To set the scene … I’m sitting, in a largely silent house, listening to Japanese Jazz, and playing with a folder knife.
Soft amber light is casting my room in a comfortable glow, my legs are sprawled comfortably across my chair and bed and I wish I was smoking a cigarette, despite never having had any tobacco before.
I’m lounging like this, when it struck me that I still got two more weeks of this isolation lockdown, this lovely house arrest after our illustrious Melbourne Premier, announced his “roadmap” out COVID-19 last Sunday on the auspicious day of the 6th of September.
The moment that thought struck me, I felt this strange sense of calm resigned depression overcome my thoughts. Several nihilistic actions happened soon after.
I felt bizarrely like dropping my knife into my thigh. Then I wanted to throw it into the wall. Finally, my fingers moved and just gave the knife a couple of twirls, before placing it down gently.
That’s enough of that silliness said my mind to my mind. I agree said my voice to myself.
Nostalgia soon arrived after, like the scent of spring after a long winter, and reminded me what I missed.
The city of Melbourne.
I’ve always beheld her as some dangerously seductive femme fatale in my mind.
Clad in a appropriately black cocktail dress, Melbourne had enchanting emerald eyes like the numerous parks, long wavy raven hair that sparkled like the Yarra at night and lightly sun-kissed skin, akin to her best side at sunsets.
Her voice would be husky, Lauren Bacall-esque in delivery and cadence. She would be moody, like the weather, able to dazzle with daylight and disparage with hail in a heartbeat.
(Just imagine a Elizabeth Debicki type with dark hair and you’re getting a close approximation of how I imagine Melbourne. Elegant, refined beauty that somehow floors you with mysterious wise eyes. Did you know she is a Melburnian? How quaint that such an extremely tall, statuesque silver screen goddess would come from this neck of the woods. But I always long held the belief that the women in Melbourne were beautiful, like the city itself.)
But Melbourne would always be welcoming, enticing you to explore more of her fun, secretive personality, to discover what hidden treasures she had tucked away for the curious.
I miss spending nights with her.
Finding bars in the unlikeliest places. Scouting rooftops that could take your breath away with the climb, the guards and the view. Appreciating quiet venues with comfortable sofas, a fireplace and transit ambience.
I would always visit her at least once a month. I love my home-town too much, to neglect Melbourne like that. There is always something on offer, always some covert restaurant that promised more delicious food, or some tucked-away club that catered to Cuban cigar aficionados.
You can see the highest of highs in Melbourne, and experience the lowest of lows all in the same night.
I think that is what I am finding difficult to grapple with the most. The slow, inexorable death of personality within, that only happens when days merge into each other, when weeks become confused and foggy, the future offering no light at the end of your tunnel.
I know, I know. This is all very dramatic.
I blame the Japanese Jazz, I’m listening to.
Before I was compelled to write this … whatever this is …. I was playing what I call “lethargic” music, the type of slightly edgy, dark, sensual and atmospheric sounds that lulls you into thinking all type of wrong things. Check out The Pink Room by Angelo Badalamenti or Out of Time by Brian Reitzell if this kind of thing appeals to you.
It only ever does, when I feel like fully embracing nihilism, a very unhealthy thing to do in these times, because feeling like there is no purpose, will only make you more aware of how time has dulled in this lockdown.
Feeling mopey, I then channelled French jazz, the type of songs that make you long for the touch of a woman, a stiff drink, a cigarette and a comfortable bed to partake in all of those things. Dance Me to the End of Love by Madeleine Peyroux is arguably the love song of my entire romantic lifespan. I always indulge in this song, when I crave a girl to convince me everything is going to be OK, with her touch, her voice and her gentle ministrations.
Royal Blue by Henry Macini is the second most romantic song I’ve ever heard in my entire life. Whenever I indulge in fond romantic memories, this always plays softly in the background. The melody always rekindles this feeling of simpler, more maudlin and glamorous times, when life wasn’t quite the shitstorm of stress it is now.
I couldn’t quite stand how emotional I was getting, and the knife twirls were only getting more furious.
So I moved onto Japanese Jazz, in particular the work of Yuji Ohno of Lupin the Third fame.
Quite possibly what I consider the jazz national anthem of Japan, Lupin the Third‘s theme, is iconic in the extreme, but it is the song Mayflower that I really adore.
Calming, slow, with a really beautiful piano melody, Mayflower never fails to relaxes me and let me soak in some kind of strange tranquil ambience.
But by then, I was feeling myself slip into too much of a relaxed state. So I switched it up to the excellent album Cafe Relaxin’ Lupin and ended up really wishing I could be sipping a hot chocolate in a rain soaked alleyway of Melbourne, watching people and cars go by.
It’s strange, because now as I reflect upon these past months of COVID-19, I realised I’ve truly run a gambit and exhausted all options. I’ve spent recklessly, gamed frantically, read furiously, written copiously, exercised manically and watched entertainment habitually … but now all I have left are my thoughts.
I’ve outlasted myself. Robbed myself of anything left to do.
Purpose is bereft at the moment. All the lights I’ve tried to maintain are being extinguished in favour of wallowing in the dark of nihilistic sadness.
Thanks COVID-19. Truly appreciate this exploration of the depth of despair.
At least I still got my sarcastic, bitter sense of humour. That’s the one thing nothing will ever rob from me.
I’m not really sure what was the point of writing all of this down was. But it did serve a purpose. It allowed me to vent, to acknowledge the state I am in and feel like I am actually in touch with how I truly feel.
Sometimes, when I write, I just want to write, without rhyme, rhythm or reason.
This is one of those posts.
Utterly rubbish drivel, composed in absurd alliteration, and half-baked similes.
But, this is really how I feel. I’m just getting in touch with myself, through me.
That’s important, when there is so much craziness out there.
Sometimes when we are alone, we have to be our own company.
That isn’t crazy. It’s just logical.
COVID-19 really does strip everyone down to their bare basics.
I feel a bit like Pandora’s Box, my many emotions released into the world like the evils in trapped within.
All that is left is my scornful humour. My “hope” is my cynical amusement.
When Damocles is truly crushed, and fermented and turned into wine …
Acerbic wit, is my distilled essence.
That’s not so bad is it?
No, I suppose it isn’t.
Thanks COVID-19. I hate it.