It’s funny, really. As much as anyone can say they know about music, with 7 billion-plus people in the world it’s im-fucking-possible to know everything that’s happening. With even a minute percentage of those 7 billion creating art in any medium there is a universe of possible surprises. This is sure one of them. How would you describe The Mall? It starts out on first listen as very much in that dystopian, electronic, futuristic, electronic, techno thing I love. Then throw in some murky hardcore punk style vocals… And that’s exactly what it is really. You get it straight from the horse’s mouth in THIS ARTICLE. And hell, I didn’t even know St. Louis had a punk scene or I just didn’t think about it being as New York-centric as I always am. It’s obnoxious of me really. There is nowhere in the world at this point in 2020 that doesn’t have a punk scene and a lot of them do it better than New York has done it in decades.
It’s these pleasant surprises that keep me going. It makes me a little sad that all this exploration has to be done from my quarantine space-capsule bedroom but that’s just how things are. Hello 2020. Hello pandemic. But hello Youtube. Hello Bandcamp. Hello The Mall. This is the stuff that’s kept me upright for these last 8 months of semi-lockdown. That and long hikes around the city snapping photos of street art and various oddities, and counting steps. Creation and meditation and a lot of worn out boots.
It was really only the first few weeks of COVID-19 measures that my head was wrecked. Even that was more about external factors not even related to the virus or the lockdown. It was about relationships and frankly feeling non-essential to the people closest to me. How much of that was/is only in my head remains unclear and there are still moments of self-doubt and deep uncertainty but most days there is clarity. Does it make sense that one can find deep clarity and self-assuredness in the midst of mounting chaos? I can’t speak for anyone else but that’s what happened for me. There is a centeredness unrelated to self-centeredness when you can let go of ego, or at least the part of it based on the need to feel… important. Surely there are a few people whom I remain disappointed with but only in a distant sense. Everyone does what they need to do to get by and if you’re not part of that, be part of something else. It’s not that big a deal. Move on.
So while my sphere of movement is drastically smaller and more limited, I’m sitting here quietly many days looking out at a world that all of a sudden seems bigger and more wondrous and mysterious than it has since I was a small child. There is such a huge mystery in looking out at 7 billion-plus people. It’s like standing on the shore looking out at the ocean. It seems infinite in depth and breadth. There seems to be infinite possibility. So much to see and hear, and for the first time since early childhood, the time to consider it. The limited movement can still be frightening on some mornings, but that’s somewhat connected to age too. You hit a certain age, 59 in my case, and wonder if there will be opportunity to go out when all this subsides and experience some of the wonder firsthand. That hasn’t hit any kind of an anxiety level, or not enough to write home about, but the thought is there. Don’t take freedom of movement for granted. Time is limited and truly the difference between 19 and 59 isn’t all that big… so there will be time. It’s just not now.