Saturday, 30 April 2011

Tales From the Down Under: #21- Two of a Kind

Studying Children’s Literature and reading several likeminded young adolescent fictions these days remind me of tireless repetition, which is believed to be a significant technique widely used in those books. I never really like repetition, nor assume it dreadfully dull, for with the evocation of both rather wicked-looking twins in Diane Arbus’ picture and The Shining, an odd feeling of grotesquerie creeps up behind my back. Yes, it is certainly the image of two identical selves that really scares me, for whom are you going to fight off first?

Nevertheless, the benefit of employing repetition in children books is psychologically affirmed. It is generally believed that there is no better way of memorizing things promptly and effectually than having a nagging one dinning them like rambles into your ears. Therefore, with children books once grasping the template of plots in the first chapter, the other ones are just another flip of the coin. I reckon the complacent predictability of those stories as something rather heart-tugging, since at the back of my mind a sheriff is constantly warning me from taking the fact for granted lest some abrupt change or cliffhanger did come in the way.

I’m not so sure whether the aforesaid quasi-interpretation can be also applied to music. Repetition has been held as a cult especially by popsters, who are notorious for repeating the chorus part like how those quack cafes love to pour treacle on their suet puddings. There are some rare ones that actually manage to make repetition impressive: the opening song in Syd Barrett’s The Madcap Laughs, “Terrapin,” sounds unbelievably longer than its five-minutes or so length, but the illusion is accepted admiringly, as well as the repetition, which actually blends into a blurry echo when listening half-consciously.

Claiming to be one who helplessly has a low boredom threshold, I dislike things that eventually wind up in a tiresome prolix and sift through songs that are over five minutes long. When listening to Marc Bolan in Tyrannosaurus Rex I almost sensed his impatience of extending a song thus making it as short and brisk as possible, but his later band, T.Rex put all my misconceptions to bed. The song “Spaceball Ricochet,” like “Terrapin,” runs the gamut illusorily longer than its veritable length, and once you think Marc Bolan is finally maundering the final note, there the song spins off again from the start. The repetition in “Spaceball Ricochet” leaves a nostalgic stamp in my heart.

Reverberation comes the closest of being the synonym of repetition but in a more refined form. Being a linchpin between an audible sound and an echo, I’ve always delineated it as “the wings on the sound”, if the sound did abstractly carry and fly. Anything that grows wings will not only set free from your fettered state, but when intractably, flying you up to the very apogee of sky where some only be freighted before finding faults with the untimliness. That is why I slink from reverb most of the time, for the invocation of a heavenly enlightenment is somewhat too much for me.

It is an ideal for me to still stick to short-lengthened songs, especially the most beautiful part which I will summon it to appear only once or at most twice. It is human beings’ natural inclination to repeat the song again and again when they never come close to savour the fruitful portion. Who says it is an anticlimax, if insatiability drives people to do the repetition?

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Tales From the Down Under: #20- Peep Show

When being asked about the drawbacks of her budding career, Diane Arbus revealed a rather unsettling facet of her job as a photographer to get almost perversely intimate with the people in her shots. Having the reluctance to intrude upon others’ personal lives is just a euphemism for snooping too closely around them. An impish peep show turns into a grotesque freak show eventually, hence the harrowing effect of how Arbus’ works present. Both Rear Window and Blowup tackle the unexpected outcome of an initially random peeping. The antics in the movies are ubiquitously replicated still now, that whenever a curious george peeps, it is merely and ultimately a highly-entertaining murder he will seek out.

The abode I’m currently staying in offers a grand view which is fortunately not plagued by any buildings flanking by or protruding in front. For Monet he would probably look beyond to the infinity of the sky and marvel at its subtle vicissitudes; Munch, on the other hand, transfix his eyes on the ant-like hordes of fleshes lining up beside the bus stop and if this vignette was yet to impress his subnormal appetite, several wonders his imagination drew would add embellishments to the view. There is really nothing for me to peep about from where I’m standing. The view of Auckland seems bland, even dreadfully bland when washed over by inclemency.

I’ve done no peeping back home either, although the place is certainly a hub for the voyeurs. I owe it most to the ineluctable problem of the thinning of curiosity and human interaction when distance is no longer a hamper. I’m pretty sure that from the window in our kitchen an old man can be seen sitting on a chair casting before him a constant gaze. His immobility surprisingly does not serve as a fodder to my inquisitive eyes. His statuesque presence only reminds me of some illustration with a girl writing letters under a dim light. Yes, as it turns out that the dim light encompassing the old man is the one I only care about.

I read somewhere that someone claims the eye contact is the one that spawns the most intriguing communion and the safest lovemaking. A Greek tale I heard which still remains my favorite romance of all time: the tale of Achilles killing Penthesilea on the spot of falling in love with her through a mere mutual glance. I’m sceptical of the hackneyed theory of a love-hate relationship but a transportation from hate to love, I half-believe. Various folklores teach us a lot about that, of how destroying your enemy will inevitably lead to the consequence of your own perishment. Two of you burn together in a burning fire of passion, dusts and phoenix you will either become.

Another problem with the predilection of peeping is that the object of the peeper’s fixation always wears off its ostensible glamours in dribs and drabs. Too close inspection causes the mutilation to the object of your initially seething affection. It is often at that time you start to ponder about whether human beings are really all made by clay.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Tales From the Down Under: #19- Getting Lost

I conclude the incident that evokes my greatest bewilderment is getting lost. Lost not in an utterly unfamiliar land but a familiar labyrinthe where all paths lead to the same starting point. It is like tracing your way out in the lines of God’s palm which proves indisputably futile the attempt. Several synonymous experiences I’ve had, much to the general disbelief, stamp on my nightmarish horror.

Few of the many trips to Singapore consist collisions with festival days. I slink from overwhelming hubbubs so any authentic festivities are stranger to us. However once after a gorged supper on greasy Thai culinary, I raised an uneventful suggestion of taking a walk around the vicinities. My curiosity of nightlife was then still in its embryonic and most fermenting stage, and a further suggestion was made of ambling to the harbor through the festive crowd. An outrageous stomachache ensued when my family and I were obscured and almost swallowed by a looming mob of people. Witnessing lines of streams of people flooding to me, through me only psychologically or physically intensified the ache. Such experience shouldn’t be lingered upon too closely on the description. I eventually went back to my hotel safely and made a beeline to the toilet punctually before any disaster ensued, I will sum up my story thus. The incident though left two indelible marks in my principal thinking: whenever there is a razzle-dazzle happening my first instinct is to shun it; whenever traveling to an unknown place I always want to ensure that hygienic toilets are at my disposal.

It wasn’t until years later when seeing a scene in Rosemary’s Baby with multiple naked bodies approaching the protagonist half-consciously did the aforesaid incident was again dredged up. After hindsight, I did recall the place almost with dismay that it was actually not far away from my hotel. The roads muddied with exuberant festival-goers played a crucial role of debilitating my sense of direction and common geography. Certainly should some short cuts be discovered and considered I could get back to the hotel before any waves of intense cramps hitting relentlessly my stomach. Nevertheless, how could those short cuts be executed if they were more or less already preoccupied with numerous noisy fleshes? It was only once in my life that I wanted to trample all those people ruthlessly, stride through their heads without mercy.

When, a few months before, writing on my assignment about the theory of uncanniness, I stumbled upon a chapter considering the same issue on Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams. Freud’s intricacies of mind eluded me and I could hardly understand what he was writing about, but through some glances I assumed he did mention how most people are haunted by the memories of getting lost in the most familiar place with the most unfamiliar experience.

When a chamber of horror is unwisely opened, there are still a lot to write about, but that person who first stated the belief of writing out to exorcise your inner monster- he/she is categorically a nitwit, since the monstrosity is only getting more formidable.

Tales From the Down Under: #18- Maddening

Ever since relocating in Auckland to complete my university education, life has become more or less pseudo-vagabond. The whole year can be chopped into numerous portions, with me traveling tirelessly between Taiwan and New Zealand, neither of the two places in which I spend for a considerable period. A change of pace is essential but a change of ‘accelerated’ pace might appear overwhelming. Thankfully I do not have any glaring symptoms of disorientation.

It is overtly pretentious for some to divine their ceaseless traveling as a cause leading to a subliminal consequence of ‘calling every place home,’ which is equivalent to ‘calling nowhere home.’ And a prolix of how they find their vagabond lives dreadfully lonely and inconceivable for human beings is expected to follow thus. As the intensity of my traveling increases, the first thing I perceived was how everyone seemed sulkily lonely or mad. Yes the whole world seems to be pervaded with extreme madness. I feel peculiar and dull of being one of the rare ordinary ones.

When I was still in my elementary years I once went on a camping trip with a horde of giggly brownies. I must be so obedient by then, for a trifle cold was nagging my throat. A mother of one of the brownies’ who were accompanying her daughter on the trip and was promptly appointed by my mother to watch over whether I partake my daily intake of medicine. I dreaded the bitter aftertaste of my pills so I flushed them down the toilet. My supervisor found out eventually and told my mom. Nothing happened in the end, since when I returned I was utterly recovered so pills were in no necessity then. How the world has changed since these days the mothers are the ones who drop the pills vehemently into the toilet and the children will still doggedly dredge them up and surreptitiously savor the ecstasy.

I picture a maddening world like a tumbling roll. Everything toils over in such revs that nobody cares to stop and mulls over his footprints or the next steps. People rally with each other for unnameable cause, I rally with nature for can never rally with anybody.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Tales from the Down Under: #17- Fag-Ends of the World

I’ve always aimed to be a nice girl, or I’ve being brought up to be one. It was transparent recently that I was gradually derailing from the justly road onto which a nice girl duly treads. Being in a certain character is not something that is delineated or suggestive, but rather an empirical awareness manifests in that person’s temperament. I sketched in my head surreptitiously the world I map out with which came intuitively one without boundaries or disciplines. I’m still holding the dogged belief that nothing can be explained by anything.

It sounds prematurely maddening but I used to keep in my mind that everything I’d done was done for the sheer effort of striving to be a paragon to my children, if I did have one in the future and I’m sure I will have no matter what. However, the ideal starts to fragment when I’m having troubles impressing my parents. I may be pleasantly malleable but am sure can never be shoehorn into the mould my parents idealized. That was the time when I was alarmed of being deviated to rebellion.

Thankfully my rebellious acts are far from the generalization of one’s warped inclinations to delinquencies. My rebellion is a rather simmering one, bumping my chest intermittently and inducing anger on the most unlikely moments. Anger of failing to assert myself; anger of letting down everybody. It is often at that time when I ponder about what kind of parent I might be in the future, and I see a horrible one.

Courage and fear should really strike up as a couple, a tumultuous relationship they are sharing nonetheless, gnawing their ravishing love. Courage is plucked up only before wearing off by fear. Fear is prolifically accumulated when courage batters down the barrier and eventually batters the fear down also. Nevertheless their mutual love is genuine, notwithstanding the usual display of two anxious to bite each other’s head off. Why every time two clandestinely attached entities are meeting with fight only before leaving in flight? Some say we only dodge from what truly scares us.

I always affirm my courage to be the kind of person I want to be but fear intercepts annoyingly from time to time, bombarding the rite of a person I should have been. When a show ends and the curtain folds, it is no longer important if one could also get any applauds downstage, but whether there is a bolthole to dig in, to hole up and muffle the sighs, the complaints, the tears, the weariness and everything.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Tales from the Down Under: #16- The Haunted House

Categorically I dislike melodramatics. People devote to melodramatics to perfect their creation. The purposefully-furrowed faces some adopt when boasting about the piquancy of a severely-tragic story which influences their creation. The faces that are teemed with wrinkles and creases, on they put an unworldly veil. If I happened to be an ant I would take refuge in one of those crisscross lines and guarantee the longevity of my inhabitation.

I used to hold the receiver conventionally like how everybody holds, but now I have the natural inclination of holding it lateral, does that make me admirably histrionic? Vacillation is the commonest and dreariest symptom of a young adult who is trying too hard to assert himself. I’ve been vacillating like a tumbling ocean whose tides are already fizzled with cloying foams. The result is a doubtlessly exhausted body causes by constant rotundity. Headaches also occur occasionally.

But my soul is never exhausted. It is generally believed that vacillation spawns a creative mind. Resembling to a form of a spiral, when a person vacillates all her spirits swirl around the body with a red-and-golden hue that almost makes that person statuesque of a goddess. Presumably that is why people coveting for vacillation before worshipping creativity. They believe creation is something that can be put behind a glass cabinet, or on the mantelpiece flanked by your grandpa’s photo frame and your father’s gong. Creation is something that is best exhibited and admired by all the dropping jaws.

It is not too warped to suggest that searching for inspirations or gleaning materials is like cohabitating with strangers you stalk on the street. It is double-edged, hence the unrevealing dangerous side. Some stories or people you stumble upon like when stumbling upon a haunted house on a most wholesome jaunt. You peek inside. You judge the interior and the exterior. You purse your lips like a detective and decide to cast this haunted house into your story. Then a man with disguise ambushing in a corner you fail to inspect. He almost prances to you and confronts you with some weapon of not telling anyone of this house and this incident.

You then escape unwound and for your friends, most normally unruffled but who knows you are truthfully unruffled? Something does happen in that house and oh my, what a great actor you are concealing your bewilderment. And what happens between you and that mysterious man? How he let you walk away if he is so dogged about keeping the house a secret? How a mutual agreement is made that you’re be able to go scot-free?

A story or how some still insist, a “creation,” is therefore born. Hopefully the readers will find the answers to all their suspicions and if not, they still possess the irresistible joy of reading the story or, more perversively, fabricating their own story of the protagonist’s harrowing yet enchanting chance encounter with a haunted house and an unidentified man.

How will the readers say if they found out something much contrary to their na├»ve fabrication? They close the book impulsively before throwing them out and say, “It’s warped!” I ceased to be that inspector or protagonist when the aforesaid staged in my head. I hold the firm belief that life is itself a contested battlefield and nothing can be easily disciplined by any of your high-minded aphorism. I became eventually, that haunted house, with which normally you know absolutely nothing about.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Tales from the Down Under: #15- Stagnancy

For days the odd feeling of a defunct mind is acute. All the fuelling motivation of undertaking some constructive task is nipped in the bud when all the words and ideas are suspended in a hackneyed chaos. Therefore I've sit and waited for the moment, the moment which some will divine as a slip of a thought across the mind, to come.

I made it a goal of writing some proper songs this holiday but have yet to land in any presentable works. There are only snippets of songs which sound no smarter than nursery-rhymes, crop up uneventfully with distorted notes. Listening to those dreadful demos disgorged everything from my head into a notorious hole. A hodgepodge of anger and befuddlement tumbled in my stomach.

I dislike the self-glorification of writing kooky songs only due to one's futility of producing beautiful if not coherent notes. It's the sublime excuse for those dogs in the manger. My stupidity of following the masters of Syd Barrett, Donovan, Marc Bolan and Jim Morrison only make them more far-fetched and cultish.

Every time I am eager of doing something, I blame my belated decision of doing it, and subsequently forms a vicious circle of constant complaints and stagnancy. It is the exact bafflement of standing in a kitchen while neither the food nor the equipment is ample.

I therefore fancy a world without order or the time grinds to a halt every time I will it. I fancy an unchartered territory.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Tales From the Down Under: #14- Hounding

I deem that everybody is at least a monomania. Life will be lifeless if without a fixation. Some high-minded bigwig might dismiss fixation as the snag of the road to success, but they are too indifferent to calculate the impossibility without it. Those who are dogged about relinquishing fixations are the ones who sit in the pitch-dark. Sheer darkness they can only witness and hallucination comes imminently afterward. Sheer hallucination their mind ecstatically dwell upon, and monomaniacs they all somehow become.

A fixation offers an excusable explanation to hound after something. The real intrigue behind such pestering perseverance is the feeling devoid of extreme indignation or hatred. There are certainly frustrations encountered from time to time, but with a fixation one will never grind his teeth and bite it from sheer impulsion, because the larger the wound the longer one will take to heal it. Heal the wound so you can try to woo your fixation back, and once you fortunately hold the price it is unfortunately covered in bandages.

Anything you pay superb attention to you hound it. Even if you deemed yourself a veritable bore then it was the ultimate dreariness you hound. I came across a title as a "hound of love" and it whetted my curiosity for what "love" was being hounded after. The image surfaced instantly was not the one with a philanderer plunging into a sea of flesh women, but one standing before an abstract painting of his named "love," and as the viewers listen with awe, the painter showers them with esoteric gibberish.

Much contrary to the things you love, it is believed that you come up no explanations to the thing you hound. It is like the most forbidden hardcore which bristles with scenes like smacking and loving all in a flip of a coin. Differs from obsession, too, for which most people mistake. Obsession is your fickle lover- she wavers and vacillates. Amid the general incredulity you still boast of having your fickle lover.

Nabokov adopted Humbert-Humbert-esque voyeuristic quest of making butterflies his conquest. He succeeded by also interlace his writings with webs and webs of impressive intricacy. Reading his novels is like reading a butterfly's wing under the microscope. You are hounded once you find yourself staring at that wing for too long.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Tales from the Down Under: #13- Flying

Somebody used to have the illusion, or the obsession, of becoming a bird. Therefore he flapped his scraggy arms as violently as possible, in a vain hope of conquering the gravity and eventually gaining elevation. What he had been anticipating wasn’t the posture he had painstakingly practiced to fly like a bird, but the pain on his head he was told to get when rocketing out of the roof. From day to day he glared at the leak on the roof and spurred him on to tearing it even asunder.

It wasn’t until some balmy day, while taking a stroll with my mom in a nearby park she mentioned randomly of some pathological case of people who dream of becoming birds, did I realize the severity of the aforesaid incident. It won’t become a talking point if there weren’t at least a handful of similar instances. Thus it wasn’t merely my whimsical fabrication, people do dream of flying.

Levitation is what I came the closest of flying. Sorrow, exaltation and excitement prompt the inclination of levitating. Pressure spawns heaviness and heaviness gives weight to gravity. I would imagine my feet floating upon a lid which separates the air from the earth, and whatever too overwhelming happened I could just stand on the lid so my feet wouldn’t tackle the earthiness, which gave rise to the cruel reality. It was also an ineffably peculiar feeling, especially when it comes to sorrow, that once you were severely scarred by the sentiment, nothing could harm you no more, and the distinction between what you stood and what you couldn’t touch was categorically blurred.

It must be that time when I started listening to dream pop. For the reverberation and the overlaid echoes summed up my penchant for a sheer feather. However once my ears were filled with such pseudo-unearthly jingles, the music became quite pestering. The music is almost analogous to a hollow drum, with which its repetition is easily gratuitous for the listeners, and its solemnity it strives to create initially is pathetically giving way to an ultimate null. Attested to my vacillating taste I shunned dream pop not long after.

I’ve never thought of levitation for quite a while and have decided to hole such a thought in the past which doesn’t need to be raked up. However from time to time I’ve seen pictures of people dancing, I think of flying. I have never wanted to challenge the immutability of gravity though, nor would I grapple with the weightlessness when listening to such music. The feet of the dancers I would like to rub nonetheless, just like that person who used to rub his scraggy arms.