Is there anything worse, or better, than the prospect of being remembered in the dead of night by someone you never met, or once loved or only knew briefly? How simultaneously awful and heart-warming. What a salvation and turn off. Like a pair of bifocal glasses looking into the distance, half clear and half dense.
People remember a lot of things. For example, today, without even trying, without knowing I was going to write this down, I remember;
- The colour of the label of the new packet of coffee I opened.
- The name of the hollywood star I now have mail delivered to me under.
- A woman at the cafe telling the young man next to her; “When I was in Paris I saw an ashtray built into a pram… I guess it would assist with the population problem.” I didn’t know France had a population problem. I suppose the whole planet does, and by extension, France too.
Memory quickly becomes banal, until the lives we lead blur into a kind of infinity. Unremarkable days bleed into one another and the detail stretches out to become generic. It is this mass of experience that we butt up against everyday. It tells us who we think we are, and like a watercolour it gives the suggestion of a life but no precision.
The well guarded secret of modern life is its porousness. What confronts us each day is an apparently impenetrable front of custom, belief and normality. This has always been the case. The difference between what we are facing each day and that which confronted the people that gave us the sexual revolution is that we have come to doubt the very people, ideas and images that can pick at the fabric of our lives. Analysis is hard, dense and difficult after a long day.
We are cynical and quick to search for motives. Any form of expression is suspect unless it is immediately and obscenely banal. Banality, we are told, is always without motive. If there is no editing process, there is no intention. Banality is a relief from the stress of modern life. It offers a warm hug that we deserve after dealing with the monotony of daily life. We are too busy being busy to realise we have done nothing all day. Tell a cynic he is cynical and he will trust anything else you have to say.