I took pictures, but when will I ever see them?

My last post aside, this summer has been gloriously refreshing. I have been living out of a suitcase for near on two months. First was Seattle for a quick visit before Sasquatch, then San Francisco for two weeks, then Seattle for a week. Then I was in Vancouver for less than fourty-eight hours, long enough to sleep, do laundry, walk the length of Commercial Drive’s Car-Free Day and head to the airport to sleep on a bench for my flight to Ontario early the next morning. Then I was in Waterloo, then Toronto, then Montreal, then Waterloo again. When I got back on the 3rd, I was only in Vancouver for approximately twelve hours. I refreshed my suitcase, dyed my hair, and left for Seattle again, this time for ToorCamp.

I probably should have sublet my room.

Sasquatch was a good little road-trip with my pal Nathan, though we were surprised to discover it was an absolute bro-fest. Beer-pong and every vowel possibility on “bro”, (like “bru” and “breh”), were absolutely everywhere. One morning we woke up because someone walked by, drunk off their face, shouting, “On a scale of one to bro, you are a brah!” Even many of the women seemed to be bros. Bras? Bro-ettes, perhaps? We are not familiar with the parlance.

I’ve never been to The Gorge before, nor to anywhere remotely like it. It really is a breathtaking venue. The main stage rests against a backdrop of staggering proportion, the gorge a literal slash through the earth too big to easily encompass, precisely in the right place to be framed in summer sunsets. We didn’t speak with too many people, what with the persistent bro-itude, but we were there for the music and we like each other’s company enough not to mind. (Nathan is pretty great, he’s a bestie for a reason). We didn’t find anything new that blew us away, the shows were lots of big names, like Outkast, Kid Cudi, MIA, and Die Antwood, but even the groups we’d never heard of were mostly good. Elbow was my big best, followed closely by the tUnE-YaRds and Mogwai. (The Super Geek League had a whole stage to themselves, too. Wacky Seattlites, heavy on the freak show factor. Lots of clowns and fire effects, like GWAR via the Simpsons.) My biggest surprise was that I had fun camping. No showers, bathing in a sink, snacking on questionable snacks, walking over to the festival grounds – we were always surrounded by enough people that being in a tent in the middle of nowhere didn’t feel like a death sentence. It was nice.

it seems 1000% easier to succeed at happiness as a manic pixie dream boy

Everything erased. Seats down, my shawl for a mattress, we lay in the trunk of the car. He had put on some Philip Glass when we arrived, the most beautiful songs, turned up as loudly as they are true. “I play these every morning when I get up” he said, and I briefly imagined how happy that would make me, to wake up to him on a piano the next room over. I would make breakfast and pester him. He would argue, I would laugh. We had reached into the car at the same moment, one from each side, to take the volume and turn it up. The music made certain that everything was cinematic, the way his voice curled around his cigarette’s smoke, the sound the water made curling around the causeway, how everything echoed the gray-blue sky tinted the same shade as my eyes.

My head in the hollow of his shoulder, gulls crying overhead, his feet hanging up on the edge of the back. It was a cascade. Interlocking pieces slipping together to create a perfect moment. Physician, heal thyself. Like this, with this stanza. Pianist as penicillin. Then this. We were waiting for a ferry, almost an hour early, when he had complained of being tired. (A man nearly always complaining, this one, of heat, of exhaustion, of needing to eat. Peevish, I called him, a charming bear caught in the belly of a human’s needs). So I had over-ruled his protests, moved his bags from the backseat to the front, and flattened the seats in the back of the car. “Come on,” I told him, improbably hoisting myself into the trunk. Cotton candy pink hair, a go-go dress, clunky wooden heels, and expensive, expensive black lace stockings, researched reproductions of tights from the 20’s. I can’t imagine what sort of quaint affair I looked like to the people across the lot, but he didn’t question me, only followed.

And so it played.

“Forever music,” he had said, as a woman from across the parking lot stood next to my car, holding her phone and head inside, recording the music on Shazam for later. I loved everything about her. Her sharp sentences, her undeniably commanding accent, so at peace with her clothing, her demeanor, the cut of her hair. Her voice was a treasure, as if she had been cast to be that person by some greater power. I had noticed her before she had approached us, before she realized we existed. She loves Philip Glass, she told us, and then described a concert she attended in Calgary that Michael Green was involved with. Coincidence. Sympathetic magnetism. A stranger who almost wasn’t. The notes rolling out like story movie magic.

“He wrote it when he was young, when the Dalai Lama came to visit.” I remembered my godmother, Silva, talking about the Dalai Lama. “The only person she had ever met who seemed completely full of light.” I called after him as he left, “remember what I said about longing,” instead of goodbye. But that was then, then later, and now, now we are in the trunk of the car, two manic pixie dream people parallel with the earth, resting, still, allowing ourselves and the music a chance to flourish. There is only piano, the sound of his heart, and the small, cutting call of a solitary bird. Maybe it is flying home.

this map is a thing of beauty

The XX shared a link to a stream of Coexist, their new album, with only one fan on September 3rd in order to track in which directions and how quickly it would go viral.

Click through for the site and to listen to COEXIST.

The map on their website shows how the link to the stream has been shared around the world.
Each curve begins with a tweet, e-mail or facebook post or e-mail and ends with the location of a new listener. And it’s absolutely beautiful.
(Not interactive in any meaningful way, or at all, but beautiful.)

Also, you get a free digital copy of Coexist if you buy a ticket to any of their shows in Canada or the US.

The music of Zoë Keating, tossed on incredible, magical waves of wonder and fascination.

Andrew called me up yesterday during Twin Peaks Tuesday at eleven:thirty at night to ask, “You know how sometimes when you’re unemployed and broke, awesome things happen to you? This is one of those things.” Suddenly ignoring the show, I sat a little straighter. “Do you still have a passport?” He had scored two tickets over twitter to see Zoë Keating at one of Chase Jarvis‘ boutique, nearly private, invitation-only livestream studio sessions in Seattle. Of course I said yes. I said yes before I even knew what was going on, before I properly heard “Seattle” or “concert”.

Which is why my alarm went off at five:fifteen this morning, even though I only went to bed around two a.m., the better to be ready when Andrew dropped by to pick me up at six, and I spent the day in Seattle, exhausted and emotional. Her music is sublime, a densely woven carpet of bitten off bird’s wings, rich with melody, clarity, and grace, and to have her play in such an intimate setting was an amazing experience. The interview, too, was beautiful, a sweetly compelling glimpse into a sparkling, beautiful wit. She speaks with an admirable sincerity, and often, while she was talking, I had to repress an urge to cheer.

So, as a glitchy-future souvenir of my unexpected, fantastic day down south, I welcome you to share that precious hour as I present to you the video of the entire event:

We’re in the front row, stage left.