good morning ~
writing to you, incredibly, from Aarhus, a tidy, briny, beautiful place.
today’s track is even gentler than usual. i remebered all of a sudden that space and emptiness are possible.
last night I hosted a screening/listening session of Cicada Waves at the ARoS museum - it was a deep and very unusual experience to sit in a room and hear those bugs with a few dozen other people in the dark. I’d like to do it again sometime, and if you’d like to simulate the experience, you can find all the videos at this link.
I’ll be playing some live music next week here, as well, and I’m also hoping that the museum cafe will let me play their grand piano during lunch.
My bones are heavier than when I last picked them up and shipped them off across an ocean. I know that my hangovers have gotten worse in the last few years - I was not aware that jet lag would be harder to bounce back from, too. I took a train to a train to a shuttle to a plane - a flying contraption which carried me, totally rapt in a private screening of the edited-for-tv version of Lethal Weapon 3, forward through six time zones. That plane connected to another plane, but I had to take a bus at the airport in-between. When I got to the last airport I took another bus into Aarhus and not another soul boarded for the entirety of the journey - it was the driver and I, only, and I kept nodding out as the Danish countryside blurred by. When I asked the bus driver if he could let me off at the museum which we would be passing anyway instead of the train station downtown he laughed and said, no, it’s too hard, I don’t wanna do it. My bags are heavy, I brought way too much gear, my shoulders are throbbing. But the weariness is not unpleasant, not at all. I’m walking around Denmark like a ghost with its shoelaces tied together and I’m seemingly the only person in the whole city who doesn’t have a bike or know exactly where I’m heading at any given moment. I feel very much like a mossy little rock in a river - I can feel the current of people moving around me, wiggling my green little tendrils in the flow.
Naturally after the last few years we’ve had I am no longer accustomed to the sounds and habits of strangers. I’ve pretty much only heard my partner brush her teeth in the last two years, and now while I’m here I’m sleeping four-to-a-room at a surprisingly elegant hostile where we have absolutely no control over the lights (they turn off for the night at 10pm and start being motion-activated again at 6am, god help you if you roll out of your bunkbed to pee at 6:30am). It’s an intoxicating combination of luxurious and barebones - I’m comfortable, but not coddled. And I’m enjoying the presence of new people in my space - the shuffle of their duffel bags, the tinkling of the privacy curtain drawing closed when they head off to sleep. During the day most of us all work together in this big, glass-walled room at the museum - it’s essentially art-making coworking but whatever the not awful version of that is. And last night in the distance as I was falling asleep, a sound that I can’t recall hearing since at least the dawn of the virus: other people loudly fucking, good for them.
Also heard of late: phantom church bells whose source I cannot locate, nearly indistinguishable from the minor key resonance of a headache. The gentle tinkle of bike bells unrung as they wheel through an intersection. The unending chill vibes playlist of the hostel lobby and the 37 second promotional video that plays on a loop just outside our workspace at the museum, both utterly inescapable. Danish-language rap rock blasting from a bluetooth speaker where a temporary stage is being built. Seagulls announcing themselves in the morning, obviously present in the archipelago nation of Denmark but a surprise to me nonetheless. The enthusiastic chanting of - I think - college freshman arriving and orienting themselves on the first day of school, leaping and shouting in matching t-shirt unison. The patter of frigid August rain on the ceiling windows of the train station downtown. The wet, wimpy crack of an off-center high five that took place for whatever reason between myself and a very drunk first year college student while we passed each other in the street on my way home from the bar, her yelling something loud and incomprehensible.
We met a man down by the river. We were drinking red wine in cups from 7/11 or passing around dense little six packs of lightly sweet beer. Before we could respond yes or no to the question posed he was on the dock among us, opening a large handle of vodka. He spoke confidently, loudly, and with an aggressive ease - it seemed like he did this exact kind of thing all the time. I learned a lot of details about his life very quickly - he had lived in the UK, he had a clothing line he was trying to get off the ground, he had once at that very spot had three women argue so heatedly over the getting to savor the privilege of sleeping with him that one of them had wound up in the river. We were not on his level - few are, I think - and sensing some unease among us he said hey, relax, I’m not a troublemaker. More easy laughter, then he continued: well, actually I used to sell joints and sometimes heroin, too, usually to people like you. And now I couldn’t even come to America if I wanted to, because I’m a criminal. I spent two months in jail, he said, that building right there. He pointed up the hill, at an imposing brick building directly across the street from the upscale art museum where we’re all working this month (I notice the building now, I can see it while I’m writing - it’s brick and stately and totally indistinguishable from every other beautiful building here except for its halo of barbed wire). They kept me there for two months without charing me with anything, he said. I had to sue the city and then I got a big check - more easy laughter, a glug of vodka in the plastic cup. Things are fucked up everywhere, he said. There’s racist shit everywhere, you all know what it is. Everywhere is fucked up, even here.