Change of Location Generation.

The world is full of places to move from.

There’s your childhood home where you’ve been told you grew up, but can’t quite remember in your own memories.

There’s the place you went to when your parents got divorced and you moved into a new house with your mom and sister as the new nuclear family, and dad suddenly a relative more than a parent.

There’s your first apartment that you shared in a drunken heap of youthful nights, exploring the city and the fine line between responsibility and life.

Now another place is being added to the list, as it will continue on end for years to come. We’re the generation of moving. The apartment generation. The change of location generation. We never stay in a place long enough to become it, but just long enough to no longer belong to the place we left before it.

Walking my routes I realise it’s only recently that they’ve become automatic for me, the charm gone, my feet keeping their direction true where once I would digress into a detour of exploration.

This is the smallest area in which I’ve ever lived, and the one that has felt most out of tune with where I want to be.

A place of living always becomes a centrum. It’s from this point outward that everything else reveals itself and is graded as more or less possible. The centrum acts out a silent control over your options of activity in the different ways it hinders you from reaching them, be it by pure distance, toughness of terrain or lack of public transportation.

I don’t know if I will miss this place or not. I will keep fond memories of things that have happened here. Of love conquered. Of my last student years. But at the same time I’ll be glad it was only for a period, with the place starting to feel suffocating, keeping me tired and uninspired for the longest period of my life.

I hope to start anew in a place where there’s a better view, a smaller radius to traverse in order to reach my desired destinations.

The world is full of places to move from, but also of places to move to. I haven’t found my new spot yet, but I’m sure it’ll come. I’m sure it’ll offer me a better package than what I am getting here.

I’m sure there’s a home on the horizon.

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3rd floor.

I remember
long nights sitting by the window
counting drops of rain
running down and out of sight
thinking how
the only part of the world that exists
is the part in the frame

those thirteen streetlights
those seven parked cars
these specks of water

and how it’s the same with people

December status.

There’s a reason why I try to keep this blog more or less secret, or anonymous, or just unnoticed by people who normally notice me, if you will. This white canvas is the place where I feel confident sharing my mind, may it reach ten people or none. Only here do I wish to convey the sensation of waves crashing over me when I lay down in bed and close my eyes. Telling how the inwardly-visual stimuli builds force and breaks into new areas, new categories, and sends a shaking through my shoulders and my legs until I can hardly stand it anymore.

I recall when I was 12-13 years old, my nights would always start with me imagining that I was at sea, sailing on my own great boat, or was it a yacht? Lying there, blue stretching out in any direction I looked. The blue of the ocean. The blue of the sky. I’d lie there, basking in unobstructed sunlight in the middle of the night, and be rocked to sleep by the slow waves in my bed, calmed by the blues around me.

I don’t know much about dreams, and I know even less about sailing. But I’ve lived in a fantasy at least half my life and I’m used to making up rules as I go.

I’m still too conscious about myself. Always going to the meta level of my thoughts. I still see it as a bug, but I’m getting better at handling it. My method is to think about something else, something in my vicinity, something tangible.

There is a bed, and on that bed am I. There is a pillow and a duvet. There are three additional pillows, but they serve a different role than the main pillow. Whereas the main pillow is for nightly comfort, especially for sleeping purposes, the three extra pillows are partly decorative, partly useful in the daytime when I use my bed as a stand-in sofa. The duvet is slowly heating up, being aided by the warmer temperature of my body. Normally, it would be a give and take process, where the duvet and the heating object would end up at a common temperature someplace in the middle of their respective start temperatures. But I’m a furnace. I’m a hearth. I’m fire, baby. I create warmth, and a cold duvet will only be drawn to my temperature as I keep generating heat.

I sat in my bed yesterday and ate brie cheese contemplating life, reading about another’s. It was a story of illness and extremes and normalcy. The world is tied together, and one can never escape the width of life. Even if you live the slowest life, your emotions will drain you fast. Even if you live with a will to die, you’ll wake up tomorrow 99 percent of your life. There’s no escaping the great machinery we’ve been put into. Even if you do escape, you live on as a was. History will document you, people, family will document you. There are footprints in every crystal of snow you ever stepped on. There’s your light on the sky, transmitting outward to a galaxy where they’ll know of you in a thousand years.

This is what I keep coming back to. The human curse. The sartrean dilemma that we’re sentenced to be free. In a society that has begun to value consent, the most basic consent is still unattainable: that of allowing two people to create you. I know this is a line of argument that can come to no result. There’s no asking a person if it wants to be born before that person is alive. But it does press the cynic in me to devalue the sanctity of life. The sanctity of keeping one’s own life alive.

I keep coming back to Sufjan Stevens. I keep finding bits and pieces of myself in his darkest moments. I apply myself. I love and I laugh. But underneath it all, there’s the constant sad realisation, that life is always up to us, and I feel my sense of inspiration decrease each year.

The things that I want, or that I believe that I want, are the opposite of what my family wishes. How can I tell them, that I don’t mind going away for a year or forever. How can I tell them, when they constantly tell me to come back home, even when I’m just half an hour away.

I want to explore, but I’m filled with a lack of curiosity.

I want to travel, but I’m anxious of going out alone.

I want to live, but I’m focused on death.

I want to be free, but my system of liberation has caged me in.

I don’t know anymore. If it’s just winter. If it’s finally the real depression setting in. If it’s the argument we had earlier. I don’t know.

I just know I keep wanting something else. Something more. But I keep hitting a barrier each time I try to step towards it.

I know there’s more than this.

Julia Holter appreciation post.

There are few things in life as haunting as a new release from Julia Holter. Right from the beginning with her first album proper, Tragedy, the central theme of her music has been stimmung. She takes you to a different place, often somewhere you never thought to look, someplace far off that would at first seem outlandish and possibly ridiculous, with strings and voices getting too cosy with each other, only to be ripped up and re-sewn, new patterns always evolving from calm beginnings and a chaotic middle-sections.

She leads you through a world painted by Hieronymus Bosch, at times heavenly, at times dark and desolate and dystopian. Her albums are the sounds of nightmares as well as daydreams, but never letting go of your hand, you always feel safe following Holter’s whim, letting yourself float rather than being dragged through the sonic cities she builds for your ears.

After an uncharactaristically straight-forward album from her, Have You In My Wilderness, she is back and blazing with her latest attempt, Aviary. It opens with a chaotic piece, “Turn The Light On”, which not so much sets the tempo for the rest of the album as it acts as a challenge to whatever idea the listener might have of a new Julia Holter album. It’s the kind of track that manages to shatter expectations by building up new ones, only to open to an album that, through its almost 90 minutes of playing time, never again forces the listener into such submission, but rather rewards those who held through the initial shock. From the climax of that first song onward, it’s one puzzle after the other, slowly revealing the layers of the album, and of Julia Holter.

More than anything, this album feels like seeing Holter in live form, but with a band at least twice the size of her often used trio setup. We’re drawn through ebbs and flows of soundscapes, constantly held on edge and treated to harmonies that can’t help but force a smile on faces from the sunburned to the winterwhites. As when you stand in front of Julia Holter, mostly a controlled force on the stage, you’re never quite sure what to expect from her on Aviary. Not just from song to song, but often from minute to minute, or even just few seconds to few seconds. Even when she challenges your understanding of music, of rhythm, of the way your body moves, she never leaves you restless, on the floor or in your chair, but rather she keeps picking at your mind to draw your attention in to every nook and corner of her own. She doesn’t ever hesitate or play to what she believes you might be looking for. Instead she aims straight for the thing you can only experience through her guidance, and on the back of her constant success in critic’s circles over the past ten years she finds no place she’s not prepared to guide you to.

In that sense she has produced her most daring work since Tragedy, an album that truly takes no idea for granted but seeks to live out all opportunities that present themselves. The magic of Holter is that while following ideas left and right she manages to string them together into a coherent whole and refine them from their sparse elements to become flickering stars on a night sky, perhaps best illustrated on the song “Everyday Is An Emergency”, where a smattering of high-pitched horns verges on the unlistenable, but through subtle rhytm and a decent amount of stubbornness becomes its own therapeutic passage twenty minutes into the album, giving the listener room to breathe and to become intrigued all over again. These horns, that go on for close to four minutes, remind me most clearly of The Knife’s opera-crossover album Tomorrow, In A Year. Another of my favourite albums in a daring place in-between genres, The Knife’s album, clocking in at a similar ~90 minutes, spends large amounts of its time exploring how to create human music out of inherently unhuman sounds such as bird calls. The difference between The Knife and Julia Holter is that where the former attempted to break down the human ear’s expectation of rhythm, the latter is not so much breaking it down as reshaping it.

“How do I know what I think until I say it?” asks Holter on “Les Jeux To You” and it seems this approach is the light that shines through Aviary more than anything. How does she know what a song can become before she makes it? And how does the listener know what music she will enjoy until she hears it all? What expectations will she have until she lets them be met, challenged and reshaped? Julia Holter asks questions of you with her music. All she demands is an open mind and a good listener.

And I for one enjoy having my musical expectations reshaped by Julia Holter over and over again.

How to self-destruct and resurrect.

I often find myself stopping abruptly and fully when faced with a task that has even a hint of that well-known scent of “life decision”. Suddenly I can’t even procrastinate in any meaningful way, but rather I just turn into a useless sack of potatoes, just lying there on my bed, scrolling mindlessly to and fro on my cellular device, looking for something — anything — to take my mind off the task that demands a decision of me.

Today I faced this when getting into contact with a potential job opportunity. I had received all the details, I matched the profile quite well, and I had researched the company, only to find my feet moonwalking back to bed, my back resting as if it hadn’t seen a mattress for months, and my eyes choosing only to focus on useless, mindless updates on SoMe.

The worst thing is that I’m well aware. At any second of this pitiful act I’m fully aware of what I’m doing; that I’m hindering myself in whatever definition of “progress” you apply to the situation. I’m not getting further on the job seeking; I’m not trying out words for an email; I’m not getting over my innate fear of phone calls; I’m not even procrastinating in a way that’s useful for some other project of mine.

I’m well aware of my own hindering of myself, and yet I can stay that way for hours. Doing nothing; accomplishing nothing; learning nothing.

I did end up sending a bright email to the contact person in the company. So I’m proud of that accomplishment. And I’ve since then been productive in revamping my CV, finally summoning the courage and creativity to create a brand new one from scratch with a neat home-made visual look. I’m proud of that. And I’ve spent the last one and a half hour of the evening listening to Julia Holter’s new amazing album. In these days of lost patience I’m even proud of that, of sticking with an album of such a long playing time. (Hint: the album is BONKERS good, and you should pick it up at your local record store asap).

So all in all: I’ve had a good and productive day. I just wish I’d gotten around to that email sooner, or been able to do some productive procrastination. I hate this tendency I have of falling into my most useless behaviour when I’m faced with opportunities to do something. So I guess I’m back to using this blog as an outlet for my frustrated self, frustrated over my own psyche, and hoping that writing about my issues will help solve them, as has happened often before.

What more to add… I’m really hooked on expanding on my thesis. The result of the thesis was not what I had hoped, but I understand the score it received. I could have worked harder on it, I could have delivered a more focussed end-product. But lately I’ve been studying to get further insights on trust, fear and how they shape our political landscapes.

Most recently I’ve just finished Eric M. Uslaner’s The Moral Foundations of Trust, and begrudgingly I must confess, that this book is pretty much 1:1 the missing link in my thesis. I feel confident that had I found this book in time, my idea of the project would have been much clearer; I would have been able to better use my theory; and the thesis would have ended as a more developed project in all regards. Oh well.

My hope is to cut my thesis down to some main parts, add the fresh knowledge that I’ve been gaining since, and then turn it into an article to be published in one of the Danish philosophical journals, or maybe a journal with a broader scope in either geography or theme.

Whichever way this all turns out — job, article, life — I’m ready for it. I hope.

It’s all vision.

Choosing is a matter of seeing, and seeing is a matter of believing. So maybe my problem is I don’t believe in the things I should be seeing, leaving me nothing to choose from.

What I did see today was autumn falling to the ground, nature’s palette of rustic colors painting a patterned blanket underneath the trees, as I strolled through the cemetery park, closing in on the city with its noisy cars and noisy people.

My headphones died last week, and I’m suddenly experiencing all the sounds I’ve been able to shield myself off from until now. It’s not that I dislike the sounds of the world. It’s just that I’ve always wanted to live in a movie, and a movie needs a soundtrack.

What I did see today was a road torn up and broken, machinery exhaling dirt into the air, trying its utmost to turn the blue sky grey overhead, but losing that battle in majestic form to the burning Sun that laid its warmth on my late-summer cheeks.

My skin is really good these days. I’m in a good routine of washing my face with lukewarm water each night before bed, and using a good cream after my shower in the morning. Seasonal changes are usually the worst for my face, but so far I seem to be battling it well.

What I did see today were places I’d led you when I showed you my city and wondered when I’d show you my town. I’m still wondering about that, and I wondered, as I wandered on, if you might one day have the same impact on my experience of my town as you’ve had on my experience of my city.

I’ve never been able to determine if I’m a small-town boy or a big-city kinda guy. When I’m in the city, I miss the quietude of the town, the water, the slowness. When I’m in the town, I miss the pace of the city life, the concerts, the tall buildings for people with high hopes.

What I did see today was your picture next to my records. I don’t recall the design that made me put it there, but I haven’t moved it since, except for closer examination. There’s something homely about having you smile at me every time I put on music.

I’ve hit a rough patch of melancholic music today. Max Richter, Beach House, Nils Frahm, Mr Twin Sister. Trying out new headphones at the hifi store, I almost broke down, fifty-fifty from an experience of sound and from a heartbreaking daydream.

What I did see today were all the ways in which I’ve made room for you in my life, and the ways in which I envision making room. And I’m hanging on for dear life here, trying not to turn my tears into an environmental disaster, trying not to confuse heartache with the apocalypse.