Friday, September 21, 2007

[064] Turn On The Bright Lights

Album: Turn On The Bright Lights
Artist: Interpol
Release Date: August 2002
Label: Matador
Producers: Peter Katis & Interpol

“I will surprise you sometime. I'll come around, when you're down.”
- from “Untitled”

I stumble into the subterranean club the same way I stumbled out of the pub - stinking of good times. I navigate the hipsters on the dancefloor and push my way to the bar. A vision in red hair saunters up next to me, squeezing in through the crowd so that she brushes up against my body. She plays with her braids and smiles at me; her eyes are big enough to get lost in. This is the kind of girl who gets in a room and takes it apart; it's in the way that she walks, the way she poses. I introduce myself. “My name’s Roland.” She says her name is Stella, and I should join her. The music the DJ is playing shakes my soul; the bass and beat play hopscotch around the elegant guitar repeating over itself. She gets a margarita with a salted rim, and I get a nice ’88 red. We toast to the snow, and how we’re glad it stopped falling. Her lipstick leaves a print on the edge of her glass; I wish I could eat the salt off of her lost faded lips. She says brief things; her stories are boring, but she sells them like a car salesman who gets a commission on words. She swears I'm just prey for all the females, and tells me I look like Crispin Glover raided Dracula’s closet, but it’s a nice suit anyway. I manage an inadvisable retort; “I don’t know if I relate, but I see no harm.” She replies that I’m growing on her.

I follow her to the bathroom and into a stall. She taps out some white and rolls a dollar. She calls my bluff; there are some things you can’t hide. She knows I’m a past sinner. I start getting fresh, feeling on her, grabbing her hip bones like bicycle handles. She swats my paws down, and snaps “Put your hands away. I need to defend some part of me from you.” She pulls me out of the bathroom, and says “C’mon now, pussycat. There’s nothing here to be into”, though as I look around, the place is pretty packed and the DJ is killing it. I trip up the stairs after her, out of the bar and on to the sidewalk. We’re going to her place she says. I tell her to slow down, the night is young. She says she’s sick of spending these lonely nights training herself not to care. There’s got to be some more change in her life. She asks, “Will you be my man?” I can’t decide if what I see in her big eyes is pain or desire. I think I’m not sober enough to tell the difference.

We wander the messy pavements of the greatest city on Earth, snaking through Chinatown and the financial district, down to Ground Zero. As we stand with our noses to the high fences, she says, “See? New York cares, why can’t I?” Staring at the hole in the ground, I wonder aloud how the men of the world ignored her beauty for so long. She says she had seven faces, but didn’t know which one to wear. Her words bounce around my head and tie a troubled knot in my gut. I look at the spotlights on the ground, and mumble “When in doubt, turn on the bright lights. The undesirable will scatter.” She smiles as she grabs my arm and pulls me on, towards our destination, telling me more boring stories, about that time she fell down a manhole or about her Polish butcher with a magnificent beard. She walks with a stride and a smile that tells me she’s excited to be with me. It’s a new beginning; my head is clearing and she’s remaining gorgeous. As we walk arm in arm to her apartment building, we plan our lives together. I say, “If you can fix me up, we’ll go a long way.” She looks perplexed by this, but stays gracious. I regret opening my mouth, and blame it on the booze. She speaks of finding new ways of living. I tell her, “I picture you and me together in the jungle,” and she says that would be okay. I can’t wait to know the things this girl will put in my head.

We get to her building, but instead of inviting me into her apartment, she leads me up to the roof. As we savor the glow of our city and the fresh night air, she reaches out and squeezes my hand. She says we should take a trip now, to see new places; she’s sick of this town and how her face has changed. I say she’s being dramatic, but she says she doesn’t even trust herself for one minute each day. I pull her in and tell her to trust in this. She moves into my airspace and says, “You come here to me”; in her kiss I feel a lifetime of passion that has waited in her lips. We crumble to the rooftop, our bodies intertwining in the cold night. She says it helps with the lights out, and I laugh and kiss her neck. I go down, tracing the goose-bumps on her stomach with my fingers, her rabid glow is like Braille to the night. I tell her she’s Heaven. She says Heaven’s never enough. We’re going to catch cold, but instinct has us enraptured. It's like learning a new language and we’re teaching each other.

As we look over the skyline, I feel the chill of the winter. I feel our bond is set, and turn to look at the beauty to my side, but she’s growing pale, all the color dropping off her face. She starts to back away from me, mumbling, “I’m so sorry, I wish I could live free, but I’ve never known love, and this is too overwhelming. It's different now that I'm poor and aging. You can’t understand. You’ll never understand. I'll never see this face again.” I laugh, and joke that she should be okay, she has six others, but she’s breaking down, ceasing to be whole, her big eyes go black. She pulls a knife out of her bag, and with no hesitation stabs herself in the neck. I move to act but my muscles feel like slow motion. Her blood is everywhere, but my black suit just looks wet. I collapse beside her and hold her in my arms, tight, close, to keep her warm. I trace her cheek and tell her to stay with me, but she’s not listening. She says she feels cold. I say that’s good, because it is. Just then, it starts to snow again. She tells me she’ll say hello to the angels for me. I beg her, don’t leave. Don’t leave. Don’t leave. Don’t Leave. She tells me not to worry, she’ll come and visit. She says, “I will surprise you sometime. I'll come around, when you're down” and she’s gone. Sleep tight.

[This piece of fiction is based on the sound & lyrics of Turn On The Bright Lights]

01. "Untitled"
02. "Obstacle 1"
03. "NYC"
04. "PDA"
05. "Say Hello To The Angels"
06. "Hands Away"
07. "Obstacle 2"
08. "Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down"
09. "Roland"
10. "The New"
11. "Leif Erikson"

"Obstacle 1" [single edit - video]

"NYC" [single edit - video]

- BONUS: "PDA" [single edit - video]
- BONUS: "Untitled" [fan video]
- BONUS: "Say Hello To The Angels" [fan video]
- BONUS: "Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down" [live in Milan, Italy]

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