Boomed and baped with that machine gun funk fire, boppers wore saggy jeans in 94, baggy from the seams to the screams of black bodies dying. Head nodding, beat rocking beds and boats, blunt rollers toasted, cops and the killer East coasters, Mingus cool and the ugly beauty of colloquialisms, native to your borough, drop deep like the lyrics held captive in the flow. It’s unbelievable.
I like the music of equipment punctuated with grunts and exhalations of grind. Not Grime. Not Trap. Not happy House or Acid. I’ve got enough toxins to deal with just from the warm air in circulation. If it got any warmer we’d be gossiping Harpies haggling for a ride before being escorted away to endure a crimson Carson sterilisation. Banter tonight is who would be a Gunner? Think i’m playing? The noise of the apparatus put into action alkalinises my mind. The silence in the space between an extended hour and leg extensions never sounded better. Yep. Who would be a Gunner tonight. Jolly good thumping and the young men that spoke a good game crumbled. Extended hour never seemed so long as it crawled tonight. Stretched out like her name before me. An apparation. A song in waiting.
Yesterday I felt almost as worn as an old record, but Neo Terra awaits the woken, broken, polka dotted. A sigh. A stumble and a landing, and a neck turned head that isn’t hising. Blushing tongue will pay later. Flushing eyes will smile again. Toxin taxes taxied out of town and laughing longs to crown your heart. Lungs to run the clown out of paper truths. No lie. Lungs so long, you dare not reply. Too much breathing. This is life. A song. The hat of the heart and your hand over it. Held back. Chords that cheer down the upper. Mellow up the downer. Spinner. Head tripping, thinner, like blood to clot, vital too.
We woke up today and watched you walk out of the dry seasons, and run through the scales of the uncertainty that is so dear to you. What would you do without the trigger and the chase of reasons? Hand me your curiosity and drop the grinding axe. We beheaded our love to know about everything. Polytonal like the sweet nothings in a kiss. To know is to know that you will never know why I like the way I feel inside you when i’m outside of me. Riffing without a score, I bet the house I don’t yet own that i’ll never love like that again.
Bring in the Garrison and hold down the fort. Hold that thought while McCoy takes flight. John knows his way in through the back door, and Elvin’s cooking soul food ’round midnight. Anchor the heart that beats in time, the rage of mad men who curve the line, five four, who mend the wings of broken dreams, not gods or monsters, but sacred sinners who swing five for love between the marrow.
Track 9 sounds like trauma passed down Atlantic waters, translated in generations (deep waters are shallow too) by the ignoble scribe. Sounds like holocaust left overs compressed into psychic muscle memory. And the denial is also in the DNA. It sounds like guilt and complicity, because when you suffer long enough you forget that you were once innocent, until you pass by the time that passes by the mind’s eye and come to find that you were never so pure. Holy water flushes your insatiable appetite’s indulgence down to sewage glamour. Survival tastes good when your hungry to exist. The years have had you fooled in the fix of first impressions and belly butterflies. You were born old. You harbour generations (shallow waters hold secrets just as full as fear’s skeletal bones). It’s the itch you can’t scratch off your skin that seemingly condemns you in the reflected gaze of the beholder that holds your imagination captive. Now if only you were born young….Maybe the hump wouldn’t sound so steep. And generations of blood forced out of flesh, left without the host of a body to call their own, might take refuge in the agony and misery and pain projected and regurgitated, in your walking vegitated, agitated, itching, scratching, sloganeering, facade of pride, you are still a conversion in progress. A baptism of unspeakable things. A revolting revolution of ideas. You are upside down and inside out obviously. And you are not on a road or a river. You areally a floating gestation, gesticulating in the clumsy circus act of the affairs of the heart. Traumatic as hoarded desires. What you want might free you. It might kill you too if you weren’t already dead as the night. Black as the opposite. Night as the brightness of attractive opposites. Repeating words like mistakes, like lives repeating, mistakes like words that oppose what is being said, meaning and metre, timbre and diction, tonality and terror, black as light hidden in misread signals, come hither, black knight as white as right that rides a pale horse into the dark night, homeless night, lonesome night, thoughtful fears of what that night could be for us on the otherside of mourning.
Some say Time is relative. They say Time has no malice. They say it flies, but it never lies. Time will tell of man’s tall tales. Time will reveal the value of a man’s endeavour. Time has no favourites. It remains silent where the tears of sentiment and sweat of strife fall. And great men fall…before their Time, and some live beyond it, through the fruit of their labour, the joys born out of the struggle of existence. Passions forged in fire, stirred up in song, find their voice and take flight with Time. Ten years ago on this day, a man faded from view. Returned to the dust. Time watched. Time did not wait or waste away like his flesh. Time listened and heard his cries, watched his struggle to hold on. To breathe. Time captured his breath for posterity. Lynden David Hall still breathes.
In July 2003 I composed and recorded a piece of music called ‘Dabbler’s Hand’. An amalgamation of Piano and Synths descending violently on top of each other in confined space, struggling together on a bass line holding the pocket, with percussive late night intensity, in their attempt to exist and be heard. The music was the manifestation of my hypersensitivity and Synaesthesia (coloured hearing). During that period of time between my early teenage years and mid 20’s, I seemed to feel everything deeply. I wanted to absorb everything emotionally, to feel what was felt by others. Not so much the pain, but all the yearning, longing and desire of youth and maturity.
Some years later I added the music to footage I recorded of the high streets of Central London, from the vantage point of the top deck of a bus. I kept the camera rooted in one spot like a picture frame with masses of faceless people moving in and out of it. The footage is hazy. Every face being passed by the camera symbolises past, present, future, loves lost, forgotten, remembered, drifting in and out of your life or your memory. Those faceless masses also symbolise Time and the idea that we are constantly in motion. Time doesn’t stand still. Infact, Time is one of the two central characters in the film.
As the film nears its end the music stops. Eventually an ‘old’ man comes into the frame of view, with the focus on him. He is not faceless like the moving masses who represent ‘Time’. He walks forwards slowly, as people breeze by him. Then he stops and pauses for a lingering, metaphorical moment. The ‘old’ man is a representation of all our humanity because he has been young and is now advanced in age (Youth and Maturity), knowing all that comes with both distinctions. In that brief moment with Time (the helter skelter faceless masses) passing him by, he represents all the yearning of young and old, the desire to exist, to have our face remembered. He is the embodiment of our desire to withstand the test of Time, and our attempt to transcend it, as we cannot halt its forceful hands. In that moment he reminds us to pause and consider our lives and loved ones, and even strangers that pass us by. As insignificant as we may seem, we matter. People matter. Every life matters. In that brief moment of stillness, he cuts through the drift of Time. And then he walks out of the frame of the camera. That’s where my camera battery (and the film) ended, as if composed and directed with foresight. I called this film, ‘The Want (Dabbler’s Hand)’. In some ways we are all dabblers. Amateurs in the game of life, taking a chance at something or someone, and hoping that we’ll survive the roller coaster adventure and find some resolution if we should fall. Again and again.