On Jazz and Not Engaging With The Body

Photo on 12-03-2013 at 17.59 #3

I like jazz. And, yeah, I know that makes me a “square”.

What I like about it is its energy, its frenetic changes of pace and instrument, its undulating movements from melody to noise to beauty to loud cries that signify fuck all.

One of the main things that I like is the fact that – as I see it – it’s over. All the famous jazzmen (most recently Dave Brubeck) are dead, all the greats of the genre were at their peak fifty – or more – years ago. And I like that. I can engage fully with a genre of music in its golden age and feel no pull, no need, no responsibility to try to see it live. I can live in the world of jazz inside my headphones and no one can interrupt me, no one can change the game, change the rules.

I can enjoy the best jazz has to offer sat at a desk, on a bus, in the shower, wherever, one no longer has to seek out a seedy barroom to watch a mess of a junkie push beauty through a curved pipe.

Because jazz is – was – so alive in its recordings, so much a part of a vibrant and an exciting and an almost certainly fucking fun world, lifestyle, circle, whatever, in the middle of the twentieth century, that I can plug in and feel that energy, that vibe, man without having to get my fingers, veins, lungs, cock, Body, dirty.

And that’s what I like about living vicariously through literature and music – I can get all the fun of a bad ass lifestyle without any of the related health/social issues. And, for me, it is as much fun to read – or write – an experience as it is to live it. Because I engage, and I live, in the world purely cognitively. I am not a physical being, a physical presence, I only enjoy experiences that I think through. I hate the body. It’s a wreck, a messy, prehistoric disgrace of a vessel. Live outside of it. Not in it.

Unlike the great, dead, jazzmen. Who recorded their physical lives so you don’t have to live them.

Read, listen, watch, write. Never do.


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