25 May 2013

Things are memories

Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high. Somewhere lost in a lullaby.

In Kuala Lumpur, there is also good jazz, sung by an Indian man with a closely cropped white beard and backed by an incredible drummer. When he asked for requests near closing time last night, I shouted out 'over the rainbow' before anyone else. A perfect song that he played perfectly, reminding me of my place in history: a moment as a node linking a vast history to a vast future. The night Yoko and I married in Niigata City, another jazz pianist played the same song. How I got from that moment to this one is too long a story to tell.

I suspect normal people in the real world have discussions that don't always involve fundamental questions about human experience and social contexts. People, I imagine, talk about sports and television; I don't ever find myself in conversations about sports or television. Instead, all my conversations leave the residual thoughts of talking about a new set of questions and challenges: class and gender and race. How any of us manages to navigate the world is a mystery to me.

As a part-time social theorist, I love talking about other people, pulling apart piece by piece everything they say and critically analysing their take on gender and class. A hypocrite though: I'm less comfortable talking about my own problems. It's so unfair. The problem is, the truth is, that everything we believe and do and think is a complex interaction betweeng any number of components, only some of which we are aware of, a recurring theme in this blog. The work of the academic, the analyst, is deconstruction, but once you learn this tool to do your research, suddenly you use it all the time. There is so much explanatory power, provided you are willing to be explained and to explain.

So why does any one of us do the things we do, make the choices we make. Do we even make choices.

I walked endlessly in the heat all day: from Bangsar to Pasar Seni, and home from the station in Kajang, talking in my head with everyone I know. Like this: the scene in Lost in Translation where after going to karaoke, Bill Murray's character is in a cab with Scarlet Johannson's character and there is just the residual sound of this My Bloody Valentine song playing, like they had left the night, gone home, but the night was still sticking to them.
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