big thief – ufof (2019)


‘UFOF’ by Big Thief, from the new album ‘U.F.O.F.’, released May 3rd on 4AD. Available to pre-order and pre-save here.

To my UFO friend
Goodbye, goodbye
Like a seed in the wind
She’s taking up root in the sky
See her flickering
Her system won’t even try
To defend and ripen
In the radio action
She’ll never return again
Polarize, polarize
The seasons will bend
There will soon be proof
That there is no alien
Just a system of truth and lies
The reason, the language
And the law of attraction

Just like a bad dream
You’ll disappear
Another map turns blue
Mirror on mirror
And I imagine you
Taking me outta here
To deepen our love
It isn’t even a fraction

Switch to another lens
The last sunlight
I don’t need any other friends
The best kiss I ever had
Is the flickering
Of the water so clear and bright
To leap in, my skin
And I could feel the reaction

Just like a bad dream
You’ll disappear
Another map turns blue
Mirror on mirror
And I imagine you
Taking me outta here
To deepen our love
It isn’t even a fraction

fernando pessoa – 27, from the book of disquiet

Literature – which is art married to thought, and realization untainted by reality – seems to me the end towards which all human effort would have to strive, if it were truly human and not just a welling up of our animal self. To express something is to conserve its virtue and take away its terror. Fields are greener in their description than in their actual greenness.

Flowers, if described with phrases that define them in the air of the imagination, will have colours with a durability not found in cellular life. What moves lives. What is said endures. There’s nothing in life that’s less real for having been well described. Small-minded critics point out that such-and-such poem, with its protracted cadences, in the end says merely that it’s a nice day. But to say it’s a nice day is difficult, and the nice day itself passes on. It’s up to us to conserve the nice day in a wordy, florid memory, sprinkling new flowers and new stars over the fields and skies of the empty, fleeting outer world.

Everything is what we are, and everything will be, for those who come after us in the diversity of time, what we will have intensely imagined – what we, that is, by embodying our imagination, will have actually been. The grand, tarnished panorama of History amounts, as I see it, to a flow of interpretations, a confused consensus of unreliable eyewitness accounts. The novelist is all of us, and we narrate whenever we see, because seeing is complex like everything.

Right now I have so many fundamental thoughts, so many truly metaphysical things to say that I suddenly feel tired, and I’ve decided to write no more, think no more. I’ll let the fever of saying put me to sleep instead, and with closed eyes I’ll stroke, as if petting a cat, all that I might have said.

__
From The Book of Disquiet (Livro do Desassossego: Composto por Bernardo Soares, ajudante de guarda-livros na cidade de Lisboa), a work by the Portuguese author Fernando Pessoa (1888–1935). Published posthumously, The Book of Disquiet is a fragmentary lifetime project, left unedited by the author, who introduced it as a “factless autobiography.”

au revoir, jeanne moreau (1928 – 2017)

From Jules et Jim (Directed by François Truffaut, 1962), the song “Le Tourbillon”. The film was directed by François Truffaut and released on January 23, 1962. This song of Cyrus “Boris” Bassiak [aka Serge Rezvani] is interpreted by Catherine [Jeanne Moreau]. Albert on guitar, is none other than songwriter Bassiak / Rezvani. Other roles:
Jules [the short one with blond hair]: Oskar Werner
Jim [the tall one with white shirt]: Henri Serre

According to Wikipedia Rezvani actually wrote this song seven years before, in reference to the couple formed by Jeanne Moreau and his companion at the time, Jean-Louis Richard, who was also Serge’s best friend.

_
Elle avait des bagues à chaque doigt, (She had rings on every finger)
Des tas de bracelets autour des poignets, (A profusion of bracelets on her wrists)
Et puis elle chantait avec une voix (And she was singing with such a voice)
Qui sitôt m’enjôla. (That I was at once under her spell)

Elle avait des yeux, des yeux d’opale (She had eyes, eyes of opal)
Qui fascinaient, qui fascinaient, (That fascinated me)
Y avait l’ovale de son visage pâle, (And there was the oval of her pale face)
De femme fatale qui me fut fatale (bis). (That of a”femme fatale” who was fatal to me)

On s’est connus, on s’est reconnus, (We met, we met again)
On s’est perdus de vue, (We lost sight of each other)
on s’est reperdus de vue, (we again lost sight of each other)
On s’est retrouvés, (We found each other anew)
on s’est réchauffés, (We warmed each other)
Puis on s’est séparés. (And then we separated)

Chacun pour soi est reparti (We each went our own ways)
Dans le tourbillon de la vie; (In Life’s whirlpool of days)
Je l’ai revue un soir aïe aïe aïe! (One night I saw her again)
Ca fait déjà un fameux bail (bis). (It was such a long time again already)

Au son des banjos je l’ai reconnue, (To the sounds of banjos I recognized her)
Ce curieux sourire qui m’avait tant plu, (This mysterious smile that pleased me so much)
Sa voix si fatale, son beau visage pâle (Her voice so fatal, her beautiful pale face)
M’émurent plus que jamais. (Moved me more than ever)

Je me suis saoulé en l’écoutant, (I drank as I listened to her)
L’alcool fait oublier le temps, (Alcohol removes time’s sting)
Je me suis réveillé en sentant (I awoke as I felt)
Des baisers sur mon front brûlant (bis). (Her kisses on my burning brow)

On s’est connus, on s’est reconnus, (We met each other, we again met)
On s’est perdus de vue, on s’est reperdus de vue, (We lost each other, we lost each other anew)
On s’est retrouvés, on s’est séparés, (We found each other again, we separated)
Puis on s’est réchauffés. (And then, we warmed each other)

Chacun pour soi est reparti (We each went our own ways)
Dans le tourbillon de la vie; (In Life’s whirlpool of days)
Je l’ai revue un soir ah la la, (Again I saw her one night)
Elle est retombée dans mes bras (bis). (She fell in my arms anew)

Quand on s’est connus, (When two lovers met)
quand on s’est reconnus, (when they met again)
Pourquoi se perdre de vue, (Why losing sight of each other)
se reperdre de vue, (why losing each other again)
Quand on s’est retrouvés, (When they found each other)
quand on s’est réchauffés, (when they warmed each other)
Pourquoi se séparer? (Why go their separate ways?)

Alors tous deux on est repartis (Thus both of us resumed our ways)
Dans le tourbillon de la vie, (In Life’s whirlpool of days)
On a continué à tourner, (We continued to go round and round)
Tous les deux enlacés (ter). (Both together bound)
__

More Jeanne Moreau on Fleurmach here and here.

And this is a WONDERFUL interview, from 2002!

gently down the stream…

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” – Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

rebekah del rio – llorando (2001) 

Scene from David Lynch’s Mullholland Drive. ‘“Crying” in Mulholland Drive transcends barriers that would normally alienate an audience: language and aesthetic approach. It exists purely as naked, enthralling performance, demonstrating the entrancing power of emotion in film.’ Read more here.

maud octallinn – super fière sur mon bulldozer (2017)

From “EN TERRAIN TENDRE”, Maud Octallinn’s first album. Download it HERE.

—–
VIDÉO
Réalisation : Vincent Pianina et Bertrand Sallé

MUSIQUE
Texte et musique : Maud Octallinn
Avec l’aide de : Laurent Sériès (percussions et bruitages) Enregistrement, mixage et mastering : Igor Moreno

card on spokes – ribbon tooth (2017)

Written and directed by Sara CF de Gouveia, produced by Reinette Du Toit (aka The Oracle), co-produced by Julia Ramsay, starring Siphokazi Khuboni, DOP Felix Seuffert, make-up/hair Tamara Polakow, and more credits on the YouTube link. Music by Shane Cooper.
(Most of the key players in this project were women – more of this please!)

moment of tangency: a glimpse of what might have been (2017/1913)

The 18 January 2017 word from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

This resonated for me with a sentiment Rainer Maria Rilke captured in a poem more than a century earlier, in 1913:

You who never arrived
in my arms, Beloved, who were lost
from the start,
I don’t even know what songs
would please you. I have given up trying
to recognize you in the surging wave of
the next moment. All the immense
images in me — the far-off, deeply-felt
landscape, cities, towers, and bridges, and
unsuspected turns in the path,
and those powerful lands that were once
pulsing with the life of the gods–
all rise within me to mean
you, who forever elude me.

You, Beloved, who are all
the gardens I have ever gazed at,
longing. An open window
in a country house– , and you almost
stepped out, pensive, to meet me.
Streets that I chanced upon,–
you had just walked down them and vanished.
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
were still dizzy with your presence and,
startled, gave back my too-sudden image.
Who knows? Perhaps the same
bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, separate, in the evening…

italo calvino – the distance of the moon (1965)

‘Like many a critical humanist before him, from Michel de Montaigne to Jonathan Swift, Calvino seems to wonder if our best intellectual efforts, even the sciences, fall subject to “the foibles and fancies of humans,” and to the askew narrative logic of folklore.’  I found this wonderful thing via Open Culture. I had to go and find the story on which the animation is based, and when I did, I had to share it with you, at new moon.

The Distance of the Moon

At one time, according to Sir George H. Darwin, the Moon was very close to the Earth. Then the tides gradually pushed her far away: the tides that the Moon herself causes in the Earth’s waters, where the Earth slowly loses energy.

How well I know! — old Qfwfq cried,– the rest of you can’t remember, but I can. We had her on top of us all the time, that enormous Moon: when she was full — nights as bright as day, but with a butter-colored light — it looked as if she were going to crush us; when she was new, she rolled around the sky like a black umbrella blown by the wind; and when she was waxing, she came forward with her horns so low she seemed about to stick into the peak of a promontory and get caught there. But the whole business of the Moon’s phases worked in a different way then: because the distances from the Sun were different, and the orbits, and the angle of something or other, I forget what; as for eclipses, with Earth and Moon stuck together the way they were, why, we had eclipses every minute: naturally, those two big monsters managed to put each other in the shade constantly, first one, then the other.

Orbit? Oh, elliptical, of course: for a while it would huddle against us and then it would take flight for a while. The tides, when the Moon swung closer, rose so high nobody could hold them back. There were nights when the Moon was full and very, very low, and the tide was so high that the Moon missed a ducking in the sea by a hair’s breadth; well, let’s say a few yards anyway. Climb up on the Moon? Of course we did. All you had to do was row out to it in a boat and, when you were underneath, prop a ladder against her and scramble up.

The spot where the Moon was lowest, as she went by, was off the Zinc Cliffs. We used to go out with those little rowboats they had in those days, round and flat, made of cork. They held quite a few of us: me, Captain Vhd Vhd, his wife, my deaf cousin, and sometimes little Xlthlx — she was twelve or so at that time. On those nights the water was very calm, so silvery it looked like mercury, and the fish in it, violet-colored, unable to resist the Moon’s attraction, rose to the surface, all of them, and so did the octopuses and the saffron medusas. There was always a flight of tiny creatures — little crabs, squid, and even some weeds, light and filmy, and coral plants — that broke from the sea and ended up on the Moon, hanging down from that lime-white ceiling, or else they stayed in midair, a phosphorescent swarm we had to drive off, waving banana leaves at them.

This is how we did the job: in the boat we had a ladder: one of us held it, another climbed to the top, and a third, at the oars, rowed until we were right under the Moon; that’s why there had to be so many of us (I only mentioned the main ones). The man at the top of the ladder, as the boat approached the Moon, would become scared and start shouting: “Stop! Stop! I’m going to bang my head!” That was the impression you had, seeing her on top of you, immense, and all rough with sharp spikes and jagged, saw-tooth edges. It may be different now, but then the Moon, or rather the bottom, the underbelly of the Moon, the part that passed closest to the Earth and almost scraped it, was covered with a crust of sharp scales. It had come to resemble the belly of a fish, and the smell too, as I recall, if not downright fishy, was faintly similar, like smoked salmon.

In reality, from the top of the ladder, standing erect on the last rung, you could just touch the Moon if you held your arms up. We had taken the measurements carefully (we didn’t yet suspect that she was moving away from us); the only thing you had to be very careful about was where you put your hands. I always chose a scale that seemed fast (we climbed up in groups of five or six at a time), then I would cling first with one hand, then with both, and immediately I would feel ladder and boat drifting away from below me, and the motion of the Moon would tear me from the Earth’s attraction. Yes, the Moon was so strong that she pulled you up; you realized this the moment you passed from one to the other: you had to swing up abruptly, with a kind of somersault, grabbing the scales, throwing your legs over your head, until your feet were on the Moon’s surface. Seen from the Earth, you looked as if you were hanging there with your head down, but for you, it was the normal position, and the only odd thing was that when you raised your eyes you saw the sea above you, glistening, with the boat and the others upside down, hanging like a bunch of grapes from the vine.

My cousin, the Deaf One, showed a special talent for making those leaps. His clumsy hands, as soon as they touched the lunar surface (he was always the first to jump up from the ladder), suddenly became deft and sensitive. They found immediately the spot where he could hoist himself up; in fact just the pressure of his palms seemed enough to make him stick to the satellite’s crust. Once I even thought I saw the Moon come toward him, as he held out his hands.

He was just as dextrous in coming back down to Earth, an operation still more difficult. For us, it consisted in jumping, as high as we could, our arms upraised (seen from the Moon, that is, because seen from the Earth it looked more like a dive, or like swimming downwards, arms at our sides), like jumping up from the Earth in other words, only now we were without the ladder, because there was nothing to prop it against on the Moon. But instead of jumping with his arms out, my cousin bent toward the Moon’s surface, his head down as if for a somersault, then made a leap, pushing with his hands. From the boat we watched him, erect in the air as if he were supporting the Moon’s enormous ball and were tossing it, striking it with his palms; then, when his legs came within reach, we managed to grab his ankles and pull him down on board.

Now, you will ask me what in the world we went up on the Moon for; I’ll explain it to you. We went to collect the milk, with a big spoon and a bucket. Moon-milk was very thick, like a kind of cream cheese. It formed in the crevices between one scale and the next, through the fermentation of various bodies and substances of terrestrial origin which had flown up from the prairies and forests and lakes, as the Moon sailed over them. It was composed chiefly of vegetal juices, tadpoles, bitumen, lentils, honey, starch crystals, sturgeon eggs, molds, pollens, gelatinous matter, worms, resins, pepper, mineral salts, combustion residue. You had only to dip the spoon under the scales that covered the Moon’s scabby terrain, and you brought it out filled with that precious muck. Not in the pure state, obviously; there was a lot of refuse. In the fermentation (which took place as the Moon passed over the expanses of hot air above the deserts) not all the bodies melted; some remained stuck in it: fingernails and cartilage, bolts, sea horses, nuts and peduncles, shards of crockery, fishhooks, at times even a comb. So this paste, after it was collected, had to be refined, filtered. But that wasn’t the difficulty: the hard part was transporting it down to the Earth. This is how we did it: we hurled each spoonful into the air with both hands, using the spoon as a catapult. The cheese flew, and if we had thrown it hard enough, it stuck to the ceiling, I mean the surface of the sea. Once there, it floated, and it was easy enough to pull it into the boat. In this operation, too, my deaf cousin displayed a special gift; he had strength and a good aim; with a single, sharp throw, he could send the cheese straight into a bucket we held up to him from the boat. As for me, I occasionally misfired; the contents of the spoon would fail to overcome the Moon’s attraction and they would fall back into my eye.

I still haven’t told you everything, about the things my cousin was good at. That job of extracting lunar milk from the Moon’s scales was child’s play to him: instead of the spoon, at times he had only to thrust his bare hand under the scales, or even one finger. He didn’t proceed in any orderly way, but went to isolated places, jumping from one to the other, as if he were playing tricks on the Moon, surprising her, or perhaps tickling her. And wherever he put his hand, the milk spurted out as if from a nanny goat’s teats. So the rest of us had only to follow him and collect with our spoons the substance that he was pressing out, first here, then there, but always as if by chance, since the Deaf One’s movements seemed to have no clear, practical sense.

There were places, for example, that he touched merely for the fun of touching them: gaps between two scales, naked and tender folds of lunar flesh. At times my cousin pressed not only his fingers but — in a carefully gauged leap — his big toe (he climbed onto the Moon barefoot) and this seemed to be the height of amusement for him, if we could judge by the chirping sounds that came from his throat as he went on leaping. The soil of the Moon was not uniformly scaly, but revealed irregular bare patches of pale, slippery clay.

These soft areas inspired the Deaf One to turn somersaults or to fly almost like a bird, as if he wanted to impress his whole body into the Moon’s pulp. As he ventured farther in this way, we lost sight of him at one point. On the Moon there were vast areas we had never had any reason or curiosity to explore, and that was where my cousin vanished; I had suspected that all those somersaults and nudges he indulged in before our eyes were only a preparation, a prelude to something secret meant to take place in the hidden zones.

We fell into a special mood on those nights off the Zinc Cliffs: gay, but with a touch of suspense, as if inside our skulls, instead of the brain, we felt a fish, floating, attracted by the Moon. And so we navigated, playing and singing. The Captain’s wife played the harp; she had very long arms, silvery as eels on those nights, and armpits as dark and mysterious as sea urchins; and the sound of the harp was sweet and piercing, so sweet and piercing it was almost unbearable, and we were forced to let out long cries, not so much to accompany the music as to protect our hearing from it. Continue reading

arundhati roy – excerpt from ‘war talk’ (2003)

Arundhati_RoyOur strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability. Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. Maybe many of us won’t be here to greet her, but on a quiet day, if I listen very carefully, I can hear her breathing.

― Arundhati Roy, from War Talk (South End Press, 2003).