Thursday, June 25, 2009

Oblique reaction to an ending

From Great Jones Street by Don DeLillo, pp. 181-182:

"The group broke up. We no longer exist as a group. Of course there wasn't any real hope once you left. Still and all it's frightening. Nobody was really prepared for it. But it happened. We no longer exist in the old sense."

"As of when?"

"I heard it on the radio coming in from the airport. When I left L.A., things were still in flux. Nothing was decided to the point where we could come out and say we've reached a decision. But I guess we broke up because I heard it on the radio.  It sounded pretty official.  Who has final word on these matters?"

"The radio," I said.

"A lot of it was my doing," he said.  "I got heavily involved in black music.  Not performing or producing.  Just listening.  That old showcase stuff with everybody in shiny clothes and pomaded hair. Brushed drums, piano, sax breaks.  'Baby don't you know that I love you so.'  I'm into that sound, Bucky, and I can't get out.  After all these years I realize that's the only sound I really love.  So I neglected the band and now we no longer exist as a group.  The little dance routines they do.  Hands flashing out, feet gliding, bodies whirling so smoothly.  Romantic soul music done by immortal groups. The Infatuations.  The Tailfins.  The Splendifics.  'It's a hurtin' pain you give me, babe, but I'm fightin' for my love.'  It's all love and sorrow, Bucky, and it just about destroys me emotionally.  The crude dumb emotion, it's so incredibly beautiful.  Sorrowful ballads with occasional falsetto passages.  And even when I'm just listening to records I can see them moving on stage, doing the little whirls and gliding steps, flashing out their hands.  Shiny bright hair.  Custom tuxedos.  Fantastic teeth and fingernails.  And the cheap emotion behind the lyrics just wrecks me.  The Motelles.  The Vanities.  The Willows.  The Renditions.  The Flairs.  Nate Pearce and the Hydromatics.  'Baby can't you see how you're upsettin' me, shoo-eee, shoo-eee.'  Everything is there, Bucky.  There's nothing else I want or need."

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