The Void

Suppose I wrote a song of the universe,
each word for a galaxy, music as grand as the ages,
and every pause a breath a different life-form takes.
Suppose I sing it in a secluded corner of an unknown planet.

The song takes birth, stretches and spreads across the heavens.
Like water flowing into an empty bowl, like air sucked
into vacuum, it flies to places far, to beings unheard
and through black holes to all time streams.

In that single moment it is sung in galaxies galore and days
past and yet to come, and the entire universe reverberates.
So that in a single instance it truly becomes
the song of the universe.

The song in that moment I would give
to you so you won’t feel empty anymore.

Musical Stories Spellbindingly Narrated – Nocturnes | Kazuo Ishiguro

Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Short Stories, Music


Kazuo Ishiguro is a name that has gained quite a lot of favor in the literary world recently owing to his Booker Prize winner – Never Let me Go. So it is of no surprise that when I spotted a hardcopy with a pretty cover and a tagline ‘Five Stories of Music and Nightfall’ authored by Kazuo Ishiguro, I instinctively picked it up.

Nocturnes is a collection of five short stories, spinning around music in Europe, nostalgically narrated and abruptly ended. I vaguely remember reading An Artist of the Floating World by Ishiguro, but these stories have a similar charm to them – a style that inexplicably weaves the reader into the narrator’s world.

A common thread across these stories is a love or pursuit of music and fame or the desire for recognition Then there are the troubled couples, lovers whom life has slowly clinched apart and those who are still inching closer and finding each other. But they only form a part of the story, a background tune. Rather, it’s the fleeting moments shared between strangers connected through music that form the chorus, with the impending goodbye as the crescendo.

In some ways, these stories are about travelling and meeting new people – who you never really know except in the few hours that they decide to spend with you. It’s about people who you wish you could have known better or people that bring out a different side to you – sometimes they are inviting and mysterious like a tune you can’t get out of your head, and then, as suddenly as they appeared, they disappear and become another of those strangers you might catch a glimpse of from afar.

Nocturnes builds up a rhythm of its own. It has the kind of stories you would exchange with unfamiliar faces across a campfire, a bit to impress but really to avoid forgetting them yourself. These are stories that don’t necessarily lead to a well-formed ending but have still somehow stayed with the narrator all along – eternal mysteries wrapped around quirks in a stranger’s behavior.

The book is a light read that draws you in and shows you the colorful, vibrant and nostalgic world of a stray musician – full of lies and dreams. Even if you’re not the short story kind, if you’re looking for a change of pace and love music enough to experiment with it, Nocturnes is definitely a go-ahead. And if you’ve read anything else by Ishiguro, I wouldn’t mind a recommendation myself.

P.S. This was slow in coming to me but I finally remember why the title sounds strangely familiar. Think Neil Gaiman and his graphic novel Sandman – no wonder then that this nocturnes has a dream-like aura itself!


Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Appreciation Post

Yeah that’s right. Appreciation. Of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Like a big giant ‘Thank You‘ in as many words as possible.

But let’s start with this little conversation I have been subjected to more times than I care to count.

Me(randomly): I love Macklemore and Ryan!

Other Person: But why? OR Ohh. The guy who sang Thrift Shop, right? OR Umm… who?

Me(to all of them): ……..You didn’t just say that.

So let me (try and) address this. Wait a minute as I put Wings on my speaker. Why do I like them so much? How do I even answer that? It’s like asking ‘Why do you like the Harry Potter books?’ I can still try and explain that by saying ‘It’s my childhood’, so it doesn’t tell why I like it, but that it’s been close to me for a long time. That may give you some idea. A better comparison is ‘Why do you like Murakami?’ Try and answer that! It’s because it is Murakami. See? That is why I like them. Because, Murakami.

Okay. This demands to be clarified first – when I say Macklemore’s and Ryan’s songs, I do not mean And we danced and Thrift Shop. They are cool. And hip. And fun. Yes. But they are not all of their songs. And I certainly wouldn’t call them their best. They’re like ‘Tales of Beedle the Bard’ to the entire Harry Potter series. You haven’t even started the damn series yet and you’re already drawing conclusions? What is wrong with you? How can you find Thrift Shop on the internet without having Same Love pop out somewhere else and clicking on it? How do you go about this world justifying your Youtube song searching skills? Look around child, look around in this beautiful world for the gems, the ones that sparkle in the dark, the hidden ones.

And, believe me, there are gems – Otherside, Same LoveArrowsGrowing up – and they are beautiful; because there is one on drugs (but you’d say that every one sings about drugs these days, to which I’d say not like they do and not with the same message as theirs), and there’s one on love (and I can literally speak all the lyrics to it in one of my public speaking assignments with homosexuality as the topic because there is no better piece which presents the case for it in so heartbreaking a manner; like there is even need for being told that it is alright and definitely not a crime), and there’s one about ‘My old man he kicked me out when I told him that I live this way’ (because he sure as hell will) and there’s one about, well, growing up, but more specifically, about what Macklemore wants to tell his child as she grows up and really? Do you want me to say anything more? I just love them. And there’s still Kevin. And Downtown is so fun (it made me laugh at more than one scene like if I only had one helmet I would give it to you? That’s so cute). Because fuck. It is a moped song. Who makes a moped song? And I haven’t even talked about My oh My yet. Do you get the idea now? Here’s an excerpt from Arrows:

He doesn’t sleep
So in truth he never wakes up
Another day rushing to his death
Out of breath on the treadmill of the famous
He makes mistakes tells stories to his paintbrush
And when the world finally sees his art
He wishes that he never would have made it
Just escape, just escape ricochets
And eclipses faith living in a city
With a grey umbrella over your shoulders
And you’re becoming suffocated by the weight
Can’t hit those breaks
This is what you wanted, huh
But you got it all in vain cause you forgot who you are
Right as the world learned your name it goes…

Their music jumbles all these waves into a cat’s cradle in your hands telling you about all the cultures they’ve lived in and all you need to do is pull at one tiny string and it all falls aside to show just how much they actually care about them. And they are just so damn cute showing it and putting it out there, putting themselves out there and just talking about whatever the hell they want to be talking about, so much that I want to have an Irish Celebration with that one tune playing all the time in the background.

Most people get put off by the rapping. But for me, I see no other way that they can be them without Macklemore singing and Ryan working his magic like the most evil addictive witch I’ve ever read about. How do you squeeze in lyrics like they do or the cadences that Macklemore has without it being a rap? I’m not a huge fan of the genre myself, but I still love them, because there are things worth compromising your tastes for, and when you do, they reward you in strands of words and music wrapped wondrously around topics that sure as hell aren’t.

So you tell me. How can you not love them? Please do. Because I just cannot get it.