Friday, January 28
i seem to have made this latest transition fairly smoothly, via one of those boringly mystical periods of anti-time, nondelineated night-and/or-day filling up the space between the evening of the 26th to the morning of the 28th. roughly, not that i was keeping track;
12 hours up [i saw two movies, ate three decent meals, surveyed some of the uk #1s, 53-03, and must have slept the rest of it - i had three seats to myself, alternating with the guy four seats down],
2 hours down [in dubai, where the airport looks like the glitziest mall-cum-spacestation on some tropical luxury planet, giant gold palm trees sprouting out of duty-free jewelry kiosks. in the inflight magazine there was an ad for private islands in the shape of the world],
4.5 more up [slept and read the menu-card's explanations of arrack, dal, chickpeas, spinach]
3 more down [in colombo, momentary consternation on discovering they had cancelled my booking because it hadn't been re-confirmed, and they didn't understand why i didn't have a ticket, but no problem thanks to a very helpful sl airlines staffer, who whisked me all over the airport to sort things out. also, listened to arular, which is awesome],
another 40 minute flight, which arrived after 10 minutes thanks to half-hour time changeback,
and here i am in india, home with the folks in trivandrum, the reasonable english abbreviation of thirivanandapuram (which takes less time to say despite being four syllables longer.) too soon to say much, but impressions on the first twenty-four hours... it feels good here. not too unbearably muggy. the air quality is noticeably bad and is irritating my eyes and throat, but presumably i'll get used to that. friendly people. good food. autorickshaws are the perfect, um, vehicle for taking digicam movies. i almost had a terrific one of a communist parade we passed on the way through town, but i had the button-pushing backwards.
was fine until i took a nap yesterday afternoon, then crashed pretty hard in the mid-evening. but had no trouble sleeping until nine this morning, so hopefully i'm in pretty good shape now.
reckon, i was sleep-deprived and time-whacked coming into this, after a series of late and short philly nights. the week fired on most cylinders. you've seen some of the pictures. tara's birthday dinner at alma was predictably deliciable, but i think we ate it too fast to properly enjoy it. an man man were better than expected - at first i thought they were like need new body but not as interesting, but they turned out to be like need new body but with better songs and musicianship. tuesday was taken up with madeleine-baking and bpm-counting, with an interlude for innoculations from the ridiculously chatty doctor, who did her best to make sure i knew everything i could conceivably be worried about on my trip.
the party, in case you didn't make it, was fantastic. mostly because of people. how many were there? i couldn't see that well, but at the height, which lasted a good long while, there must have been around thirty dancing on the main floor, plus others hanging out in the lounge and bar areas. the large majority of them ours - dozens of swatties and alumns, a good seven or eight grassroots folks, my one philly friend who's not connected to either swarthmore or gci, and lots of tara's people as well. of course, i didn't get to more than briefly catch up with most of them, but i didn't really mind. it was just great to have them there.
djwise, probably one of my best sets, certainly in terms of transitions (only partly thanks to the for-me unprecedented bpm-spread/cheatsheet.) i played pretty much the whole time, except for twenty minutes toward the beginning and forty more right at the end of matt's pop-rap and toasting. can't hardly remember it all - the best parts were probably the mash-ups i made in my headphones while getting ready to flip it onto floor - beat-combos that stayed in my head include "without me"/"i can't wait", "when the last time"/"amazon", good disco nouveau cut (track 6)/"hey boy hey girl." "out of control">"love island">"let forever">"the show" kicked off the dancing. "i'm lonely...">"rio">"superheroes">"i was made for loving you" was fun. dancehall set of m.i.a./ce'cille/richard x 12" b-side. of course i did the eponymous "send me shivers">"heartbeat">"birthday" leg. good requests for cornershop, madonna, bjork (requested just seconds after i hit play on the braxe/falke "alarm call" mix, before the vox came in), dirty rap. oddly, someone asked if i could "mix missy elliott with some awesome eighties song" - fortunately "i'm really hot" was pitched to match perfectly with "don't you want me". i enjoyed playing within the as-advertised parameters of soul (fairly isolated) synthpop (can mean most things) macro-house (actually, i played more micro than anything) and proto-crunk (which i loosely interpret to mean any hip-hop or funk.)
smoothly continues from there: home to pack > sleep > pack > mix > post office to send you cds > i goldberg for deet > vietnam palace lunch with angie and her ma > chinatown bus with tara > couple blocks to the f station > quick ride to the bergen stop for smith st send-off dinner at zaytoons with ben, josie, alicia, larissa, mark. (several revolutionary movements were discussed.) m.angel gave me a lift to jfk, bypassing the incapacitated a. > liftoff...
mark bumped "17 years" (and the samey rest of ratatat as we cruised the bqe, and it became a sort of leit-motif for the day+'s travel. it kept pushing me forward. something lovely about that one (it made me think of a differently pretty song i once wrote called "19 years.") the whole point is in the slow, reluctant downshift into the ending, those graceful, yearning portamento slides. it was in my headphones as i deplaned in TRV and set first foot on the subcontinent. i switched off the discman to interact with the immigrations officer (though he never said a word to me), but, weirdly, the music kept going. it was playing in my head, but not through any effort on my part. even when i tried to willfully disrupt it, somehow the song kept singing in my ears. all treble. those high whiny harmonies marking the plodding, deliberate chord changes.
note to invading aliens:
avoid this town