Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Another short story featuring a supermarket...

By Thomas Jaunism

I went to the capital of Spain last week to see a man about a horse. Sage Francis performed at the University bar several weeks prior to this. He was unshaven and balding- two things I relate to well. He appeared on the stage with a flag draped over his head and an insouciant swagger. His I-don't-give-a-fuck manner inspired feelings of loathing, unworthiness and jealousy in equal parts. I forgot that I was about to leave due to anxiety and boredom and was instead welcomed into his exultant realm of certitude. He said “this next song is called ---------. And it's Magnificent.” The sentiment echoed throughout the night.

Madrid was magnificent. The man had lied about the horse so I had time to relax. Each day I made my way to the same small supermarket to buy peach nectar. It was delicious. En route, I always passed the same fast food restaurant whose stoop three men used to drink that extra strong beer one could purchase at the aforementioned store. They seemed to be well content with their haunt and were friendly enough to exclaim a series of words to me as I passed by. But I don't speak Spanish so we didn't get on. There was a gentleman who stood outside the supermarket holding the door open for customers. He had a friendly smile which he used to accompany his softly spoken responses. These consisted of “Hola”or “Buenos dias” and “Gracias” in that order. One would be greeted with a polite 'hola' on entering the building and would receive a gracious 'gracias' after handing the man their surplus coins and continuing their day.

I was going to write about the fact that this dude would be lost if the store installed automatic doors. But I've been overcome with a sinking feeling and what's more I have a peculiar sensation in my stomach. There was a kindness in that man's eyes that one rarely sees near such establishments. I like to think that he has become part of the community and people greet him good humour and lose balance when he's not there. But I'm questioning the morality of adding poetry to poverty.

I saw a collection of short films on some rough neighbourhoods in New York the other day. I thought they were beautifully shot and showed great insight into the people's lives. The directors answered questions afterwards. “So you show us the hardship and all this bad stuff in New York” said one dude, “but what are you doing to help these people?”. I didn't understand their answers as my french is not complete, but they weren't happy and the discomfort weighed heavily on us all...

But this is stuff you already know. All art is shit but some art makes us feel less shit. Because, of course, we need to regard magnificent creations to know that magnificence can be created.


Detachment has prevented me from being injured by sharp attacks on my work and my person and allows me to find beauty in the harshest of truths, but should we dress cold horrors in metaphoric cloaks for the sake of art?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Thomas

I just saw sage in wellington, he was great. He loved Alphabethead (don't we all). Hope the Band is not giving you too much strife.