Lately I've bn dreaming about disc stores A LOT. I can't remember the last time I was IN 1. A GOOD 1, I mean. A clean, well-lit, high-tech store with friendly, knowledgeable workers who could practically read my mind & tell Xactly what kind of music I've bn looking 4 2 fill the void in my life.
1nce upon a time music was more important 2 me than my next meal. & many times I bought music B4 buying food or paying the rent. Ask my X-wife.
I used 2 work in a disc store, & sometimes I still have nightmares about it. It was almost always empty, never stocked-up on the latest hit items. 1 of the reasons I quit working there (& went unemployed 4 a year afterward) was Bcos I got tired of always having 2 tell customers "No, we don't have it...."
The other reason was that their pay vouchers started bouncing....
In my dreams, that store has been transformed ... in2 a store with well-stocked shelves full of discs; an ultimate, glossy, high-tech store with complex hypno-graphics in the windows & sprawling floor displays & dazzling liteshows....
I also dream of a small, dark, cramped, hole-in-the-wall college-neighborhood store somewhere that -- even tho it's a dump -- has tons of discs I've always bn looking 4 & have never bn able 2 find NEwhere else.... Unfortunately, I can't read the prices -- they're printed in some unknown language. & the proprietor -- a bearded, frizzy-haired old man with thick, square, Lennonish eyeglasses -- seems only able 2 speak German....
You'd think after 20 years of reviewing that my search 4 the Ultimate Disc would B long abandoned, that I'd have given up a long time ago.
& you'd B wrong. The search never ends. & there's so much music out there waiting 2 B rediscovered, pointed-out & commented-on that the search begins again every morning.
I've dreamed of the Ultimate Disc B4.
I now have the nagging feeling that at 1 time I owned it, recorded it, lost it somehow & then 4got about it. There's some disc or suite of songs, or 1 song in particular, that I MISS, 4 some unknown reason.
In dreams, I've seen the backcover of this disc, which could B some sorta overlooked, forgotten Various Artists collection put out by Britain's Virgin or Harvest labels, or could B some obscure platter by some equally unknown British-German zonk band.
The backcover is black with white lettering ... or maybe it's white with black lettering. NEway, the only song titles I can see R squoze down in2 the lower left-hand corner. They R centered inside a small thin-bordered box, with the song titles in flowing black print, & the songwriters' credits underneath in a smaller, lighter, blockier typeface.
4 some reason, the track that haunts me is the 2nd-2-last on the disc. The song title is relatively long -- 5 words at least. & I have no idea what the title is.
I get the feeling that the whole disc is at least average, if not better, but this 1 track, thru some combination of vocal harmonies, gorgeous instrumentation, intense instrumental attack, or whatever, rises 2 epic proportions, easily outshining anything else on the disc -- tho the rest of it's no slouch. But this 1 track seems 2 combine all the best things about zonk in 1 great lost 5-minute package. It's a forgotten classic of the form.
I've dreamed about what the disc's frontcover looks like, tho I barely remember it. It's garish -- greens & reds mixed 2gether in a bizarre kaleidoscope. & in the splash of art -- which seems 2 almost physically reach out & grab me from the shelf the disc sits on -- the band's name & the disc's title R lost.
The worst part is the nagging feeling that I've at 1 time in the past owned this disc, played it, enjoyed it, memorized it, recorded it, cherished it ... & somehow lost all trace of it. Perhaps I traded the disc away 4 rent credits, & the cassette I had with the best track was eaten by 1 of my treacherous old antique tape-players, & now almost all memory of it is gone.
The search 4 that disc, & that piece of music, never ends. Sometimes, when I think long & hard, I get so close 2 remembering the song title, the name of the disc, & the band's name that I think I couldn't possibly just have dreamed them. They R far 2 real 2 me. It's music that could help hold my world 2gether ... & somehow I've lost it.
I couldn't hum that tune 4 U -- not right now -- but if I continue 2 mull it over, sometime soon I'll B able 2 hum that tune, just like I can cough up names, titles, credits & other obscure zonk trivia almost without thinking. They just seem 2 pop out of my fingers & in2 the keyboard ... & then off 2 the Cyclops.
That's my job. I'm a walking encyclopedia of zonk. That's what they pay me 2 B....
5 billion people. Every day, potentially 5 billion people could let me in2 their cubicles thru the Cyclops. They speak all diffrent languages, but music makes it possible 4 us all 2 speak the same language.
& the message I give 2 these 5 billion zombies is: Let's talk over some great new sounds, OK fans?
& just Bcos I have no solid evidence that I've ever broken thru 2 NE of them doesn't mean I should stop TRYING....
In my groping, stumbling, fumbling way, clumsily dancing all around it, what I've bn trying 2 say 4 years is how GRATEFUL I am 2 live in a universe where such wonderful music Xists, where I can have such glorious sounds 2 help hold my shaky world together.
I don't know how else 2 say it. This just happens 2 B the way I'm put together. I can't say it much better than this.
Thru all the articles 4 NM & the Cyclops & the newssheets, in all the typing I've done while pausing occasionally 2 look out this window....
What I've bn trying 2 say 4 all these years is THANK YOU....
I keep dreaming that there's 1 piece of music somewhere out there that's SO brilliant, so involving, that when I turn my sound system up 2 10 2 blast it, my neighbors don't complain.
They join in.
Suddenly we all have copies of the same disc, & we're all playing it at 10.
All up & down my CubeBlock, from every level, come the sounds of the same song playing at 10 on 100's of zonk systems, & the music pours out thru 100's of open windows in the mile-high wall of the block, in2 the noisy city air of the afternoon.
& all across the city, people turn the same song up LOUD, & it resonates & rings out over the wasted, dying gray landscape....
The motars strain 4 the highest note they can attain, & it's like a huge bell ringing in the sky over the city. In its loudness & intensity, it's like an earthquake.
At 1st nobody notices the shaking. Then the CubeBlocks start 2 crack. Huge, jagged cracks appear in the sides of the enormous, towering buildings all around mine.
I have a terrific view from my window.
Suddenly the blocks start collapsing, accordion-like. They crumple, topple & fall, & crash in2 each other, knocking over 1, then 2, then 5, 10, 100 diffrent bldgs.
The bldgs collapse and crumple, they plummet 2 earth & shatter in a seemingly endless crash. The colossal wreckage seems 2 rebound back up in2 the air, hovering 4 a moment B4 falling with a final smash. A huge cloud of dust arises from the fallen bldgs, & it scrubs away the smog.
Life comes 2 a complete stop as the blocks R leveled.
4 the 1st time in years, no car horns can B heard honking NEwhere in the city. A stillness descends as the dust begins 2 settle.
It hasn't been this quiet here in a long time.
The death toll is horrendous, astronomical.
& above it all, that final, distant, apocalyptic motar chord still rings, somewhere, far off above the wreckage.
Finally there is peace in the city. In all cities. At last.
Then we no longer need 2 live in huge, monolithic, block-shaped bldgs & tiny cramped cubicles, fellow zombies. We no longer need 2 live piled on top of each other just 2 have enuf space 4 all of us.
We can go outside. Then we have all the room in the world.
Those of us who survive.
Then a new tune starts playing....
Not everybody dies. Especially not me.
In the aftermath of all this wreckage, I go shopping.
There R a few other survivors, like me, & there R some bldgs that don't collapse, & in the middle of a huge vacant area bordered by 4 towering, miraculously still-standing CubeBlocks, a huge open-air market has sprung up....
Things R quieter, simpler now. Tho some sections of the city still seem 2 have electricity, there is no more Cyclops. The only connections I can make now R the personal 1's, & I was never very good at those -- ask my X-wife, if U can find her in the rubble.
Despite my almost perpetual hunger, the wreckage, the windblown dirt & garbage everywhere, the piles of collapsed bldgs & the 1,000s of corpses that must B entombed inside, this new life is not unpleasant.
It doesn't occur 2 me 2 wonder why we Rn't all sickened by R filthy, disease-ridden new surroundings. Maybe I'm just not surprised -- after all, I realize this is a dream, where all sorts of harsh realities can B avoided.
Tho some of my fellow survivors walk by with a far-off, shocked look in their eyes, things seem generally calm, relaxed, slower-paced. & much quieter. It's not so bad.
It hasn't been like this in the city 4 a very long time.
Besides, there's much more 2 consider than how odd my fellow survivors look as they trudge by. There R many merchants here in the open-air market selling their pitiful wares: fruits & vegetables & leftovers gathered out of some of the collapsed bldgs. Enuf peeks beneath enuf canvas-covered stalls & I might B able 2 barter 4 enuf food 4 my dinner 2nite.
1 particular stall catches my eye. The proprietor is missing most of his teeth & looks like he hasn't had a bath in weeks -- of course, none of us have. We have all new standards of cleanliness here in R New World. But this old man seems familiar, somehow. & he has something 4 sale under his canopy that none of the other merchants do:
True, the selection is pitifully small & horrendously dusty, slapped haphazardly & carelessly in2 a wooden crate -- a process guaranteed 2 scratch the discs beyond repair. But I am so astonished 2 find NE discs at all that I kneel there in the dirt & look thru every 1.
& the Ultimate Disc that I've bn searching 4 is there, naturally.
There's no doubt in my mind that I will somehow barter this disc out of the proprietor's hands -- even if the cost means I won't B eating dinner 2nite or breakfast 2morrow. I'll take the disc home, put it gingerly in2 the player (my electricity will still work of course, this is a dream), & will have my life fulfilled. Bcos the long search is over. Only now, after the end of everything else.
& the most ironic part of all is there's nobody I can tell about it. Bcos there's no more Cyclops.
Unless I want 2 walk up 2 total strangers & tell them how important my find is -- that immediately seems a stupid idea 2 me. I was never very good at passing on my enthusiasms 2 people in-person. & besides, nearly every1 I see has MUCH larger concerns than this.
Unlike me, they're much more worried about what they're gonna have 4 dinner 2nite & breakfast 2morrow than they R about their entertainment. Understandable, considering R surroundings. It may be a long time B4 they worry about such trivial things as entertainment again. They have enuf 2 do just trying 2 stay alive. & Bcos of their practical outlook, they may live a lot longer than me.
Basically this is the perfect ultimately-ironic post-apocalyptic world 4 me 2 stumble over the Ultimate Disc in. THERE'S a negative review 4 ya.... The only way it could B worse is if I didn't have electricity & no way 2 play the disc. Then I wouldn't B able 2 HEAR it, either....
As is, I can hear the greatness of the music, but I have nobody 2 communicate that greatness 2, nobody I can connect with, nobody I can share it with -- which was the name of the game 4 me all along.
Which must B why I can't shake this dream.
1 last thing happens B4 I awaken: I look up from where I've been crouching beside the bin of dusty discs, & I C the proprietor watching me. His thick, square, Lennonish glasses R filthy, his hair is frizzy, & he seems 2 B saying something 2 me in a low, guttural voice, thick with clicks & coughs. He seems 2 B speaking German. 2 bad I never learned 2 speak German. I can't understand a word he says. I can't read his prices 4 the discs, either....
The dream fades out....
So, what's the name of this unknown song that's driving me crazy? What disc is it on? Who R the artists who created it?
It doesn't really matter. I'll stumble over the answers someday, whether in dreams or in Reality. That's what I'm here 4. Sure the questions make me crazy. But the search 4 the answers fascinates me more. & hearing new music, finding new answers, discovering new facts & trivia, that's what this job's all about. That's what they pay me 4.
Enuf daydreaming 4 2day. It's time 2 get back 2 the Real World.
But U can bet I'll B back 2morrow with MORE dreams, fellow zombies ... if the folks at NM don't fire me 1st....