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Dance with eyes closed

October 24, 2001

 

It's not that I've had nothing to say lately - no, not that at all.

 

In fact on September 11, I had two entries in progress, and several other concepts floating around for later. But I had to put it all aside for a while: sometimes no matter what you say it's not the right thing, and it's better to just shut your mouth and listen anyhow.

 

After a while things started getting kind of frightening, and so uncertain. It's hard with Ash away, too. So when the going gets tough, the tough go clubbing. The tough get extra-drunk, too, when one of their pals owns a nightclub and the other runs the bar. I came home from one of these nights and nearly squirted nail polish remover into my contact lens case before retiring to bed.

 

Seems like escapism of different sorts is increasing in popularity. Last weekend I went to the local Big Trendy Club here in town, not the one which certain of my pals own and operate; but rather the one which my bestest pal rather famously Will Not Go To. She announces herself like this on certain things. "I don't drive my car." "I don't go to that club." "He is not my friend." What she does not like is never a mystery. Seems a bit harsh sometimes, but I have to say in this case, everything she does not like about this club was definitely present there in sufficient quantities.

 

As my friends and I waited in line, sparkly girls were routinely trotted up around the corner to the entrance from the back of the two-block-long line. My friends and I eventually also benefited from this particular custom but it still creeps me out.

 

Inside, the club filled to probably six or eight times capacity and reached about 105 degrees in the main dance room, I am not joking. And some sort of weird modern offshoot of breakdancing was happening, something I never see in the other clubs. Guys (mostly) would stand around in a circle and take turns jumping around for each other, which was applauded by all and then rebutted by another dancer who took to the center. One guy held up a lighter in sarcastic heartfelt awe for another's performance, getting laughs from the crowd. The dancers wore short white gloves and sun visors with huge baggy white pants; the resulting look was of golfers in their jammies. I had to giggle. And I downed a couple of beers to make it all okay.

 

I eventually left and walked six blocks through midnight SOMA to get to the DNA Lounge, which was pulsing with some cool trance and breakbeats. That other place had played some random and quite unappealing mishmash of dancey european-sounding flamenco-inspired house or something. Definitely not my thing. Plus I didn't have my golf clubs with me.

 

When I dance to trance or breakbeats, my dreads swing all tickly against my back, spread out like a fan around my face as I thrash about, and fragment my view of the people moving around me - a scene already fragmented by the flashing lights and darkness careening through the crowd. How can you think about destruction and crashing down things here?

 

Speaking of which: I'm back in England now for a week, and it's the first time I've (successfully) left the US since the attacks. It did feel weird leaving, with the new feeling of comradery we Americans have shared lately. It's like, no matter how stupid people act now, you give them the benefit of the doubt because they may have lost family, or they may know someone who did -- but most importantly, they're Americans.

 

For the week following the attacks you could have asked anyone in the street for anything, even in San Francisco (thousands of miles from the attacks), and you would have gotten it. For some reason when I arrived in London I felt less safe, like there was so much less land around me and fewer people looking after my safety. But besides the television, there really isn't much talk of the war here; and when there is it's always in terms of Americans bombing things. The detached tone belies Britain's tough-talking Tony Blair, who's made himself so prominent in the media lately denouncing terrorism and repeatedly claiming allied support.

 

But the feeling I get from all the rest of Britain is that this isn't their war at all; and their ambivalence towards the issues at hand I think even exceeds my own.

 

See? I have nothing interesting to talk about. Clubbing and politics. What a combination. I am strictly a good-times type of writer. I tell you, I should just keep my mouth shut... or shut my eyes instead and just keep up my silly diatribes about my personal minutiae as if they still matter.

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