Monday, 24 February 2014

Time (i)

Ah. Does the concept of time bother anybody else or am I slowly spiraling into madness? I've been trying to put some of this into words for quite a while now but it's only right now, at 11:53 pm, Monday night, that I feel like wow, maybe I can actually try and do this.

11:54 pm.

I don't know why I'm so hesitant. I feel like the second I get into it I'll get all the thoughts flooding back into my brain, making my thought process a complete and utter mess that I won't be able to decipher it until every relatively coherent thought disappears into oblivion.

Oblivion, man. That's another one I've been thinking about. 

Time doesn't stop. And I've spent far too long making lists and setting countdowns to the supposed milestones of my life. I counted down to my 16th birthday and right now, I've got a countdown on my phone for my 18th. And that's a little sad. I have two conflicting thoughts right now: one is the fact that I should probably be filling up this time that I have with things I want to do. Actually going out there and d o i n g things I will remember and have stories to share about with people that I know are only passive on a long enough timeline, but for now they're here and I feel so insanely close to them and I want to be able to h a v e that time with them.

And on the other hand, I'm worried because this feeling that I'm wasting my time and not creating memories is stemming from my idolizations of certain milestones that I've associated with great adventures with lovely people in amazing places. That just sort of adds to the weight on the metaphoric shoulders of my brain. I know that it's not an overly romanticized idea of the whole "teenage years" thing because I don't see the harm in working towards it but sometimes I feel so restricted and limited and I keep thinking "damn it, I could be doing a million and one things right now that I'll look back on with excitement at my past self.

I feel like I have something to offer this outside world that's constantly pulsating and I suppose living in such a small isolated place in the world and seeing the life on the outside is like a lion being out in a cage right in the centre of the wilderness. He wants to join in and he wants to be part of that because he knows he belongs right in the "literal heart" of that lifestyle. I've written so many "bucketlist" type things that include everything from going on holiday with some friends to driving around a place like the US or anywhere exciting really to simple things like having bonfires or camping or stargazing or ah just anything. Anything that makes me feel something. Anything that makes me feel excited and passionate and interested and creative like a little ball of pure energy. I crave that so much and I just don't know where to find it. 

I strayed so much from the topic, oops, but essentially, I've been feeling like everything is passive. Thoughts, feelings, seconds and people. People are a really passive element. People show up and then they leave, and in a while it feels like you've only had 2 days with them and it just wasn't enough. So I try to make the best of whatever time that's left and try and do some of the things I know I will be very happy and excited doing rather than sitting here wanting them to. I know so many of those things are out of my control or just not my sector of topics to manage at the moment. 

But I'm trying the best I can with whatever I'm lucky to have. 

So wow that is all irrelevant but I'm falling asleep so I'm going to actually allow my body to pass out (as if I had a choice) rather than type a bunch of meaningless shit and embarrass myself ✌️

I will be back with this. I know I will be.

Update 6:47 am: Yep, some of this makes no sense and I didn't even post it last night. Oops. 

Monday, 30 December 2013

Lana Del Rey ♔ American Dreams & Marilyn Monroe

I got into Lana's work a while before she hit the whole 'mainstream' scene of the industry, which sounds very pseudo-hipster of me, but my point is, I got some time to truly lavish myself with every little beautiful image she instilled within me with her descriptions. She gave everything the opportunity to be beautiful, the potential to be glamorous, the moment of appreciation it deserved. I feel like she's a great part of why I became so interested in documenting moments that possessed some strange sense of magic to me. Music or poetry or just words in general have two values, one that the writer believes her work is worth and the other is on the other end of the chain; the receiver. Sometimes people are confused by my love for analyzing pieces of text or poetry or in this case, Lana's seemingly solemn and melancholic music. And I love that, for some reason.

It's almost electrifying to be able to delve into the ideas of the lie of the American dream, her wild, playful, sometimes almost Lolita-esque stories of school and friendships and what she conceived to be love. To be able to sit in the pitch darkness of my room in our new house in Morocco over summer and almost transport myself into her world and her life through her lyrics. That place was new to me and it was a walk's distance from the beach with the trees giving it a very Californian feel, so the association I made between her poetry and the location led me into living this technicolor dream for the month or two I was there. I was more content daydreaming up the most opulent events, moments, scenes, memories.

Lana's music is a huge contribution to the way I'm starting to want to visually represent things a lot more, recently, rather than just write about them. There's a great amount of beauty in words, that's unquestionable, but sometimes I want to see the image in my head of being drenched in sunlight actually physically recreated or reenacted. I want to feel it all come to life, for it to stun me with the way it turns out to be, because it will never be just the way I imagined it and there is some sense of allure in that. I want to be able to step into my own fantasy quite literally. Her pure essence and the vintage flare of all her audiovisuals creates these short films in my head that are always playing everytime I listen to her music.

It's a new experience for me because music was never quite this surreal. I had always loved it, but my sacred experience had always been with books. Books were what spurred that desire to spend my life in someone else's head for a while. To adapt a new character and see things through their eyes because they've showed me something I had never seen before, and that mesmerizes me. I love being exposed to a new way of looking at anything because that keeps life vibrant and exciting and more than just this quest to get through it alive. It was about the journey and not the destination, so why not make the best out of the journey while we're here.

In addition to the inspiration and imagery I get from her words, I love that the lyrics are the focus of her music. The instruments are simply accompanying her vocals, complimenting them even. Also, her music is a collection of anecdotes. It's not how profound her sentence structure is, it's what I make of it and how it makes me feel and what thoughts it brings along with it, after all that's all that matters to me. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and so is meaning.

What also influences how I feel about her music are the themes she talks about and portrays, like the concepts of innocence and purity, respect and poise, youth and recklessness, icons and romanticism, beauty and perishing, obsession and addiction, wealth and notoriety. Which is a collection of everything that captivates me because she's not a put-together, flawless persona, she created the character of Lana del Rey to be able to tell any story she wanted to tell and live the life she fantasized about even if it was just temporarily through her music and its theatrical touch. And there is something evocative about that.

What got me to write this was the fact that I was watching a documentary about Marilyn Monroe and they included the clip of her singing Happy Birthday to JFK. That reminded me of Lana's 'National Anthem' and how her concept for the video is the exploration of the loss of innocence, this idea that what seemed perfect from the outside was maybe rotting from the inside; such as the triangle of MM, Jackie O and Jack Kennedy. The video built up on that archetype and the director of the video, Anthony Mandler, said that it wasn't a recreation of the death scene, "it was always about the person sitting next to him. It was always about seeing it through her eyes, seeing this kind of castle crumble in the moment and the pain in her eyes, that destruction"

And I love the way she brings back the pop culture of 1950s and '60s Americana along with stylizing her musical sound as 'Hollywood sadcore' and how it was 'movie music with a fairy-dusting of harp and an ominous timpani laid out over-top a hip hop vocal cadence.' It sounds beautiful and with the aesthetics being almost as equally important as the music, it looks beautiful too.

Elizabeth Grant as Lana del Rey as Marilyn Monroe

as Jackie Kennedy


I just felt the urge to explain what it is I love about Lana's music because many people see her as very sombre and funereal or very shallow and repetitive when her music and words' value is all up to the listener to decide. You can make it mean so much more, and I guess I get a thrill out of doing that.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

♬ 13 Hits of 2013 ♬

I usually make playlists of songs that have some sort of meaning to me as a compilation, but I thought I'd want something light for a change and a 2013 pop-ish wrap up seemed like a good idea.

Friday, 27 December 2013

✮ One Day ✮

"You can live your whole life not realizing that what you're looking for is right in front of you.

15th July 1988. Emma and Dexter meet on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows?"

I picked up One Day expecting it to be a typical type of love story, but at W.H. Smith, I started reading it because I had seen it around so often and wanted to know what it was all about and why it was everywhere I turned. The first few pages captivated me so much and just like one of the review comments on the back cover said - by the time I finished it - I was left with "the hallucinatory feeling that they've become as well known to (me) as (my) closest friends" 

There are so many moments that made me feel all sorts of things in this book, especially that Emma and Dexter's friendship intrigued me so much. They had stayed in touch for 20 years but it wasn't as simple as it sounded. It wasn't a cliché and it was so damn difficult sometimes along the way. They both led separate lives, met new people, had different plans for how they wanted their life to turn out but still everything they had going for them felt like it was missing something and that was each other.

I love that they're not two characters that you just know would click together. They're very different and don't agree on much. Dexter was the life of the party and he had an aesthetic idea of a lifestyle that he wanted to have. "He wanted to live life in such a way that if a photograph were taken at random, it would be a cool photograph." And I feel like that especially links very well with the way most of us are these days. I feel this urge to record things and I want to make my life into a work of art because that's such a fascinating concept. How you could make everything mean something without anybody telling you that's wrong or that's not how it should be done because there is no set way on how it should be done. On the other hand Emma has similar ideals when it comes to changing the world but she's also the introverted, feminist and human rights activist who loves politics and once called Dexter's dad a fascist over dinner. They're such an odd combination but they work. I don't know how but they do.

The book also shows the harsh reality many people learn to come to terms with and that's the way everyone changes as they grow older. 

"No, this, she felt, was real life and if she wasn't as curious or as passionate as she had once been, that was only to be expected. It would be inappropriate, undignified at thirty-eight, to conduct friendships or love affairs with the ardour and intensity of a twenty-two-year-old. Falling in love like that? Writing poetry, crying at pop songs? Dragging people into photo-booths, taking a whole day to make a compilation tape, asking people if they wanted to share your bed, just for company? If you quoted Bob Dylan or T.S. Eliot or, God forbid, Brecht at someone these days they would smile politely and step quietly backwards, and who would blame them? Ridiculous, at thirty-eight, to expect a song or book or film to change your life."

"Finally, she loved someone and felt fairly confident that she was loved in return. If someone asked Emma as they sometimes did at parties, how she and [Dexter] met, she told them:

"We grew up together"

I can't imagine what that would feel like. To have the luxury to say that somebody whom you're still very close to was someone you grew up with. You've known for so long and still they haven't gotten sick of you. They had options, they went out and saw the world and travelled but they came back to you. And not just for the "lack of a better alternative" but because they realized that you are what they want or need. That's just fuxking wonderful. My psychology teacher once said something during a psychology tester session and it was along the lines of the fact that the majority of the friends we have now are only our friends because they happen to be there; we see them regularly either at school or at work and that leads us to thinking that we actually get along with these people. 

But I had a few problems with that. Sure, some people I think I'm friends with now, I wouldn't be friends with if I had a wide selection of a choice, but I don't. You never have your pick from the whole world, you choose your friends out of the people you know at a certain time in your life when you live in a certain place, so your selection is the people around you. But the fact that if somebody had the chance to travel the world and meet many people from all sorts of cultural backgrounds and then come back to someone they met before they had seen all that and still feel the same way about them, there's definitely something there. 

I'm struggling with summing up this goddamn point and I don't know why, the word arrangement in my head is just not cooperating with me right now.

But in context of the book, Emma and Dexter go on to lead their separate lives after they first meet each other and I feel like Emma expressed that feeling of happiness and frustration best here:

"And then she frowned, and shook her head, then put her arms around him once more, pressing her face into his shoulder, making a noise that sounded almost like rage.
'What's up?' he asked.
'Nothing. Oh, nothing. Just...' She looked up at him. 'I thought I'd finally got rid of you.'
'I don't think you can.' he said"

Their feelings towards each other had only gotten stronger over time and just when she thought she had finally got him out of her head and found someone else whom she was more content being with, he came along and unlocked the drawer of thoughts that she had locked up after it had seemed to her that they were definitely not going to end up together. After all, what were the odds?

And lastly, I felt like this one line described an entire mental and emotional state that I've encountered so much but was never quite able to phrase it right:

"The moment held a kind of glorious confusion."

Ah, this book was definitely a mini milestone and I know I'm going to come back to it a lot more in the future because it feels timeless. It's not a storyline with one specific and identified conflict, it's life, and that's just one mix of conflicts and moments and memories and ah. I loved it.