Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lost Breath Chasing

Book's Appendix covers many cultural artifacts, but none so intently as popular music. Many recording artists are or were avid cyclists. Cream's highly regarded 1967 album Disraeli Gears even got it's name when band's equipment manager made title malapropism when talking about shift components of Eric Clapton's bicycle. In Björk's award winning performance in Dancer in the Dark, her character Selma rides a bike as Björk does in real life. Check out this Icelandic chanteuse singing about evolution from oceans at the 2004 Olympics, like Cream's "Aphrodite on a crimson shell", more a pearl, spreading her billowing skirt over entire infield where salty sweat sweetens striving for gold, reconsidered for 2012 London games, at which Dame Evelyn Glennie, former Björk collaborator, presided percussively. Sirens of legend were probably barking seals, but spend any time at all listening to Björk, and you get what breath "carving deep blue ripples in the tissue of your mind" means, and why Ulysses desperately wanted to take goddess back to "the hard land of the Winter". Back when she fronted Sugarcubes, Björk sang of riding a bike to witness a "Motorcrash". Threads are interwoven into reality's fabric; whether causally or coincidentally, current or mythic, does it matter?

Kraftwerk's Ralf Hütter pinpoints cycling's compositional attraction: the rhythmic cadence of breathing, heart pounding, and pedaling. Kraftwerk based much of its musical electronica including "Aerodynamic", "Man Machine", and several Tour de France related tracks on them. After more than a century, cycling remains an important Olympic sport. Ancient Phrygian dancers during performances raised feet (arsis) and treaded emphatically (thesis), tapping out poetic meter, as previously mentioned, but pedaling's 6/2 time is an odd, unthreatening tempo rarely applied outside classical compositions, and then only for certain halting measures.

What then makes music itself so appealing? Ditties, familiar beats marching through moments, and memorable melodies celebrate life's passages or comfort amidst chaos. Songs, no matter how challenging, are usually forgettably trivial and mercifully short. They can be ignored, relegated to background, tolerated, or turned off. Sung words smooth hostile edges of screamed messages. Radio hosts on self serving missions have irritating voices. Singing doesn't serve their purpose, to divert attention from criminals, enrage strangers, rearrange perceptions, and satisfy commercial and privileged sponsors. Music provides balance and balm for responsible sores where no escape exists.

Serves conservatives right to be picked upon unmercifully, since that's just what they do themselves: objectify prejudiciously. Anybody who has an opinion other than theirs is a "liberal". Leaves little room for anything from centrist to extremist which includes such varied viewpoints as anarchist, communist, fundamentalist, independent, majority of voters, moonbat, pagan, spiritualist, teabagger, wingnut and zealot. Conservative thought boils down to, "Let me do whatever I want, but you do what I tell you to," and can be characterized as ignorantly childish or inhumanely patriarchal. Panting reactionaries can't keep pace with change, don't realize they need not. You can be anything and espouse it, or you can observe something to examine it; both are legitimate. Latter provides objectivity, other lives passionately. Yet there's nothing so contagious as enthusiasm. Analysis based on facts bores. There's no book so dusty and ignored than irrelevant nonfiction, unless it's old poetry.

When people say they express TRUTH, they lay some religious or speculative opinion on you, not verifiable facts. Yet facts can be equally foolish. Researchers constantly revise history and science by discovering evidence and exposing lies. Once you die, hopefully you'll find answers, maybe the law of gravity repealed; it never was much of a friend in life, making hills harder to climb and stuff fall into cracks where it can't be retrieved. With metaphysics you can't perform repeatable experiments or prove anything. Neither can you positively verify events or testimonies. Despite forensic labs, murders go unsolved daily. Rationalists erect theoretical houses of cards knocked down by breeze of anyone breathing heavily or pedaling by.

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