Feb. 26th, 2014

[identity profile] cabaretlights.livejournal.com

Ain't Nobody
Clare Maguire
Light After Dark

: I don't want to comment on having missed this place. I just want to fall back into it, head first, so to that end, here I go stepping out of my temporary apartment in Budapest, three years ago almost exactly. Despite not having traveled alone since then, it's still among my most loved travel traditions: the first day I arrive in a new city, jetlagged and dazzled, I drop my suitcase and step outside with my camera, headphones [and albums specially downloaded for the trip], and a map. And then I just start walking. Fall into the city, head first.

Budapest was not, at the time, the most pleasant experience of my life. I was in an exceptionally raw, new place -- and something shifted in me about two days in. I had expected to spend the trip as a sort of romantic getaway with myself -- reconnect with myself, figure out what I wanted, take the time to bask in the glow of Fibs. Instead, I got smashed in the face with a whole delirious host of adult uncertainties. The trip was not a celebration of my independence, but a big question mark at the end of who I was at all. I fell apart. I am still putting myself back together. It will take me a lifetime.

But, three years have passed, a whole delirious host of adult changes in the interim, and when I look back on Budapest (or 2011, proper) now, I no longer see it as this dead zone of a year. As I wrote about with 2009. In fact, these days, I find myself returning to those years more often than the ones where I felt most intensely. That may have something to do with metaphysical emotional ~states that I won't get into right now, but I think it also has a lot to do with the fact that I was feeling a lot. Things were potent. I just didn't know how to -- or that I was -- processing them.

Thank god for music. Thank god for being able to return, in some small way, to that space, and to know that I am both of that time, in that time -- and far removed from it.

This album -- electro-Britpop, soulful powerful female vocals -- was on my headphones before I knew how to process: as I stepped out of the antique storefront below my apartment and onto Vámház körút. And when I hear it now, I am back there -- but more than that, I am back there at the beginning, before that paradigm shift, before I knew I was going to break. I was in Budapest and I was whole and this was my soundtrack. And what a soundtrack. It stands alone; it's a song I've always wanted to share with you independent of the story attached. But it is vibrant: it is a song that encapsulates that wholeness, in me. It was a song dedicated to what had loved me (more accurately, what I had loved) up to that point, an anthem against being in a relationship, a direct hit to the heart of cherry cocaine.

Now, I've changed (obviously; you know better than anyone!) -- but that independent, fiery little passionista is still raging in me somewhere. And a few weeks ago, when I broke out this song again, I felt her rise --- & it is a violent relief.

Part of me aches to be back in Budapest -- Europe, period. The scent of melting snow in late February, that freshness in the air, the promise of spring -- all that, wrapped around grey. Grey skies, grey architecture, grey streets, and Europe, despite its urban beauty, is always grey in my memory. Not negatively, at all -- and maybe that's the point. That grey feeling I get, when I am all too adult -- it's not all bad. It's mixed up, but there's a lot still there.

There is a lot here, too.
[identity profile] amethysting.livejournal.com

St. Vincent
St. Vincent

I just finished reading Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch and have that choked up, bereft feeling that comes with reaching the end of a really good book.  The Goldfinch--and I know you've experienced this too--had so much heft.  The thing was an three pound beast; my shoulders sagged under the weight of it when I crammed it into my backpack; my wrists and forearms would get pins and needles from holding it up on my lap.  That and it was a kind of mental weight.  Something I carried around with me at the back of my mind the entire time I read it.

This, in a roundabout way (as with so many of my posts, and discussions of music; music cannot always stand on its own--it is so tied up with other thoughts and feelings and moments and memories) brings me to St. Vincent.  For some reason, she has always been relegated to the periphery (in that I listen to her music, but never really connect to it) until now.  It was in listening to her newest album that something finally clicked (and the thing was, I had so wanted it to click before...that, on downloading this album, I had kind of given up? that I presumed another cursory listen, a brief connection to a few songs, before, finally, deletion from my iPod).  Sometimes with music (as with so many things) everything has to align.

"And isn't that the point of things--beautiful things--that they connect you to some larger beauty?"

This music (and the words above--a quotation from the last few pages of The Goldfinch) fills me up.  Makes me feel something beyond myself.  I listened to album on repeat while doing my laundry and reading (I had, either sensibly or stupidly, decided to lug the beast along with four over-stuffed bags of laundry to the laundromat) and, by Sunday night, listened with headphones clamped on, sound turned way up (too high, probably...but it was one of those moments where the sound was just so beautiful that I couldn't seem to help it) and my limbs loose with wine. 

After almost posting another song off of the album, I came back to "Regret"...I couldn't help but appreciate the fact that regret is such a pervasive theme in Tartt's novel.  "Regret the words I've bitten/More than, the ones I ever said"...as someone who has such a hard time getting words out...negotiating that chasm between a thought and voice...how could this line not instantly pierce me--like an arrow through the heart.  "Regret" is the song that pulled me in (right from that jittery guitar line at the beginning); the one that made me (gushingly) love St. Vincent.


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