Saturday, January 21, 2012
The Magic Theatre London Town. I was once caught googling for friends who might be engaged in the same adoration of Giorgio Tuma as I was. I discovered only a few, just. One, only one, mentioned this album. Marvelous. This is Ooberman. Mostly they were competent at not being very good. But this is stupendous. Steamroller, a bit of Broadway meets Scarlet's Well. It does remind of Scarlet's Well and the Bugaloos seem an appropriate measure as well. Bouncy, talkative, charming, smart. Second track, strings, twinkles, harps, shyness. It comes down to shyness. I am shyly unshy. I am aware of this. Once when at an uninteresting seminar someone I didn't know very well at the time was asked to use one word to describe me and she offered "confident". I was stunned. I know her deeper now, she might change her answer. Confident is uninteresting, confident is Nickelback, confident is Asian tattoos and a Buick Regal. I am Will Durant trying for my deliberate self, I am corduroy slacks, I am unassuming comfort. Second track, starts off a trill through a brisk morning glade and then an expansion to fill the space between the trees and the cathedral sky above, hands outstretched, hands touching, occupy protesters after then biennial scrubbing. Magical. My neighbours were forcibly evicted. I returned home one evening this week with Magic theatre spilling from the open driver's side window and on their front lawn was a mountain of rubbish, furniture, tubed televisions, mapsco patterned divans, your grandmother's end tables made for holding marlboro ashes and soda cans carved into pop art or illicit utensils. Magic Theatre was an inoculant. My parents, when visiting, offered the theory that my neighbours were drug dealers. The plywood nailed over the front door with a sign prohibiting entry may confirm this. I don't live in the hood. I don't think that I do. I go across the street and talk to my neighbor, I am able to overcome my isolation on occasion, and when my mother delivered tortieres through the post they were there waiting, defrosting, while I was busily doing little of consequence at my vocation. In a truly dastardly neighbourhood tortieres left unattended would be precariously sited. Summer Sun, this is summer, this is cheer and glorious happiness and I don't know these things in any recent vintage outside of a pop song. It is winter, although the chinooks(in my mind I secretly insert Sirocco rather than Chinooks) have convinced most people otherwise, at least until the snow returns on Tuesday. Snow seems so unwelcome on many occasions, it arrives and the winter sun, a distant cousin, declares it as unwelcome as the competition that surely drove out my entrepreneurial neighbors. How many drug dealers can be supported in a neighbourhood this size? Have there been white papers conducted on this topic? Surely there have. A bureaucrat's nose never finds repulsion at any sort of intrusion. Next track, Rowing Boat Love Song, wonderful. Pianos, her plaintive voice, tender and sweet. It is two from Ooberman. I should have loved Ooberman. There were the requisite descriptors, twee, fey, wet, girly. But they weren't. They were Welsh. I do think that was true. But they seemed entirely too competent, confident-gasp! We haven't time for those unafraid of the world and all of its inherent dangers such as success, happiness and unloneliness. The acoustic coda, a Millhauser novella as pop song. Now some dramatic pop string arrangement, the sort Belle and Sebastian might have commissioned from friends before their friends were Hollywood starlets and eponymous film directors. This is the title track, pop songs of London bring to mind Saint Etienne and this is far greater than anything Saint Etienne has produced since I was in college. The last moment of my vanquishing. I knew I was a better student than all of my comrades in knowledge seeking. It was an objective measure. But life is mainly subjective. It is why, though I proclaim Magic Theatre's greatness, they toil in obscurity, they post cryptic passages of illness and bereavement on their facebook page in between the sweat and manual labor described of making the second album. Yes, there is a second album in progress. Wonderful. A new Pearlfishers this year perhaps as well. My escapism will be maintained softly. When riding my bicycle at 4:30 in the morning with a tail wind and the sliver of moon on the southern horizon all of my inadequacies of humanity will be forgotten for a moment or two. Next track, drama, very Scarlet's Well meets Dark Shadows, her voice the timid victim, the music a touch sinister, the story of Poullain de Saint-Foix on the prowl. Imagine the blood dripping, infused with glee, while in pursuit of his victim and his sardonic quill. Magic Theatre could exercise such passion in pursuit of their own nemesis. I haven't read any reviews of this record, positive or otherwise, but it is truth that you must fear that I am willing to send my own pummeling able servants to anyone professing anything other than love and admiration and gratitude that such a record exists. This is more baroque innocence, a refreshing march along a city street with windows painted shut her voice soaring and arriving through grout lines and cynicism with blasts of triumphalism, brotherhood and the experience of living with hope not just the empty proclamation of authoritarianism. I have now almost finished three volumes of The Story of Civilization and there truly is nothing new under the sun. I recall writing, here...crickets, after having read Xenophon about my worry that modern translation had too colloquialised the Anabasis but now I might consider that human animal stopped evolving thousands of generations ago, even socially. Even then there were the gentle Magic Theatres ready to be extinguished by the conservative forces while stranded on the mean streets of Periclean Athens, when Euripides expressed his greatest of doubts and sympathies. Second to last track, The Old Cottage. I am conceptualizing a second book now. I have met with three book editors and have decided that the first was not good. I just finished a note to my future self and if at the end I have failed to live up to the terms I will reevaluate and consider my options and oil work drudgery in the Dakots and occupy pipelines and the tar sands. I was once Canadian. I could be once more and when playing this record loudly in shipping container barracks among the mercenaries of capitalism and escape smudge tar sand effluent beneath my eyes to help with the sodium glare and tuck myself into a little ball in the corner and measure my biceps in metric denomination. This is beauty more deserving but I find myself incapable. Last track, stirring orchestration as an introduction, and now gentle keys, distant choral voices that speak with empathy and here ethereal whispers. Marvelous. It is titled elegy. Vague, sylph-like, romantic, starry eyed and real. This is the soundtrack of the life I'd like to have lived, the longing for a soundtrack so dramatic for those events passed. This would comfort the psychological infirmities of age without wisdom.