Monday, July 27, 2009

Best Served Chilled

I sit by an enormous network switch with a huge fan that constantly streams torrents of chilled air straight into my right ear. Besides the occasional blue ear, this situation allows me the experience the arctic freeze on a daily basis, possibly in balance to the actual arctic rapidly melting away.

It also enables me to connect to some types of music in a pseudo-physical sense, feeling the chill and images they project on my own body. The story of northerner Arran Arctic, as you can read and listen to on his MySpace, is one such example. Through it I see bleak and forlorn coasts, green-grey forests and a fire blazing in welcoming hearths. It looks like a hard life, but one worth living.

Venture on to his MySpace and Facebook for your own experience; just don't forget the ear muffs (on top of your headphones). His latest LP, The Boy in Brown, is available here.

Arran Arctic - Lonely Accordion {Video} (from The Boy in Brown)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fancy of A Lost Boy

I don't know any good songs about unicorns (or hippogryphs, for that matter). I do know a lot of great songs of religious and spiritual meaning, of personal and what sometimes seems like collective significance. Why am I writing about that now? Where have I been all this time? These questions are somewhat related.

These past few days I've been reading Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion", a rather blunt and forceful attack on religion. Already agnostic before I began, I admit the book has carried me over a bit towards atheism. Yet shaking the shackles of the past can take time and I find that even my very way of thought is fraught with the irrational. And a significant part of me doesn't want to abandon it.

But when I say irrational I mean feelings and emotions, not superstitions (which should be left far behind). Religion, like any human creation, has its ups and downs, and while I don't share the belief that the supposed focus of most religions (i.e. god) actually exists as usually described, I can appreciate some of the feelings of wonder, hope and admiration some people of faith seem to share. To believe means to trust completely without question or doubt in something that isn't proven to be so (or perhaps can never be proven), and it's something, though I tried very hard as a child, I could never really accomplish. But to share the ecstasy in Aretha Franklin's rendition of "Amazing Grace", even as a non-Christian, that I can do. Listening to it and similar songs brings me to a point where I feel compelled to get on my knees and start praying (score one for mass media and televangelists), but then I remember there isn't really much of a point (knock out in favor of science and rational thought).

I need my irrational self. I know it's immature, a Peter Pan flying around Outland (Northrend coming soon), living in fancies and dreams. But without his imagination and vision I would be reduced to an empty shell of an automaton. And though there's no outright contradiction between science and the sense of wonder the universe seems to generate, without irrationality, without the presumption, without the fancy of a lost child, there would be no science or wonder as well.

I've found out I'm on a journey; I don't know where I'm going or where I started. The present surrounds and tempts me, the past is foggy almost as the future is murky; the sense of movement itself could be an illusion. And yet, I'm finally beginning to be thrilled about it, to discover between the bouts of storms and thunders, that I am still alive.

I'm sure this song can be interpreted in many ways; mine is taken with a sense of love towards the human race with all its faults, hoping it is on its continuous, never-ending journey in life.

The Highwaymen - Highwayman {Video}