Thursday, January 12, 2012

Winter is when I listen to the Violent Femmes a lot like an angsty teenager.

When I was a child I used to really love those little plastic stir sticks you get with your cocktails. My uncle was a big drinker and he would have them sitting in a glass on a shelf in my grandparents' room. I didn't really know what they were for I just found them so precious, translucent and fragile. I used to categorize them by colours and put them up against the window. I used to categorize everything by shape and colour, buttons, candy, pencil crayons, fruit. I still do that, except these days I like to categorize people by the role they play in my life. It's a bit harder because their roles change every day. I call it "restructuring". People don't like to be categorized but they do it to others all the time. Nobody liked it when my uncle came over because he was usually drunk but I loved it. He used to sit on my grandma's red velvet couch and blow smoke rings into the air while I jumped around trying to catch them. My parents didn't really drink but they had a crystal decanter in their room, where I usually slept, and it was the first thing I saw every day when I woke up. I wasn't allowed to ever touch the decanter but I remember it well. I still find the ritualism and paraphernalia of substance abuse very seductive - probably because of those early memories. Last week I bought my own crystal decanter at the St Michel flea market and now it's sitting on my shelf, half full. I don't really touch it but I find its presence comforting.

One of my favourite films is Heart of Glass by Herzog. It's about an 18th century Bavarian village with a glassblowing factory that produces this very special red ruby glass that the entire village is addicted to. When the factory's main glassblower dies and takes the secret to producing the glass with him everyone in the village loses their minds. I've become borderline obsessed with glassblowing. It involves transformation and alchemy and it's so mysterious to me that I think glassblowers are like magicians. My friends Iris and Deidre's father is one and when I recently got to browse through some of his work it made my brain melt. All the pieces in the picture up there (photo by Iris Fraser) are also his. The green colour comes from melted Uranium (which you could still buy 40 years ago). When I watched the Herzog film for the first time I thought I was going to have a panic attack because the dialogue was so oddly paced. Later on I found out that every single actor in every scene was heavily hypnotized prior to performing. The actors seemed to be on the verge of hysterics but somehow it seemed like the most appropriate response to their predicament. That's exactly how I feel when I'm surrounded by glass: I can't get enough of it. I'd like to watch it again so if you're interested, you know where to find me. OK bye friends.


Xenia said...

today I learned about bioactive glass!! glass IS magic!

benivulka said...

XXOOOO!!!!! can't wait to hang out!!!