Two years ago today we lay on the floor with the lights off and listened to Lorde’s Melodrama, shot straight through with no speaking, no pauses. That bright blue and violent violet glowed in the gloom—the not-quite darkness, for the light lingers longer here in June; it pushes out the night until even at the darkest hour the horizon hazes with the penumbra of summer.
Since, it’s been two years of hard feelings, trauma. Two years of hating the headlines and the weather. Two years of lungs, green lights, midnights, finding a way to be.
But on that night it was a week shy of the solstice and the paving stones still hummed with heat as we ran wild through great court. May Week was upon us and everything was glamour and fucking melodrama. it was a week of holy sick divine nights, of champagne glasses in the grass, navy dark shot with pick cloud, fireworks, candyfloss, and wardrobes on our bedroom floor.
There’s no such thing as perfect places, but this gets pretty close.
For these two years I’ve been trying to get close to the feeling I first had, that feeling of listening in the dark with so much light in each note. Too Much and Not the Mood by Durga Chew Bose has the colour and aura (oooh I love and hate that word) of friendship and belonging, and I like to know they know one another—friends across hemispheres who share their work before we even know it exists. Teju Cole’s Blind Spot is a search for something lost and found, it’s seeing in the gloom. And there’s that chapter in Woolf’s The Years where they watch the party from a window late at night. When first read I couldn’t jump forward in time as Woolf wanted me too; I was stuck in that midnight madness. There’s Hera Lindsay Bird by Hera Lindsay Bird—an experiment in narcissism shot through with moments of Aotearoa New Zealand that I feel privy to, only because I consider it home. Surely others can see these threads too? No? Olivia Laing with The Lonely City and Crudo speaks with the echoes of heartbreak and politics that somehow underpin Melodrama. The first of Hannah Sullivan’s Three Poems is sex and lonely parties in New York, it speaks to the allure and infinity of youth that I see every day, but might not ever feel again. And, on infinity itself, is Tavi Gevinson’s The Infinity Diaries—I printed it all off, sick of clicking through the static site over and over. And in those office printed pages is another voice, so close to Ella’s, of finding one’s self in a space that doesn’t seem right. Like Melodrama it’s a portrait of an artist growing up and not giving a shit.
Just like the record rests on repeat (in this hot summer haze), these works are always off the shelf—thumbed and flicked and underlined in an obsession of capturing the feeling of listening to Lorde two summers ago.