Today begins the first in a series of original essays by Akira Rabelais. Musician, composer, artist, programmer and writer; Rabelias will be posting pieces of his journals, essays and other writings on Elvis impersonators, sake bombs, film, music, politics and jelly bellys.
Friday, six days before the full lunar eclipse. work, day job compositing obscure scifi images. lunch, no lunch… oolong tea. it’s hot outside, I’m sitting behind double locked doors in a cold room. conversation with a coworker about the Ottoman Empire… he’s some sort of Goth, shaved head severe black rimmed glasses biker boots… but no visible ink or stainless steel. he’s emphatic that reinstalling the ‘Young Turks’ would settle Iraq right down… he’s eating a handful of irregular jelly belly beans from a four pound bag. a well meaning producer placed it in the room a few days ago… it’s all the reject jelly bellys, the ones that are siamesetwinned together, oddly shaped or not quite the right colour. I’m singing Niko Case to myself ("hanging round the ceiling half the time hanging round the ceiling half the time") as as he grinds the little candies and rehearses an idealized mollification of the middle east… I can’t help but mark to myself that the bag’s been rummaged through by two guys who never wash their hands after pissing. work slouches towards Bethlehem, off. I’m driving over the hill down to a screening of a friend’s new film…
fictitious college kids plagued with vampires and poor lighting. ditch the after party, I’m hungry and a have ritual tonight. drive to Ralph’s on Sunset and Fuller… three pineapples, bananas, chicken pot pies, soy milk, wine. a cute and rather young cashier makes eyes at me. I think she’s taken in by my pineapples. Home… good to be home. open the door think hi to the plants in their subtle drift. things in bags go to various places and I can take off my boots. it’s an night that I yearly celebrate, September first…
I open a bottle (65% Shiraz 35% Cabernet Sauvignon), put Secrets of the Beehive on in the bathroom… sitting on the floor in dark, drinking wine and grounding out with David… "the sun shines high above the sounds of laughter the birds swoop down upon the crosses of old grey churches we say that we’re in love while secretly wishing for rain sipping coke and playing games September’s here again September’s here again". Friday turns Saturday… then three am, I’m processing guitar tracks in the background and writing wavecycle code… sometime after four still drinking wine, digging around in my dsp functions… I notice a comment in the header from a couple of years ago:
deep to a fountain
by change, to the home
of her beautiful mouth emphatic.
sixth angel poured out of salt
dissolved in search of now
fenceless world and winds
wake the sole wrought…
my code is sprinkled with these little comments of poetry. my mentor at gradschool thought it was funny that I don’t notate how the functions work, but instead write these little fragments. it’s late and I’m tired. sleep.
Saturday morning, construction across the street starts at seven am, hammering… I’m fucking thirsty. really shouldn’t drink wine so late…
piss, and back to sleep. North Hollywood is loud these days. the Arts District as it’s called is getting a tidal wave of capital investment from city… it manifests like a three dimensional chess game played out by five thousand illegal Mexican construction workers. huge apartments are going up on three sides of me. hundreds and hundreds of little rooms and lives soon to be, but it’s driving the rent up and mostly the artists have to leave…
I have to move soon. the beeping of a half dozen forklifts backing up rounds my second sleep.
a little after noon I get up again… boil water to black tea and stretching. set the timer on the microwave to 4:32, steeping… hamstring stretches on the kitchen bar. tea, email… sitting at my oak desk in forest green Calvin Klein boxer briefs… shit, so much email. three hours later I’m drinking the last sip of cold tea still typing… enough. shower. I love the shower. it my favorite place to listen… the music I make has to pass is the shower test. I’m obsessed with the ‘Fox Confessor Brings The Flood’… warm water and soap: ‘driving home I see those flooded fields how can people not know what beauty this is? I’ve taken it for granted my whole life since the day I was born, clouds hang on these curves like me and I kneel to the wheel of the fox confessor on splendid heels, he shames me from my seat and on my guilty feet I follow him in retreat, what purpose in these deeds oh fox confessor please who married me to these orphan blues, it¹s not for you to know but for you to weep and wonder, when the death of your civilization precedes you… I flooded my sleeves as I drove home again.’
around six I’m sitting in the Starbucks across the street, drinking a five shot Americano and reading ‘Of Human Bondage’ by Somerset Maugham…
‘He waited under the stars, sitting on the stile, and the hedges with their ripening blackberries were high on each side of him. From the earth rose rich scents of the night, and the air was soft and still. His heart was beating madly. He could not understand anything of what happened to him.
He associated passion with cries and tears and vehemence, and there was nothing of this in Sally; but he did not know what else but passion could have caused her to give herself. But passion for him? He would not have been surprised if she had fallen to her cousin, Peter Gann, tall, spare, and straight, with his sunburned face and long, easy stride. Philip wondered what she saw in him. He did not know if she loved him as he reckoned love.
And yet? He was convinced of her purity. He had a vague inkling that many things had combined, things that she felt though was unconscious of, the intoxication of the air and the hops and the night, the healthy instincts of the natural woman, a tenderness that overflowed, and an affection that had in it something maternal and something sisterly; and she gave all she had to give because her heart was full of charity.
He heard a step on the road, and a figure came out of the darkness.’
…about an hour later I’m packing my messenger bag with the tascam hdp2, rode nt4 stereo mic, green apple gum and a cdr of the fox confessor for good luck. walk over to the subway with my gear, it’s not far. three stops to Hollywood Boulevard and Highland. tonight I’m working on a set of Hollywood field recordings. I mark out my territory, between Betty Grable and Rod Serling’s stars… I walk the circuit. it’s insanity… a crush of people wondering around. I hear passing conversations in French, German, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Armenian… others I can’t identify. I hold the microphone at waist level, most don’t notice it. they’re looking up wide eyed partially open mouthed or down at the stars. some of the professionals notice… panhandlers, performers, cops, drug dealers, prostitutes… they notice, but they’re professionals. I don’t fuck with them and they don’t fuck with me. The din is glorious… conversations, cars passing slow with a wide tapestry of beats and flavours with the wash street performers, motorcycles and small shops bleeding black metal, ritmo, rap, country, gamelan, jpop, disco, house, reggaeton into the street. I hear Michael Jackson again and again… and he’s on the street, twice over. Two Michael Jacksons taking pictures with star struck tourists in front of the Mann Chinese. The Scientologists are out… they’ve got a dozen folding tables on the street manned in force by the faithful clad in black polos administering tests with metal rods and putting down the L. Ron mind trick.
on my first pass by one of them tries to chat me up, I counter with High Plains Drifter and point the mic at him. he stops short and turns away…
over the next three hours I pass a dozen or so times and none of them even look at me. as I pass, I pickup little bits of their conversations… "how does it make you feel when she does that?"… "wouldn’t you rather find the power to trust in yourself?"
around and around I go… I’ve noticed a sort of crazy look that the transients have down there, two hours of walking the circuit I feel it seeping into me. My left eye starts to twitch a little.
my friends Kevin and Steve show up. they pull me out of the cacophony and take me to dinner. these two guys are great… Chinese twins from Hawaii.
Kevin and I worked at Disney together a few years back and I met Steve soon after… they’ve been my good partners in crime ever since. we head east for Thai, it’s about eleven. stop at the Palms it’s a place famous for Thai Elvis impersonator, but he’s not on tonight… it’s this fat white guy garishly singing along with eighties hits… ‘I’m on a ride and I want to get off But they wont slow down the roundabout, I sold the Renoir and the tv set, Don’t want to be around when this gets out’… fucking hungry. I order fried squid, spicy noodle soup (dry) and a Singha. a long table next next to us is full of college dudes and high school girls… several times it erupts with ’1, 2, 3 Sake Bomb!’. the squid is good. two beers latter we pay and start to get the f out… the twins have to go and fat white guy ‘Come On Ilene’ with rhinestones is wearing thin.