Academic journal article Chicago Review

From Atet A.D

Academic journal article Chicago Review

From Atet A.D

Article excerpt

[Atet A.D. is volume three of From A Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate, a series of letters written by composer/multi-instrumentalist N., founding member of a band formerly known as the Mystic Horn Society. - N.M.]

_____ 5.VI.82

Dear Angel of Dust,

The other shoe finally dropped. We're in Seattle playing a three-night stint at a club called Soulstice. Last night, the first night of the gig, new repercussions on a number of fronts came to light. Foremost among them is that the wouldly subsidence in which Penguin and Drennette's embryonic romance had gotten hung up seems to've given way - exacting a ledge, an atomistic ledge, from the lapse it rescinded. You've no doubt noticed that since Penguin's return from Wouldly Ridge it's been as though his embryonic courtship of Drennette had never occurred. He's not only not pursued it further, he'll neither speak nor hear talk of it. Whenever I've brought it up he's acted like he had no idea what I was talking about, staring at me with a blank, uncomprehending look on his face, as though English were a foreign language, as if I spoke some unheard-of tongue. Aunt Nancy, Lambert and Djamilaa say it's been the same with them. Drennette likewise has acted like nothing ever happened. She and Penguin have been nothing but normal in their dealings with one another.

It's hard to say what it was, why it was wouldly subsidence took this occasion to exact wouldly ledge. My guess is that the air of anticlimactic futurity pervading this town had something to do with it, the datedness of what was once thought of as "things to come." I'm referring, of course, to the Space Needle. That the future has no place in which to arrive but the present, that its arrival is thus oxymoronic, is the sort of reflection one can't help entertaining in the shadow of such a monument as that - a monument, when it was built, to the future, a future it prematurely memorialized, prematurely entombed. Today it's more properly a monument to the past, a reminder of the times in which it was built, tomb to the elapsed expectancy it all turns out to've been. I remember my aunt and uncle driving up for the World's Fair twenty years ago - hopelessly long ago it seems now.

But by no means to be ignored is the reinforcement given elapsed or outmoded future by us happening to hear "Telstar," the early sixties hit by the Tornadoes, on the jukebox in a diner we had lunch in yesterday. The tinny, strained, "futuristic" sound of it said it all, spoke to a sense of lost occasion elapsed future began infusing us with the moment we laid eyes on that Needle. I thought of every wish which had seemed to miss the mark in being fulfilled, though I corrected myself at once, admitting the case to be one of an "it" which could only be projected, never arrived at. Anticlimactic "it," I reminded myself, allotted virtual space, an ironic investiture missed opportunity couldn't help but inhabit. Disappointment, the needling sense of a missed appointment, couldn't help but be there. This we knew before "Telstar" came on. We knew it all the more once it did.

The weather played a part as well. It hasn't mined outright since we've been here but it's been overcast and drizzling, a thin mist coming down pretty much all the time. That mist, it seemed, went with us into the club last night. It adopted a low profile for the occasion, close to the floor like a carpet so intimate with out feet we'd have sworn we dragged it in. What had been of the air was now oddly underfoot. In a way it was like the world had turned upside down, the way the mist, instead of falling from the sky, came up from the floor, ever so lightly addressing the soles of our feet. The difference this would make in our music was evident at once. No sooner had we taken the stage than the low-lying mist was an atomistic ledge we stood on which made our feet feel as though they'd fallen asleep - not entirely numb but (you know the feeling I'm sure) put upon by pins, subject to a sort of pointillist embrace. …

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