A piece of gum on a piece of wood on a metal table on a moody Monday morning below a full moon

On a moody Monday morning

Conceptual Art
A piece of gum on a piece of wood on a metal table on a moody Monday morning below a full moon
Conceptual Art
A piece of gum on a piece of wood on a metal table on a moody Monday morning below a full moon

 

The Zombie Apocalypse

In the last 24 hours, everything about the world, as we know it, has abruptly changed, stripped of meaning. We are now facing a threat unlike any other. We must exercise radical self-acceptance and cope the best we can, while knowing our chances for survival grow more perilous as each hour passes. Our species is at war with a rapidly mutating virus and this virus manifests itself by becoming a parasite that feeds on the living, until they dwell in complete darkness, void of meaning. 

These mutants are indefatigable opponents, and our entire species is at imminent risk for annihilation. Our chances for survival without a vaccine to make us resistant to the rapidly spreading and evolving mutation are almost impossible, nil. 

The mutants have appeared suddenly, seemingly from nowhere, over a matter of hours, and Chaos and disorder rapidly spreads. Humans are scrambling to survive and seek the nearest refuge where their safety (for now) may be guaranteed during the rapidly evolving virus of this outbreak. But the mutants are gaining momentum and our species is at a critical juncture. This may be (most likely) the end of the world as we know it. 

Institutions (corporations, etc.) have been preparing for such a crises for years and rapidly secure the perimeter of their interests and their survival. This places enormous pressure and strain on those who seek to survive and whose chances of doing so, diminish minute by minute. But some get lucky (or at least they think they are) for they have been gifted with an opportunity to seek shelter and protection (for now) at the gates of one of the top medical and research institutions, which is based in Baltimore. In addition, this world-famous facility dabbles in real estate, and has agents who amass real estate to ensure that their stability is never threatened. 

Ground zero for this outbreak, luckily, is Baltimore. The source of this mutation sits and watches television and eats junk food and drinks Diet Coke most of the day and is less than an hour away from Baltimore. Occasionally, he’ll call his buddy and say: “Are we still good?” And his buddy never fails to put him at ease. This helps him maintain clarity and focus, knowing he has the full approval of his buddy. 

His intelligence comes directly from a foxy station, which he watches religiously, and this places him in an induced trance. Between the junk food and the Diet Coke, and while in this stupor, his level of genius increases exponentially. He processes and calculates complex information, equations, inaccessible to all others. 

He is a solitary and isolated figure who must remain so, so that his brain may be completely free of any trace of debris that may tamper with the building blocs of the complex equation of the virus, the calculations, the exact formula, to ensure it is iron-clad, impermeable, and will be  released into the atmosphere. By the end of the day, his lower face is stained orange. He has been gorging himself with enormous quantities of Cheetos. This, however, is the stage where he is fully inspired. 

Few scientists will argue that the scientific brain, above all, uses logic for problem-solving. Most will agree intuition provides flashes of insight, the missing pieces of the puzzle, which hold the key to everything. Eureka! That’s it! But even they are no match for this extraordinarily rare form of genius. He is almost unmatchable. 

The toxins for this virus are slowly released by this single most powerful man in the world. And though many may argue this man’s leadership skills are compromised, he is nonetheless unmatchable, and no one can argue that this man’s source of power is ultimately released from his tiny hands and extraordinarily nimble fingers. 

This has top nuclear physicists flummoxed : “What is the source of this man’s ability to release these deadly toxins, the building blocs of this virus, in less than one minute, and, in less than 120 characters, throughout the entire world? And, on the most secure network? Even more secure than the NSA? And, ensure the purity and integrity of its molecules and their meteoric speed are intact?”  

The nuclear physicists at Argonne Laboratory in Chicago are scratching their heads. They have worked round the clock for almost a century, to determine the speed and effectiveness of atomic particles as they race through the labyrinths of their subterranean tunnels below the city of Chicago. 

“Y’a mean this particle reaches Tibetan monks faster than ours does?”

Ahem.  

“Houston, we have a problem.”

But what those who are tirelessly working on a vaccine and who are looking for that needle in the haystack don’t realise is, the formula which will ensure the survival of our species is just a click away. 

This is the one and absolute antidote to the virus. Not surprisingly, although it’s foundation may interest mathematicians, it is easily accessible to all and is as brilliant as pure gold. 

There, there is but one artist (not surprisingly) in the world whose brilliance was and will be eternally unsurpassed. None before or after her will ever reach the heights and depths she reached, which have transfixed listeners for decades through her passion and beauty, and brought them to a place they had never been before. 

She, alone, drank from the sacred springs of Beauty and emerged a giant among peers. She, alone, possesses the key to this spring. 

She, alone, is the antidote of this virulent strain, for even the living dead cannot escape from such divine presence and bow in humility before her. 

She, alone, can crush the code of this deadly equation with a single bolt of lightning – in no more than 3 strikes of a minor key. 

She, alone, can crush the particles of those tiny hands, so they are then sucked into a Black Hole at a speed that is still unknown to us. 

And that, my friend, is the voice of Art.  

And she is everywhere. 

Music for the Soul to Dance to

When I first awaken, I head to my tiny kitchen and fill my French Press with coffee and boiling water. I press beyond the water level, and although the instructions say to leave it there for 5 minutes before you press it to the bottom of cylinder, I rarely make it to the 5 minute threshold.

It is the moment between wakefulness and sleep, and I need a nudge to push me through that door. I sit by the window, sipping my coffee in darkness and wait for the eastern light to appear through my window. And with the glow and warmth of the nuggets a salt rock lamp creates, I press the key for the music to begin playing the music for the soul to dance to. This, for me, is a sacred and necessary ritual.

The list is long, but I begin with Threshold, as it takes me through the range of experiences, from high to low, and low to high, sometimes hitting the middle note, but not often. Within this range, I surrender to the trance, without the corresponding human experiences associated with this spectrum of emotions, through the nuances of each note, until I am closer to wakefulness.

Then I move into Mozart’s Fantasia in D Minor, K 397, for a taste of melancholy, which doesn’t quite satiate my appetite, but still, I cannot resist his movement, and prance with him into higher notes, guided by the nimble fingers of Gould’s interpretation.

And finally, Beethoven opens the door to a glorious version of flight. This, I am compelled to listen to more than once, for it loosens me from the stubborn chill of darkness, now moving into the first notes of dawn, whilst the night begins to fade, until it reaches a full eclipse of the black sky above me. And below the sun, I shift into the rhythm of a canter, absorbing endless rays of light. This, my friend, is Beethoven’s Piano Sonata #15 in D, Op. 28, “Pastoral” – 2, Andante.

Then I hit shuffle on a playlist, which I have named, Music for the Soul to Dance to. This list takes me through a historical journey expressed through music. The list below is according to recording artist.

However, before we advance into the set below, it is worth mentioning, this morning musical ritual is not rigid, but flexible. And so, some mornings, instead of adhering to the musical sequence noted above — patterns have shifted overnight, a new cycle has evolved, a new set of rhythms pound the keys. And so, I head straight to Bedbugs And Ballyhoos, for example, by Echo & The Bunnymen, and tumble and rock into a new day — for nothing is constant when you wake up dancing. 

Music For The Soul To Dance To
Let’s Stay Together, Take Me To The River, I’m Still in Love With You, I Can’t Get Next To You, Back Up Train, (Al Green)

Let The Good Times Roll, Thrill is Gone, Nobody Loves Me But My Mother, (B.B. King, Live At San Quentin, 1990)

No Reply, I’m A Loser, Baby’s In Black, Twist And Shout, Eleanor Rigby, When I’m Sixty-Four, (The Beatles, 1962-1967)

Blowin’ In The Wind, Forever Young, Things Have Changed, The Death of Emmitt Till, Desolation Row, (Bob Dylan, 1962…)

Is This Love, Get Up Stand Up, Stir It Up, I Shot The Sheriff, Jamming, (Bob Marley)

Know Your Rights, (The Clash)

Round Here, Raining In Baltimore, (Counting Crows)

Bedbugs And Ballyhoo, (Echo & The Bunnymen)

the boy with perpetual nervousness, moscow nights, (The Feelies)

Reach out I’ll be there, If I were a carpenter, It’s the same old song, I’m in a different world, Seven rooms of gloom, (The Four Tops)

Moon River, For Once in My Life, My Kind of Town, Fly Me To The Moon, It Was A Very Good Year, (Frank Sinatra)

Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey’s Head, (Gorillaz)

Night Train, (James Brown, Live at the Apollo, 1962)

Cry Baby, (Janis Joplin, 1973)

Manic Depression, (Jimi Hendrix)

Hurt, (Johnny Cash)

Joy Ride, Smile Like You Mean It, Somebody Told Me, Everything Will Be Alright, This River Is Wild, Why Do I Keep Counting?, Exitude, (The Killers, 2004-2008)

Bamboo Banga, Hussel, Mango Pickle Down Down River, Come Around, (M.I.A, Kala)

Leave Me Alone, Beat It, Billie Jean, (Guess who)

On The Run, Lingo With The Gringo, (OMC, How Bizarre, 1967)

(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay, Let Me Come On Home, Tramp (With Carla Thomas), Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out, (Otis Redding, The Dock Of The Bay, 1968)

Track 05, (Patti Smith, Horses)

I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), (The Proclaimers, 1988)

I Never Came, Go With The Flow, (Queens Of The Stone Age, 2002-2005)

Oh, Pretty Woman, Only The Lonely, (Roy Orbison)

Send Me in My Way, Lost in a Crowd, Laugh as the Sun, (Rusted Root, When I Woke, 1994)

You Send Me, Sad Mood, Summertime, Twistin’ The Night Away, Shake, That’s Where It’s At, (Sam Cooke, 1957-1964)

Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, (Santa Esmeralda)

All For You, (Sister Hazel, 1967)

Just My Imagination, I Wish It Would Rain, Cloud Nine, Run Away Child Running Wild, Papa Was A Rolling Stone, (The Temptations)

Moon Dance, Brown Eyed Girl, And It Stoned Me, Cleaning Windows, Whenever God Shines His Light, (Van Morrison)

One Headlight, (The Wallflowers)