Tue, 28 Jan 2014 18:55:00
It’s the dead of Winter and we needed photo ops of damp, gloomy fog wrapping around our Dark Muse. Our hypothesis was that the two go together – our Muse and melancholy. So we went to Seattle, where this time of year you should be able to count on being pushed by the dense, dreary fog into a dark-wooded old pub down on the waterfront to warm up and get unstuck with your favorite bottle.
But Seattle’s in the Super Bowl. Instead of darkness at noon we found sunshine, blue skies, and about ten million “12” signs, which symbolizes the “12th Man,” which is the town’s way of saying “we’re on the team, too.” The town was lousy with good tidings, civic pride and optimism. No medieval fog. No brooding disenchantment. Our mission wasn’t going to be easy.
First stop, the fish mongers at the Public Market. Nothing downbeat here. The monkfish had potential, but instead made me laugh. The slimy octopus tentacles were ghastly, but not exactly grim. They did make me think of Jules Verne’s somewhat dark “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” but on a much smaller scale.
The street musicians outside jammed merrily, fueled by an invisible energy source, obliviously tucked in their own incongruous world. Nothing bluesy here. The guitarist politely asked me to leave, which was righteous. Artists should be touchy. The pianist kept his eyes shut the whole time, and didn’t notice the fiver I dropped in his bucket. Stopped into a used book store. Being anarchists, they seemed to dig the dark vibes. Or was it nihilists? So far, instead of creeping social constipation, all I was getting was exuberant liberation. Click-bang, what a hang.
In need of instant inspiration, I stopped into a Hard Rock to shamelessly pose next to a few rockers who left us much too early. Jimi always struck me as mildly impervious to hang ups . “Cllick-bang, what a hang,” he’d say unworriedly, as in: get over it, sh** happens, move on, convert it. And we all know The Voodoo Chile didn’t do himself in. It was the dimwitted girl and the careless medics. They let him gag to death. Cobain? Now he seemed tortured. The real deal. Hmmm. Please don’t get any ideas here. The Muse is for romantics. Truly. BTW, the Dark Muse art was inspired by an album cover another recently departed, my hero Lou Reed. You don’t say?
Where was I? Yes. Searching. Stopped by the Needle, just because. Created by architects in the late 1950s, who probably unjammed with uninspiring suds like Hamm’s, Rainer and Blitz. With all the great beers out today, we should be erecting observation towers exponentially loftier and much more mind-boggling. Then I got lost, ended up down at the tracks. Found my way to The Labor Temple, where I said a prayer to all my friends and clients afflicted with asbestos poisoning, and before you could say “Peace, Land and Bread,” I stumbled across a gigantic statue of Vladimir Lenin, perched ominiously in the Fremont district.
It was getting late so stopped at a Church to collect my thoughts. Lots of happy folks in t-shirts out enjoying a scandalously sunny day in Winter. Not alot of fodder to feed the flames of grief, despair, longing or anguish, even if as a properly neurotic environmentalist you should be regarding a heat wave in winter as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
It was dark out and I ambled up to a Renaissancian hotel with gilded cornices and a bronze lion door knocker. There’s got to be bottled up intellectuals and artists in there. Met a charming chap at the foyer, explained my unrequited mission and he sympathetically offered that his Muse in fact was on the cusp of getting all bollixed up. Music to my ears. Finally, a semi-despondent Seattle-ite, who dressed well to boot. So we uncapped our bottle and took a tour of his “lovely lady,” which he whispered conspiratorially was “haunted.” I love a dapper English bloke who has worked long enough at a historical landmark that he prides himself as being “an exhibit.” My dour looking docent of course turned out to be a hoot.
Went to bed later with a smile on my face. No, I didn’t validate my hypothesis that the Dark Muse is best served with melancholy, or madness. It turns out the Muse is best served in a glass, preferably with friends, or strangers who could easily become friends, at a warm and inviting place. Props do help. Mahogany woods, an old rotary dial up phone, an inlaid checkerboard, a crackling fireplace and distressed leather wingback chairs it turns out can facilitate a connection with another time, which means that when you reconnect back to the present, it might just help you better appreciate where you are. Or something.