Good Book, Great Melody – May 5th, 2004
by Bing Futch
She blew the dust off of the battered book and gently cracked its pages. Fingers fluttering at the edges of yellowed pulp, gingerly sliding across each sheet, encouraging the material along, they paused here and again to skim and underline golden words of truth. A good read, both backwards and forwards, she mused.
The lady buys the book, the book with battered, yellow pages, and she absconds with it to the quiet corners of every smoke-lousy environment in the district. There, with her two dates, Regular No Cream and Kent, she proceeds to eat the book, page-by-page, with her eyes, with her mind, with her spirit, and digest each morsel thoroughly until she has not only read the book, but she is in total Oneness with it. Quite a fan, you might say.
The book sees it altogether differently.
He had tried everything but this. Bopping along with a serious melody, ‘heavy’ if you’d rather, musical stormclouds, a trippy little tune so simply starving for a harmony that it quite simply forgot that it was one of those monks that could chant four notes at one time.
But simply isn’t as much fun as it sounds, becomes tedious, and you’re back to wanting for someone to be harmony to the melody once again. He had tried many combinations of notes, but they all ran contrary to that ever-changing melody. This though. This was different.
It was another melody, not a harmony. And be damned if it didn’t hit the same notes that he did, with the occasional polyrhythm here or there, a sustained tone at this beat, a clipped tone on the down beat; the notes were a thick wall-of-sound unison that filled concert halls, stadiums, the Bob Carr and even government aerospace vehicle hangars with its lush, powerful tune. And by taking the harmony himself, the balance between the 1 and the 3 had been found; a foundation for the symphony had been established.
And it sexed up the act quite a bit, it did. Suddenly, the notes and rhythms began spilling out onto the walls and floors, arranging themselves into cartoon characters and spelling shit out for him. The years had brought on the music like something he had created, had been in command of, had called forth from his own Divinity. He was the unerring and ineffable author of these notes and words and situations and styles. Or so it seemed. Now, as the other Melody pulsed and darted in the arrangement, the charts all began to dissolve. The dots marched around and performed exuberant half-time shows. And then without any sort of sporting-chance warning, his music took on a life of its own and began talking to him like a stranger on a Greyhound bus.
“Hey. How far ya goin’?” the music says, chewing its gum way too loud.
“As far as this bus is going,” says the songwriter. Seemed like a good enough answer.
The music pops a bubble. “I think it stops in Kansas City.”
“I’m going to be a successful musician,” says the songwriter. He knew where he was going.
“Well, this bus is going as far as Kansas City,” the music snarked. “We’ll go over real big there.” It rolled its eyes and went back to popping its gum noisily.
So that was it. That was how it was going to go down, then? He’d heard a statistic somewhere that one-third of all musicians end up doing what they love to do as a career, one-third end up as drug and alcohol burn-outs and a third simply end up barking mad as a result of one or more of the other thirds. Yet, according to a recent magazine article, the job title “artist” was on the low-risk assessment chart for job insecurity in the 21st century. According to the same article, high-risk jobs include certified public accountants, interior decorators and workers in the legal field. How’s about some of that for fair play turnabout?
The collaboration evolved with time. She felt that the book was a much better read than she had ever anticipated and strangely enough, its pages seemed to pulse and flow with liquid ink. It surged across the paper in precise rivulets, carrying new words, phrases, ideas, places, concepts, theorems, dirty jokes and fortune cookie fortunes into position for reading. And with each new chapter, it appeared as though the words had simply skipped lightly across the page and bounded up, through the smoky afterglow of coffee-shop candles and bad jazz and into her being, transporting her into the reality of the book itself.
The book is not too sure about the bad jazz. There really is no such thing as ‘bad jazz.’
But there were things like Bad Hair Day, Bad Teeth, Bad Breath, Bad Cover Band and Too Bad You Don’t Suck ‘Cause We Already Ordered Drinks, so the melody tried something new and kicked back in the harmony position. It was no less fun than being a melody, even a bit more exciting, like piloting an F-16 through a narrow canyon with artillery looking up your butt. And when the harmony and melody switched, there was a transmission of energy that nearly blew the city power grid and caused at least 17,000 PCs to reboot and teach a valuable lesson about saving your work as you go along.
So the melody that was also a book became a harmony to the melody who is also a girl who likes coffee. And they both pursued the arts and each other and lived adventurously ever after.
Dedicated to Jerri “Jae” Gibbs.