Monthly Archives: December 2010

Végek és kezdetek

Elolvastam a tavalyi évbúcsúztató blogbejegyzésemet. Lám-lám, mire nem jó egy ostoba internetes blog. Sok dologra nem emlékeztem 2009-ből. Valójában szinte semmire sem emlékeztem 2009-ből, ami megdöbbentő, hiszen csak történnek dolgok az emberrel 365 napon keresztül, nem? Valóban történtek.

Idén viszont felgyorsult szinte minden. Az élet amúgy is gyorsuló tendenciát mutat egy ideje (néhány éve), gyanítom, az évek múlásával gyorsul fel a minket körülvevő világ. Rádöbbenünk, hogy fiatalodni már nem fogunk, rájövünk arra, hogy elsuhannak a percek, elillannak az ujjaink között, mi pedig… mi pedig nehezen és lassan változunk, lemaradunk, lelassulunk, kapaszkodni próbálunk, de…

Persze, az élet gondoskodik. Az ellenállást úgy töri meg, hogy a legjobban fájjon. Különben miből tanulnánk?

Hatalmas pofont kapott az egóm idén. Még most is sajog az arcom, jó kérdés, mikorra dolgozom fel. Remélem, hamarosan…

Aztán… voltam Angliában kétszer is. Egyszer barátnőkkel és családdal, aztán egy kedvenc énekesem miatt. Mindkét út maradandó hatással volt rám, kőkemény egó-csata zajlott első, és második körben is. Nem tudom, hol feszültünk egymásnak jobban, a kis egó-lények… Ugyanakkor mindkét útról fantasztikus élményekkel is tértem haza. Hasznos tanításokkal.

Idén, úgy érzem, családom egyes tagjaival kezdett javulni a kapcsolatom. Csodaszép ajándékokat kaptam. Őrzöm őket a szívemben.

Szintén idén úgy döntöttünk a kedvesemmel, hogy összeházasodunk. Tíz éve ismerjük egymást. Tíz év… mintha tegnap lett volna.

Életemben először láthattam Írországot. Túlzás nélkül mondom, a leggyönyörűbb hely, ahol valaha jártam. Remélem, nem utoljára!

Láttam a “Berlin fölött az ég” című csodát. Végre. Leírhatatlanul gyönyörű. Nekem szólt…

Rájöttem, hogy a barátság nem mindig papsajt…

Sok csodálatos ember vesz körül, hálás vagyok, hogy ismerhetem őket. Felemelnek, tanítanak, segítenek, szeretnek. Régiek és újak.

Búcsút mondtam sok mindennek idén. Ahogyan az írói stílusomat (?) pallérozom, úgy vágok el olyan szálakat, melyek sehova sem vezetnek. Ragaszkodó személy vagyok, tudja rólam, aki ismer. De mindennek van határa… ezért mondtam, hogy pofozgat az élet, ahogy kell. Elköszöntem személyektől, nagyon soktól… elköszöntem kitalált szereplőimtől… félretettem történeteket, félretettem a hiúságomat, bezártam súlyos ajtókat. Csend lett. Fájó csend. De a fájdalom egyre jobban enyhül.

Idén először számomra fontos szavakat mondtak rólam számomra fontos személyek. Alázat, igen. De néha kell, hogy értékelve legyünk. Hogy tovább tudjunk lépni.

Látónál jártam, válaszokat kaptam. Micsoda válaszokat… csodálatos, ahogyan keresünk, és találunk.

Idén is megvilágosodtam. Az írás, nekem ez a minden. Nem azért, mert olyan fontos megállapításokat tennék, vagy mert írott bölcsességem nélkül bután halna meg bárki. Hanem mert rájöttem, hogy a hőn vágyott csend, a kérdezz-felelek kapcsolat az Istennel és a Világegyetemmel nálam az írás kapcsán jöhet létre. Csakis ott. Évek tapasztalata és élményei alapján bizonyossággal állíthatom ezt. Számomra az írás jelenti az imát, a meditációt.

Nem fogok hallgatni senkire. Senki bíztatása nem kell, nem kell vállveregetés, nem kell dícséret. Egyesegyedül a belső hangom véleményére kell hallgatnom. Soha többet senki kedvéért nem teszek meg semmit, amire valójában a szívem nemet mondana. Keményen hangzik, de inkább feszítsenek keresztre százszor, mint én saját magamat. Az sokkal rosszabb.

Itt vagyok 2011 küszöbén… kevesebben vannak körülöttem, mint egy éve, ennek ellenére gazdagabbnak érzem magam. Erősebbnek. Olyannak, aki tud nemet mondani. Akkor is, ha az valakinek rosszul esik. Voltam egyedül, nehéz volt, de meg kellett történnie. Nem csecsemő vagyok már, akinek a pelenkáját ki kell cserélni. A bűzt most már nekem kell elviselnem, döntéseim következményeivel nekem kell számolnom.

Nehéz év volt, harcos év volt, fájdalmas év volt.

Varázslatos év volt.

The change

Snow was just beginning to drift in transparent layers of soft minuscule flakes, immaculate dust that settled on the world as it rushed by to finish preparing for the holidays. He watched the people around him hurry to procure that last coveted gift, run home to start decorating the house, pull their children by the hand to break their spell and jerk them into a reality grown-ups have created. He had been so busy during the last month of the year that he was gratefully thinking of its end. Just one last event and he could go home to his family.

He turned away from the office window, stepped closer to the door. In the mall, the commotion was turning into havoc. He wanted to ignore the tension which was building inside him, but the whirlwind of human bodies was overwhelming. It was the last night before Christmas, the busiest day of the year everywhere. It was why they had chosen that specific day for the free concert; the more heard him, the better the sales. A small sacrifice to clear up the big picture, they told him. He wanted to remind them that their big picture was totally different from his, but exhaustion pushed him into a resigned state and the hope that once the show was over, he could be free for a blissful three weeks before the rat-race would start again.

It was time, so he stood in one place to let them arrange his hair, make-up, shirt and what not. The microphone in his hand, the songs on his tongue, it would be an easy job, quick, painless. He knew he should have felt happy: performing live meant the world to him, a way to connect with his audience. The best part of his profession. But it was late, people were tired, and so was he.

At first, hardly anyone listened but his hardcore fans. However heavy a burden they were sometimes, he was grateful they were there to cheer him on and scream. It was such a familiar setting (him singing, them screaming his name) that very soon, he mustered some of his usual bravado and the show he put on for them and himself became reality. Comfortable in his safe zone, he relied on the feelings he had always had for his old songs and tried to express those. No one wanted to know what he really felt, anyway. Not on the day of miracles. If there were to be sparkles, they would have to be told through something he had long ago left behind.

After a while, the crowd grew bigger and bigger, until the entire third floor was one giant human traffic jam. The toy shops and lingerie section would guarantee the largest audience possible, they predicted. They were right. He wondered how the cheering could get louder after each song, he tried to keep smiling and forced himself to only see the happy, shiny faces. He didn’t feel up to commiserating with anyone or patting anyone’s shoulder. Thankfully, the Christmas songs he had been given to sing were significantly lifting his own spirits and soon enough, the third floor became a large mass of exhausted, but happily partying people.

During the short break that he and the musicians took to drink some water and wipe their faces, he noticed the handful of fans gathering like patient vultures, ready to wait out everyone else. They were part of the deal and he would sign their CDs, T-shirts, whatever, he would smile and be polite and ask them questions he forgot the moment he uttered them. It was all right; they were his soft place to fall, his safety lane. He needed them as they needed him. This bitter-sweet liaison had been going on for years and years, the inescapable symbiosis between a singer and his audience. Sometimes he wished he could turn a new leaf, but the thought scared him as his actual change would have scared and disappointed millions. Perhaps a gradual change, that could be made possible. That very idea was what had kept him going for the past year or so. The hope that one day, it was all going to be different.

The respectful crowd was for some reason breaking up, there was quite some movement and there were sounds people made, voicing indignation and disgust. Security guards were approaching and by the time they got to the safety line, the reason for the commotion was standing on his own in the centre of the crowd. There was space between the young man and everyone else, people were stepping back, wrinkling their noses, yelling for security.

It was a matter of seconds before it ended but the weight of truths waiting to be grasped slowed down time, which froze with the happy blinking Christmas lights and the deafening buzz of human voices and the demanding complaints of the queasy-minded and the multitude of grimaces and in the centre of it all, the face of one single joyful person, his eyes twinkling under unruly brows and his lips creasing his skin around his toothless smile, his dirty-red coat reeking of the street. Security people were reaching for him, fingers were pointing at him and yet he was standing there like the statue of bliss on his own private island. In his eyes promises became reality, hopes became facts, future plans became the present lived without fear. His face mirrored what should have happened a long time ago. He was a reminder, an exclamation mark, the scream inside the heads of those afraid to live their destiny.

After the intruder was taken, the crowd took their time resuming their places. Squeamishly waiting for the stink of truth to dissipate, they unwittingly gave the singer time to catch his breath. He looked around like someone struck by lightning. His thoughts were running amok inside his skull, his heart was drumming over the deafening voice of pressure. He took a few steps toward the railing and leaned over to see where security people were taking the homeless man. They were at the entrance, pulling the obedient stranger after them.
The singer knew he could have run for it like some movie hero, jumped over the railing and landed without breaking his ankle, or he could have slid, carefree as a teenager, elegant like Fred Astaire. Predictably, his inner programming only allowed for the safe way, but even that seemed outrageously unlike him. When the mere thought shaped itself in his mind, freedom covered him in a sweet fragrant veil of intoxicating bliss.

‘Stop!’ he blasted into the microphone, so that every single head in the mall turned to see what caused the sound explosion. It was what he needed, there was time and space for him to adopt a light jog down the first flight of stairs, along the shops, down the second flight of stairs, across the richly decorated marble ground floor. As he approached the group of three, two security guards and one very smelly homeless person, he slowed down a little, deeply ingrained inhibitions causing him to start thinking, his reasoning making him start to feel like an idiot.

Just as his common sense was beginning to break the spell of magic, the toothless smile spread itself once again, two brown eyes narrowed into a slit and the sigh of happiness erupted in the singer’s heart. He stepped to the homeless person and locked his dirty-coated frail body in a hearty hug, the sense of liberty reducing the stink of the stranger to the acrid but welcome scent of change.

‘Merry Christmas’, he said, and stepped back.

He did not expect anything to happen. Nothing did happen, really, at least not on the outside. No one said anything, no one clapped, or cheered, or started weeping like in the movies. The security guards did take the stranger out, the door did close on him, and everything went back to normal within seconds.

But the winds of change are invisible at first: if they blew harder, there could be no progress, only destruction. Countless lives underwent a barely discernible change that day, one that shifted destinies into their proper, previously avoided course. An expensive toy placed back on its shelf or a loosened tie are hardly earth-shattering revelations, but for some people, it all starts like that. A very distinguished tie was loosened and an upbeat, easy-going singer walked up the stairs, resumed his place and started singing again.

And his changed heart went on to change the world.

Out of the blue joy: MEXICOLAS

So I’ve been wanting to write about this British indie rockband for some time now. I am such a no-know when it comes to music I had no clue they were an indie rockband. I am thirty-two going on thirty-three and I have habits that are hard to break, as well as a taste in music and films that is probably as constant as my unchanging character (for better or worse; so if you like me, fine, but it you don’t, you can give up hope that I will ever change). I like music, a wide variety of it, but lately, I have become picky. Time flies and I am not immortal. Guess I’m stingy with my days as I am with my display of emotions, save toward a choice few people that probably see it as a curse and not a blessing. Anyways, one really has to be picky these days, otherwise you get flooded by endless waves of musical regurgitations of all the generations that think they can give us something new. They can’t, but we are easy to fool anyway. I certainly am. I have no idea what good music is, or isn’t. But lately, I’ve been getting musically surprised less and less. Probably because I don’t sacrifice enough at the altar of musical arts. I am sure I’m missing out on 90% of all the great music happening out there.

Fact is, when I am musically surprised, it is bound to last. Once tamed, those foxes will stay in my yard for good.

I flew over to London a few months ago to meet up with some good friends for a Lifehouse concert. I had no prior knowledge of this band’s music, generally speaking, except a few songs I kindof liked. They play decent rock music, melodic, easy to digest, very entertaining. Years ago I would have died for this band. I was in my early twenties and rock music was not popular, in fact, there was 1 stingy hour per week on the radio dedicated to melodic rock. Of course, when something’s not widely accepted, it tends to be considered… special. I sure as hell spent hours, weeks, years of my life in a dreamworld of my own, infatuated with the overall mood and feel to melodic rock, not to mention the guy presenting that radio show. I cherish fond memories of those times. Very fond memories. But this post-rant is not about those times, it’s about how those times were unique and how, once rock music came back on the market, I suddenly fell out of love with it. It’s probably not as simple as this but the gist is certainly it. Lifehouse would have moved me to tears… back then. They have everything that reached me a decade ago: gripping lyrics, good instrumentation, catchy choruses, and very attractive musicians.

The concert was quite okay. All but a half drunk and halitosis-afflicted woman with plaster on her arm trying to push herself closer and closer to the stage, literally yelling her way through. Once I decided to let her go before me, I was finally able to relinquish my sick stomach and enjoy the music.

I probably would have enjoyed the music a whole lot more if the warm-up band had not been so frickin’ amazing. But they were.

I have had great experiences with warm-up bands before. Tori Amos, awesome as she is, introduced us to Ben Christophers and Joshua Radin, both musicians on our shelf by now, two amazing performers/songwriters on their own. There were probably more that i saw and unexpectedly fell for but I can’t remember them right now. In any case, for the above reasons I am always open-minded and expectant about warm-up musicians. One never knows what treasure they might stumble upon. I tried to tell this to my friends who are (all three of them with me that day) fans of Lifehouse. They were eager and impatient to get to the main course. Never mind the hors-d’oeuvre, bring on the meat. Well, I am not big on meat these days, I do eat meat often but in very small portions. So I was indeed looking forward to some nice salad, spicy with a healthy dressing, fresh, crunchy, delicious.

I sure as hell got it. It was the best salad I have had, compliments of the house, for a very long time.

Three young guys entered the stage in jeans and T-shirts and after a brief introduction, started playing their two guitars and drums. Halfway through the first song I was already enjoying myself. It was rock music and it was very easy on my ears. It was not reminiscent of old times’ rock, it was not cheesy or fluffy, and before I could tell my eyes to stop, I was watching the lead vocalist’s, well, face or whatever was visible behind his microphone. And he had this great voice. He had this amazing voice, he was playing with it, he could sing highs to die for and his face really followed the notes. He lived his music. I tried to figure out what age he could be, I thought he was in his twenties. That kind of fresh-sounding, healthy rock music with the right amount of depth to it could only be made by one of the thousands of rockbands in their teens or twenties prospering today. It sounded very up-to-date and yet, conservatively structured. To put it bluntly, my heartstrings were being tugged at, big time. My friends were starting to admit the band was good, by that time I was probably more into the lead vocalist than I would have liked to be. So what if I fell for him, a little? It’s part of the whole… performer-audience exchange thing. If you don’t fall in love with the artist, something’s gone wrong. They need to have you under their spell, it’s their shamanic power, the persuasion they use to alter your state of mind, and hopefully, state of heart. I won’t beat around the bush: I was easy game. I loved the music, and I loved the guy’s voice, and I loved the way these three young lads played their music. It was unassuming and honest, very raw and yet, tender. I was experiencing emotions. Lots of them. And if I hadn’t, I would’ve, because this… this out-of-the-world moment happened.

I was unsuspectingly enjoying the view and my heart was beating in synch with the drums, when the singer either noticed me looking at him, or simply noticed me above the crowd. I am a tall person, probably easy to spot. We were quite close to the stage. As a woman, I have suffered from the curse of being tall forever, but this time, I would not have traded my almost 6 feet for anything. I was noticed and my eyes were locked into by a pair of dark, intelligent eyes. I was so shocked I forgot to think or follow the lyrics or anything. I felt nothing, really, nothing romantic, I just kept looking at him and he kept looking at me and it was a good several seconds that would usually make for a dozen pages, if I was a good writer. (I have been trying to remember what lyrics he was singing when it happened. The shock was so intense I forgot everything.) The only thing that went through my mind was this uncanny sense of union between two human beings who for a very brief time, a very limited and finite time feel each other. (Later, I have been told that today’s music-makers create these moments to make people buy their albums by alluring them. It’s a theory all right.) If you think my judgement was clouded after this exchange of unspoken thoughts- you’re probably right. I was allured into absolutely falling for this band, head over heels. I was even allured into buying their two albums. I am not for a moment sorry I bought them; The Minerva Suite (2010) is simply brilliant. Great rock songs spiced with commercial trendy pop make the album a very good listen. Jamie, the creative spirit behind the band (and very much in his thirties, Hallelujah!) would probably despise me for hearing this but like I said, I am no music expert. I only know what I like and I promise I loved the music before you stared at me, J. My friends can attest to that. All three of them.

I wish I could give a song-by-song review of the album but I have no knowledge of music and it would sound like a fan’s rave, which would be fine, but it might not be enough. I really wish I could tell people they should give this album a chance. The lyrics are often challenging, but not so much as to discourage any rock-fan from loving the songs. I seriously love the raw tenderness of the words, as well as of the music. (And I was tickled pink when I read that Jamie himself described his music the same way in a brilliant interview found here: http://www.mudkiss.com/mexicolas.htm) I don’t know what else to say, really… I adore the voice of this very married (thank God for that because he is one serious eye-candy and becomes embarrassed when being told so, God bless him), and very down-to-earth guy whose ancestors were a musical people and who is sincerely trying to make good music, make it accessible but not overly accessible. I love the fact that there are still honest, modest and simple artists out there who try to make a decent living out of decent stuff, nothing over-the-top, just pure, simple, savoury stuff. There’s nothing wrong with being available for the masses, as long as you’re setting a good example, as long as you’re giving them wholesome food for thought. Not pre-digested, not completely raw, but just rightly cooked.

I am silently hoping the band will get a very well-deserved break and they will start touring on their own. I will keep my eyes and ears open for future events for sure.

I say, always be true to yourself, Jamie, and you’ll be fine.

And I just found this, a HQ video of a song that I heard there for the first time and I am not ashamed to say it brought me to tears. “Times infinity”.