Wednesday, February 04, 2009


*Photo by Simon Ashcroft. Simon takes the best pictures, so I am always stealing them-forgive me, Simon.

Before the journal entry, here is an MP3 for the reader.

An Excerpt from an Unpublished August Journal:

Once upon a time I stood on a street corner and peered into the canal, thinking that it was just as good a reason as any for living. Certainly, I formed an analogy between its flowing water and my own blood, reflecting once again upon the minimal difference between that which is within us and that which is without (is there not a fantastic sameness in both form and function when considering trees and the lungs of animals?).

The powdered pinkness of the dying sun reflected in the water, the approaching ivory-on-saphire army of midnight swans, poised for majesty and intimidation, the ghostly cleaning boat of yesteryear, surrounded by its cloud of steam and guided only by a few piercing bright lights: these are the images that force one to remain motionless on the bridge, afraid to budge for fear of missing one valuable second. 'Rage, rage, against the dying day...'

For as long as I can remember, I have wished to hold images close to me, as though they were tangible objects. For a time, I believed this to be harmful or foolish, a fetishistic act of consumption useful only for the continual harvest of an insatiable hunger. But now I understand the way in which this reorganization of life informs my happiness; I call it Magical Realism.

When I was a teenager I lived solely in a place of magical realism. At some point I have been each and every one of my great heroes, a cause to which I remained dedicated regardless of whether or not another person was present to verify the occurrence. The first few times I allowed others to pass into my private realm were common but necessary, images so familiar they might have been plucked from any coming of age biopic-reading aloud from the Ginsberg anthology, enthusiasm fueled by stolen warm champagne, cross legged on the black cushion, youth tuned into youth (a concentration permitted only by the suspension of worry available in those days), giving finally a small performance of I Shall Be Released...

The morning after such exploits, when I climbed the hill near my parent's house and sat staring into the rising sun, its ageless puddle of light slowly engulfing every branch and stone, I had effectively transcended time. There was no great stopwatch separating myself from my heroes, for the experience of self-realization and initial discovery is always a virgin entity; its ability to repeat itself yet always be different lies in its being the definition of newness. The only absolute newness is creation.

As a creator of music, I sometimes forget what it is like to experience music from an entirely non-critical point of view.

So, what does this mean for me, Berlin and the life blood canal that once extended before my eyes? It is arguable that all the wandering souls of the world (people like myself) have inherited Christopher Isherwood's haunted, candlelit land of eccentric intellectuals and cabaret shows and morphed it into an aimless place of hedonism and anti-everything logic, but really, it just depends on how you see it.

If I can, for just one minute, block out the chattering buzz of the millions of technological advances that demand such an unending life force (phones, the internet, the ever-present flash of digital cameras), then I am left only with the advancing army of swans, the pink water, the beautiful memory of the ex-Soviet bar, competing musical instruments drifting into consciousness from afar...

In this moment, Rosie is Sally Bowles and I am Bryan Roberts, and when I get home, she will be there, "dolled up for Easter."

Thoughts from the Present:

So, many miles from Berlin, I am giving myself over to music again; this is my aim and my wish. Lost in a little village of guitar feedback and drum machines, I ponder the separation between the man and the music, the world and the single voice, the unceasing flow and the magic quality of a single moment.

Thrills, spills, mistakes, regrets, reflections, and most importantly, things to be thankful for, paint my vision in a rather kaleidoscopic manner, light refracting through a crystal lattice work. All the cities drift by, among them the seven hills of Lisbon, the unrelenting stone facade of Bushwick, the dark retro bars of St. Pauli, the mountain and warm cheese in Mexico, and of course, the chalky rose canal that carried me through Berlin, across the ocean and directly into this moment-this moment, in which I am forced to remember how much magic has truly transpired.

Here I must digest all of this magic, allow it to dissipate among my cells, forming a lightning-fast network of electrical energy. Slowly, it quells my anxiety and gets to work taking my little place of magical realism-the attic in Wimpole Street, the blue bulb of the stage light, the love affair with a guitar-from fantasy to the other side.

And so, once again, a handprint is stamped across time.