I wake. I sit. I look. Here I am. It’s really how it is. I find myself places. I find myself. It’s all brand new in spite of being well-worn, in spite of all the memory, despite the deeply felt experience of routine. Part dissociative disorder, part channeling circumstance instead of attention, I think I reckon.
And this thing that’s been happening with accelerated frequency relative to its increased recency: a mere minutes after meeting a person for the first time, I recognize them as someone I’d encountered already, as opposed to having feeling as I normally would have, almost right away. I cannot determine in the least if it’s an affect – an effect of time dissociation – taking a recent moment for the distant past, or that I’m just becoming slower at recognizing familiarity.
Friedrichshain had its first Singing Balcony Tour last night, or, more properly, three separate balcony tours of at least ten balconies each, whereupon a musical performance of at least partial vocal variety took place at each stop along the ways.
I caught one performance quite by accident, having first caught wind of applause from around the corner, remembered having read about the event, so went to suss the fuss.
It was a multi-instrumental hootenanny from the fourth floor for about a hundred, loosely peopled in the street and on the opposite sidewalk below; while amusing enough, it didn’t grip my imagination so I wandered off.
Then, I decided it might be worth checking out the next balcony, circled round the block, and looked up & down the street to see if I could spot the tour-ists. Nothing.
I walked another block and again caught the waft of jubilation in the luke-cool night air. It turns out that this time I happened upon a different route, even though it was only a couple of blocks from the previous presentation.
Several of the gathered, I noticed, were drinking glühwein from paper cups, this time watching – if you can call it that – a guitarist/singer one storey up. Being the last stop on that path, he was able to play for about fifteen minutes before the cars began to insist upon passage, though the throng didn’t give them more room than was absolutely necessary.
Among the final troubadour’s repertoire was Sea of Love sung, partially, in the present tense: Do you remember when we meet, that’s the day I knew you were my (something that rhymed with “meet”).
Die Singenden Balkonen sounded like a cool idea when I read about it in the newspaper and it was successful & hassle-free enough to have warranted a repeat for next year, or so announced the organizer/cicerone upon its conclusion.
Can you hear a big but coming on?
For me, at least, the brief section of the evening that I witnessed featured the biggest pitfall of public performance: a public in attendance for many reasons other than to watch and hear the performance; often enough the case in traditional venues, last night’s scheme only appeared to lend itself to a swollen deficit in conscious consideration.
One might think that a crowd could focus for ten minutes at a time, and then giggle & chatter and see & be seen on their way to the next balcony. Or that they would take the opportunity to just whisperingly walk away if what’s on offer doesn’t render raptitude.
As it was, too many people were too excited to be there for the singing balcony to cut through their scattered enthusiasm.
If I were to organize such an evening – and this is not meant as a slight to the organizers for, lemme face it, I couldn’t and probably wouldn’t if I could – I would fill as many balconies as I could with any & all assortment of musical mayhem. Each would play for the duration, an exhibition as much as a tour.
Then again, I probably wasn’t really paying attention to what it was that was really going on.