In A Vacuum We're Soulmates
by Dan
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Tchaikovsky - "Pieces, Op. 72: 14. Chant élégaïque" [Buy]

I was 16 when I first visited Budapest. No one believed me back at home when I told them it was a combination of two cities; Buda and Pest. I guess you're less likely to believe something about a foreign country than about your own. I got there in October, I was supposed to visit my Muka (we called her that) who was visiting an old friend, but I had taken the train a day early from Paris where my parents were touring. I didn't tell my Muka, I thought I would surprise her. I got to the station and got my bags from the porter who was very nice in his green suit and shook his hand. An older woman asked me for help with her bags and I put them into the trunk of the cab.

"I'll need someone to help me bring them in," she said, the tips of the fur on her hat swaying in the breeze like little lazy fingers, or grass. I said I would help and rode with her back to her apartment. I carried the heavy black one first, as I thought I'd have the most strength for the first one. Then as I went halfway back down the stairs, the woman was carrying her other two, and the cab driver was coming up with mine. I made a sound--

"Oh, don't worry," she interrupted, "you might as well come in for tea now." The cab driver didn't speak English so I didn't bother.

We had tea in the speckled sunlight of her small living room, and I looked around at the Goënberg novels and Reitmann paintings that peppered the peach walls and the chestnut bookshelves, irrespectively. I was sweating slightly in the warmth of my blue sweater that my Muka had bought me for my Ratification the previous year.

"I want to show you the best part," said the woman, leading me by the fingertips to the kitchen window. "Here, look at this," she said, her chin pointing to an ivy plant that sat beside the open window. The plant had grown out of its pot, out the window, and had covered almost the entire exterior wall of her building.

"That's neat," I said, immediately hating my childish choice of words. I noticed an urn with a nameplate on it next to the windowsill, but before I could ask, the woman had begun kissing gently the back of my neck.

We made love, or rather she made love to me, on the Zulu throwrug in her living room, the afternoon sun half warming us up to the knees. She insisted I have a spot of soup before I left, and I was still able to surprise my Muka by dinner hour. I've been back to Budapest twice since.


Collective Soul - "Good Morning After All"

I'm guessing it's not a secret anymore, but there was a time when I was championing the idea that Collective Soul was not-so-secretly harbouring the not-so-secret of being a Christian Rock band. I was much fought against in my opinion. But this is incontrovertible evidence. This is proof that Collective Soul is Christian Rock, and here is an instance of a genre being equal to an essence. The two words of that genre are the only two words I can think of to describe it. [old stuff]


My review of Stardust is up at The Movie Binge.


Happy Birthday, Roger. You're great.

Posted by Dan at August 17, 2007 2:30 PM

If any of you guys are on, I started up a group for fans of this site:

Posted by greatslack at August 17, 2007 7:01 PM

I've always enjoyed Penthouse Forum letters. Nice work.

Posted by Ramon Escobar of the Little Rock Escobars at August 18, 2007 3:15 AM

It's a beautiful piece of music, especially at the end of a long afternoon. Thanks.

Posted by Bob at August 20, 2007 4:36 PM

nice piece for the tchaikovsky.

i keep coming back to this blog because of the music (of course) but also because the writing is so unnecessarily great. it means someone loves this.

and i like that.

Posted by patrick at August 23, 2007 10:53 PM

I'd entertained the idea of going to see Stardust but that clinches it.

It's really f*ing annoying seeing the treatment lgbt characters get in most films; unfortunately I'm not fond of most lgbt films either. The indie ones I've seen--all the wrong ones I'm sure--tend towards the formulaic or the repulsive, and it's only rarely that I find one that deals with the subject sensibly and actually has something to recommend it artistically. It's possible (probable) I'm just hard to please.

Posted by tuwa at August 25, 2007 11:44 PM

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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

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Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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