Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Travel themes

I'm not sure whether my associations are what Elena calls intertextuality. I call them synaesthesia. Both may be wrong. Anyhow, Elena is my semi-evil enabler and probably without intending or knowing so, she inspires me. To embedding, for example.

Umpteen years ago, I saw Working Girl on tv. It's an excellent comedy but what stuck in my head was the theme song.

The song opens the whole movie, with a scene of commuters going to work on boat. There's something in it that sucks me in and leads me, say, to Terminal C. The lyrics are no big deal, it's the theme that seems to grab me and drag to Platform Three, giving me a feeling of, say, embarking on Normandie in 1926 for a neat trip to New York.

Obviously, that doesn't work with the city transport. Social phobia, remember? For the complicated choreography of the icky crowds in the metro... Twyla Tharp, anyone? For metro et al., there's Where Do I Go from Hair. No decent video on YouTube that could be embedded. But, I'm a stupid blonde so maybe someone will figure it out for me, thanks in advance.

Sometimes the things get out of hand. I was leaving Italy, tired, stressed and generally pissed about all things academic. In the song La bomba in testa, which is about something totally different than working industriously to make the world better (1), there're several verses that end in 'adesso torno in lavoro', now I'll go back to work.

The lyrics are actually about freeing oneself from the boring life of a good citizen who goes to work regularly.... but whatever sort of citizen I may be, I longed for shuffling the papers and getting some routine. I dragged a heap of my crap from Platform 18 which was longer from the actual station building than I'd consider polite, cursed my heavy crap, heat, my failures and the world in general, not remembering the lyrics but for the adesso, torno al lavoro.

My travel themes wouldn't be complete without Till havs.

Mind that if something really gives me creeps, it's sea and everything related. It's big, full of weird things and fish pee in it.... Anyhow, I got some recordings of Anna Sophie von Otter and this one just caught me.

It has no logic. Just sayin'.

...e io contavo i denti ai francobolli
dicevo Grazie a Dio e Buon Natale
mi sentivo normale
eppure i miei trent'anni
erano pochi più dei loro
ma non importa adesso torno al lavoro.

Cantavano il disordine dei sogni
gli ingrati del benessere francese
e non davan l'idea
di denunciare uomini al balcone
di un solo maggio, di un unico paese.

E io ho la faccia usata dal buonsenso
ripeto Non vogliamoci del male
e non mi sento normale
e mi sorprendo ancora
a misurarmi su di loro
e adesso è tardi, adesso torno al lavoro.

Rischiavano la strada e per un uomo
ci vuole pure un senso a sopportare
di poter sanguinare
e il senso non dev'essere rischiare
ma forse non voler più sopportare.

Chissà cosa si trova a liberare
la fiducia nelle proprie tentazioni,
allontanare gli intrusi
dalle nostre emozioni,
allontanarli in tempo
e prima di trovarsi solo
con la paura di non tornare al lavoro.

Rischiare libertà strada per strada,
scordarsi le rotaie verso casa,
io ne valgo la pena,
per arrivare ad incontrar la gente
senza dovermi fingere innocente.

Mi sforzo di ripetermi con loro
e più l'idea va di là del vetro
più mi lasciano indietro,
per il coraggio insieme
non so le regole del gioco
senza la mia paura mi fido poco.

Ormai sono in ritardo per gli amici
per l'olio potrei farcela da solo
illuminando al tritolo
chi ha la faccia e mostra solo il viso
sempre gradevole, sempre più impreciso.

E l'esplosivo spacca, taglia, fruga
tra gli ospiti di un ballo mascherato,
io mi sono invitato
a rilevar l'impronta
dietro ogni maschera che salta
e a non aver pietà per la mia prima volta.


  1. Naw, it's not synaesthesia, which is a cool something, but is a straightforward replacement of a different sensory "read" for a given "input," i.e, appearance of red = flavor of peanut butter, sound of D-flat = rough suede. Intertextuality? Maybe...for sure, it's the hyperstack network of your mind, identifying some very interesting connections. When you decide why your brain found wires from some of these ideas to the others, you might find intertextuality...meanwhile, enjoy the ride. It's fun to be in the passenger seat!

    To add to your potential associations...I have heard from someone who grew up in Brooklyn that both the title song and the movie pretty strongly captured the aspirations of girls from the other boroughs to a life in Manhattan, which was right there, but across the water...which gives *me* an interesting link back to your comment about the sea. Hmmm.... (see, you got me thinking, so now you have inspired me! the chain goes on...)

  2. I know what synaesthesia is way too well - I'm just not sure how far the term reaches because I do have a few bits of music attached very strongly to specific situations. But I'm not a neurologist or anything close.
    I call it brain too big. I have quite a good memory for all sorts of minutiae and apparently quite an amount of synapses to connect. Makes life more interesting. Not necessarily in the nice ways, though.

  3. Ah, got it.

    :) @ "brain too big."