Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Word Which Made All Clear

So, the Oilers won on Wednesday, of course, and that is the hugeness. What's Whyte Ave going to be like if they make it to the finals, I ask? Twenty-thousand people Wednesday on Whyte, some say more. Insanity. This city will tear itself apart if the team hits the finals. I'm a Leafs fan (that's thirty-nine years without a cup, by the way) and not an Oilers hick, but I'm bandwagoning Smitty and the gang until the end of the line, no questions asked.

Other news. If the weather holds and it doesn't rain, I shall probably be moving out this autumn/late summer. Sure, before Indian Summer, anyway. A house for five, and it already—sight unseen and over my slight protests—has been christened. Welcome to The House Of Mirth. Which, if you'll recall, is not only the title for Edith Wharton's endlessly grim novel about a gracelessly poor upper-class New Yorker, but also a not-at-all-ominous verse from the KJV: "The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth". Hrm. But Gillian Anderson is so good-looking!

The Mystery Of Edwin Drood + Charles Dickens This novel blew me away. And it's forever unfinished. Who cares? The opening lines are amazing. Listen, the opening lines are AMAZING:

An ancient English Cathedral Tower? How can the ancient English Cathedral tower be here! The well-known massive gray square tower of its old Cathedral? How can that be here! There is no spike of rusty iron in the air, between the eye and it, from any point of the real prospect. What is the spike that intervenes, and who has set it up? Maybe it is set up by the Sultan's orders for the impaling of a horde of Turkish robbers, one by one. It is so, for cymbals clash, and the Sultan goes by to his palace in long procession. Ten thousand scimitars flash in the sunlight, and thrice ten thousand dancing-girls strew flowers. Then, follow white elephants caparisoned in countless gorgeous colours, and infinite in number and attendants. Still the Cathedral Tower rises in the background, where it cannot be, and still no writhing figure is on the grim spike. Stay! Is the spike so low a thing as the rusty spike on the top of a post of an old bedstead that has tumbled all awry? Some vague period of drowsy laughter must be devoted to the consideration of this possibility.

This scene is from the point of view of John Jasper, undoubtedly the murderer of the titular character. Jasper is drugged out on opium at the time—thus the Turkish connection. He's planning on an act punishable by death—thus the preoccupation with impaling the heads of wrongdoers. He's the choirmaster at the cathedral at Cloisterham—thus the preoccupation with the tower. He's a bad man who looks good and is quickly falling short of the heavenly city reflected in his name—which also feeds into viewing the Cathedral Tower as a grim place of punishment, for heaven will not welcome John Jasper. He's lying in a haze of opium in a grimy bed in London. Charles Dickens places us there. Charles Dickens was a genius. He is so still.

Cagedbaby + "Hello There (Presets Remix)" Don't bother with the Tom Gandey original, this remix is way better, although—just a warning—much more Presets than Cagedbaby. I can't remember where I picked it up, but I've burned it onto about a million mixes by now, and it's perfect, striking the golden chord between 80's banality and eternally interesting. Listen, if they ever do a new film about Edwin Drood , they better do it like a music video, dark, slick, threatening, frightened people running in the dark. Modern music, too. And this would be the first track for the first scene with John Jasper and Rosa Bud, him mantra-monotonous fixated on her, her unwillingly hypnotized by his wicked zeal. Pictures of statues in the garden, too, please. Lock down for the break at 1:05 (or 1:08, if your pc keeps spinning out of control like mine occasionally does), because it's killer, basically turning the dial hard right to sex. That is, the adjective. The noun, the verb, I leave to you. Music can only go so far.

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