hemma hos varandra. Två hem har blivit ett. Vilket är ett annat sätt att säga att hemlösheten kommit över oss, att vi — alltså även vi konstnärer med vår sega motståndskraft mot dumma modetrender — blivit bitna av den lömska cocooning-flugan (= stanna hemma och drick ditt thé eller rödvin i nedsänkt ensamhet).
Och hur är läget i dag, 2016?
Konsten har varit död i cirka sextio år, tack vare den dumdristigt gränsöverskridande konceptkonsten. (Dess motto ”allt är konst” betydde egentligen ”ingenting är konst” (fast det förra lär bättre). Konceptkonstnärerna avrättade konsten och fick exekutionen att se ut som en frustande vital happening. Tragiskt — och på sätt och vis imponerande.)
Det som fortfarande lever är konstatomer, alltså ensamma konstnärer. Men var ska dessa atomer mötas, stimulera varandra, sammansmälta, explodera, alstra tankefoster, nu när cafékulturen också tynat bort och när salongen redan för länge sedan stängt sina välkomnande portar?
Det är en sorglig bild. På den plats där salongen en gång bredde ut sig med divaner, persiska mattor och Pleyel-flyglar gapar nu ett stort svart hål. Andra umgängesformer, inte minst digitala, har tagit plats på scenen men salongsumgänget har inte ersatts, den kan inte digitaliseras.
Man kan kalla Internetcaféer och digitala chatrum för ”salong” hur mycket man vill. Man kan också kalla Facebook eller ungdomsgårdar (!) [Fotnot: detta vilda tankekast kom från någon som tyckte att min franska salongsmodell var förskräckligt exklusiv.] för ”en sorts salong”. Man kan också kalla päron för ”en sorts äpple”. Jag menar att det är olika saker. Den som aldrig smakat ett äpple är möjligen villig att kalla det för päron; hos den som aldrig varit på en salong med finess går tanken – tveksam och trevande i sin bristande erfarenhet av delikat umgänge – möjligen till chat på Nätet. Men den oerfarne ska vara försiktig med likhetstecken, det är ett farligt skiljetecken.
(Written after having eaten slightly too much at a rich breakfast buffet..)
Sometimes I find myself in situations with unlimited free food. At Swedish Christmas dinners for example, but also other occasions.
In such situations my inner Stone Age Person — an old, atavistic guy who feels absolutely no trust in there being food at the table tomorrow — kicks in. He wants to eat EVERYTHING offered. Which of course would result in paltkoma as the Swedes say.
“Koma” means coma and “palt” is a nauseating Swedish dish made out of blood. (Paltkoma = eating so much you can´t keep awake.) Real cave man food, I think it would put me in coma even without eating much of it.
The Vikings and historic man very probably knew a thing or two about over- and under-eating. Much less about regular, square meals.
Anyway, something similar happens with children of very rich families when they enter a toy shop. You can have anything you want, anything you point at, says the parent. Wow, what a feast!
Sometimes these children grow up to be bibliophiles. A story tells of one entering an antiquarian bookshop, looking around, thinking for a minute, and finally deciding: “I´ll buy that wall.”
Not many of us have had this kind of childhood, or such a frivolously bookish life.
But there´s another example of You can have anything you point at-situation, much closer to us. The Internet.
With the Internet you can go to, visit, save, i.e. download, i.e. take with you, millions and millions of texts, pictures, mp3-s, YouTube videos. From certain sites you can download entire movies, CD-s, books, free (cracked) programs, etc..
In a way Internet IS a toy shop where you can have (“save”) anything you point at, or a Swedish Christmas dinner where you can eat as much as you want.
So Mr Caveman hasn´t really left the building. He is just hiding behind a new mask, a new identity — lurking, waiting for the next chance to overindulge and totally pig out.
One, two, or three? If you are lucky you can have all four. But then usually the trouble also begins.
I am standing with my feet deep in black sand. (EARTH) The Atlantic is playing tag (or is it Hsing Yi?) with me, attacking me playfully, then retreating for a new onslaught. (WATER). My lungs are drinking fresh oxygen. (AIR) And from above the yellow sphere with the warm rays, responsible for life on Earth, is competing with my sun screen (FIRE).
I seldom experience all of these elements in such a positive way. But when the quartet is so strong a fifth member tends to join in. I don´t mean ether, I mean tourists.
How fresh the air, water, sun and sand, and how dull and boring we humans. I don´t want to resort to irony or satire here, but tourist resorts… what to say about them?
Mainly that I don´t understand them.
Definition: Resort — a place to which people frequently or generally go for relaxation or pleasure, providing recreation and entertainment.
I can see the relaxation.
I can see the entertainment.
But I can´t really see the pleasure.
Of course people find pleasure in different places. This whole resort thing reminds me of a children’s holiday camp (the Swedish “kollo”), only more boring. Seems that it´s mainly couples coming here. Seems they don´t want too much change from home. They don´t seem to interact with other couples, and not too much with each other, either.
The vibrations are slow, but not meditative. (Old French sortir, to go out.)
So wherein lies the pleasure? Perhaps in being lax, walking around in shorts and flip-flops. Perhaps in exchanging one set of predictability for another.
Of course I am not tourist material and therefore cannot fathom the mystery. “Tourist” for me means a certain attitude towards life and its experiences: Not too much of anything, not too different from home, not too cold, not too close, not too strong, not too pleasurable, and most of it done in groups.
But I am not complaining. I am intensely enjoying four of five elements. And three of them are praised in this classical summer song.
Unless you are one, a real clown, that is. Today many of us are amateur clowns, amateur entertainers.
I have seen this in myself, how I take on the role and costume of The Entertainer of My Friends. On Facebook and similar places.
“Yes! I need to post a great video now, or a fantastic article. This will raise my value in others´ eyes. Isn´t that what the “attention economy” is about…?”
Not only that, also the Attention Begging and Attention Whoring.
I am not condemning anybody since I see this impulse in myself. But I try to step back from it and reason with myself: Who gave me the role of entertaining my friends?
I will certainly try to do that when they come home to me or if I´ve invited them to a party. Without a doubt, and with much pleasure! But now I speak of digital entertainment at a distance (tele). There´s a great difference between the two.
In the analog world entertainment-energy is flowing to and fro, there´s conversation, instant responses, nobody is hiding their face or voice or body behind a computer screen.
In digital “entertainment” most everything is hidden, masked, non-obvious. Nothing is really flowing; the energy moves like an old car on a bumpy road, sometimes totally still, sometimes jumping madly like a locust: most of the information (tone of voice, the face with its myriad muscles, our gestures, etc) is lacking and is replaced with primitive utterances like LOL, ROFL, LLAH, PITA and inchoate symbols (smileys) that try desperately but without success to make up for the colossal lack of nonverbal information.
The stage if set for misunderstanding, confusion and stealth. “Entertainment” on that stage is a muddy, unclear affair, hiding all kinds of unobserved motives, like seeking (sometimes desperately seeking) popularity, wanting to show off, wanting to put other people down, wanting to steal other people´s time and attention, and so on.
With that kind of entertainment, who needs neurosis?
But who am I, diarist, to talk? Blogging has the same temptations and dangers. “Aren´t you going to write a new post soon? The last one came, let´s see… fifteen hours ago! Your readership is WAITING!”
And there we are again… in the Delivering Entertainment-business.
So how to get out of it? One way is to change audience. Horatius Flaccus wrote, wisely: satis est equitem mihi plaudere – it is enough if the Knights applaud me. The Knights can be our excarnated friends and mentors, our invisible consortium. Let THEM — not the Facebook-crowd or anonymous readers/ browsers of your blog — nod if they approve of what you do.
The rest should not concern you. As for the clowning, the pros´ do it SO much better.
A wonderful evening with M & M. Interligence in action, which always makes you understand things better, or more fully. For example, it becomes more and more clear to me that music as a domain is going down the drain. Theater, film and literature thrives, by and large – and that is what counts in the long run – while music is extreme and lost in two ways: In popular music we have too much populism; the former songwriters and, yes, composers, like Lennon-McCartney are being replaced by a new animal of a different color, the “hit-maker”. He cannot write a good melody or a really memorable strophe, but he knows what sells, what “hits”.
The other extreme is the so called serious composer. He is too serious, takes himself too seriously. His attitude towards the audience is typified by his back. He looks away from the audience, which in turn makes the audience turn their back on HIM. There is some great music written today, and some sad attempts at populism, but generally the dynamic thread running between audience and creator has been severed. The lifeline is gone.
Other things that came at the not breakfast but evening snack table had to do with tasting. Of course. M really enjoys wine, and has knowledge to go with it. And my experience with music tasting matches his. We tasted a bit of Franz Schreker and a Petrarca sonnet by Liszt, played by the eminent Miroslav Langer.
I am still fascinated by the carefulness and the dedication that goes into wine tasting, the passion, the enthusiasm, the nuanced attitude. One could say that broadly there are two kinds of tasters. The barbarians who only count to two: They either like or don´t like the wine, or the music. With dedicated tasters liking is really not that important. The music or the wine doesn´t has to be “good” or “likeable”. Of course it shouldn´t be trash either, but the important thing is not the division into black or white but to really experience it.
Same thing in a way with photography. When I first started pestering my photo friends it was with the question “What is a good picture?”. I am not that interested in what is “good” nowadays. Lots of my favorite hate, the snazzy, postcard-like, soft porno pictures, can be called “good”, but they don´t deserve a second look. How do you take a picture that stops the viewer in his track, that captures and draws you in? That is a better, more relevant question.
And we must remember the quote from Francis Bacon: “There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.” Beauty is not enough, we need excellent beauty, and don´t forget the strangeness. Take away the strange and you end up with predictable, bland beauty. So, a good picture is not enough. What makes a picture strangely good? is now the question.
Same thing with music. If you listen in the right way, not just listen with your memories and associations, many Beatles songs have strange proportions. The output of the hit-makers on the other hand is very much about taking away all that is strange, all that is “excellently beautiful”. The serious composers on the other hand are only strange. In their case one could paraphrase Francis Bacon and say “There is no excellent strangeness that hath not some beauty in the proportion.” To these people one wants to say, Don´t forget beauty, and by all means, write a melody or two from time to time. That is, if you can, for it is not given to everyone to be a melodist.
One more thing about tasting. With blind tasting, whether of wine, perfume or music, you are actually moving towards higher faculties. When you turn off your past-conditioned memories and associations you are more or less forced to live in the present. You listen to what is, instead of what was or what you remember. Music an sich. This is actually, I believe, done in wine / chocolate / cheese tasting, but definitely not in music, where associative and culturally conditioned trash is overshadowing the simple present.