Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Randomly Depressed

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Recently I decided to try the iPod’s Shuffle All mode after all. Generally I’m not a big friend of shuffling but with most journeys in this tiny town only taking a few minutes, carefullly thinking about which song to hear and navigating through the iPod’s lightyear-length lists can easily take longer than the journey itself. Thus shuffle mode comes handy when I can’t make up my mind. And it brought me across a number of songs I had forgotten again or never really noticed. Today I found a real winner: Losing Haringey off The Clientele’s Strange Geometry album. Not only do these people use mathematical words like Geometry and infinitesimally without hesitation, but they do so with the right attitude of depression.

In those days there was a kind of feeling of pushing out of the front door, into the pale exhaust fumed park by broad water pond with the grubby road that eventually leads to end field. Turkish supermarkets after chicken restaurant after spare parts shop – everything in my life felt like it was coming to a mysterious close. I could hardly walk to the end of the street without feeling there was no way to go except back. The dates I had that summer count to nothing, my job was a dead end and the rent cheque was killing me a little more each month. It seemed unlikely that anything could hold much longer. The only question left to ask, was what would happen after everything familiar collapsed. But for now the sun was stretched between me and that moment. It was ferociously hot and the air quality became so bad that by the evening the noise of nearby trains stuttered in and fits and storks, distorted through the shifting end. As I lay in my room I could hear my neighbours discussing the world cup and opening beers in their gardens. On the other side someone was singing an Arabic prayer through the thin wall. I had no money for the pub so I decided to go for a walk. I found myself wandering aimlessly to the West, past the terrace of chip and kebap shops and long dreads near the tube station. I crossed the street and headed into virgin territory. I had never been this way before. Gravel-dashed houses alternated with square 60s offices and the white pavements angulated with cracks and litter. I walked in wall because there was nothing else for me to do and by the breeze the light began to fade. The mouth of an avenue led me to the verge of a long greasy A road that rose up in the far distance with symmetrical terraces falling steeply down and up again from a distant railway station. There were four benches to my right interspersed with those strange bushes that grow in the area. These blossoms are so pale yellow they seem translucent almost spectral. And suddenly tired, I sat down. I held my head in my hands, feeling like shit but a sudden breeze escaped from the terraces and for a moment I lost my thoughts and its unexpected glooms. I looked up and I realised I was sitting in a photograph. I remember clearly this photograph was taken by my mother in 1982 outside our front garden in Hampshire, it was slightly underexposed. I was still sitting on the bench but the colours and the plains of the road and the horizon had become the photo. But I looked hard and I could see the lines of the window ledge in the original photograph were now composed by a tree branch and a silhouetted edge of a grass barge, the sheen of the flash on the window was replicated by gunfire smoke drifting infinitesimally slowly from behind the fence. My sister’s face had been dimly visible behind the window and yes, there were pale stars far off to the west that traced out the lines of a toddlers eyes and mouth. When I look back at this there’s nothing to grasp, no starting point, I was inside an underexposed photo from 1982 but I was also sitting on a bench in Haringey. Strangest of all was the feeling of 1982ness, dizzy illogical as if none of the intervening disasters and wrong turns had happened yet. I felt guilty and inconsolably sad. I felt the instinctive tug back, to school; the memory of shopping malls, cooking, driving in my mother’s car, all gone, gone forever. I just sat there for a while, I was so tired that I didn’t bother trying to work out what was going on. I was happy just to sit in the photo while it lasted which wasn’t for long anyway. The light faded, the wind caught the smoke, the stars dimmed under the glare of the streetlamps. I got up and walked away from the spot of little benches and an oncoming of gang of kids. A bus was rumbling to my rescue down that hill with a great big fire Alexandra Palace on its front and I realized I did want to drink after all.

The Clientele – Losing Haringey

Now that was depression in London. Remove all the interesting bits and I welcome you to Göttingen. [Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

December 3, 2005, 2:25

Tagged as music.

Comments

Comment by Buzz Andersen: User icon

I love that song. Thanks for transcribing it!

December 3, 2005, 2:49

Comment by ssp: User icon

Let’s say the credit doesn’t really go to me. I nicked the lyrics off the web and tried to correct the most obvious typos.

December 3, 2005, 12:10

Comment by Sealy: User icon

A few corrections!

“Chicken and bomb shops” = “Chip and Kebab shops”

“grabble Dutch” = “gravel-dashed”

December 3, 2005, 18:48

Comment by ssp: User icon

Thanks a lot. I fixed those.

December 3, 2005, 22:04

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