The Church Of Me
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Kissing in the churchyard, I know a righteous woman

Sunday, December 04, 2005
THE LIVING MUSIC: ROBERT WYATT, PATTI SMITH AND THE WINTER REMEMBRANCE

Live concerts are one thing, and a very important thing at that. The standard jazz maxim used to be that seeing a local player at your local pub would tell you more about the mores and movements of the music than any visiting giant from overseas. But even with musical giants, at least those who do not choose to base their art in what they can produce in the phantasmaphallic environment of a studio, or a bedroom, we can learn different and deeper things about them when we view them in the flesh, struggling with and/or triumphing over the necessary spontaneous graffiti to be scribbled on the minds of the audience with whom they are interacting. Or simply, or complexly, giving us more than they are apt to do within the confines of a record.

Given the vital flesh-and-blood nowness of what can be gained by both artist and audience from a live performance, it is often argued that live albums tend at best to be contract fillers, a pale souvenir of an unrepeatable electricity, a protracted exercise in redundancy. As someone who has appeared (inaudibly and invisibly) on a number of live albums as a member of the audience – the scope ranges from Gil Evans Live At The Royal Festival Hall (1978) to Atari Teenage Riot Live At Brixton Academy (1999 – talk about closing down the millennium with a vengeance!), I’m naturally not so sure. Of course, with jazz, a music where immediacy of response and creation is crucial, in contrast with the inbuilt limitations of having to cram a simulacrum of spontaneity into the confines of a 78 record, its evolution has largely had to be documented via live performances – Jazz At Massey Hall, Ellington At Newport, Mingus At Antibes, Coltrane At The Village Vanguard (’61 and ’66). Soul, too, has revealed its truer colours (and exposed its pertinent gospel roots) onstage – think of Sam Cooke at the Harlem Square Club, turning the glossy ‘50s balladry of "You Send Me" into a bilious, primeval howl of sex in front of a palpable audience, whooping him on into multiple cracked vocal screams a full two years before Pharaoh Sanders became known to the world. But post-Beatles rock can stretch out and breathe in unexpected ways, too. On Live At Leeds, John Martyn, in tandem with Danny Thompson and John Stevens, stretches the after-hours aquacity of Solid Air into particles which seem to span all known and yet to be known horizons of harmolodics and rhythmic disappearance/sublimation. And inevitably there is Judas Dylan at the "Albert Hall," his "Rolling Stone" cracking a salient whip of which the Columbia recording studios of 1965 could only dream.

More recently, though, there has been the less welcome tendency of old music to allow itself to be imprisoned, petrified against the dagger of the dead archive, rekindled not to encourage or challenge those who "loved" it but to reassure, to flatter its audiences by doing it exactly the way "we" remember it, entire albums in sequence, track after track in its Right place, don’t fuck with the formula Brian. In the case of Gang of Four this tendency has been truly pitiful to witness; their re-recording of their "greatest hits" – music with which they once threatened to change the world, as if – now mocking their original incarnations, four wealthy middle-aged businessmen quietly sniggering at their folly-filled youth, such that now capitalism is celebrated rather than cast off, like Tory constituency stalwarts ashamed of their Young Socialist days, such that Entertainment! now only means "Entertainment!" or rather "If you’re 20 and you’re not a socialist you’ve got no heart; if you’re 30 and you’re not a capitalist you’ve got no brain" etc. At least Brian’s SMiLE could be excused on the grounds of no one having heard the album as it had originally been intended, as if anyone could remember exactly what it was supposed to intend in the first place.

There have been two releases this year which point to either end of the above spectrum, but which both subvert the spectrum; 30-year-old music as you have never heard it before, or which pretends you’ve heard it before except that it then detours you down unfamiliar and darker roads.

Firstly there is Theatre Royal Drury Lane: Robert Wyatt & Friends In Concert, Sunday 8th September 1974, a record whose proper release some of us have been awaiting for fully three decades, since, following his paralysis, this was the only live performance which Wyatt gave in his own right before retiring from the stage altogether (and he has not been persuaded back), concomitant with his then new album, Rock Bottom. What is especially thrilling about this performance is not just that all six tracks from Rock Bottom are performed in their entirety, but that the collective personnel for the gig comprises – well, the kind of line-up which I’ve always thought of as the perfect line-up in an ideal world, a world wherein all possible worlds meet, and get on, and a dream personnel which is probably unrepeatable in the more straitened musical world of 2005; a group where radical improvisers and Marxist theorists meet up with multimillion-selling rock stars (rock stars, moreover, responsible for two of the biggest selling albums of that year, worldwide).

But Wyatt’s dream team was no nerdy, schoolboy-daydreaming, Bill Laswell-style sling-‘em-together-and-see-what-sticks academic exercise in fusion; no, these musicians share a deep communal history. Wyatt’s friendship with Nick Mason and Julie Tippetts went back to the Oz/IT days of the mid-‘60s; both Wyatt and Mike Oldfield were intermittent members of Kevin Ayers’ Whole World; and indeed, with the presence of Oldfield, Gong’s Laurie Allan, Hatfield and the North’s Dave Stewart, Henry Cow’s Fred Frith and, for that matter, Ivor Cutler, there was something of a Virgin Records supergroup nature about the whole exercise – but these were the early days of Virgin, a company then still small enough to care about not caring about being different, or out of step, and ready virtually to share their product with their audience; how many ‘80s New Pop celebrities got their kickstart from those 49p copies of The Faust Tapes, and let us not forget that Virgin’s UK release of Escalator Over The Hill was subsidised by the success of Tubular Bells.

And let us also not forget that music as radical as Wyatt’s was in 1974 could be presented to a highly appreciative audience without frills or Trojan horse entryism tropes; thus John Peel saunters on characteristically right at the beginning of the CD to introduce the band (and, as Wyatt himself notes, provides "one of the best solos on the album") and makes you realise, sadly, that really no one could fill his shoes, these having been formed by an unrepeatable accident of history, circumstance and uncanny freedom. Immediately Wyatt launches into the most ostensibly radical performance of the evening, a semi-freeform canter over Hugh Hopper’s "Dedicated To You, But You Weren’t Listening" which lyrically anticipates punk ("Give me the truth, give me the truth" insists Wyatt, sounding nothing like a punk) before swimming in the rueful reverie of Hopper’s "Memories" backed by Fred Frith’s dolorous viola. Then we come to the Rock Bottom material. Long-term Churchgoers will need no reminding of the degree of estimation with which I hold the original album; as with all of my very favourite records – Escalator, Metal Box, you know the rest – it succeeds in creating an absolutely self-sufficient world of its own, an alternate universe in which the listener can bask, apart from and above all of the routine pabulum which otherwise crosses our paths.

At Drury Lane, though, Wyatt takes the Rock Bottom music into a different and less comforting dimension. The obvious comparison here would be with Coltrane’s fetid and ferocious demolition of that family favourite A Love Supreme at the Antibes Jazz Festival of 1965; similarly, there is a distinctly feral (and, let’s face it, far more overtly sexual) aura to what Wyatt does to these songs. They are not quite performed in sequence; here "Alife" with its commendably virulent tenor freakout from Gary Windo (and Oldfield nervously comping behind him on guitar) precedes the quietude of "Alifib" (where Oldfield more or less reproduces the solo which on the original may have been attributable to an uncredited Oldfield, or Wyatt’s strange Italian organ, or a speeded-up Hopper) and "Little Red Robin Hood Hit The Road" is not performed until nearly the end of the concert.

And the modes of the music, as I said, are different. "Sea Song" initially proceeds much as it did on record, but the whole-tone keyboard interlude is here extended and reshaped to feature Dave Stewart. Stewart (and yet again I must reluctantly remind readers that the Dave Stewart of Hatfield and the North and future chart-topping Bizarro ‘80s cover version hitmaker with Colin Blunstone and Barbara Gaskin notoriety is not the subsequent Tourist and Eurythmic) is an important contributor here, for on Rock Bottom Wyatt played all of the keyboard parts. However, Stewart’s improvisatory skills make the music more fluid, give the illusion of greater movement. He begins his solo feature on electric piano, its twinkles reminding us of the harmonic debt owed to Joe Zawinul (specifically In A Silent Way), before switching to organ for a more violent sequence of Sun Ra-esque distorted discords (Hopper’s fuzz bass stinging like a Marxist wasp behind him). Then Wyatt returns for the final verse, and again the final mouth music sequence is extended. Indeed, this record may stand (perhaps in tandem with The End Of An Ear) as the best example of Wyatt’s "longer line" style of abstract scat improv vocalese. On "Little Red Riding Hood Hit The Road" the interaction between Wyatt’s voice and the great Mongezi Feza’s pocket trumpet is divine. Another live recording of this song from the same period does exist – you can find it on Henry Cow’s Concerts – but whereas on the latter performance, Chris Cutler’s drumming is insistent and squarely accented on the beat, here Laurie Allan lends a kind of shuffle, or swing, to the rhythm which highlights the Feza/Wyatt symbiosis more clearly. This is not necessarily an "easier" performance, though – Wyatt’s delivery of the lyrics is rancid, scornful and underlined by a violent vibrato which actually makes him sound like John Lydon (or vice versa; after all it is neither impossible nor improbable that the eighteen-year-old Lydon would have been among that Drury Lane audience). Nevertheless, it is, as always, both heartening and depressing to hear Mongezi Feza, a disciple of Don Cherry to be sure but ultimately very much his own man and a trumpeter the likes of whom have not been seen since. And to think that at the time of recording he had only some 15 months to live; it’s little wonder that Wyatt cited Feza’s death as the main reason behind his (for the most part) absence from the music scene for five years before quietly, discreetly resurfacing on Rough Trade in 1980, and even less wonder that in recent years he himself has taken up the trumpet, as if to play the notes that his ghost cannot.

Now Julie Tippetts is alone at her keyboard, providing a kind of interlude with her song "Mind Of A Child," or more accurately the emotional string which holds everything else together, for this song – so simple in its lyrical message, so devious in its harmonic paths – was also the centrepiece of Tippetts’ own contemporaneous album, Sunset Glow; a record expressly designed as an "answer record" or "companion record" to Rock Bottom (Wyatt was the dedicatee), and a record which dips its toe in the same peaceful flow of sea to soul – and if this in turn sounds familiar, then remember that this is the same tradition from which the young Kate Bush emerged; the next time you listen to "Nocturn," it is wise to bear in mind its spiritual parents, Rock Bottom and Sunset Glow, who once both stood in the Atlantic in the hope that something new might be born.

We then proceed to a section drawn from the Matching Mole repertoire, which is the most straightforwardly entertaining section of the record; on "Instant Pussy" Tippetts and Wyatt’s abstract voices wind around each other joyfully like wet, abstracted belly buttons. "Signed Curtain," in contrast, could well be a bridge between something and the other; it begins as one of Wyatt’s characteristic deconstructions of The Popular Song ("This is the first verse" etc.), but when Oldfield takes an extended guitar solo it swiftly mutates into a peaceful, non-ironic Tubular Bells variant. And "Calyx" is a torched song from which Antony could pick up a few tips.

But then the mood suddenly switches back to utter blackness, with the climactic "Little Red Robin Hood Hit The Road" with Wyatt’s requiem for a drowning, crumbling England soundtracked by Oldfield’s desperate guitar and the furious double-drum attack of Mason and Allan before giving way to Ivor Cutler, who delivers his recitation as though from the bowels of hell, Frith’s viola and Stewart’s musique concrete synths meanwhile scraping and howling some unimaginable pain before it is all cut off. Not that Wyatt would let that stand; everyone mucks in for the closing rendition of his still unexpected hit single "I’m A Believer" which steadily modulates from heady avant-pop to freeform scrum to bizarre, but entirely in keeping, run-through of "The Laughing Policeman." A performance, then, which not only invites us to see familiar material in a startling new light, but which also emphasises the generosity, implacable good humour and genuine adventure at the heart of Robert Wyatt; a man who, like Keith Tippett and Brian Eno at the time and too few others since, saw nothing amiss with, and everything to gain by, getting people from sometimes conflicting musical worlds to work and thrive together.

"The captain is permanently impassioned and lacking in self-control, as is expressed in his manner of communication, which tends to consist of curses and turns his exhibited authority into a rant. He can’t write, and when speaking he needs help with his grammar. He claims the right to be more natural, following his instincts, and therefore to have lived a more fulfilled life. She, on the other hand, uses language in a more detached manner, precisely because she doesn’t have a language of her own. She appropriates male language, and uses its effects to her advantage."
(Freida Grafe, from her essay on Joseph Mankiewicz’s 1947 film The Ghost And Mrs Muir, BFI Film Classics: London, 1995; italics are those of the present author)

All those dead boys. All those sacrifices. All those good boys she cannot bring back, no matter how hard she tries. What can she do, then, other than be better than them, achieve what they’re no longer around to achieve? Would she have dared if they had still been alive? I’d like to think so, because here is the great icebreaker of women in rock and roll, the record which had both the cheek and the art to defrost and resuscitate everything down to its most basic filial elements and make it – better. Just as Kate exhorts Elvis to still be living on "King Of The Mountain," so does Patti implore Jim Morrison to escape his petrified bloated bathtub on "Break It Up," a séance which turns into an ascension, Tom Verlaine’s guitar and Smith’s imprecatory "Up UP UP!!" staccato orders rising as surely and gloriously as Sanders and Coltrane a decade earlier.
It’s now the 30th anniversary of quite a lot of attempts to reconstruct rock music, if not de-invent it – not just Horses, but also its spiritual twin Born To Run (for Birdland read Jungleland; "Free Money" is where the two meet, Wendy’s answer song). Neither record is quite what it pretends to be, although they are equally sincere in what they mean to be; Patti sees Blake and Rimbaud (and maybe also Plath and both Parkers, Charlie and Dorothy) as well as Jim and Jimi and sees the opportunity both to worship them and to supersede them; Springsteen thinks of the Dion, the Bruce Channel, the Little Anthony of his semi-innocent youth and constructs a schismatic theme park (Born To Run is an alternative soundtrack for Coppola’s One From The Heart, an encyclopaedically world-weary musical which never once peeks outside the doors of its studio) including, some say, the early deployment of sampling. It is also the 30th anniversary of "Bohemian Rhapsody," but apart from the fact that this eleven-year-old listener had strongly sexual crushes on both Patti Smith and Freddie Mercury (a woman who dressed like a man and a man who looked like a woman – go figure) there is little to bond the two other than (a) Mercury was in part inspired by Marc Bolan, who at one point in the early ‘70s had a thing going with Patti – transatlantic romances, eh? What’s the possibility of that happening now?; and (b) "Bohemian Rhapsody" is the Huysmans to Patti’s Rimbaud; the exquisitely tired, indwelling, inchoate decadent who will try a taste of anything (opera, metal, Novello) but avoid commitment at all cost, including that of his own future ("Nothing really matters, anyone can see").

But Horses continues to be singular, and not simply within the Patti Smith canon; it is simultaneously a depository and a distillery for everything she had learned in the previous quarter-century, everything she wanted pop or free jazz to be but to her ears never quite was. Thus her retooling of "Gloria" is precisely the threat of sex from which the protégé of Van Morrison’s "Madame George" runs away as fast as possible ("This is the train, this is the train…"). Madonna has spent her entire career trying to live up to the declaration of principles in the first verse. Patti dreams of the "sweet young thing" who probably wouldn’t even be allowed into the party where "everything’s allowed" and consequently "I just get bored"; she’s out there, "humping (on) the parking meter," and now Patti dreams of her invading her space, and she invading Gloria ("And her name is…" could so easily be misconstrued as "And the nightmares…") and taking "the big plunge" such that the chimes at midnight finally defeat the need for words ("Ding-dong ding-dong ding-dong ding-dong") and time is frozen; and then you look at that cover with her in the suit and detached tie, and then you look in the 30th anniversary CD reissue booklet in the middle and see Patti, still looking like the future, standing in the middle of what might as well be the Allman Brothers Band roadies, as deliciously out of place as Lindsey Buckingham on the sleeve of Tusk, and at eleven and for a long while thereafter that’s what I wanted Patti to do to me; dreaming of her strolling into my bedroom and making me hers. All of a sudden Suzi Quatro and Lynsey de Paul seemed – almost – Edwardian. The point of orgasm comes as she swallows the final "sins" and purrs with delight, after a pause, "but not mine."

But it is finally a dream, and the first in a long line of ghosts; yet consider the "sweet suicide" of her sister on "Redondo Beach" – she mourns, but sexily (those pellets of "gone gone"); and then the passion is detached from the rock(ist) meme and made to fly, and drag rock with it, on "Kimberly"; the astonishing moment at which Patti takes flight, breaks away from the fluid 6/8 song and howls her mother to Massive Attack’s "Protection" ("The palm trees fall into the sea/It doesn’t matter much to me as long as you’re safe Kimberly") defying the winds and waters of apocalypse, startles as searingly as Coltrane erupting out of the politesse of "Out Of This World" or "Chim Chim Cheree" (talk about "a network of spittle"!) and this is the point where you realise that this is what you want, the rhythmic laterality of Ornette united with the frenzied verbal drift of Kerouac – like Kerouac, Smith stands apart as both tie themselves to traditions as soon as they loosen the bonds. They have much more in common with Stanley Spencer and Virginia Woolf than with Allen Ginsberg or Cindy Sherman.

On the 30th anniversary reissue, the original Horses (plus the equally original "My Generation" with John Cale’s humping wobbleboard bass giving the impression that they’re keeping the Titanic afloat) is paired with the 2005 performance given at the Royal Festival Hall, in track order ("Side 2" Smith sardonically, but amicably, announces after "Free Money"). Lenny Kaye, Tom Verlaine and Jay Dee Daugherty remain from the original personnel (Verlaine only appears, unforgettably, on "Break It Up" on the original album, but here he plays all the way through, and sometimes beyond); Tony Shanahan stands in for the deceased Richard Sohl on keyboards; Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers deps for the not-interested Ivan Kral on celebrity bass. Unlike other Norman Rockwell-style cosy reruns, manfully divorced from the context which made the music so electrifying to begin with, Smith is aware that Horses isn’t going to mean what it meant 30 years ago – too much has happened in the interim, too many more boys have been lost, and that Qur’an quote of "All wisdom can be found between the eyes of a horse" quoted on the sleeve now takes on an even more decisive significance, as indeed does Smith's final, outraged whine on the new "Gloria": "Jesus died for someone's sins - WHY NOT MINE?"

And yet, performing Horses seems to bring her back to life. Her voice has travelled a little further up the nasal passages, as though her inflamed inferior turbinates can barely contain her undimmed passion, and the croak which was always and vulnerably there has intensified; but this works for Patti since as a singer she now sounds more like Carla Bley than she did in ’75 (and therein lay another reason for my original passion; Horses was like the wildness and mischievously profane profundity of Escalator Over The Hill made even more pop) and also, more importantly, helps bring Patti out from the veil behind which she has perhaps grieved longer than is healthy – all those dignified and unimpeachable sarcophagi of albums which she released throughout the ‘90s and early ‘00s conveyed a kind of wilful noble untouchability more to do with Queen Victoria than Audrey Hepburn. Or indeed all the compromised records she made after Horses, all with their individual, isolated undying moments, but as with Van Morrison after Astral Weeks, how many of them would you listen to from start to finish as entities (how much better would Radio Ethiopia had been if Ornette had made the sessions, as was originally planned?)?

Thus in "Birdland," "the boy" is now not quite Peter Reich or Huey Smith, but Patti herself, arising from the ashes of her own multiple bereavements (for the last decade Patti’s head has essentially been placed "in the crux of (her) arm"), the shamanic healing, Poe’s raven (so much more concisely and brilliantly articulated than Lou Reed’s idea of Poe’s raven; if there’s a crucial ingredient which Reed’s The Raven lacks, it’s helium), all bringing herself back to life ("I WON’T GIVE UP, WON’T GIVE UP, DON’T LET ME GIVE UP" – so "Birdland" is the "little farm in New England" where The Church Of Me had been hibernating, Lenny Kaye’s scratching – almost Bailey-like! – guitar commentary is my community, commenting and encouraging from the sidelines, and my particular "helium raven" knows exactly who she is).

And then there is "Land"; nine-and-a-half minutes on the original album, seventeen-and-a-half minutes long at the Royal Festival Hall. Listen to the opening scrapes of escaping stray water from the faucet reacting to Smith’s recitative, how it slowly and patiently forms into something bigger, and it’s easy to think that you’re listening to the first music ever made, to music actually being invented, and the bridge of "horses horses horses horses," spanning 200 years from Blake, cutting right through the centre of Jim Morrison, leads us to the world (not to mention setting the stage for the Guinness advert of the ‘90s with the sea of horses and Leftfield’s "Phat Planet") and into the Northern Soul clubs of "Land Of A Thousand Dances" and now we’re discovering the other sex for the first time ("Dip into the sea, the sea of possibilities/It started hardening, It started hardening in my hand/And I felt the arrows of desire" – then go and listen again to the title track of Kate Bush’s The Sensual World, then, and only then, listen to Siobhan McKenna’s recitative of Molly Bloom) and finally they end up becoming panoramic, standing in the Atlantic, or is it the Red Sea, are they waiting for Moses to part them, is "Johnny" Coltrane or Rotten, and then the boy is left on his own, by the sea, his only realistic option that of drowning himself for good (see the death and transfiguration of Duncan Thaw in Alasdair Gray’s Lanark, another blog before its time) because now, at the Royal Festival Hall in 2005, Smith starts ranting about the world of "CELLPHONES! and FAX MACHINES!" and war and blood and implies that it might be better for him to drown but she can’t allow the boy to lose himself and so she leaves him an escape hatch, a ticket out of there, a ticket on the beach, a ticket to the party, and he commutes through the other end of the "black tube" and suddenly he’s at this party and he sees this sweet young thing humping (on) the parking meter but IN THE SHEETS THERE WAS A MAN and EVERYTHING AROUND HIM is UNRAVELING LIKE SOME LONG FENDER WHINE DANCING AROUND TO THE SIMPLE ROCK AND ROLL SONG and it is not "Summer (The First Time)" or maybe it is and you realise that Patti is this boy and you are she and she is Gloria and Praise Be To All Good And Useful Things if you know your Blake and Gray (the resurrection of Aitken Drummond! New Jersey on the horizon of Peckham Rye!) and after 30 years of hurt they can now complete the circle and make "Gloria" GLORIOUS again and sometimes you have to wait years for the ending to make itself apparent

But there is an epilogue – "Elegie," originally written by Patti and her then partner, Blue Öyster Cult guitarist Allen Lanier, in explicit tribute ("Trumpets, violins, I hear them in the distance") to Hendrix. For a moment you wonder whether she’ll want to perform it at the Royal Festival Hall, because the list of lost boys is now much longer. She sings the song, plaintively, but it has now become a requiem roll call. She announces them solemnly: "Jim Morrison. Jimi Hendrix. Robert Mapplethorpe. Todd Smith. Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith. Richard Sohl." The crowd cheer, a little confused, as though expecting a ghost band to materialise onstage. There is, somewhere within her semi-veiled dignity, a rage which will not go away; maybe the same rage which seemed to dwell within Elvis in the ’68 TV special when he leaves Scotty, DJ and the boys behind for the last time, to sing "Memories" against a pre-recorded orchestral backing track, as if to say THAT IS WHAT I WANT TO DO YOU CANNOT DRAG ME BACK TO THIS AND KILL ME but he was too polite and dumb to say it out loud, with the inevitable consequences.

And it explodes, for she then does "My Generation," and apart from Flea’s rather too linear bass playing (yes he’s an RHCP and a crowd-puller but Cale surely should have been brought in for this?) it detonates with even more ferocity than it did in the 1975 of "Summertime City" and "Rhinestone Cowboy" – but this is, again, now a requiem rather than a cocky, youthful threat. "We" might have "invented it" and indeed "took it over" – but to what ends? At 4:09 Smith starts to rage. "My generation! We had dreams! We had DREAMS, man! And we created Fucking George Bush!" as Kaye, Verlaine, Shanahan and Daugherty’s instruments scream behind her. She gives her dying wish. "New generation! Rise UP! Take the STREETS! Make CHANGE! The world is YOURS! Change it! CHANGE IT!" DON’T END UP LIKE US! DON’T TURN INTO YOUR FUCKING PARENTS! – even though she knows, in her saddest of hearts, that they have already realised their designated role in life, namely to make exactly the same mistakes.

…AND WINTER REMEMBRANCE

The Kerouac and Ghost And Mrs Muir references were not accidental, for I am of course aware – how could I not be? – that tomorrow she would have been 41. And yet, the grief which I continue to feel can no longer be said to be unalloyed. There are changes happening in my world; after four years crawling down my own black tube it would seem that I have now emerged at the sea, and may indeed be looking forward to crossing it. Events over the last couple of months continue to leave me in what can adequately be described as a state of dazed amazement, in some disbelief that what is happening actually is happening. Of course I have imagined myself being at this point several times in the recent past, and it’s always proved to be a mirage. But this feels different.

So it is not a case of saying goodbye to a previous life, but more an impetus to finally let the past go. "The Sweetest Girl." Scritti Politti. You know how the words run.


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