July 28, 2024

Out of one context and into another

Last night, I saw Tegan and Sara play at the outdoor ampitheatre at the Minnesota Zoo. For a few hours, the caribou had to endure the second-hand smoke of a zillion suburban lesbian girls. During the concert, I was reminded of this passage from Elizabeth Bowen's The Heat of the Day:

That Sunday, from six o'clock in the evening, it was a Viennese orchestra that played. The season was late for an outdoor concert; already leaves were drifting on to the grass stage--here and there one turned over, crepitating as though in the act of dying, and during the music some more fell.

The open-air theatre, shelving below the level of the surrounding lawns, was walled by thickets and a few high trees; along the top ran a wattle fence with gates. Now the two gates stood open. The rows of chairs down the slope, facing the orchestra, still only filled up slowly. From here, from where it was being played at the base of this muffled hollow, the music could not travel far through the park--but hints of it that did escape were disturbing: from the mound, from the rose gardens, from the walks round the lakes people were being slowly drawn to the theatre by the sensation that they were missing something. Many of them paused in the gateways doubtfully--all they had left behind was in sunshine, while this hollow which was the source of music was found to be also the source of dusk. War had made them idolize day and summer; night and autumn were enemies. And, at the start of the concert, this tarnished bosky theatre, in which no plays had been acted for some time, held a feeling of sequestration, of emptiness the music had not had time to fill. It was not completely in shadow--here and there blades of sunset crossed it, firing branches through which they travelled, and lay along ranks of chairs and faces and hands. Gnats quivered, cigarette smoke dissolved. But the light was so low, so theatrical, and so yellow that it was evident it would soon be gone. The incoming tide was evening. Glass-clear darkness, in which each leaf was defined, already formed in the thicket behind the orchestra and was the other element of the stage.

Tegan and Sara bantered between songs. I recently re-read a novel that affected me a lot as a freshman...Paul Russel's Boys of Life. One of those books you finish at ten pm on a Sunday and spend hours wandering around downtown with it in your head, simultaneously disconnected from and full up on the world. I reread it again to see if it performed the same affect--and it did, though I'm not sure why. Easier to see through it this time around. Perhaps it has to do with this passage, about siblings:

The only thing I knew was, when I was a kid and Ted was a kid I was crazy about him. I was in love with him. I never knew it, but I was in love with him and of course you can't be in love with your brother, not in the way I was in love with him when we used to swim around together in the pool outside the Paradise Grotto.

Everything else, Carlos and New York and the bars and Monica--it all just followed from me loving Ted when we were kids. That started it, because if I hadn't loved Ted I wouldn't've felt so shut out and sad hearing him dry-humping the mattress all alone in that trailer of ours, and with Carlos I wasn't alone that way. It was the natural thing for me to take off with Carlos the way I did and be in his movies or any of the other scenes he ever sprung on me down through all those years, and however Carlos came to find Ted wouldn't've happened if I hadn't known Carlos in the first place, and Ted wouldn't be dead now.

Just throw-away quotes.

beyond the down low; how craigslist has changed new york; more on the gay teen executions in iran; you never know

Posted by jason at July 28, 2024 08:21 AM

Boys of Life and that catty Paul Russel? Big yawn for trying to be outrageous.

And while I'm being snotty...

Tegan, honey, not Teegan.

Posted by: Youknowwho at July 28, 2024 03:28 PM

there, i fixed it you twee little thing.

Posted by: jason at July 28, 2024 03:41 PM

crepitating and sequestration; those words make me happy; make me want to read more of this Bowen...thanks for the reference.

Posted by: Tom at July 29, 2024 12:21 PM

thank you, my lord. let's do some coke together and push each other on the swings...

Posted by: twee thing at July 29, 2024 01:42 PM
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