by Emma
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.


A nice idea

Sam Cooke - Good Times
The Persuasions - Good Times
Jamie Xx - Good Times (feat. Young Thug & Popcaan)

You bought it because of a cute girl at a party. This was a few years ago, right after you moved back to the city - you found yourself in a corner at someone's birthday whatever, talking to this person you'd never meet again about her PhD in neuroscience. She'd been studying the different ways a person could change their brain's chemistry without pills, she told you - how all the methods stack up against each other, where your sadness comes from, how to build up your walls. Exercise, she said, looking at you in a way that made you feel far too seen. The second you feel that gear shift from season to season, just start running. It helps everything.

The last time you'd bought a pair of sneakers was in high school, when you'd cry period cramps every other gym class and then sneak off in your shorts to smoke weed alone out by the loading dock. Exercise! You picked at your beer label, grasped for anything that wasn't that memory. What about... those lamps?, you asked, you idiot.

Of course nothing. Those ones you sit in front of? That are supposed to act like sunlight. Or whatever.

Oh yeah, she said. Like, SAD lamps? shrugging, draining her beer, checking her phone, not even giving you the chance to go there's absolutely no fucking way that's what they're called.

But so then just like that there's you, shotgun in your dad's Jetta at 11 on a Wednesday morning, headed to some Craigslist hoarder's Mississauga bungalow because "UPLIFT BRAND S.A.D. LAMP $65 OBO, STILL IN BOX." The house smells like cat pee and old carpet and the guy tries to charge you an extra $5 you do not have on you. Your dad idles in the car outside; those high school sneakers are stuffed in a box in a bag under your bed, untouched and ticking.

You get it back to your place, maneuver it onto the kitchen table, and: this thing does not fuck around. "UPLIFT," yes, stamped across the box plus a huge unpeelable sticker on the back. Not heavy but cumbersome; cartoon-briefcase-oversized, complete with a handle at the top in case you want to take it to work with you every morning I guess? But the most surprising thing about it is the light - even though, like, duh. You press the switch and the room just floods; clear-June-a.m.-with-a-hangover light, everywhere. You and your boyfriend just stand there in front of it like the 2001 monkeys, gaping as it gently x-rays you.

And then for years you just, like, have it. That winter, every morning after he leaves for work, you slump in its glow and stir your cereal; at first you turn it off after the half-hour the instructions recommend, but eventually, fuck it, you just leave it on and let it light the room while you sit all hunched over on the couch, doing your weird scammy from-home writing job.

Soon you'll have parties in the dead of winter where your friends come over and gaze into its cornea-scorching glow, drink beers before it, try to see if they can register a change. Soon you'll start moving it from room to room (that's what the handle's for!), and then, after the breakup, from apartment to apartment. When people come over and see it in the corner of your new bedroom they'll ask, and then when you tell them they'll want to know if it works. And you can say whatever you want, but the actual truth is that you have no clue, that you've been sounding out the different notes in this question for years but have come no closer to figuring it out, if anything are probably further and further away each time. Is sadness made inside or outside the body? What do you need to get the levels right? Still, though, you keep it on your desk just in case, because who knows? It might work or it might not but it's a witness. A nice idea. It glows.

[Buy Portrait of a Legend / Street Corner Symphony / In Color]

Posted by Emma at October 12, 2015 12:06 AM

What auspicious timing! I might hold off on that SAD lamp and listen to that Pina Colada song a few more times.

Posted by Kate at October 12, 2015 8:20 PM

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This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

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"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
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.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
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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CKUT Music
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The Clear-Minded Creative
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my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
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