Friday, April 04, 2008

When Yer Twenty Two

In the Proust biography I’m reading at the moment, the startling thing is the man’s dedication to gathering a certain kind of experience – heightened, precious, fleeting – then ‘translating’ it into art. His vision is extraordinarily pure; his life is neurotic and painful. Along the way he falls in love about once every eighteen months. Most of these attachments are traumatic in one way or another, and most provide material for In Search of Lost Time. Just at the moment he’s taking six years out from writing fiction to translate Ruskin (it is a little slow), in which task he gets immersed without losing sight of the fact that he’s not actually doing anything creative. There’s a sense of things falling into place: source material, and the incredible digressive, luminous style for which he needed to assimilate Ruskin. He uses things up, and (eventually) gives them back transfigured.

Which is as pretentious a way as any to introduce my own brush with creativity, ten years old this month, an album with a dodgy title (Loss Angeles) and an opening song so down it’s almost guaranteed to discourage further investigation. It picks up fairly quickly after that, but still. And, believe it or not, I did what Proust does: I took the two women my heart was bounding hopelessly around after at the time, and sort of spliced them together – in song, I hasten to add – and wound up with quite a good record. Of which I am still really proud. Around the time I was making it, at the expense of an Eighteenth Century Literature course and sleeping, my love of The Pastels was at its height, and I marvelled that they could make such great records without any of this angst nonsense. I wished I could do without it too, but when it did disappear along with the appearance of the lovely S. (who is so worth singing about), the songs seemed to go with it.

Maybe if I say here, in public, that I’m going to write some non-grumpy songs, it might help me to actually do it. If it does, I’ll post them. In the meantime, happy birthday, if you please, to this:

Update: Tim / Richard's inlay card for the cassette:

Loss Angeles (front)

Loss Angeles (back)

Credits read: ‘All songs by Chris except ‘In My Eyes’ which is by Catriona (who also plays flute on ‘Tremolo’) and Chris, and ‘God Rest Her Soul’, which is by Chris S. and Chris. Completed April 1998.’

‘God Rest Her Soul’ was subsequently re-named ‘Tunnel Vision’, which was what Chris S., whose digital transmutation of Sonic Youth into Lady Di’s car crash constitutes most of the song, wanted to call it.

Further update: stream the whole thing below.


Richard said...

That bookcase doesn't have nearly enough Marx Brothers books in it. Thanks for posting this, it's been a long time since I heard it. Did I do an inlay for this one?

Richard said...

. . . and I'm very much looking forward to new songs too!

Chris said...

The Marx Brothers books are off to the right - along with Lotte Eisner's Fritz Lang one, which I still haven't read, shamefully.

You did do an inlay, but it's at my parents' house. I hope.

New songs... that would be nice. I am looking forward to them too.

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