WTM #1066: Summer Summer

wReck thiS meSS ~ Radio Patapoe 88.3

Amsterdam ~ Ethno-Illogical Psycho-Radiographies

23 August 2009 // 17.00-19.00

I had begun my habit of thumbing (thrumming randomly) a thesaurus when very young. I could string together adjectives related to the word “beautiful” in a necklace of hopefulness that would somehow link me and whomever together. The scattershot effect of using flattering adjectives would slay her — beautiful, dainty, gorgeous, radiant, lovely, cute, captivating, enthralling, winsome, exquisite, luscious, sensuous, comely …

• from the novel Ocean Groove, Ocean Grave

Alpstein > Christine Lauterberg [Alles Bleibt Anders / Dewil Music]
In The Summer > Terry Riley
Green Leaves of Summer > John Perrone [Dolannes Melodie / Dureco]
The Door Practice: Summer Solstice > Yurihito Watanabe
Putnam County > Tom Waits [Nighthawks at the Diner / Asylum]
Kota > Bonobo [Animal Magic /Ninja Tune ]
Alpstein > Christine Lauterberg [Alles Bleibt Anders / Dewil Music ]
Children Play with Earth > Arrested Development [3 Years, 5 Months,and 2 Days in the Life of… / Cooltempo]
Sunship > John Coltrane [Sunship / Impulse]
Lazy Day > US3 [Hand on the Torch / Blue Note]
Lazy > Marilyn Monroe [Collection / The Collection]
Agua de Beber > Montefiori Cocktail [World Lounge / Putumayo]
Instinctive Traveller > Dissidenten [World Lounge / Putumayo]
Santa Maria > Gotan Project [World Lounge / Putumayo]
Sun Jive > Lizzy Mercier Descloux [Zulu Rock / Ze]
Sueno Latino > Sueño Latino
Chimes > Phillip Jeck
Comme Bella a Stagione > Connie Francis [Sings Italian Favorites / MGM vinyl]
Sad Vacation > Johnny Thunders [In Cold Blood / New Rose]
Emily > Joanna Newsom
In the Summertime > Mungo Jerry
Summer in the City > Lovin’ Spoonful

I am writing this in December and notice how difficult it is with a snow storm raging just outside my window to write about the Summer. What I often turn to are the songs from when summer really meant summer – a psychological limitless field of sun, boredom, possibility and speculation mainly during those formative years – the years still so clearly etched into your memory. “Summer in the City” and songs by Martha and the Vandellas and the Young Rascals “Groovin’” and “It’s a Beautiful Morning” work mnemonically almost as directly and earnestly as certain smells – like fields of tall grasses.

Another type of evocation are soundscapes by people like Hildegard Westerkamp, which include plenty of buzzing bees and cicadas and rustling leaves or warm breezes through hedges. This is done real well by the likes of Christine Lauterburg, a superb and boundary-pushing modern yodeler, who on her Alles bliebt anders composed an ambient voyage through the Alps with Marcel Wild and Pasquale de Sapio that accurately and rhapsodically captures that sensu-round feeling of a warm summer day in the countryside. Another composition I often listen to and use on radio shows like this is Scott Marshal/Paniculture’s “Pinebush” a long ambient soundscape that wanders through summer sunset in the Catskills, Pinebush being a central town in this mountainous region of NY State.

I sometimes try to recreate those feelings of endless summers, when you could just be playing games in Barbara’s garage or wandering through cow fields, skinny-dipping in a pond, long drawn out wiffleball games of countless innings, doing nothing except dream and wonder for hours on end. Reading about being grown up and how I couldn’t wait for it to happen, reading teen mags about how exciting the day’s youth culture made it all seem to some in the middle of upstate NY.

I remember building little outdoor pads in woods and fields for various girls in my class who I dreamt of being the boyfriend of and how I would bring them to my ‘pad’ matted soft grasses and interwoven branches and sticks for walls, pine needle bed in the woodsy thicket not far from our house. And writing notes to request their companionship and then either delivering this to their homes in an envelope by hand or never quite getting the courage up to deliver it. Going to visit my pads to make sure they were perfect for sitting and talking and making out with these girls. This, pf course, never actually happened except over and over in my own dreaming mind late at night staring at my Endless Summer poster.

From the novel Ocean Groove, Ocean Grave

Ever since I was young I had made a habit — or the habit had made me — of reading the full deep intent of every word that was communicated to me by the intimate means of correspondence. I read the dictionary, recited incantations from the thesaurus, thinking that if I knew the words I would unravel all the mysteries of love. Each word aimed at me would be exactly what the dictionary said it was — and more. Whenever a girl classmate sent me a response (rare) containing the greeting “Dear P.” I’d sit for hours marveling at how closely “Dear” was situated to my name — almost running into one another like a tributary into a river. I imagined the “Dear” as much more — cuddly, yes, but more. Because didn’t “Dear” mean beloved, cherished, precious, fond, and beyond? And I would keep it well-fed so that its emotional impact would never get stale.

My forefinger pursued letters, words, meanings across the page. I repeated the words to myself, like my voice was going inside out, the forefinger offering tactile delight as it skirted the inseams of the words’ contours. The incantatory magic filled me with its magical possibilities. But it was only 15 years later that their alchemical properties became manifest. Words suddenly began to behave like linguistic pheromones, attracting potential mates, flattery opening button flies, blouses flying open like curtains in cheap hotel windows. Each word became come-on, each sonorous syllable a copulin suspended in my warm radishy breath as I delivered it to the most impressionable part of her ear. With words came extra-oral activities, licking, sucking, kissing, sighing, moaning moistly across the map of her skin. Words were able to right the damage done by perpetual bad hair, bad skin, gawkiness, funny dance steps. Words were a compensatory redemption. I serenaded her with spontaneous, new adjectives, their metaphorical lyricism allowing their emotive thrust to be felt — jambines, linglings, neuramic, flumptuous, furamal, umdyumdy, whangual, delicktable, labolicious, scrumtittyous … The more I gave myself up to words the faster the woman would give herself to me and take part of me back with her, back to the source of beauty; words allowing love to make the object of our love beautiful! And thus we blossomed in the glorious tautology where the inhabitants of beauty were able to share in the joy of the beauty imparted.

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