07 September 2010

I Wish I Knew

And so it starts
You switch the engine on
We set controls for the heart of the sun
One of the ways we show our age

He had no way of knowing, but James Murphy gut punched me tonight.  Not literally, I mean, I don't know him personally (although I'd like to) but it was the song he was singing.  I had iTunes set on shuffle and LCD Soundsystem came up, and there was James singing "All My Friends", a song I really like but should probably not listen to when I am alone and tired.

Such was the case.  I was reading some study material for a class I am taking, alone in the light of the goofy ceiling fan (the blades look like giant palm leaves) that hangs down from the middle of my dining/living room.  Tired, too, and my mind kept wandering from the task.  So James gets to the part where he sings the lyrics I quoted above, and I...I had to put my head down and take a deep breath.

'Set the controls for the heart of the sun' put me in the wayback machine, because he 's right.  It did make me show my age.  Indirectly, I must say, but showing all the same.  I recalled that line as the title of a Pink Floyd song, which made me think of my brother.

I thought about him, and how huge his absence seems to me.  All the albums we bought, the songs we listened to, the time (not) wasted messing around with the stereo, cassette decks, tuners and amplifiers.  The insistent electric piano in "All My Friends" came back at me like a new wave version of Philip Glass, a version I could really wrap my head around.  This as opposed to the time back in college, when I spent some days listening to Glassworks and for the life of me I couldn't quite get into it (sorry, Philip.)  The piano reminded me that maybe I should give it (Glassworks) another go.  Perhaps another time.

So it was the song, me and my memories.  James asks "Where are your friends tonight?"  This is a question I could not answer.  I closed my eyes and listened intently to the music, and for a few precious moments me and Big Bro were back in his room at my parents' house, with the low end wood look paneling and that ridiculous shag carpet in a hue that had aspirations of being orange.  And the paneling and the carpet and the cracks in the ceiling didn't matter because we had the turntable and a stack of albums set up.  The tape deck was running and we were making a mix and drawing covers for the cassettes.  He was good at it, he could have been a great graphic artist.  We put the music on and mixed and laughed and quoted the good parts of the songs, which I wish would never end.

I suppose they never did, never will as long as I can remember him.  I wish, oh I wish, I knew where he was tonight, my friend, my brother.

Oh, if the trip and the plan come apart in your hand,
you look contorted on yourself your ridiculous prop.
You forgot what you meant when you read what you said,
and you always knew you were tired, but then,
where are your friends tonight?

Lyrics from "All My Friends" by LCD Soundsystem, from the album "Sound of Silver".  Used without permission.  i hope James doesn't mind.


  1. one of your friends is in Arizona. Your brother is with you, Kevin, always, even when you aren't caught in the undertow of memory.....just go with it...let him wash over and through you....

  2. and another friend is stirring up gumbo in Louisiana.

  3. Siblings, espcially if you love them, are never really far away... however life and circumstances have chosen to separate you...

  4. Memories and music are good and friends are everywhere...virtual or otherwise, just look for them.

  5. It just shows what a caring and sensitive human being you are that lyrics of a song touch your heart and help your walk down memory lane. Sometimes doing that is healing.

  6. Ah, yes. Music always lifts me up or drags me down and takes me away. And other stuff. Songs my sister used to sing ALWAYS make me nostalgic.

    Your buddy in Ocala is currently in Atlanta on vaca, and I'm listening to my daughter's iPod playlist, which is FULL of awesome music. We always dance around the kitchen to this music. Some of it makes me want to pop open a beer and jump in a ski boat to hang out on a lake.


  7. He's always with you as you know...Who do you think is in Charge of shuffle anyway? Xo

  8. He is in your mind, body and soul and will always be there. Grab up that music and look inside you too will see! OXXO


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...