I am dying and I’m having fun

OK, our first lovingly-scheduled Tapes on Tuesday (or TOT) didn’t quite go according to plan; blame me, or technical ineptitude. I thought we could begin with Bodies Of Water’s excellent I Guess We’ll Forget The Sound, I Guess, I Guess, a glorious procession of a song which sounds like a gospel choir going through an existential phase, backed by a lethargic George Clinton. Since a certain blogger is worried about copyright issues besmirching her good name should she ever venture down the primrose path of copyright law, and because I don’t know how you post mp3s, I thought I’d link to their video on YouTube. Unfortunately so radical and precocious is our taste in music (or so skint are artists in general now that the Hype Machine pretty much offers you the illegal download equivalent of a valet service and a hand job) that this band don’t actually have a video.

Pissed on as my musical chips were, I did find some interesting stuff typing ‘Bodies Of Water I Guess We’ll Forget The Sound’ into YouTube, not least this hour-and-sixteen-minute-long video by an American professor called Randy Pausch. It’s part of a ‘Last Lecture’ series, in which academics are invited to give a talk about something close to their interests about which they have thought long and hard, and distilled down into vodka-like droplets of pure profundity, and are asked to give a talk to the audience as if it were the last thing they could ever say about the subject. Except that in Randy Pausch’s case, it really was: at the time he gave the lecture, he knew he was dying of pancreatic cancer. Parts of the talk stray into the tediously geeky (he was a professor of virtual reality), university-specific, and just plain disturbing (037:38-041:09), but there’s some good ole American earnest (watch that rash now) advice scattered in there too, and the part where he brings his wife up on stage at the end to blow out the single candle on her giant birthday cake is genuinely moving. There are a few life-lessons he hammers home: ‘brick walls are there to show you your determination’, ‘you’ve got to decide whether you’re a Tigger or an Eeyore’  (or at least convince your neurotransmitters), my favourite being ‘don’t bail; the best gold is at the bottom of piles of crap’. A lesson I would encourage the new dozens of readers of this blog to take to heart.

And in the end, this seemed like a very good match for the Bodies of Water song. It has the same corniness, the same levity, the same gravity. The same will to celebrate a tragedy. The same idea of lighting one candle rather than cursing the dark. Though why it came up under ‘Bodies of Water I Guess We’ll Forget The Sound’ I’ve still no idea.


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Filed under Tapes on Tuesday, The Burning Deck

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