Monday, August 3, 2009

My true colours are just dust in the wind

The original post scheduled for this slot - some pseudo-profound musings about the poetry of Pablo Neruda - has been pre-empted, and will be brought to you at a later date.

But earlier this evening, I ventured forth, with the original intent of going to see "La Edad de Hielo III" (Ice Age 3) at the Cine Hoyt. When I actually got to the cinema, however, it became obvious to me that I wasn't quite up for yet another movie with cute talking 3-dimensional animals, so I wandered off in search of dinner instead.

And found what turned out to be, despite its unlikely appearance, the perfect restaurant. Not so much because of the delicious filet mignon and accompanying house salad (an excellent value at only $14, including the delightful pisco sour aperitif). Not even because of the extremely charming waiter (just the right degree of solicitude, without any of that intrusive hovering that the sight of a foreigner can sometimes provoke). No, the genius of this particular establishment was to be found on the television screens, which showed a loop of all the best MTV videos you've seen in your life.

Starting with Simon and Garfunkel ("hello darkness, my old friend"), moving on through various classics ("Careless Whisper", John Bon Jovi emoting his sweaty heart out, Cyndi Lauper, Phil Collins, "Lady in Red"), it was an instant transport back to the period of one's life when these songs MATTERED. All of a sudden, I was back in the cluster home in Chapel Hill, sitting slackjawed in front of the large-screen TV, watching video after video, secure in the guilty pleasure of ignoring the untackled dissertation topic that awaited me in the bedroom. Something, I regret to report, that I did for a period of at least six months, before conscience and the indignation of my out-of-town thesis adviser finally forced me to go cold turkey on the music videos and turn my reluctant attention to the subject of robust estimation in heteroscedastic regression models.

But what a fine six months they were. And how amazing to find the cheap power of those music videos in no way diminished. Like so many emotional triggers, they just kept firing tonight. As Phil Collins might have put it, there was "something in the air".

I thought for sure, when that apotheosis of emotionally manipulative pseudo-profundity, Kansas's "Dust in the Wind", came on, that the evening had reached its zenith. But no, just as the mozero served my cafe cortado, there she was:

"Turn around...."

Surely not? How awesomely perfect!

"Turn around, bright eyes ...."

Yes indeed, gentle reader. It was Bonnie herself, with the full 7-minute version.

"We're living in a powder keg, giving off sparks ..."

And just like that, this blogger's heart was totally eclipsed. I'm a complete wreck, I tell you. But in the best, happiest, most blissful, sense.

Hasta pronto, mi chiquititas!


Great Australian Blight said...

Every now and then you fall apart.

Mark Eisner said...

If you dig Neruda, check out Such a great poem. Check out
about a documentary on Neruda and the bestselling edition of translations, "The Essential Neruda"

"The call for a more accessible collection of Neruda's important poems is answered with City Lights' The Essential Neruda, a 200-page edition that offers 50 of Neruda's key poems. The editors and translators know how to extract gold from a lifetime of prolific writing. If you want a handy Neruda companion and don't know where to begin, this is it."
– The Bloomsbury Review

"What better way to celebrate the hundred years of Neruda's glorious residence on our earth than this selection of crucial works - in both languages! - by one of the greatest poets of all time. A splendid way to begin a love affair with our Pablo or, having already succumbed to his infinite charms, revisit him passionately again and again and yet again."
– Ariel Dorfman, Pulitzer-prize winner author of "Death and the Maiden"

" ...The Essential Neruda will prove to be, for most readers, the best introduction to Neruda available in English. In fact, I can think of few other books that have given me so much delight so easily. At only 234 pages (bilingual), it somehow manages to convey the fullness of Neruda's poetic arc: Reading it is like reading the autobiography of a poetic sensibility (granted, the abridged version)."
– The Austin Chronicle

It's available at the Feria del Libro and Neruda's houses in Santiago!

Paz from near Pucón