Though my eyes got gradually accustomed to the darkness I was almost on top of the outhouses before I saw the thick blur of the deadly nightshade. It was like a lady standing in her doorway looking out for someone. I was prepared to dread it, but not prepared for the tumult of emotions it aroused in me. In some way it wanted me, I felt, just as I wanted it; and the fancy took me that it wanted me as an ingredient, and would have me.
The spell was not waiting to be born in my bedroom, as I meant it should be, but here in this roofless shed, and I was not preparing it for the deadly nightshade, but the deadly nightshade was preparing it for me. ‘Come in,’ it seemed to say; and at last after an unfathomable time I stretched my hand out into the thick darkness where it grew and felt the shoots and leaves close softly on it. I withdrew my hand and peered. There was no room for me inside, but if I went inside, into the unhallowed darkness where it lurked, that springing mass of vegetable force, I should learn its secret and it would learn mine. And in I went. It was stifling, yet delicious, the leaves, the shoots, even the twigs, so yielding; and this must be a flower that brushed my eyelids, and this must be a berry that pressed against my lips…
It wasn’t till quite a while after recording the piece I was listening and felt yes this was a cathartic indulgence of a lost fantasy. You see I fell in love once with a scientist (a rational thinker) who taught me almost everything about listening. I was forever trying to get her to make music with me – and she would to an extent – singing like a laconic Julie Andrews or fluttering on a recorder with melodic aplomb. But if ever I tried to turn on the red light and roll tape the moment would disintegrate – as would, after nine years, our relationship.
She grew up playing the violin and she was brilliant, although I only ever heard her play once, I was struck by her fervour, her posture and her jaw jutting out – awful, awkward things to play they are. My best instrument is the clarinet – I cut my teeth playing Roma tunes, a story for another time.
As I was editing the music I imagined the clarinet and the violin as star-crossed us – talking, arguing, trying to outdo each other, there’s that section about six minutes in where the violin is exasperated (she always deserved better) with brittle strikes of glockenspiel, children thankfully never granted.
Look I’m not claiming anything as ridiculous as me channeling her that day, but I had never before played violin…
1. Sassafras Gesundheit
2. Fortunes Past
3. Fortunes Begun
1. Perfect Scorn
2. Blackest Frypan