Radio Quarantine -Selofan – Vitrioli (2018)

Revisiting Greece, and SELOFAN, darkwave as dark as darkwave goes. It’s 21st Century 80s cavernous blackness, from the hauntological gothic sound to the gated reverb on the drums and beyond. They’ve traveled back in time. It’s tempting here to go back myself and excavate memories, and there were some good ones, but time travel is never exactly an honest journey. The allure of re-writing history is too overwhelming and the fact is I wasn’t as cool and exciting as I’d like to imagine myself as having been. it may not even be possible to paint a true-to-life portrait of one’s past. What do you get? Perhaps a simulation of a simulation at best. A photocopy of an edited photocopy. Truth and fidelity blur.

Selofan though seems to have kept the edges on their copy of a copy. You could tell any survivor of the 80s that this is from 1983 and nobody would doubt you.

The cover image is compelling and cryptic. Take away the album title and band name and you’ve got stand-alone art that tells a thousand stories. Extra credit for the art.

Beginning of a new work week on the first day of a new month and the official beginning of the summer season. Nearly three straight days of bitter cold and rain washed out a lot of the adventure and certainly clipped my wings. It was relatively productive though as the rainy days were spent sorting through what comes and what doesn’t for the next move, whenever that actually happens. Stacks of records will be left behind, many I’ve carted around from place to place for forty hears and haven’t spun for at least thirty of those forty. They just filled shelves that were more like a taxidermist’s trophy case, exhibiting long-deceased versions of myself. Many were purchased with expressed purpose of reporting to other people that I’d bought them, if I’m to be honest. Just adolescent folly in an adolescence that lasted a lot longer than adolescence should under any circumstances. It’s okay to admit these things. It’s not abnormal. It’s all part of the creative process that everyone goes through when they’re building themselves. Sometimes you settle on a version that continues to work. Sometimes the most honest version finds you at whatever point and renders the other versions obsolete. That’s more or less what happened to me. It just took a while. In any event, the other incarnations and all their accessories can go now. There’s no point in keeping them. There’s nobody to impress. There’s unlikely to ever be someone combing my shelves who will pull something out and decide, based on some find or another, that I must be the bee’s knees and the chicken’s elbows. That’s what I held onto everything for, isn’t it? But how in the world would you know if I didn’t tell you what a process this has all been

I did finally make it out yesterday for a walkabout. It was… okay. It was a good opportunity to sweat out the toxins that had collected in me after a few sedentary days gathering trash inside. The city was bustling in a way it hasn’t since maybe 2019. The walk down the west side was still lonely despite the crowds. We’re not talking about the crushing loneliness but just that simple, wistful pinch at the emotions. Who doesn’t want to be coupled up in the springtime when everyone seems to be coupled up? A warm smile and a hand to hold? Someone to share with? Again, not even close to a longing, and nowhere near as desolate as the sounds of Grecian darkwave, but enough discomfort to be memorable. I’m just being honest.

There are neighborhoods still that exacerbate whatever negative emotions are already there. The Upper East Side has always seemed such an emotionally cold place to me for example. Battery Park, in contrast, was for a long time a place where I felt connected. The continued development there though has left me… well… cold. It’s not a safe place anymore. It’s not a power place. It’s not even a question of the newness but when we’re talking about a simulation of a simulation there is no place in New York City that better exemplifies that than Battery Park City. Even teeming with people it just feels sterile, more like an architectural rendering than a real place filled with real people. That it’s built on a landfill of a construction project that no longer exists after less than half a century in existence seems a metaphor for its grotesque artificiality. It was conceived and designed and built to project an image of wealth and success, a New York City, USA theme park of sorts that stands as a massive insult to everyone and everything else. It’s… false. Everything about it is false. When we use the word ‘Dystopia’ it’s come to signify waste and desolation and depression, but what the fuck could be more dystopian than the Gattaca architecture that looms beyond the truth of the human condition? Battery Park City is our Gattaca and should we ever reach the point where the rich enjoy the superhuman power to live forever through science then they will all live in towers above us in developments like this one.

And we will never be welcome in their landscaped, curated, genetically perfect world. Our ghosts and the dust of our remains will always be there though. Invisible and never given a thought but we will be there. Well, they will think about us when they see one of us walking through randomly, unwashed and unwelcome, and they will wish we weren’t there to spoil the view, eyesores on the manicured lawns. It may seem like I’m carrying on but they’ve essentially built this place on what is basically a Potters Field, a cemetery with no tombstones. And it was our people who died there for centuries, not theirs. Then they projected this giant hologram city over the sacred ground of our history.

I wonder if they ever have nightmares. But my relationship with the supernatural is tenuous at best so let’s not go there.

Let’s just shower up and move into the day. I’ll leave these paragraphs here as an epitaph to the holiday that wasn’t. Memorial Day and all that it’s supposed to stand for…


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