Blue Velvet Revisited
Light avant-jazz bass of the Slow Club in a Lumberton basement sets up a sultry, smoky scene.
By the light of a silver Tuxedo moon, a silhouetted figure plays a delicate piano, accompanied by a melancholy violin. Intensity and longing. A ghost drifts across the last few bars, betrayed by the fragile, shifted curtains and a hint of scent.
In another room on the same corridor, gentle mysterious electronica leaks out under the door…
Listening outside, a cello can be detected and a choir of unearthly voices.
The pace is quickening, and the camera pans away to the street below. A residual saxophone cries, but there is no-one to hear.
And now it’s dark. The jazz is still there, lingering. Persistent, smooth and just so fucking suave.
Haunted, becoming discordant. Fragments that still fit together.
At least for now.
In an empty apartment, with a faded carpet and buddleia growing in one corner, there is a mirror. Tarnished at the edge nearest the door. Looking directly into it reveals nothing at first, but glancing back
It becomes just possible to trace her name
On the glass. “Dorothy”.
A sudden overwhelming silence for just a shade too long.
And there’s that consummate piano again. But where is it coming from?
We try to listen, but it is distant and broken, interrupted by the passing sounds of life in this Lincoln Street block some years ago:
a footstep; someone breathing.
This thread of cotton caught on the corner of the table would imply the Quiet Man?
A whispered voice in sleep.
Upstairs, the tenant no-one sees
drags heavy furniture across the floor and turns on a tap.
He is listening to the radio. We spend hours here, watching.
Disturbed, confused and utterly engaged.
A tapestry of sonic fiction is revealed in the dust on the walls.
A buzzing insect, straight from the Darwin Room.
The Artist catches his breathe, as if to speak,
but the Tape Operator pressed fast forward before he could begin, and immediately everything was lighter.
European somehow, with Scandinavian textures.
“Frank, I think he said his name was. It certainly was the sort of name that should have at least one K in it…”
By now the beautiful ghost has manifest outdoors, chanting, drawing us after her as she moves through the city.
It is vaguely German, I think. Dusseldorf, 1971?
Urgent and urging. Insistent. Traces of psychedleia and hallucinogens?
A window has been left open, and fresh air breathes a playfulness without.
Everything is easier, more relaxed.
But it is unclear what transpired to make it so?
People are smiliing, chatting.
Sitting at tables or leaning on bars, passing time and doing deals. The daring sound of smiling.
At least until the robins come.
Which suggests a kind of dawn, and the fullness of a kind of sudden circle.
Have we been here before?
Half-recognised phrases dance like motes in the shafts of sunlight
cutting through the dusty haze.
Individual notes break out of the chord sequences, arpeggiated and free, like the song of familiar birds.
Repeated, echoing. Recalling memories I wonder if we would rather
But they are beautiful, each one a silk dress, folded neatly on a bed beside an ivory hatbox and a pair of worn gloves.
“Don’t you feel she may have only just left the room…?”
Translated from birdsong, October 2015