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“Lightning in a Fast World”

So you think you’re a Camera Obscura fan… well there are some things you need to know about that, sonny boy. So you think you’ve lost all taste for aggression and strife. Hell, you’re over 21 now, you saw what aggression and strife did by your own country to a secular country across the sea that happened to be sitting on some petroleum. It’s always a world of contradictions — malaise meeting enthusiasm, sympathy in the middle of the desert — particularly Colorado, where someone recommends you Camera Obscura. You’re talking to someone in a bar who is actually intelligent and interesting, he’s telling how the population of Houston is going to pass that of Chicago because of all the Katrina refugees fleeing there, and all of a sudden a bimbo walks up and starts making out with him, and not in a corner booth, at the actual bar, near the entrance, and it’s all well-lit, documented, and put on the board. But this only makes your Camera Obscura fandom stronger. You see the vibes they craft climbing up and down the sidewalk and walls of the pizza place, you see their arc in the waning moments of the afternoon when the pizza place’s manager is getting ready to leave and go get trashed, or play with his kids, or hopefully not both. Even when you don’t see this, you just listen to “I Need All the Friends I Can Get,” and think, one day I’ll maybe be humble enough to voluntarily agree with this. You get a friend into Camera Obscura, you think, I have heroes, and then lightning flashes across the sky while you’re listening to “Tears for Affairs,” awaiting the guitar solo. All of a sudden the guitar solo has lost all its gusto. It’s like seeing a good person in this world just not measure up, it’s like Pamela Anderson being naked or in a bikini on the TV while your mom is looking over your shoulder at it. You’re not in Kansas anymore. Some ring-tailed lemur has stolen all your chess pieces, and you just saw lightning. Malaise meeting enthusiasm, so let’s try something new.

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