With a wreath and a sigh and a veil and a thigh
Or, an impossibly well disguised review of The Hidden Cameras’ Mississauga Goddam (Rough Trade)
[on the brink of an impossible feat]

Jo waits tables and I wait for nothing to happen, the same way as it always has. Outside the river rushes beneath the bridge, eddies and swirls in folds like her hair. If I hear anyone tell the story that it’s the original Bridge Over Troubled Water again I think I’ll commit murder. Especially if it’s me. Myths need to be continually re-written to be any fun at all.

Jo waits tables and my eyes are closed. I look at darkness and taste my despair. I hear her voice and my aches reverberate ever louder. I feel blood spill inside my veins, blushing my cheeks like the roses we left each other in a different world, in a different time.

Jo waits tables whilst memories creep into the light, pass notes and disappear back into the shadows. They tease and erase the future with their recollections and false promises. I swallow everything and plead for more. Thoughts half defined press reset buttons on my soul and giggle about all the stories they made up to get them through the nights when sleep comes only in erratic bursts of erotic fiction. I dream of Jo in front of the Press, telling lies and half truths behind fake Gucci sunglasses. I dream of myself buried in treasures of the past, eyes blinking through burst balloons and letters cut from gold.

[the spark in his eye was a sign he was alive]

Chris literally drops in for the first time in years, appearing through the attic ceiling. He doesn’t say where he has been but I know it’s surely somewhere better than this here and now. He smiles benignly as he unfolds himself onto the sofa and I say, ‘Hey Chris, did they have The Hidden Cameras where you came from?’

His smile fades, he looks confused, and I think maybe I was wrong.

[guitars make me happy, drum beats make us all free]

The world loops around and caves in on itself with unnerving regularity. We can go with the flow or we can fight the flow, it makes no odds. We always end up at our beginnings again; we pass through innumerable endings and weave through an infinity of middles like drunks in high street Saturday nights. Déjà vu becomes second nature and we don’t even recognise it, just think it’s how it always was and will be. As usual we are right and wrong in almost equal doses.

My own life revolves and slips softly back on itself. I blink and can’t make out the shapes I see. Is this an end? Is this a beginning? I look in the mirror and despair, feel the fear of age and loneliness. I search my eyes and wonder when everything true and pure disappeared. I scratch at my scalp and wonder why am I left with the squalid and sullied remnants of the dream? Where are the sparks?

The answer of course is the same as it always has been and always will be. The answer is that it’s out there in the clouds, inside in the heartbeats and in the tears that slip from the corners of eyes. It’s there in endless walks to the park and the prom, in the hours of riding blankly in the wind and rain. It’s in the wink of the lighthouse and the blink of brown eyes.

And more than anything it’s in the noises that seep from stereos.

How can it be that the only thing that keeps me from dropping out from the entire world sometimes is the noise made my music? How can it be that the only thing that seems capable of saving me from myself is the meaning discerned from a song, the unseen connections snaking out and wrapping themselves around my heart, squeezing the blood into circulation once more.

Silence so often scares me. I need the sound of music, of words strung together into pictures in my head to keep everything else in its place, to stop all the horrors from overwhelming me in a deluge of hate and the rebounding chasm of misplaced, misguided love. I need these prefab dreams and schemes to prop up my sanity, to prevent the whole mess from collapsing in a mess of wrong words in conversations half concluded and hasty missed half kisses.

[the eternal harmony]

Chris puts a hand on my shoulder and the cold burn jerks me awake. ‘Hey kid’, he says, ‘Can I take this CD with me? They’ll love this stuff back there.’

I nod, smile, then say ‘So Heaven or Hell, Chris. Which has the best music? Which has the best Art?’

Chris just turns and laughs. ‘Who ever said it was as simple as that?’ And then he’s gone.

[all is nothing]

Jo waits tables and I wait for nothing to happen, the same way as it always has.

© 2004 Alistair Fitchett