"now, from this night, this coming morning, no matter how many beds i find myself in between now and my final bed, i shall never be able to have any more of those boyish, zestful affairs—which are, really, when one thinks of it, a kind of higher, or, anyway, more pretentious masturbation. people are too various to be treated so lightly. i am too various to be trusted."
- james baldwin, giovanni’s room
Let me tell you a story. One wet winter night in Cape Town, the girl and I, soaked in whisky and love, put on Fela’s “Confusion Break Bone” on my laptop. I have these new age speakers you can connect to your phone or computer, which give your body a good beating from the beat. In a drunken haze we began to dance, first slowly and considered. Manners, I suspect, gleaned from the West. And then suddenly, somewhere in the middle of the music, something broke and we split. In intuitive steps and movements we began to gyrate more freely, more menacing, and terribly intimate. A strange silent intimacy that seemed to spring back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth as though plucked like guitar strings as guitar riffs reverberated around the room and bounced off walls and the stench of whiskey wafted about the room and clung on to the air around us, the air above us, hovering, as it were, like a hat. The music picked our senses clean and tensions between us arose with every Tee Tee Tah! of the drums and with every melody. This was the first time I truly understood what it is like to listen. To listen with your entire body. After 29:02 minutes, which seemed, quite frankly, like 2 minutes, we put on Thandiswa Mazwai’s Thongo Lam and got whisked away into farther depths of night as the evening grew deep.
Kind of blue
- James Baldwin in an interview in 1961 (via firaaq)