Bitching Brew

Monday, December 26, 2005

A beautiful night.

I did my usual last-minute shopping on Christmas Eve. 'Twas impressive work - all gifts and cards purchased in a 90-minute spree! Afterwards, I had a few drinks before taking the last bus home.

The sky in the city was clear, but further north, rolls of fog descended. The visibility was poor - the worst I'd ever seen. Once I'd hopped off the bus, I couldn't see even the outlines of objects more than 5 metres away. Any light sources were completely diffused and swallowed up by the amorphous mist. While I could navigate from memory, I was very disoriented. Which didn't scare me; rather, it was wonderful. The streets were deserted. The clouds had swallowed every trace of the world. A gorgeous solitude, of a quality I hadn't experienced since I'd arrived back in Ireland.

On the bus, I'd been listening to the new Sigur Rós album, Takk... for the first time. Alighting into the fog, it was uniquely appropriate: a transcendent polyphonic medley, with the passionate wisps and wails of an Icelandic lover. I have no idea what the lyrics mean; they could be banal as Travis. I suspect not, but I do not care. Language is younger than feeling.

On each play, the music calls to mind fresh and surreal imagery, but the overriding impression is of being joyfully lost in shimmering white light. My head rested on the window of the bus, but it could have been a train drifting into the night; a cool summer's night, its black and heady air holding down the plains of Nebraska. That was the sixth song on the album, Sæglòpur, conjuring up the thrill and expectation of spiritual adventure. Only this time I could step off the train - fulfilling my desire to fall into the bracing, alien world. And there I wandered, alone and giddy in the clouds, breathing the silver air, though it often turned pale yellow, or cerise, once even indigo, depending on the ambient light. As the album drew to a close, I made my way home. Though it was a beautiful solitude, I wanted to share Svo Hljótt with someone. Someone as beautiful as the song and the night. I didn't, of course. Someday I will. I'll set speakers up in the back garden, perhaps, or maybe in a park. Set a blanket down, and play Takk... as mist falls and midnight calls. Delirious.

I paid for my romanticism, naturally. Dancing (metaphorically) like a loon in a cold heavy fog does nothing for the lungs or throat - my voice is gone, sold to a rasping cough. Whatever. As long as I can write, dance, touch, see and hear. And yes, I'm weird. :)

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