Monday, September 29, 2008

Report From An Academy

"[...] it should indicate the line an erstwhile ape has had to follow in entering and establishing himself in the world of men." - Franz Kafka.

So, I moved to university two days ago. To discuss the dark and protracted business of leaving - saying goodbye to the friends I seem to have accumulated, without intention, over the past 12 months; paying one last visit to the New Forest; bidding my parents goodbye, at least temporarily - would be verging on emotional pornography. What I found curious was the continual sensation, during those last few days, of oscillating between a total numbness - an object among so many shifted objects - and shocking sensitivity, sudden paralysis.

The campus, on the edge of town, is remarkably remote, set almost among the fields that roll south toward Stratford. There was a party in my residence last night - the usual affair: Carlsberg, white wine from a box, music so loud and bad it's impossible to talk over - so I ended up taking a walk in the dusk, through the sports fields to the south of Gibbet Hill Road. The only thing that could be heard was the occasional, distant passage of planes overhead - tiny lights, flashing intermittently among heavy clouds - and the isolated sound of songbirds in the bushes and trees surrounding me: stereoscopic nature. Here, nature is experienced as something proximately close, but somehow distant - something utterly other than the claustrophobic heat of human society, a living stillness in which you participate without trying, Cage's silence-that-is-not-silent. (Appropriately, I've been trying to listen to AMM's The Nameless Uncarved Block recently. "Cage gave us the permission to do what we do" - Keith Rowe.) Growing up in a town where the wildest animal you'd see was the enormous seagulls that stalked the town centre and seafront, seeing foxes and rabbits as I walk back to my residence is like realising you've stumbled into another England - the world animated by the likes of Martyn Bates and Mick Harris' Murder Ballads, Martin Carthy's Out Of The Cut, Comus' Song To Comus, Current 93's Sleep Has His House - which it's comforting to know might still exist, even if it has partially to be imagined into being.

2 Comments:

Blogger it said...

ooh, I know where you are! what are you studying? does the dog and trumpet still exist? (only the best goth pub in the world).

October 2, 2008 at 2:09 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

English Literature & Creative Writing, which it turns out I'm rather ill-suited for (at least thus far.) I haven't actually been into town yet, but I'm going to tonight, and I'll have a glance for you...

October 3, 2008 at 2:28 AM  

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