Off the John Leckie-produced masterpiece of ’90s psychedelia, A Storm in Heaven (Hut/Vernon Yard, 1993). Visual material from Andrei Tarkovsky’s incredible film, Solaris (1972).
I was so in love with this album for so many years, yet I have hardly listened to it in the past decade… It’s hard to figure out why. I don’t think it’s because I tired of it. Listening again now to the full album, I get the very same goosebumps as always. Most likely the reason I haven’t listened to it is because I have it on CD, and I haven’t really listened to CDs in a long time (though I am pretty sure I have it ripped to mp3 somewhere?). Heck, I don’t even own a CD player anymore, except for my old Walkman and the DVD drive in my Windows laptop. More broadly, it’s interesting to think about how different the mix of listening formats is now compared to when this came out, and how the format of a recording affects its consumption… But I think that may be an essay for another day when I’m feeling less spacey!
Hello it’s me, it’s me
I want to touch you
It’s me throwing stones from the stars
On your mixed up world
Been circling round for twenty years
And in that time I’ve seen all the fires and all the liars
I’ve been calling home for twenty years
And in that time I heard the screams rebound to me
While you were making history
LISTEN TO A STORM IN HEAVEN, and dream galaxies…
A demo recorded circa 1968, but only released in 1995 on the album Rolled Gold (label: Dig The Fuzz Records).
A cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” on Laforêt’s Album 3 (Disques Festival, 1967). The video contains footage from the film, The Graduate (1967), in which this and other Simon and Garfunkel songs feature prominently during pivotal montage scenes.
Beautiful woman, beautiful album.
From Album 3 (Disques Festival, 1967). Beautiful woman, beautiful album.
From Album 3 (Disques Festival, 1967).
From Album 3 (Disques Festival, 1967).
“This is one of those heartwrenching adverts, about funerals or tampons.”
— My mom to me as we’re clearing up after supper and the plaintive strains of a piano waft through from the TV.
Truly happy people seem to have an intuitive grasp of the fact that sustained happiness is not just about doing things that you like. It also requires growth and adventuring beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone. Happy people, are, simply put, curious. In a 2007 study, Todd Kashdan and Colorado State psychologist Michael Steger found that when participants monitored their own daily activities, as well as how they felt, over the course of 21 days, those who frequently felt curious on a given day also experienced the most satisfaction with their life—and engaged in the highest number of happiness-inducing activities, such as expressing gratitude to a colleague or volunteering to help others.
Yet curiosity—that pulsing, eager state of not knowing—is fundamentally an anxious state. When, for instance, psychologist Paul Silvia showed research participants a variety of paintings, calming images by Claude Monet and Claude Lorrain evoked happy feelings, whereas the mysterious, unsettling works by Egon Schiele and Francisco Goya evoked curiosity.
Curiosity, it seems, is largely about exploration—often at the price of momentary happiness. Curious people generally accept the notion that while being uncomfortable and vulnerable is not an easy path, it is the most direct route to becoming stronger and wiser. In fact, a closer look at the study by Kashdan and Steger suggests that curious people invest in activities that cause them discomfort as a springboard to higher psychological peaks.
Of course, there are plenty of instances in life where the best way to increase your satisfaction is to simply do what you know feels good, whether it’s putting your favourite song on the jukebox or making plans to see your best friend. But from time to time, it’s worth seeking out an experience that is novel, complicated, uncertain, or even upsetting—whether that means finally taking the leap and doing karaoke for the first time or hosting a screening of your college friend’s art-house film. The happiest people opt for both so that they can benefit, at various times, from each.