See, A Drowning Horse
there's isis in the other room. it's just on telly tho so it's only making me feel sick, not actually spew. the thing is, you'd only dream about living in a paradise with palaces and virgins and horses made of gold and rubies if your own life sucks. everyone knows that. you couldn't live like we do, like kings, poaching eggs to our hearts' content, paddling on the river at dawn with sam kuzich before he goes on a world tour with hip hop guy taku to play drums and record videos in the back of the tour bus on the way to the shows, going to 208s on a saturday night to watch drowning horse. the only reason none of us are blowing each other up is that we already live in paradise. shit things happen, sometimes a body floats up in the river in a bag, sometimes our friends overdose or kill themselves, but we're not all just there for the picking in a ten minute internet conversation that could swing us over to want to blow up and shoot up everyone in a fifty metre radius, and then blow up our own selves thinking the palace awaits.
i didn't know how to write about drowning horse, but a real guy was making tea and said, "that's eeeeasy for you! just write about how sick it was!" so yeah, the show was sick, but isis is in the other room.
surely there's a way to channel the despair that people feel. loneliness, the shit end of the racism stick - that's the end where you get jabbed by it every day, instead of wielding it, or just looking at it from a distance. the stick of expectation of your parents and community, all telling you to think a certain way, be a certain way, understand g-o-d in a very certain and specific way. then someone comes along and tells you ideas that take it all up a notch, a hundred notches, and you're touching yourself at night (even though that's forbidden) thinking about all the women waiting for you in that fucking palace. the telly show in the other room on isis isn't covering this, but i know it's in there behind the scenes.
i was thinking this week about how in high school i used to think they should just power whole towns with the sexual energy of teenagers. i felt my own randiness could power a city. then i wondered as well if my thirst for justice could power a city too. i wanted to ask the directors of revelation film festival films, who we were interviewing at a talk show this week, whether they thought sex/love or justice were the greater motivators for characters - and by characters i mean you and me and young muslim men in shitty france - to take on the plot trajectories and move them in a new direction. anyway, when you don't have constant opportunities for space and the exploration of friendship and romance, i guess you either learn to hate or someone gives you a drum kit and you work things out that way. what is paradise? it's where you don't have to dream of horses made of rubies and gold.
well, the show was sick. the rain was coming down so heavy as we caught the train all the way from fremantle to maylands, almost the longest ride possible, my head leaning on the shoulder of a real guy, both of us excited to see the band for some reason, even though i thought he mainly listens to footwork and i mainly listen to birds from as far away as possible. but we both really really wanted to see drowning horse. i have my memory of them playing at the bakery still, or to be more specific, the memory of the visions i had while they were playing there, of a subterranean forest that inked itself into my dream mind.
it was a different crowd than i'm used to for shows. and they seemed shinier because they were new to my eyes. i felt like everyone was friendlier than the people usually surrounding me at shows, all dressed head to toe in black and with skulls and maggots and blood and 666s and pentagrams on their shirts. i looked into one guys eyes who seemed the only person to be afraid of, tried to see if the 666 had entered too far into his consciousness, but really everyone seemed so intensely nice as their shirts oozed blood and they razzed each other and the setting up band. "this is a safe space!" was yelled several times to knock back a razzing and other classic lines whose ink hasn't lasted in my brain but made me laugh at the time.
two of the guys in drowning horse were from albany and so my land pride arked up and we talked about the homelands and our respective turns at being filmed for RTR. the generous surprise of people being interested in your music when you wouldn't expect it often goes both ways.
they finally started playing and i went straight to the eyes closed place, just opening the lids every now and then to see not much - a big not much - a room full of red smoke and bodies moving together. the sound and the bodily movements could have been too much, i was right up by the enormous bass amp stack, i was right amongst the people who might have pushed me over and trampled me, but unlike the shows where there's less reason for things to be too loud and too violent, everything that happened seemed in balance with what should. there's something better about music that's meant to be loud being loud. the deep drone of all of this, the constant cymbals, the bass amp stack heavier than maybe 15 of me, all was just as it should be. this was real music, and as they played i remembered emlyn saying a few nights before while watching doctopus, "ah i think this is the best band in perth", and thinking how it could be true, except the best band are drowning horse. this is what happens when music is amazing, i think "no-one could play after this and sound other than not good enough". the strength of all of it, the mass of all of it, the frequencies and screaming, moving in a healing way through my body, all of it meant "no-one could play after this." it seemed like maybe 3 or 5 minutes later that there was a lull and everyone started clapping. i wasn't sure what was going on because i never remembered drowning horse playing 'songs' where you can tell exactly the start and finish, and then it darkly dawned on me that that was the end. "what? that's the end? they only played for 3 minutes", i told the real guy. he explained it had been about half an hour, but i had honestly been completely time warped by this music, which disappointed and excited me at the same time.
this is something big, to time warp people as you play, to get people to travel from fremantle to maylands on the rainiest night. i was thinking as i always do now at shows that it's pretty unlikely someone will come in with a gun and just start shooting, but that it's possible. that worm has entered my brain and just lives in their now, seeded in by the isis boys, the NRA, the international media, the collective subconscious from across the globe.
on the way home, this time with my shoulder being rested upon, there were three young guys sitting across from us who had black crosses on their wrists too, meaning they'd been there in the red fog room as well. they were very cute, a tall one slouching down so his head was in line with his friends' heads, one with cartoon spectacles and computer science hair, one thin one with boots talking about which language was easiest for english speakers to learn as a second language. they were razzing one about liking a girl who works at zambreros. one was saying how obsessed he was in high school with the album pinkerton by weezer, so i started humming songs from it to subconsciously affirm his taste and razz him too. they were so nice, these three young men in their post drowning horse paradise, us on the other side of the train, one sleeping real guy, one creepy observing bird listener. none of us getting ready for حرب war, all of us having seen enough dark horses not to have to dream of them in the afterlife.