The transfer at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue from the 6 train to the N or W is delightfully multi-cultural. And as rush hour bodies ebb, it becomes a poly-ethnic stew of shoving, heaving jerks.
Now, I can get pushed all damn day long and not go anywhere, as the majority of my fellow passengers are four feet tall and trying to shove someone twice their weight. The material universe is a cruel god of constant consistency and their efforts are for naught. There’s a lot of interesting things to say about cultures with varying understandings of proxemics all being stuck in a similar space, and there’s a lot of prejudicial things to say about tiny people from all over the globe whose approach to proxemics is to just push forward and hope that no one like me knees their wee faces out of spite.
I think about these things while watching these jostling scenes. But when I first picked up The Glass Bead Game by James Blackshaw, I was listening to “Fix”, a piano-heavy but simple arrangement that is a perfect selection for a “life passing before one’s eyes in the few moments before violent death” type film montage. Or perhaps a Lexus commercial. Regardless, I would play that on repeat for a bit, especially before the 59th St. stop. All of the pushy physicality became a kind of strange ballet; every grimace was laden with tremendous meaning and import; each smile was a ray of sunshine. Even the smell of failure and piss became meaningful. Even the earbud commandos seemed more like an expression of a benevolent universe rather than the manifestation of deep stupidity that they truly are.
In other words, James Blackshaw has made something that can fool even the most cynical into thinking there’s a ray of hope somewhere and that things will be all right after all.
The Haystackers have picked up on this as a good album, and they are right, but I fear this attention will just lead to more downloading rather than sales for Young God and Mr. Gira.
So go buy it, you lazy thieving scum, and bathe in that neverending light.
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