[identity profile] cabaretlights.livejournal.com


Lights [Bassnectar Remix]
Artist: Ellie Goulding + Bassnectar
Album: Divergent Spectrum
Year: 2011
: I always loved the process of getting to my destination more than actually being there -- an extension, I think, of the natural high I get from anticipation. Waiting for something is somehow always better than actually getting it -- you exist in that realm of possibility, where it doesn't matter if what you're waiting for turns out wonderfully or horribly, because the excitement of getting there is the real pleasure. Or, at least, it's always been that way for me. I have a quote on my Facebook profile that, somewhat sheepishly, I know describes me better than anything Nietzschean or Dadaist -- from a Tamas Dobozy short story: "He realized the only likable existence, for him, involved transformation, that briefness between conditions." I don't like when things settle. I don't like knowing. A microcosm example: the best feeling is when you have applied for the job and have no idea whether you'll get called for an interview, but you feel accomplished because you've set something in motion. That setting in motion -- even though it's not definitive and definitely not sustainable -- is one of my favourite moments.

So it makes sense that being in transit -- on the road, in a plane -- is something I genuinely love. I like TRAVELING, the act of sitting in the plane with a book and my iPod, excited for what's to come and feeling all the anticipation for six hours -- instead of just a moment.

But the more I travel, the more times I visit YUL and other airports in Europe and North America, the less magic the journey has (though some of the magic is dispersed simply by the act of being with someone -- though I am now happily converted to traveling with a friend or two, that feeling of traveling alone is very special. You feel proud, vibrant, separate, powerful -- but that's another post, another time). As I boarded a plane to Berlin via Paris two days ago, even takeoff didn't really do anything exciting for me. There was no familiar twist in my stomach, that anxious and giddy vibrating through my entire body and especially my stomach; my heart didn't beat faster. Meg and I cheerfully paid for our airport bar glasses of wine, then spent the flight watching movies and playing those individual-screen video games; chatting on an antiquated in-flight chatroom; laughing hysterically.

And when we closed our eyes to pretend to sleep, I frantically hit 'shuffle' on my iPod, trying to find that song that would perfectly exemplify BEING ON AN AIRPLANE!
but I didn't really feel it. And I was skipping all the new songs I'd unzipped right before leaving just because I knew they wouldn't fit The Theme. I had wanted so badly to find a song while on the airplane, and post it for you with some diatribe about how amazing flights and transitions and movement are. And no such luck. I started feeling stressed: has traveling itself lost its magic for me? Am I just paying lip service to something I used to need? What, exactly, is changing in me this past year?

Then, this remix of "Lights" shuffled up.
And though I've known this song a long time, and though it wasn't the experience I'd wanted to write about -- that "oh this is it" post-feeling hit me hard.

Ellie Goulding played this at Osheaga last year, when it wasn't too crowded or showboaty or touristy -- when it was perfect, when I was staring up at the sky beaming more often than not. But I can't post the original "Lights," not because I don't like it -- but because Osheaga, perfected, and my own life, supposedly-perfected, change and shift and need to be remixed (as I kind of discussed in my mashup post). Nothing stays the same. We are all in transit. The airplane ride actually kind of lasts forever, in a cliched sort of way. It doesn't mean the original, what you saw as perfect, isn't still there, somewhere -- this song still sounds like "Lights," has those same lovely lyrics -- but it's different, recreated for a different time. Sometimes these changes and differences happen without our consent, and those little bits of comfort we've found for ourselves are shattered -- but that, too, is inevitable and imperative.


I find that this song sounds exactly like the middle of an overnight flight, when you are looking out the window and the stars are glittering around you, clouds zipping past, lights blinking, everything kind of sparkling. Everything is possible. A little darker than before (thanks to Bassnectar and reality), but still possible. The world beneath you, something to experience, even if you don't quite believe it or feel it the way you used to.

After such a disappointing Osheaga and leaving Montreal with a particular wistfulness I've never had to experience before this April, it was good to have that realization. And, aside from Vienna: after two days in Berlin, I already feel more connected to it than any other city I've traveled to. So another week and a bit to go, so much more to do -- the lights are sparkling. Maybe the plane ride isn't as exciting as it used to be, but that in no way means the destination has to follow suit.

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