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Thursday, July 23, 2009

ILL MUSICAL MADELEINES*: L7, "Andreas" (c. 2004)


It's July in Charleston, South Carolina. J. is at work and I am hungry. He is a chef, but keeps no food in his apartment. I take a shower and walk to the ABC store to buy a pint of Heaven Hill vodka for $2.69. When I return to the apartment, I take another shower to cool off and then mix the vodka with some stale pink lemonade mix I find in the cupboard. A. calls and invites me to visit. I drive drunk for the first and only time in my life. When I get to her apartment, she is listening to L7's 1994 Hungry for Stink album, which I had bought when it was released, but had long since sold. We decide to walk down Broad Street to Gaulart & Maliclet's Fast & French. We take chalk with us and write on the jersey barriers blocking off a construction area. I write "E=mγc2--don't break the laws of physics." At Fast & French, we sit in the kitchen window and eat for free. I have lemon leek soup, which I enjoy, but am never able to find anywhere again. Memories of Charleston are hazy after that ... more showers ... stepping on palmetto bugs on the way to the Piggly Wiggly ... a curator with dirty shirtcuffs at the Karpeles Manuscript Library ... drunk at a Japanese restaurant, I draw 11011213211011 on a napkin and show it to the girl next to me--she turns away and starts a conversation with someone else before I can tell her about the special powers of the number nine, describe why the inside of the letter O can make a paranoiac anxious, show her how to knife-fight, or any of the other things I do when drunk ... sober at 3am at another bar ... driving a fully-loaded Cadillac Escalade alone through Charleston to get back to J.'s apartment, sleeping, then driving back to pick him up from R.'s house ... my mother drags her toes on the sidewalk, trips, and falls.

*"And suddenly the memory revealed itself. ... The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it; perhaps because I had so often seen such things in the meantime, without tasting them, on the trays in pastry-cooks' windows, that their image had dissociated itself from those Combray days to take its place among others more recent; perhaps because of those memories, so long abandoned and put out of mind, nothing now survived, everything was scattered; the shapes of things, including that of the little scallop-shell of pastry, so richly sensual under its severe, religious folds, were either obliterated or had been so long dormant as to have lost the power of expansion which would have allowed them to resume their place in my consciousness. But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, taste and smell alone, more fragile but more enduring, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, remain poised a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and almost palpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection." -Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past

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