“Full of grace my ass. Every one of them too goddamn tall. And doubtless crazy as swans. ” The young man was annoyed. He banged his bottle on the wet wood of the bar.
“Perhaps that’s true, but you didn’t stick around long enough to find out.” His companion, a much older man, talked from the side of his mouth, but his words were perfectly clear to anyone who wanted to hear. His eyes were fixed on the ceiling fan in the middle of the small room. The ceiling fan rotated so slowly that it was impossible to tell whether it was turning by electric power or the currents of the barroom’s fetid air.
“What, to see if one was maybe shorter than six foot two? I will not dance with a woman who’s taller than me. It’s not a question of prejudice, simply logistics.”
The old man took off his straw hat and set it on an empty barstool. “Name one thing that’s not a question of logistics,” he said. “Name one.”
(The process of naming, if done properly, kills the sense of the thing named. Like pinning a butterfly.)
“That’s poetry,” muttered the young man, spitting flat beer back into the bottle. He signaled to the woman, thin and sallow under neon beerlight. “Another.”
“That’s not poetry. That’s beyond language. No — you’re right. Tenderly, straight as a curving arrow, that can be poetry.”
“Did you see the way that one redhead was boring straight through me with her red hair and her green eyes? Her red hair? Red?”
“I saw her,” said the older man.
The woman brought a bottle of beer for the young man. He took the bottle and held its coldness to his forehead.
She gave an inquiring look to the older man, who considered his glass of whiskey. He nodded. The nod meant “yes.”
“Boring through me. I was transparent to her, but she was transparent, too. Didn’t think I’d notice. I noticed.”
“It’s good to get out once in a while, see how the other half drinks,” said the old man. “You can tell a lot of things that way.”
“Did you say tell or spell?” asked the younger man. The woman brought a fresh glass of whiskey, sans ice, for the old man, who nodded gratefully. The nod meant “thanks.”
“I’m not sure I understand your meaning,” said the older man, sipping his drink.
“The brunette with glasses? What kind of plan or mission or hidden agenda was up her nose? Shifty, that one. Shifty and tall equals danger. You know what color were her eyes? Because I don’t! She kept shifting them around their orbits so fast you couldn’t catch the hue.”
“I remember the brunette with glasses,” said the old man, wistfully. “I remember all the brunettes with glasses.”
The younger man had an abstract look. He leafed through a book on the bar in front of him, abstractedly looking at a point in the distance, somewhere past the edge of the page.
“There was only one brunette with glasses,” said the younger man after a time.
Here are the words that the younger man was not reading, but nevertheless had open in front of him:
You are reluctant to state the purpose of your being here. Your reluctance derives from fear and from the certain knowledge that purposes cannot be stated. A purpose stated is a purpose thwarted. Into the blackness of: night, into the blackness of: sea, from the blackness of: solitude, longing, and despair.
“I wasn’t talking about just tonight’s brunette with glasses. I was talking about all the brunettes with glasses, past, present, and future.” The older man finished his whiskey with a single swallow.
“Time, gentleman!” called the woman, dishtowelling an empty glass. “Time!”
The ANS light-sound synthesizer, developed by Russian optical engineer Evgeny Murzin between 1937 and 1957, synthesizes sounds from artificially drawn sound waves. The sine waves generated by the ANS are printed onto five glass discs using a process which Murzin had to develop himself. Each disc has 144 individual tracks printed onto it, producing [...]
The ANS light-sound synthesizer, developed by Russian optical engineer Evgeny Murzin between 1937 and 1957, synthesizes sounds from artificially drawn sound waves. The sine waves generated by the ANS are printed onto five glass discs using a process which Murzin had to develop himself. Each disc has 144 individual tracks printed onto it, producing a total of 720 microtones (discrete pitches) available to the user. These are arranged vertically from low frequencies at the bottom to high frequencies at the top. Convolved light is then projected onto the back of the synthesizer’s interface. The ANS is completely polyphonic and will generate up to all 720 of its pitches simultaneously if required.
The ANS was used by Edward Artemiev in composing several of his scores for the director Andrei Tarkovsky (Solaris, Stalker, etc.) There is only one in existence; it currently resides in the Glinka Museum in Moscow. Murzin named his creation in honour of the composer Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin (ANS).
- It's a long climb up the rock face at the wrong time to the right place
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ratings: 195 (avg rating 3.70)Artificial Light (Little House on the Bowery)reviews: 6
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ratings: 59 (avg rating 3.65)EXPERIENCED: Rock Music Tales of Fact & Fictionreviews: 4
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.60)Two Letters Collection, Volume 2ratings: 5 (avg rating 4.60)
Friendly Fire"James Greer, one of the nimblest and most multilayered American fiction writers, has, with his latest novel The Failure, pulled off a sublime and shivery-smooth literary hat-trick-cum-emotional-gotcha. I defy anyone to come up with an equation to explain how this book's first impression as a ridiculously clever, funny crime story can gradually disclose a metanovel built from far more encyclopedic scratch only to reveal upon its conclusion a central, overriding thought so heartfelt literally it trembles your lower lip. This is one stunning piece of work."—Dennis Cooper"James Greer's The Failure is such an unqualified success, both in conception and execution, that I have grave doubts he actually wrote it."—Steven Soderbergh"Greer has done it again: a big-city, techno-jargon-filled thrill-ride with slick medium-brow drop references to our (once-shared) mythological hometown. What could be more poignant?"—Robert Pollard"How do you assess if your life has been a success? For starters, take time and turn it on its head. You'll first need to find its head. Luckily, James Greer's novel The Failure will help--it's a brainy, boisterous, unsettling, and unsettled look at a group of people thrust into the most confounding of existences, complete with petty crime, high science, love, sex, and cars. The narrative winds and darts, gleefully uncooperative. The characters have funny names and sometimes funny existences. Still, you will recognize them. They are us."—Ben Greenman
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