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Arrenji leaned back in the chair, until she looked precariously close to tipping over. She smiled, her dreadlocks bouncing a little as she nodded in time to the music drifting in from the street in front of the pub.

“I like this music,” she said: “Regay, you called it, right?”

“Reggae,” he said, then spelled it: “That’s funny,” he added.

“What is?”

He gestured: “Your hairstyle, the slight accent that you still have, the graceful way you move: people assume you are from Jamaica. That’s where reggae comes from, originally.”

“Ah,” she said: “That is amusing, isn’t it? I knew about Jamaica and the dreads even before I met you, from studying the US Imperial Lines. I hadn’t heard any of the music, though.”

“Oh.”

“But it’s really the lyrics that I admire. Listen to her plea for community; the first thing Commonwealthers notice when we visit US Imperial Lines is the lack of true community among your people.”

“Tell me about it,” he said, in an ironic tone.

She ignored the irony: “Sure. The money economy is what fosters it, of course. All of your interactions, even gifts and conversation, become infused with the spirit of exchange. This for that, tit for tat. Mine and yours, I owe you. You owe me. You pass someone in the street, and because she owes you naught, she exists only as a face passing by. She…and you…both adopt an expression of neutrality, showing no emotion: she cannot ‘afford’ to show respect for your apparent age; you may not even hint at an appreciation of her youth and beauty. This is not one encounter in the course of a day, but hundreds, thousands. Then you see a friend, and for a moment the spell is broken and love fills the void between. But your respite is brief: your affairs call you on. One by one the people you must ignore pass you by, each one placing a weight upon you: a gram of unresolved and unrealized debt. The alienation each of you feels from the others turns inward…and outward, slowly crushing your spirits and driving your humiliation in the face of the System. One man snaps and shoots up a stoa…a shopping mall; a child cries herself to sleep because of bullies in her Skolo, a boy twists a rope around his arm and shoots the drug into himself, secretly hoping to wake not at all, to escape the blank faces all around him.

“Here in this Line, even in best of times, even at a festival like this…” She looked at him quizzically.

“Benham Avenue Block Party,” he supplied.

“Yes, that,” she said, nodding. “Even here, while the neighborhood pulses with the sound of song, and dancing people fill the alleys and yards, and that singer cries out for love and understanding, lamenting the fate that holds her separate from her sisters and brothers, still the instruments of exchange rule, driving your interactions with others.”

“I know that. I’ve railed against it most of my adult life.” He grinned: “You talk like Vaneigem, you know.”

She closed her eyes, seeking the knowledge imparted by RNA induction: “Yes,” she said. “Yes, I do. Most Commonwealthers would, you know.”

He grinned: “I do know.”

“Yes.”

They sat unspeaking, nearly immobile, while the broken rhythm of drums and bass pounded at their ears. He could feel the bass vibrating in his ribs; the singer began again, one love, candles in the darkness, I and I.

He got up and went to the bar, where he got Arrenji another beer, and himself a shot of Jameson’s. He pushed the cash across the bar until the woman’s fingers touched it: he thought of Vaneigem’s story, the waiter, so long ago in Paris.

“Thank you,” he said, deliberately, smiling. He caught her eye, nodded; he tried to break the spell, to cross the void between them, to make the money disappear for a moment.

She looked into his eyes: “You’re welcome,” she said. She searched his gaze for flirtation or other hidden motives, and didn’t find it. He smiled again, and she returned the expression. “You’re welcome,” she repeated.

“One love,” the singer cried: “Let’s get together and be all right…”



I’ve been reading The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord and The Revolution of Everyday Life by Raoul Vaneigem. In case you didn’t notice.

AND I’ll be at Sam Bond’s tonight, 4th of July or not.

Gotta go. See ya.
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
A friend found this and sent it to me...I wonder if Zappa's Black Page Drum Solo owes any debt to this?

http://socks-studio.com/2012/05/19/the-unplayable-score-faeries-aire-and-death-waltz-john-stump/

Additionally, I found a short bio of the composer, by his nephew:

http://lostinthecloudblog.com/2010/03/13/john-stump-composer-of-faeries-aire-and-death-waltz/
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Last night, Marian and I went to see the band *Fast Rattler*, out of Portland. This band is fronted by Brandon Phillips, son of Utah Phillips. Stacy and Barret were there, with some of their friends, and Bob D. also showed up. A good time.

In spite of some technical problems: the sound system, while adequate volume-wise, was poorly controlled. Lyrics were hard to distinguish, and the sound was muddy overall. Now, I know I don’t have the world’s most acute hearing, but Marian does, and she was as dissatisfied with the sound as I was. Oh well.

OTOH, the show was great. Brandon is a better singer than his dad, and he and his band did a good show. Originals, traditionals and, of course, Utah’s stuff. One song was worthy of Cirque du Soleil, Brandon’s song about his father is a tear-jerker. And their rollicking, rocking version of Solidarity Forever stirred up the syndicalist in me. I wonder if we’ll ever stop falling for the old ‘divide and rule’ schtick. “Without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn” says the song; but the Boss always seems to find a scab to turn that wheel. Maybe our moment is passed, and with it any hope for the survival of the species.

After giving myself a mental dope slap: It WAS a fantastic show, I enjoyed myself, friends were there. Good times.

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