trying new foods with my Uncle Joe and the fascination I used to have for Six Feet Under and being able to sleep more than four continuous hours and guitar lessons and the sound girls make when you squeeze them just right and the idea of camping but not the actual act and remembering how to play Sunny Road and Trolley and Steph already and snow and people-watching when taking the bus and long-term relationships and
these kind of moments before we all partake and
the smell of rain in Paris and makeouts and knowing what to say to people when they ask me how I’m doing and being led by the hand to the bedroom and being called Jeffy Bear and having a reason to wear Classic by Banana Republic and getting really excited and being pursued by someone I’m not trying to avoid and the time in my life before all this medication and having someone I could call my best friend and cuddling and walks and old /b/ and Bruce Springstein before he went rock and no one I shouldn’t and having a Tai Chi teacher and
little bums like this and
knowing how to play piano and pouncing on survivors with Dave and Tyler and having a stable source of income and being part of her life and having her in mine and Hawaiian sunsets and finding sales for clothes that fit me and playing songs for Antje and the intimacy of oral and simultaneous orgasms and sex, obviously and having someone to spoil and new episodes of Reno 911 and hosting big parties and the way Leonard would sleep on my neck.
I’ve been deconstructing songs, trying to figure out what magical combination of pitches and timbres and rhythms can create such an intense response in my body. Every song is a puzzle when you try to fit the composition into what a person can do without studio editing or a band.
On my quest to unlock such a puzzle, I discovered Final Fantasy performing a Bloc Party cover of This Modern Love, what is now my favourite song of all time1, having dethroned Blonde Redhead’s Elephant Woman of the honour it held for many years. It strips me bare by layers and layers, and even though the lyrics found relevance in my life before I decided that distance would keep me sane, it’s only in recent months that it’s gone from being a song I never skip to a song I always play.
To be able to see how Owen Pallett reproduces it with only a violin, a loop pedal, and his characteristically frail voice is a particular treat. Not only because he can draw the same intensity in me as in the original version, but because you can see how it’s done; what part he keeps to present the listener with the essence of the song, what he’s changed to fit the tools he uses, and even where he takes his breaths. It’s like finding an elegant solution for a puzzle that has perplexed you for years.
But I’ve yet to sit down and attempt any serious covers of my own cause I’m still waiting for my musical knowledge and guitar ability to catch up with what I want to accomplish. I’ve been learning classical pieces for a better foundation, and in that pursuit I came across this particular version of La Catedral.
I enjoy classical music (though I’m really picky) cause it can evoke a specific emotion in me, but most pieces cater to only one emotion at a time, or there’s a lot of development before the part I really like. La Catedral, on the other hand, has it all, from sorrow to elation, and every bit of it is bliss. I’m convinced that this is how the old Paraguayan guitarists rocked out with their cocks out, and it amazes me how someone could write such heavy emotion when there were no metal idols, no amp distortion, no screaming back then.
I’d say that for anyone to fully understand me, they’d have to understand this song too. It represents everything I love about music and emotion and sex, cause it’s all in this song, and only Denis Azabagić plays it the way it was meant to be played2. When watching this for the first time, I remember thinking that I would make love to this man, this man who looks like some guy’s uncle, because he plays like he’s touching every nerve of my heart.
I love the way he moves with his guitar, the way he cradles the body, the way he purses his lips or widens his eyes with every swelling of passion. To be able to play like him is is exactly why I started taking up guitar; I want to feel as good as those who lose themselves to the music, and learning this piece has become another thing I hope to do before I die.
As a person who listens to almost any genre but is still obsessively selective with music, saying that I have a single favourite song is a big deal. [↩]
I never liked this song until I heard him perform it, the last 45 seconds in particular, with his orgasmic finish. Every other classical guitarist uses pauses that break up the flow of what are supposed to be relentless sixteenth notes, to the point where it feels like the entire song is ruined. [↩]
I was spring cleaning and found a box of condoms due to expire this summer. What’s the lifespan of condoms kept out of the sunlight and in a cool place?
Which pretty much means I haven’t been in a relationship in as long, cause I’ve always shied away from anything purely physical. Sex is very mental for me. Someone once told me she thought we were sexually compatible, but I never felt like we were particularly well-matched. We simply loved each other on a very profound level, and that kind of intimacy and connection is what made the sex so good. Without that, it’s not even worth it.
Maybe it’s just my interversion that’s leading me to think that no sex is better than bad sex.
The last thing I did was hold hands with someone after she jumped into bed with me, complaining she couldn’t sleep. She had these tiny hands, with slender fingers. It was nice. But I couldn’t bring myself to take it any further cause I couldn’t see myself with her.
Luckily, I can do dry spells. Easily. Considering I had a 15-year one until I lost my virginity. Now I’m at an age where people want to introduce me to someone, and sometimes they’ll add, “…but she has a kid”, when trying to sell me on the idea.
I’ve always maintained that a person isn’t alive if their heart doesn’t pound out of their chest when listening to The Island by Pendulum1.
It’s a gradual build-up, most of Pt. 1 Dawn being the development until Pt. 2 Dusk hits (at about the 5:20 mark in the video) and the beats really kick in. Then it’s just waves and waves washing over my body like small orgasms and every hair stands on end.
It’s mesmerizing to literally see how this music makes me feel, as the ripples of goosebumps crest and subside. I can trace the paths of shivers across my skin; some last longer, though they may not be as strong, while others come and go quickly, my body unable to sustain the climax.
This is the only song that has this kind of effect on me. There are plenty of other tracks that give me goosebumps, but none of them do it so many times or with such intensity. By far the strongest peak is during the bridge at 7:10, when everything subsides to the organ, and it’s like you’re being bathed in the warm light of a sunrise.
To get the full effect, you definitely need headphones. Otherwise, it should be loud enough to warrant a noise-complaint by your neighbours down the street. [↩]
During his Emmy-award winning performance, Kill the Messenger, Chris Rock had a hilarious bit on the differences between men and women. He sums it up succinctly:
Women cannot go backwards in lifestyle. Men cannot go backwards sexually.
An example he uses for women is the first time they get into a nice, warm car after clubbing, waving bye to their friends who are waiting for the bus in the cold. After that, they can’t be with a man who doesn’t have a car, or as Rock puts it, “That’s how the fuck you roll for the rest of your life”. This extends to guys with their own places, then guys who take them on vacation.
On men, he says, “Once we get the sex we like, that’s how the fuck we roll. I like my coffee like this, I like my steak like this, and I like to fuck like this…Ladies, don’t get mad at us. Get mad at our ex-girlfriends. She’s the one that [sic] spoiled it for everybody” because if your ex-girlfriend licks your ass, you expect your current girlfriend to do the same.
For me, the same is true for girls in general, but not just in these aspects. I can’t be with a girl who refuses to try exotic foods or refuses to give unconventional music a chance, who wouldn’t recognize the effort I put into my presents, who wouldn’t cherish the love and affection I give, who wouldn’t understand me, or wouldn’t laugh at my stupid jokes, because I’ve been with girls who are a combination of open-minded, appreciative, romantic, on the same wavelength as me, and actually find me funny (when not completely awkward).
That's why this entire idea scares me.
I know most people get more flexible on things about their mates as they head towards (or beyond) the marrying age but I seem to be moving the opposite direction. Each girl I’ve been with has been an improvement over the last. Now the bar has been raised so damn high I don’t think I’ll ever get there again, and I’d rather be alone than compromise or settle.
My standards are getting higher, and I can’t go back.