Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Owls Are Not What They Seem

Sometime last year I was walking home from somewhere in the rain, late at night or early in the morning.  This young guy staggered out of somewhere, some club or something, weaving on the sidewalk, blinking in the fresher air, and he vomited, efficiently, in a drain. He sat down hard on the kerb and pulled out his phone, and lounged there, rocking a little, paging through facebook and humming to himself while he flicked a silver cigarette lighter open, strike, shut. Cabs hissed through the puddles and the bass from the club pounded through the wall. The dude was clearly out past his bedtime.

All the way home, I couldn't figure out whether it was an awesome thing or a deeply horrible thing that this guy was essentially lying in the gutter, looking at the internet. I had this half-assed idea that the time a person spends sitting on a curb in the rain next to a drain full of vomit flicking a lighter and wondering whether it's time to head back inside to dance or call it and go home like a sensible grownup is a deeply personal and private time, a time for important introspection and personal growth. It is a time when a person gets to decide wether they will be ruled by reason or passion, I thought, a decision that will help them to explain to themselves and to others what they are really all, you know, about

Looking at the internet sullies that time and cheapens it, I thought, it distracts a person from the here and the now. I became sullen on my walk, despairing of the human condition, nostalgic for the time before every idiot had the internet in his pocket. Then I thought that maybe I was just jealous because all I've got is this crappy old Nokia that you pretty much have to wind up with a key and no internet on it at all, and it sure would be pretty nice to be able to look at pictures of cats in sinks whenever you wanted. And what the hell is wrong with being distracted from the here and now anyway, when here is a spew-smelling gutter outside some skanky club on K rd and now is 5:45 in the morning and one of your eyes feels bigger than the other?

I think when I had had a refreshing sleep I decided that it probably didn't have to be either awesome or horrible, just a thing that didn't matter much. By then I had made up a song, and I spent most of the day obsessively recording it with lots of layers of vocals and some choice analogue synthesizers I was borrowing at the time. I got some static off the radio and it sounded like the taxis, so I put that in as well, and I found a cigarette ligher with just the right click and put that it too, and the track came together pretty fast.

I put it on my album and then I realised that sitting on the curb outside a club having a bit of an existential crisis is all very well as the subject of a song - but what was going on inside that club? I can't even remember what club it was, but there are plenty along K rd that I've never been into and I hope I never do. What goes on at the other ends of these flights of grimy stairs is anybody's guess really.  At the time I assumed this guy had been drinking heavily and dancing, possibly getting excited and bumping into people by accident, talking too loud and so on, but I am fairly narrow-minded and I could be quite wrong. Maybe it wasn't that sort of club at all, I realised. Maybe it was the sort of club where three ceramic owls get into a fight with a pair of bug-eyed rabbits and a parasaurolophus, a shiny porcelain monkey with a broken paw spins around in aimless circles, and everybody gets eaten?  I don't think we can rule that out neccessarily with the infrormation we have. That's why I made a video for the track where those things happen, more or less.  And here it is:

If you quite like the song, you can download it for free from here. Again: Thanks bandcamp!


  1. The internet says:

  2. Rats in probably my favourite song on the album.
    It is nice to know the story behind it.
    Obsession with the internet is a terrifying thing.

  3. Thanks owl! LM, those aurora pictures are the best reason for the internet I've seen for a while.