Jay Reatard - Watch Me Fall - 2009
Weird Al Yankovich - Foil - 2014
London Grammar - If You Wait - 2013
The Horrors - Primary Colours - 2008
AlunaGeorge - You Know You Like It EP - 2012
A Made Up Sound - Shortcuts - 2008
oh god no i can’t take this pressure”
Tycho - Dive - 2011
Man Forever with So Percussion - Ryonen - 2014
Jesu / Eluvium - split EP - 2007
Mumdance - Cairo Calling mixtape - 2014
This is sort of a book review? Or just my emotional reaction to a book, not professional or anything. No real reason for anyone to read it (especially with this bullshit self-depricating caveat), no real reason to post it - just tired of speaking to myself.
Fernando Pessoa wrote some 30,000 different pieces of writing in his lifetime, which were only discovered posthumously. He was a clerk working in a Portuguese city in the 1920s and 30s. I’m not sure how much of his writings were published in his lifetime, certainly I think some of his poems were, enough that he gained at least a modicum of standing in the Portuguese literary world. The vast archive of his writings found after his death revealed a curious approach to poetry literary criticism fiction, and autobiography. He created a multiplicity of personas which he called Heteronyms, different writers with individual schools of thoughts and biases who would comment upon one another’s works, either through criticism or literary endeavour. Here was a man about whom the phrase ‘a rich interior life’ could hardly begin to do justice. He was a clerk who moonlighted as a writer, I don’t think he was ever able to sustain a living from literature and so had to work.
His Heteronym Bernard Soares is one of the most prolific of these writers, hundreds of diaristic pieces having been collected into what is today published as ‘The Book Of Disquiet’. This was edited and collected into a book some 30 years after his passing, and in it we find the diary entries of a man working a low level clerk’s job, who dreams (day dreams even) of a more exciting and meaningful life. Despite the assertion that the author is Bernard Soares, it is hard not to see much of Fernando Pessoa in ‘The Book Of Disquiet’. We find a man who is quietly and in his own way railing against the banality of his life, dreaming and aching for something different, but who also sees the truth of the banality and the small tasks that must be performed for life to continue. He is a man in a routine, in a role constructed by society and thus subject to constraints, he can’t suddenly leave his job and go “live in a cave somewhere” as he suggests one time, for how would he survive? No money, no other people to rely on, it would be a pointless gesture. This straining is offset by bouts of stoicism, his flights of fancy balanced by an embracing of the set life he lives, the other clerks in his office, the tobacconist he visits everyday, he declares his love for every one of them and the place they have in his life, the warm familiarity they give him. Yet it is a strangely impersonal relationship he has to each one of these people, the other clerks are never spoken of as friends, there are no references to social engagements of any kind. Soares (Pessoa?) lives a self-contained life, tumultuously pitching between dreams and reality.
To me there is definitely a sense of urgent reasoning, as if he is fooling himself on purpose when he justifies the life he has and the unreality of the one he yearns for. He is always trying to make the life he lives be ok, for the daydreams and hopes to stay in his head and not be let out into the ordered world he lived in, to come up with reasons why he shouldn’t change, essentially. It’s all too relatable for me and not a little heartbreaking. The fact Pessoa was a functioning alcoholic for a lot of his adult life is perhaps indicative of his state of mind when writing, and the fact his writing was found in a trunk in his attic after his death perhaps indicates an intent that was checked - a compulsion to write but no courage to share. This triggers a lot of my own anxieties, fear in many different forms, being ‘different’, not being good enough, talking myself into settling rather than trying. I can’t actually be sure how much my own baggage is influencing my interpretation of this book, but safe to say probably a lot.
Junior Boys - It’s All True - 2011
Miles - Faint Hearted - 2013
The Notwist - Neon Golden - 2002
Chvrches - The Bones Of What You Believe - 2013
Molina & Johnson - s/t - 2009
Stumbleine & Violet Skies - Dissolver - 2014
Maps - We Can Create - 2007
Secret Pyramid - Movements Of Night - 2013
Gui Boratto - Chromophobia - 2007
Roly Porter - Life Cycle Of A Massive Star - 2013
Christopher Cross - s/t - 1979
James Vincent McMorrow - Post-Tropical - 2014
Beady Eye - Be - 2013
How To Dress Well - Total Loss - 2012
spotted on youtube
Dump - I Can Hear Music - 1995
Half Japanese - Fire In The Sky - 1993