How can people like reggae? Isn’t it all the same? When is it reggae and when is it Nyabhingi? When are you Glitching and not Dubsteppin’? How to tell yer Illbient from yer Psybient? It’s the detail, innit? It’s the joy of diminution. You gotta go right in, zoom down to the weenyness, and like a culture under a microscope, you start noticing the little things. I might jackboot around claiming to be a wild eyed poet rock genius, but really, I go to work. On the train. Every day. Same train. Same spot. Wind whistles up from the Dandys and there I am. Set your watch by me. Just there – equidistant between two poles in the platform fence. Means I get in first. Get to sit on the same seat. Nobody I know. Fantastic. I don’t want to talk, I want to feel my fingers thaw, listen to something good, watch, observe the tiny details, see the same faces, imagine their lives, go with them briefly, an angel on their shoulder, keep them from harm. Or wonder how you could get around in shoes like that. The ones that have that lip-curl square-pointy jutting thing, curving up like the slippers on that guy in the bugs bunny cartoon who goes: duh.. open succotash…?
My train passes through the same scenery. Love that repetition. What did Mark E. Smith say? Repetition repetition repetition repetition. That’s form and content in one, that is. The history of rock in four words. Then I’m coughed out with the crowds, onto the chilly platform. You can spot me. I’m the guy who walks in the opposite direction to everyone else. Three blocks later I see the same guy every morning, pulling on a cigarette, presumably outside his building, where he’s been, obviously for enough time to have a smoke, while I wind my way towards him. Yet we were sitting on the same carriage. It’s like I went back in time. He goes the short way and has a cigarette. I go the long way and go back in time. I’m in love. I love the subway tunnel. The same shit busker, whose whining folkie deconstruction of songs that weren’t any good in the first place blanchmanges with what’s playing in my ears and makes him sound hilariously discordant.
I love the subterranean walk like I am doing it for the first time. I love it as I emerge into steam and smog and drops of dirty rain from the awnings of Degraves Street. And then it’s Centre Way, and I’m in love like I’m some Hogwarts ingenue in Diagon Alley. I’m 10 and off to a trip to the city with my sister, the first time without my parents, the rain is starting to infect my shoes and I’m about to buy A Nod Is As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse by The Faces and remember the day forever and remember it every time I walk through Centre Way, and Port Phillip Arcade, and past the stairs down which Missing Link records once beckoned me into a whole new world, a world you couldn’t get at Fosdikes Records in Springvale Road.
Fuck this shit is self indulgent. I’m going to stop now.
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