Point to the Ghost
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.



The Burning Hell - "The Berlin Conference"

Ület is the only city designed and built by a poet. Dmitri Straße was the nation's most beloved poet, and he was also a genius architect, and given license to design the entire city of Ület, which was to be a center of culture. In the early stages of planning, he had a unique and lovely idea for the city's design: each borough would be inspired by the different forms of poetry. In the north end of town was to be The Sonnet, a place of order and tradition, where the city's twin universities were to be located, the base of which would hold the city hall. To the east was to be Haiku, which would later be dubbed Hai"cool" by outsiders and locals alike, a hip area of cheaper living, where artists, immigrants, and bohemians could live inexpensively and get by with very little. In the south, past the Acrostic Gardens, and down the enormous Sestina Steps (Ület has one large slope across the middle of the city) was Canzone, the hub of industry and business. While Straße himself hated money, in fact he took no money for the commission of designing Ület, he paid respect to what he knew was the huge machine driving the development of the world, for better or worse, with The Epics, two 10-storey sentinel statues guarding the entrance to Canzone. The Roundel transit system, a spiral train that wound its way through all of Ület, would then take you to the west, to Ruba'i, which was intended, as Straße put it "as a transformative zone". It would be meant to respond to the needs of the city, as they arose, and would not be designated as one thing or another. It was where Straße lived, in a small brick-chimney house on the edge of the Sijo canal, with his daughter Amelia, a young but wildly successful ballerina. Ruba'i was the last area to be designed by Straße, and some critics at the time claimed he simply ran out of ideas. But no one made that claim after the accident, after everything changed.

Lonski & Classen - "At a Push"

Amelia Straße was a delightful young woman. The nation's most beloved rising star. She had performed on international stages for kings, queens, presidents and prime-ministers. Her dance was called by one journalist, "a dream that all of humanity is having at once." On the morning of April 4th, the day before Ület was to be unveiled to the world as Dmitri Straße's finest work, Amelia was found floating down the water in the Sijo, drowned in a tragic sleepwalking accident. And on that morning, from when the discovery was made until the next morning's unveiling, Dmitri Straße completely redesigned the city of Ület. He put huge x's through all the maps, he burned all the borough plans and destroyed his original notebooks. He sat hunched at the foot of The Epics, in the shade of their stone, and started again. There would be one central element to Ület, it would be called the Ode, and all things would exist in relation to it. The Ode would be the humming central nervous system of the city, it would be the place of his daughter's death. From his brick-chimney house, out the back steps, and the line down the canal to where her body was found, would encompass the shape and mystery of the Ode. Nothing could be built on the Ode, nothing could traverse the Ode (though you could go around it, you could not go over it, planes included) and the most peculiar rule: nothing could face the Ode. People could face the Ode, by all means, inadvertently depending on what distance they were from it, but everything else must face away. The doors and windows of buildings, the exit doors of the Roundel, all streets, parked cars, even mirrors, must all face away from the Ode. As he wrote in the last line of his unveiling speech, a speech taught now in history classes the world over, "no one should be forced to see the thing that changed us, it is only in looking away that we can truly know we are looking ahead."

[order Berlin Songs Vol. 3]


Thanks to all who made my trip to Berlin absolutely unforgettable. From Sebastian (who releases the Berlin Songs compilations and runs festivals and shows) to Anne at Magnet, and Shotgun Jimmie and Dominique and Jane and Hendrik, thanks for showing me such a good time. Each of you have left me charmed, happy, and adventure-sated.

Posted by Dan at June 8, 2010 7:15 PM

Holy crap dude, this story rocks.

Posted by Mike_H at June 8, 2010 8:17 PM

Here here - superb.

Posted by Hazel at June 9, 2010 5:14 AM

Nice work Dan. I really enjoyed it.

Posted by Jon at June 9, 2010 8:33 AM

Wow, reading that story sent electric shocks down my spine.

Posted by Phah at June 9, 2010 12:15 PM


Posted by j at June 9, 2010 1:50 PM

Shotgun Jimmy is fun!

Posted by Julie at June 9, 2010 10:39 PM

beautiful dan.

Posted by alain at June 14, 2010 10:35 AM

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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.

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