Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Danny Norbury Light in August. Another record that perhaps should have ended up on Make Mine Music or made in Iceland. Either way. Pianos, scraping violins, lovely things abound. It's pastoral and fey and escapist and romantic and beautiful. All of my favorite things. I have this hole in the middle of me from worry and sickness from worry and fear that I am about to lose something. I don't have anything of value though. If I woke up tomorrow having lost everything that I have today I would have lost little of value. Not even my fabulous new sofa, well pair of sofas. It was like Spring today, thank goodness for global warming, the tides have been turned back by the bureaucrats in Copenhagen. Hallelujah. What is it about men with their messiah complexes? Now Al Gore is being feted as a poet. More piano, more violins, such loveliness should be treasured. When it is warm all of the time will this sound as pristine and wonderful? Will the sweat perpetually perched above my brow cause me consternation and worry the same as I feel now except as a source of existential ennui will I not be able to abide and find myself reaching for a copy of Vulgar Display of Power instead and later find myself starting a war in the middle east over my frustration at not being able to marvel at a Danny Norbury record. Who is Danny Norbury? Who is Rudi Arapahoe? Are these skilled classically trained musicians? This is probably just practice, finger exercises for the knowledgable and talented but for me, it is a revelation. A radiant glimpse into the heart of all of the stars in the sky. Third song. No vocals. More violins. It seems as if bands should hear this record and decide that they want to merge with Danny Norbury and co opt his talents and save on overhead and corner a market in terrifically pretty instrumental music. A Deaf Center/Norbury record might be landmark. I was about to write about Svete Gairner which is one half of Deaf Center and which is a really fabulous record as well but I am writing about Danny Norbury because someone named Danny Norbury should not be making music this lovely. Lovely is lovely. I write lovely and yet I rarely say it. It is an Anglophile's tick and it is easier to display irritants such as this in print rather than in person. If I met you, my one dear reader, I would come off more Canadian than Anglo. Anglo-Canadian. My father had his left eye removed. He has a hole in the side of his face where his eye used to be. He does not have cancer in the brain. I spent a few days earlier this autumn contemplating my life without my father. I couldn't listen to music like this then because it would turn my pensiveness to distress. I don't handle shocking news well. I was told I had a cataract and nearly fainted. I was told that there might be cancer in my father's optic nerve and I nearly fainted. He's always there. He's not ever tried to be anyone he wasn't. He's got this inborn integrity that screams silently but only by example. I should be more like my father. I possess gifts he never dreamt of, or perhaps he did. I've never asked my father about his dreams. I was always closer to my mother. The daughter she never had. All of my friends are girls. My father never had a best friend. I don't have a best friend. I don't have any friends. Danny Norbury is my lonely virtual friend, the tenderness with which he caresses the notes here, the basic repeating patterns, the elegiac violin, the words that would come to fill in the desperate moments of melancholy but don't ever arrive. Only one person that I have ever loved has died. In absentia. My father is on the golf course. I send words across a 2000 mile void, over digital lines, and I try to personify them into all of the emotions and actions I should grant the people I love so freely. But I can't. Next song, more aching violin, the music is leading me into this path of macabre reflection. it is now a few weeks later. I didn't see the hole in my father's skull. I was in Seattle. I was at a funeral. Aspen Trees. I listened to this record after the funeral. Now two people I have loved have died. I am getting older. I am old. The dead no longer age. It is a startling feeling when one reads one's own name in a suicide note pasted to a refrigerator with duct tape and grief ladled smears. When you spend Christmas in a state of guilt orchestrated partly from the great beyond and partly from a morbid sense of inferiority it is difficult to stay awake. Sleep is much preferred. Lying in bed with the window blinds cast open the moonlight casting luminous shadows across the platform bedroom furniture and your eyes closed to view movies projected involuntarily, subtitles in a language you never spoke, from a heart you never knew you had access to. Someone I loved and someone who hurt me more than I've ever allowed anyone to hurt me before then turned that echo of sadness, that reservoir of sorrow into an end undeserved. I sat in the rain, looking at the airplanes on their glide path. I looked and wondered at the happiness of airports. I cursed the glowing embers of contentment in the faces of those who knew they would return. I told my boss. I haven't told anyone else. Well, I told my ride. I haven't told anyone else. I could play I Turn Off the Last Light and Close the Door and not tell anyone else ever. Sad songs when you are sad are dangerous instruments. A distant reflective piano, an inspiration possibly born of the collective shroud of melancholy that threatens everyone who has never felt anything anyone would envy feeling. Never. Not ever. I didn't go to see my parents because I was ashamed of the fact that I wasn't feeling enough grief, I was stricken, I was not destroyed. Later, when I spent two days reading a journal I was never meant to read I learned that I had invoked or provoked all of the feelings I always longed to incite in a heart. But hearts can't talk. Light in August. This would have felt romantic one month ago. Well two. I would have swooned at the agile grace of sweep. Danny Norbury would have met only praise and hysteric joy from a naive soul. Now I watch other people revel in their grief, in public, and I hold mine secret. Two people I loved and two people who left, have now departed as strangers. Their shadows unrecognizable in the dimmed lightness of being. But the violin sighs. It is two months later. I still only feel capable of vague reflections on a tragedy. Suicide. When suicide's mother sends you a package that redeems your entire lifetime's worth of hope it is a remarkable thing. And today, strangely, I felt warmth pervade my stoicism. I feel suspicious when people are nice to me. I don't understand why anyone would want to share anything with me be it friendship or kindness or joy. And when they fear that I find them nothing at all like I find them I want to reassure them of their greatness, the brilliance of their everything that wears me out because I prefer to slouch poorly in the shadows surviving on notes from strangers scraping a violin desolately in some dusty English attic in the middle of June. Far from the sun. But you can't tell someone you care for how much you care for them. I try. I could create a simulacrum of emotion in a loosely woven string of sentences that would not breathe humanly at all. But there is the telephone line to animate, the modem to breath essence into, the ether to charge with emotion and I am not up to the task. Someone today effortlessly made everyone around her feel better. I was included in that group. It was an amazing thing to witness. Some people are truly blessed. The music in their soul plays on, endlessly beautiful.