Thursday, 6 August 2015

#AMREADING TEJU COLE. Sight-seeing in New York and Brussels.

  • WAKING UP. I couldn’t remember where I was. A warm bed, darkness, the sound of traffic…I floated in the dark, anonymous to myself, lost in the sensation that the world existed but I was no longer part of it.
  • LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW. I watched the birds like someone taking auspices… Geese with their dark wings and throats, their pale bodies and tireless little hearts, really did exist. So amazed was I by them that I couldn’t trust my memory when they weren’t there.
  • TOWER RECORDS CLOSING DOWN. Men were going through the CD bins with the patience of grazing animals…Music was playing on the store’s speakers. It spoiled the pleasure of thinking about other music. Record shops, I felt, should be silent spaces.
  • OVERINTERPRETING. I suspect there was a mood in society that pushed people more toward snap judgments and unexamined opinions, an anti-scientific mood, an inability to assess evidence. This made brisk business for those whose specialty was in the promising of immediate solutions: politicians and priests of the various religions.
  • LISTENING TO MAHLER. He made himself a master of the ends of symphonies, the end of a body of work, and the end of his own life…Through the force of his will, he became the genius of prolonged farewells.
  • OPEN CITY. Brussels escaped the devastation of WWII. Surrender of course played a role in this form of survival, as did negotiations with invading powers. Had Brussels’ rulers not opted to declare it an open city and thereby except it from bombardment…it might have been reduced to rubble like Dresden. Or Hiroshima.
(Source: Teju Cole, Open City)

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