Friday, April 24, 2015

On My Run



Photo from Gratisography. Go there to see more beautiful pictures by Ryan McGuire.




Last night,
while on my evening run I was listening to San Fermin’s new album Jackrabbit
(which you can buy here from iTunes),
I was not thinking at all.

It was a glorious night for a run;
beautifully warm (but not too warm) and airy (and not windy).
New leaves on trees planted on my chosen route were delightfully trembling in the breeze
(and I would surely hear them rustle if I was not wearing headphones).

Few people I met on the way were busy going on about their business
and their dogs about theirs,
and we moved by each other in space and time not causing ripples in each other’s paths.

Garmin was gently vibrating at each kilometer… 6:08, … 6:06,.. drawing attention to itself,
trying to be more important than it is -
But I kotowari’d.

"This is a holy time: B'tanay, the time of awakening.” rang in my mind.
Emily rang in my ears.
Legs moved feet one in front of the other.
And again.
And again.
Church radiated electricity expenditure.

A bit of darkness then one lovely round girly butt, traffic light, train station, gust of warm wind, elegant streetlights
and I’m home.
Garmin vibrates again and I cross the driveway taking out my keys.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

San Fermin - Emily

For some time I have been ruminating on this here blog about men’s  stories, especially relationship narratives (not necessarily romantic in nature) and about self-perceived shortcomings that can be remodeled at will. Many posts are connected to song lyrics and all of them are things I think about when awake, and feel even when asleep. If you’re into this kind of tales go and see other posts with tag “On Relationships”.

And now, let’s continue.

Photo borrowed from San Fermin homepage


So he tells me:

“Considering you have experience as a bisexual let me ask you something; is it true that girls are more emotional and passionate?”

“It's not.” I say. “Men are more emotional but do a better job hiding it. Women are more practical but know how to present themselves well. You know, I also have Masters in Psychology and there is a shitload of research in this field.”


Perfect example always presents itself timely so new SanFermin album is almost out and is available for streaming on CBC music until April20th.

I am in love with San Fermin for some time now; it is a thing of passion and heart wrenching sadness. It is a thing stopping my heartbeat and laying low in my throat threatening to smother me. It is both sex and death, it is anything and everything you could ask from music act and some more. Love, both open-eyed and fierce - not blind and careless.

I have heard Parasites (on Noisetrade Best of What's Next sampler) and Jackrabbit (from their soundcloud page) before but album itself is awesomeness overload. Warm, rich, vibrating with passion, compassionate, artful, inviting - inviting! - everything tightly packed in one haunting package.

But perfect example to illustrate example mentioned before is Emily.




I chuckle* from the very first verse, my mind’s eye leafing through the examples from personal experience. They are all like that ambiguous pictures from visual perception experiments; at first you do not see anything, but, once seen, pictures never revert to ambiguous lines. Not even if you would like them to.

And sometimes that is exactly what you would like :D

I love this part most:


“Here in my blurry condition
I hide myself in the room and
Just tell them all that it's nothing
Alone with all of these humans
It'll be believing in the midnight
Young unbeliever in the dim light
Can't believe it all comes to nothing”


Alone with all these humans

… Humans…

My heart goes to the guy who felt it to write it down afterwards. His are not the shoes I’d like to fill.

*that is not smug or happy chuckle. It is very heavy, hurt chuckle, criss-crossed with understanding only spear through the hip can grant.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Satori

Photo borrowed from here.


In the morning, when taking my hot'n'cold shower
I think about how,
in that moment that hot stream is interrupted with breathtaking cold,
I do not realy think about anything nor do I fear the upcoming temperature change.

I just enjoy the stream of hot water rushing down my body
and then I enjoy being engulfed in chill -
my nipples erecting
my breath stopping in fully expanded chest cavity for a moment
my stomach flat and
my shoulder blades lifted.
There is only me in that stream
but also there is no ME at all.

Pure ego-lessness.

Only water and fountain of joy.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Svemir Tako Jako album promotion @ Klub. 30Jan2015



On Friday night 30Jan2015 I went to see my friend Zvonka and her band Svemir promote their latest album Tako jako at Klub. in downtown Zagreb.



I wrote about Zvonka before on this blog (several times) and in the meantime her story only got more awesome and her music more rounded and complex. The band also helped to polish the sound into something that is much, much more than the sum of its parts. They played a lot of gigs, wrote a lot of songs, had their promo pictures taken (and they are beautiful) and have talked with press and made playlists for music portals.

As I had theatre tickets for same date I came to Klub just as warmup act was wrapping up. Lots of familiar faces nodded in recognition while I was walking through the crowd. Turning corner to the stage I was intercepted by Zvonka's tight hug and words whispered into my ear:"I cannot speak!". We exchanged glances and her sparkling eyes spoke for her, of the excitement and happiness.

No words were necessary.

I went and bought myself dark blue Svemir T-shirt from the merch stand. Talked some with her offspringess. Found myself a nice spot in front of the stage.

Band was adjusting finally for the performance.


Matko, Ivana, San, Saša and Zvonka. How to draw the line between them being preforming musicians and them being dear friends?

No line can be drawn.

There was San's girlfriend few steps from me in the audience, gazing at him proudly. Shitload of "true fans" trembling with excitement. Group of professional photographers working their magic.

Music just started pouring out of Svemir and into us, filling up every nook and cranny. Klub. sound guy outdid himself, again. Music was warm and organic and it felt and sounded absolutely awesome. I can see that, as time goes by, I am growing more and more fond of their sound and their sound also drifts closer and closer to the style that I prefer.

I listened and I danced. My insides tingled with pleasure and my mind with feeling of pride with Zvonka and all her story means to me. In the audience I saw her partner, dressed very smartly and glowing with love and pride. We shake hands without words through the crowd and we nod and we know we share this admiration for Zvonka, there on the stage.


Zvonka talks a little in between songs and we hear that Hladne Ruke (Cold hands) carries a pro-social message and we're often swept away by energy of their performance. Songs feel alive, much more so then on the studio recordings as even the songs I heard many times before carry a kind of sound evolution in them, constantly changing and being re-arranged to fit into their evolving musical landscape.

They call guests to the stage and Nikola and later Žaki deliver hard and true. It is tough not to see both love and practical benefit of caring for other performers on current Zagreb scene. I'm always so smitten with Zvonka's street-smart networking ability.


My feet hurt and I realize I'm already too long in too high a heel to be bouncing in them in the front row so I go back and find myself a place to take the weight off my toes. Performance is slowly approaching the end and I hear two of my old favourites plasantly situated in the darkness of the den. I admire the sound guy, still bouncing up and down through the crowd, adjusting, smoothing, rounding the edges. Audience shifts to and fro carrying full drink cups and full bladders and the sound is staying beautiful and crisp.

They play Prašina and they play Ne sjećam se kiše and I mouth the words absentmindedly with eyes wet with tears. There is so much in this music; there is... years of living, of feeling, of fierce and unforgiving battles and so much licking the wounds healed.

So many victories.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Living and Dying

Last few weeks I have been ruminating on this here blog about men’s  stories, especially relationship narratives (not necessarily romantic in nature) and about self-perceived shortcomings that can be remodeled at will. Many posts are connected to song lyrics and all of them are things I think about when awake, and feel even when asleep. If you’re into this kind of tales go and see other posts with tag “On Relationships”.

And now, let’s continue.




Screen capture from youtube clip below - Do listen to the song!


It was second day of the new year, and a workday, to boot - when I first heard Joshua Hyslop sing Living & Dying while listening to Noisetrade's Best of What's Next (free download here - warmly recommended!).

Time stopped. I dropped what I was doing and went to see what this absolute awesomeness is.

It is truly a wonderful song featuring vibrant, yet minimalistic arrangements, exquisite singing voice and lyrics with the amount of clarity such that it embodies both all-encompassing and particular. It can be understood just as Joshua himself describes:

“’Living & Dying’ deals with the issues of humanity’s negative impact on the natural world” explains Hyslop. “On a deeper level, it deals with our unwillingness to be involved in making changes or finding a solution, despite how frequently we talk about it.”

… and yet, one can easily understand that it also describes that same rift in the small scale; negative impact one person’s (in)actions can have on dyadic or small social cell level. Escapism, passive aggression, inertia, unwillingness to acknowledge changing environment and one’s role in it - they all write that same story of drifting on the current of change instead of participating actively in building a healthy, homeostatic world.

Let me illustrate through Joshua's lyrics:

Watch as the world falls away, here we are lying
At sunrise the moon starts to wane
Living and dying
And the oceans echo out their deep refrain
And the river answers, “I’ll make you whole again”

Could also be said:

Look, if you stop for a moment and take heed at your surroundings you will see that the world progresses without us
Sun rises and sets
Waters circle between oceans and rivers endlessly

Further on:

Well, come away, come away, there’s no use staying
You’ve been living just for today
But tomorrow’s coming
And the lightning strikes and breaks apart the night
But the sparks will burn out long before they light

Could also be said:

So, let’s go - to just idle is detrimental.
Your unacceptance of your role in the world has been noted
But world does not stop for you, even if you think so
And it is not enough to bask in rare moments of clarity
If you are not translating them into direct action.

This is just the loveliest touch that Joshua has written:

Well the teeth cut the truth from our mouths
Here we are lying


... because there is an English idiom “Lying through your teeth” which means that someone is lying very aptly, so well that it looks like truth...
And, knowing that we then know that the ending really means:

We’re going to lie with great devotion, such that would be indistinguishable from truth even to us liars
And nothing will change




It is the loveliest of songs and heaviest of accusations.

Do not let it be you that Joshua is talking about.





Thursday, January 8, 2015

Can't Do Without You

Last few weeks I have been ruminating on this here blog about men’s  stories, especially relationship narratives (not necessarily romantic in nature) and about self-perceived shortcomings that can be remodeled at will. Many posts are connected to song lyrics and all of them are things I think about when awake, and feel even when asleep. If you’re into this kind of tales go and see other posts with tag “On Relationships”.

And now, let’s continue.




There is, like, six more songs I wanted to write about now, here in this relationship narrative series, but I am in distress now and when I am in distress I wait for perfect solution to present itself.

And it always does.

I do not listen to Caribou much. I have also seen Caribou live in Zagreb (2010, &TD) I went to the show with my then boyfriend and after the dissolution of the relationship I stopped listening to Caribou and also have stopped calling that person boyfriend including syntactic constructions like ex-boyfriend, last boyfriend or partner. At one time I read Žižek’s comment on relationship dissolutions and there he said:

'You don't simply dissolve marriage; divorce means that you retroactively establish that the love was not the true love.' When love goes away, you retroactively establish that it wasn't even true love." Is that what he did? "Yes! I erase it totally. I don't only believe that I'm no longer in love. I believe I never was."

… and I loved it. I mean; I know it is untrue and it is just a nifty trick we humans use to distance ourselves from the pain of our mistakes but it sounded so vibrant it was endearing.

But that does not do it for me.

I want to have my cake and eat it too and I do not mind paying for the cake to be able to do that. I want not only to admit and fully enjoy love, but also want to fully admit and enjoy the subsequent pain - and this is just a perfect song to illustrate that.

(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)
(Can't do without)

“Then boyfriend” is my favorite construction at this time since it admits to the fact of relationship existing at one point in time while at the same time ascertaining degree of separation that is impossible to miss. There was one great post on Killing Time blog back in June 2014 and I commented that:

“It is astounding how many people truly do not understand that after the relationship is over they do not exist in a particular form they inhabited while in the relationship. All this make-believe with “let’s stay friends” is just an attempt to eat shit while using a silver spoon:”


(I can't do without you)
(I can't do without you)
(I can't do without you)
(I can't do without you)
(I can't do without you)
(I can't do without you)
(I can't do without you)
(I can't do without you)
(I can't do without you)
(I can't do without you)
(I can't do without you)
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you


Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without

I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you
I can't do without you

Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without
Can't do without

Can’t (as in “Can’t do without”) is an absolute, a quicksand that slowly devours you while and because you are struggling. Like Master Oogway told Shifu:

"Your mind is like this water my friend, when it is agitated it becomes difficult to see. But if you allow it to settle, the answer becomes clear."

So at the end of the song can’t turns into couldn’t. Couldn’t is no absolute. Couldn’t is a place of measurement, of weighing reality against the empty dream, and - maybe - deciding that reality is more valuble to you then fleeting escape from the pain.

I can't do without you
And you're the only thing I think about
(I can't do without you)
It's all that I can still do
(I can't do without you)
And you know you're the one I dream about
(I can't do without you)
I couldn't do without you



You can never go home, never return. You can only try new ways and new roads and try to catch up to the person you care about and walk with them down previously unused pathways.
And there’s only one way to start the journey.



Monday, December 29, 2014

It Must Be Love

Last few weeks I have been ruminating on this here blog about men’s  stories, especially relationship narratives (not necessarily romantic in nature) and about self-perceived shortcomings that can be remodeled at will. Many posts are connected to song lyrics and all of them are things I think about when awake, and feel even when asleep. If you’re into this kind of tales go and see other posts with tag “On Relationships”.

And now, let’s continue.




Illustration taken from http://www.windturbinesyndrome.com

It is not easy to find songs to illustrate relationship narratives before everything has gone awry. One could say that  humans are prone to “not rocking the boat” when things are going well. Objectively, there is, of course, logical explanation of fact that we’re not spending much effort describing time when all is well; predictive value of positive events is a lot smaller than for negative events and also we are 3 times as likely to complain then we are to praise.

And yet, most people do not intentionally, with forethought, enter anything, lest relationship talk. They just find themselves in situations and are directed by winds of change much more then with goal-oriented actions. That is why I love this song - It Must Be Love by Labi Siffre  - so much; because it illustrates rarely cool-headed approach to questions of the heart. Being a psychologist I’m acutely aware of people being extremely poor judges of their own states and desires but still it surprises me how rarely observation is used to access one’s own emotional states.

Like noticing that one could do with much more contact with particular people:

I never thought I'd miss you
Half as much as I do
And I never thought I'd feel this way
The way I feel
About you
As soon as I wake up
Every night, every day
I know that it's you I need
To take the blues away

… and to use this observation to base theory on:

It must be love, love, love
It must be love, love, love
Nothing more, nothing less
Love is the best

To further this pursuit of truth one must only follow scientific method some more; by making predictions based on newly established theory:

How can it be that we can
Say so much without words?
Bless you and bless me
Bless the bees
And the birds
I've got to be near you
Every night, every day
I couldn't be happy
Any other way

It must be love, love, love
It must be love, love, love
Nothing more, nothing less
Love is the best

You only need to evaluate evidence: If person/relationship makes you happy, if motivates you for action and makes you a better person this is a good thing. Good things are to be celebrated and maintained so they continue to give pleasure and happiness. It is that simple. And you need no better gauge to measure this then your own self.

As soon as I wake up
Every night, every day
I know that it's you I need
To take the blues away

It must be love, love, love
It must be love, love, love
Nothing more, nothing less
Love is the best

It must be love, love, love...

Noone is on his/her best behavior every day and "accidents" happen that put us in the doghouse but way out of the doghouse is just as simple; observe, theorize, make predictions, direct actions, evaluate evidence.

I love love.



Sunday, December 21, 2014

It's No Good

Last few weeks I have been ruminating on this here blog about men’s  stories, especially relationship narratives (not necessarily romantic in nature) and about self-perceived shortcomings that can be remodeled at will. Many posts are connected to song lyrics and all of them are things I think about when awake, and feel even when asleep. If you’re into this kind of tales go and see other posts with tag “On Relationships”.

And now, let’s continue.

Photo belongs to Anton Corbijn

I've been Martin L. Gore fan for almost 30 years now because Depeche Mode, to me, is Martin L.Gore. I see him almost as a ventriloquist sometimes, when particularly knurd, and I mean it as a mixture of fascination, admiration and deep respect since I find nothing funny or simple in that fact. Depeche Mode is the first band, and very possibly the only band to which I freely admit being a die-hard fan even though I'm extremely reluctant to ensure that kind of commitment. There are dozens of songs of his I could cover in this post series but most important one unquestionably is It's No Good.

There are a plethora of reasons this song is so important to me spanning from complete visceral enamouredness I feel when hearing it to years and years of dissecting its meaning in context of both my relationships and relationships in general. Just like much of Mr. Gore's work its social and political meanings are no less interesting than its, let's say, trivial interpersonal meaning.

And there is nothing trivial in interpersonal. Interpersonal is the warp of everyday life weave, it sets and defines the frame that all weave must respect and complement.

I'm going to take my time
I have all the time in the world
To make you mine
It is written in the stars above
The gods decree
You'll be right here by my side
Right next to me
You can run, but you cannot hide


It is funny, in a way, to hear so much confidence and even evoking divine providence in what we mostly consider product of hormonal disbalanse - love as human connectedness. It seems so over-the-top confident it comes over as arrogant or downright ridiculous...


Don't say you want me
Don't say you need me
Don't say you love me
It's understood
Don't say you're happy
Out there without me
I know you can't be
'cause it's no good


.. And yet, to my knowledge, this is a lot closer to the reality then most of us would like to admit. It is the person who gives meaning to the world, not the other way around. It is us who let go and spare the effort and as product of that relationships dissolve and disintegrate.

I'll be fine
I'll be waiting patiently
Till you see the signs
And come running to my open arms
When will you realise
Do we have to wait till our worlds collide
Open up your eyes
You can't turn back the tide

We do not always manage to create and maintain the relationships we want when we do invest into them, but by not investing we always manage to destroy them.

I love how this song speaks so openly the things we all think, but do not say out of fear.
I love how it displays truth so stark naked that most of us cannot perceive it as truth.
I love how it spells out the fact that if there ever was love in a relationship there will be nothing, ever, that will fill out the remaining void, nothing to patch it up and hide it, nothing to make us forget even if we had a thousand more lives and lovers. Love stays below, like an open gap into the unknown, inviting and terrifying at the same time, for any and all time to follow the dissolution of a relationship.

Don't say you want me
Don't say you need me
Don't say you love me
It's understood
Don't say you're happy
Out there without me
I know you can't be
'cause it's no good



For years to follow we get the blind itch of anniversaries, of common grounds, of places we visited together and most of us spend our lives running away from that itch.

But not the song protagonist.

The protagonist takes the road less traveled and bares his teeth to oblivion.
There's something deeply satisfying in considering that one can be that brave.


I'm going to take my time
I have all the time in the world
To make you mine
It is written in the stars above

Don't say you want me
Don't say you need me
Don't say you love me
It's understood
Don't say you're happy
Out there without me
I know you can't be
'cause it's no good

Love needs no acceptance. It just is. It is us who need acceptance and someone whose faith and effort will not flicker. And sometimes, it is us who are that someone to other.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Clear History

Last few weeks I have been ruminating on this here blog about men’s  stories, especially relationship narratives (not necessarily romantic in nature) and about self-perceived shortcomings that can be remodeled at will. Many posts are connected to song lyrics and all of them are things I think about when awake, and feel even when asleep. If you’re into this kind of tales go and see other posts with tag “On Relationships”.

And now, let’s continue.


Black Zenith Promo picture. Go visit him on Bandcamp


And then, there are loves that feel like you have been struck by lightning; electrifying, potent, dumbfounding.

Sweet and sticky, like drowning in a pool of awesomeness.

Like this song - Clear History  - by Black Zenith.

I first heard the song on Radio Student and I dropped everything I was doing and went to see which song that is and where I can find MORE. It was such an experience I even got proof of my complete amazement.









It is an amazing song, one presenting the experience of complete immersion into emotions building a relationship, without the need to depict relationship and to overelaborate. Happenings described are here after perceived dissolution of the relationship, but dissolution is only formal (as they always are in this modus of experiencing the world). I love how Davey Oberlin - Black Zenith - presents things rationally, in steady rhythm, using the language of online communication as the norm. And I love how he shows he already knows that he’d been poisoned but still treads bravely through this experience:

I'm not open to say if it's always been this way
I keep looking at the screen
hoping that she'd ring for me, but she's bad for me.
She'd only be bad for me.

I'm not hoping to change
I know how I got this way
I keep freeing up my time, hoping that she'd ring for me but she's bad for me
She'd only be bad for me.

I love how the protagonist asks to be released from service, even if this plea is not actually communicated to the person in question (but more to his own toxic infatuation):

Cuz girl I'm not over you
Please let me get over you

Even though this is one costly experience I’d say that those who never tried this kind of love are missing out bigtime. It is hard to even imagine something so engaging and so motivating (or destructive if you’re that kind of person) without having felt it, at least once.

Our past comes back
I knew I would pay for that
I knew it would never last
I knew it went way to fast
All we got are memories, I start to forget you
Please let me forget you
Girl let me forget you.

I felt broken today
Felt the loneliness and pain
I need you like a needle needs a vein
Girl you're my sanity, I need my insanity

Cuz girl I'm not over you
Please let me get over you

It becomes so sweet to pine, so satisfying to yearn that the pain itself becomes more important than the person who started this chain of events. To overstretched endurance all experiences become so heightened you can live on crumbs of attention for ages, dream in color, use libido as bouncing board for space launch.

Our past comes back
I knew I would pay for that
I knew it would never last
I knew it went way to fast
All we got are memories, I start to forget you
Please let me forget you
Girl let me forget you.

I've never run from it, I've always chased it
I'll never be alone with empty spaces
It's never been enough, I just want to taste it
It wasn't long enough, and now I'm wasted.

And then, just as the song states, we emerge on the other side of pain, reborn. Memories linger a bit more, but it becomes harder and harder to discern your face in them, harder to remember color of your eyes or how it felt to shower together after sex.

Gone. Never to return.

Exactly like clearing history; This action cannot be undone.


Our past comes back
I knew I would pay for that
I knew it would never last
I knew it went way to fast
All we got are memories, I start to forget you
Please let me forget you
Girl let me forget you