I remember when we bounced in the big chair to The Partridge Family and K-Tel’s Fantastic 22. And I remember when we threw the little metal Santa Claus too high and it smashed through the window and we all ran. There were the trips to the cottage, the puzzles, the rain, the boat trips across the lake.
I remember your pained expressions too, you not wanting to be there, anywhere but with your dumb siblings, away with the crowd, all the excitement and things like that. And I remember not liking you so much for any of that. But it’s just kid’s stuff now, right? We move on, yes? I mean, if you hold things too tight, they drive right into you and there’s nothing left, just petty agendas, seeing everything in the world, except where you came from. And that just goes on until you get to the end and then you wonder what happened.
I feel very differently about taking pictures of people in the New York subway. It is a document of where I live. And as distant and aloof as many are, the intimacy can be titillating. It is like standing in the stranger’s house, massive and on wheels, and no one even notices if you’re there. Unless of course they have a problem with an app.
I don’t like taking pictures of people in public when I’m on vacation. It feels like I’m an anthropologist studying their habitat.
I made an exception on my recent visit to Istanbul. I gave this street musician a dollar, and he seemed happy to pose for the picture. Whatever the success of the image, it still feels like I molested him.
Fripp & Eno started it with The Heavenly Music Corporation, not ambient music but ominous and terrifying sonic explorations, lovely too. (Click preceding link to listen.)I heard the sound again, years later, at a Grateful Dead show in Miami in 1988; it was like being inside a jet engine, all-encompassing, so very loud.
And then, in Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds (2006), a new version, low and distant, perhaps over-produced, arrived on screen. (Click preceding link to listen.)It arose again in the trailer for Chris Nolan’s Inception(2010), promising aural profundity; regrettably, the sound was brief and the movie was not.The sound became more realized in Gravity (2013), providing the soundscape for the impending doom of debris.It has now returned to the frontier of music, more than My Bloody Valentine’s sonic wall, in Sigur Ros’ latest work, Kveikur (2013).Louder and deeper, back-filled by drums and wailing voices, the sound builds, just falling short of the next plateau. As this sound continues in its evolution, getting deeper and fuller, it might even be a synchronistic backdrop for our promised apocalypse.
I know nothing about antiquity. Let me start with that. I cannot distinguish between Hellenistic and Roman architecture, let alone Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns. But I do know what I like about these ancient sites: the wonder of a place lived in so long ago and the time to imagine what the times might have been like to experience. Ephesus, on Turkey’s west coast, is heralded as second only to Pompeii in its magnificence as an entire city almost left intact; however instead of conveying wonder, it has been obscenely reconstructed and is awash with tourists. Termessos, a ruin a few hundred miles to the east, is not so well tramped and is a place for the imagination to run wild. Straddling a low mountainous pass, the Pisidian city offers a remarkable necropolis complex, colonnade and theater, to say nothing of unparalleled views for miles around. Yes, it was hot – almost 100 degrees – and steep, and our water ran short, but there was an abundance of solitude and silence, allowing this long gone world to almost open, even if just a crack.
My eyes were closed and I was in this narrow half gap between the back of one thing and the back of another. I thought of the hard dirty sand at the far end and how it looked half round and half hard, each shape sticking out of the other. I didn’t know what that meant, and I remembered this as if I had been here before, half asleep or completely in and then out, in this only the day before and years on. I tried to turn my head out of that, remembering this secret half world that isn’t secret at all but a portal from one thing to the next, the jumping off point of the thing of me here and the thing of me there. It seems that what I’m trying to do is take what I know from each, knowing that isn’t allowed, that it is probably illegal, indeed against the laws of thinking, the rules that keep me human, beyond being stupid, believing this is actually where my head might live. I can only escape for so long and I know I will only come back to here and find that I never left. It seems like that anyway.
Of course I like dykes themselves. They don’t scare me a bit. But stories about dykes bore the bejesus out of me. I just can’t put myself in their shoes. Well really, darling.I knew damn well I’d never be a movie actor. It’s too hard; and if you’re intelligent, it’s too embarrassing.The mean reds are horrible.You’re afraid and you feel like hell, but you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Except something bad is going to happen, only you don’t know what it is.Of course I haven’t anything against whores. Except this: some of them may have an honest tongue, but they all have dishonest hearts.(All quotes excerpted from Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Vintage Publishing, pages 21, 38, 40 & 82; images from the ancient Lycian cities of Aphrodisias & Priene in Turkey)