ANALYSIS OF SOUND BY PAUL CURRAN


ONE

This is from a person divided. A body to a host, a host to a body. Recovery is a dilemma that won’t stop. I expect honest personal attacks. To my individual body, my actual spinal cord. None of this cyber bullshit. On top of a carpark. Above a shopping mall. Imagine hearing these words through earphones tangled around a Walkman that slid down the aisle of a bus on a highway at night. (Bipolagraphy left in situ). Wires severed. Batteries corroded. Most other passengers asleep. The driver waiting for that kind of emptiness. He slows the bus and turns off the highway. He winds through suburbia. He stops where the police have taped off the street. And evacuated the houses. Around the car where our memories end. One thing I haven’t forgotten is the smell of your pheromones. Still, I’m sorry to report your theory about the future captured through smell-o-rama never left the ground. We remain in a world overwhelmed by the voice, the tongue, the spoken word. It’s no coincidence our alphabet bleeds into worm slop (schizophasia) whenever things get serious. Or silent.

“What was that?”
“I didn’t hear anything.”
“Did you lock the door?”
“We’re outside.”
“I don’t want to live here anymore.”
“You just came back.”
“I’m sick of everything.”
“We can go anywhere.”
“It feels like my head’s been scraped out.”

Max looked like a skinnier version of Kurt Cobain or George Miles before anyone knew who they were. Max inspired me to quit university and go on the dole. I could still live at home and have enough money for drugs and alcohol. I could sell my drums and go travelling. South East Asia, India, Europe. Anywhere. Write a book. Anything. I wanted to try heroin. Max had tried heroin. He said it wasn’t as great as everyone pretended. We were heading downtown one Sunday night. Max was driving his dad’s Ford Cortina. The streets were dark and empty. A few other cars and trucks. Taxis from the pubs and nightclubs. Some police. Max hated the police more than he hated taxi drivers. We were smoking joints and listening to music. Max wanted to hear the Church. The other guys wanted Pink Floyd. They settled on Wish You Were Here. The guy in the front directed us to a loading bay behind the hospital. He got out with a pair of bolt cutters. He came back with a tank of nitrous oxide.

We drove to an outcrop on the hill overlooking town and rolled up the windows. The guy in the back opened the nitrous tank with a spanner. The car filled with gas. The sound in our heads was from another planet. Someone must’ve stayed conscious enough to open a door because we were all suddenly out of the car, rolling on the ground, laughing hysterically. Someone said staying in the car was too dangerous. After dragging out the tank, we took turns at the nozzle. I passed out hugging the tank and pulled it down on top of myself.


TWO

These straps on my arms are nothing. They’re not even what you’d call arms. That fragile orchestra collapsed into a trench somewhere west of the South Pacific years ago. The noise of the universe left us speechless. Pain and desire always an obscure currency. A permanent misunderstanding of everything. The existence that differs from truth. I’m spewing too many signs. Forcing too many delusions. I’ve lost the pulse of my thoughts. Or they’ve lost the pulse of me. Anatomy (-) identity. The only song this jukebox plays is one where the penny drops. Indifference (a freedom that refers to itself). Same broken echoes. Listen. The point is you can’t create anything without losing your mind. Usual words and definitions won’t do. Everyone’s over it. (Ecstatic seizure). We disappear through cattle branding. A self-fuck probe for an open heart. In a surgery, in a courtroom, in a morgue, in an urn. Spontaneous avoidance reaction + occurring right now + the posterior/occipital lobe = levitation.

“What was that?”
“I didn’t hear anything.”
“Did you lock the door?”
“We’re outside.”
“Don’t you get sick of this place?”
“Do you mean mentally or physically?”
“I mean metaphysically.”
“There’s nothing out there.”
“Are you sure you didn’t hear it.”
“Maybe some kind of delay.”

My band was playing a reunion gig at a local pub. Other members were travelling from different parts of the country. Max had never seen us before. His dad gave him some money to buy new clothes. He bought black jeans, pointy boots, and a purple shirt. For some reason, I didn’t have any drumsticks after soundcheck on the night. Max and I filled our drinks, bourbon and coke, and walked to another pub to borrow some sticks from another band. We smoked a joint on the way there. We filled our drinks again at the other pub. We smoked a joint on the way back. The police pulled over and told us to pour out our drinks. They asked for ID. Max didn’t have any. They took our addresses and said we’d get a fine in a few days.

Everyone went back to a party in a house on the hill after the gig. We crowded on the balcony and took photos with disposable cameras. We made plans to go places. Someone asked where Max was. Someone said he was sleeping under the house. Someone else said he was always sleeping. I said he’s been taking old Valium he found in a friend’s bathroom.


THREE

I float above myself, watching myself do what I think I should do, and take these images home to process decades later. I brood over the acoustic quality/physiology of my thoughts. The atonal accumulation of blood. The projection of feelings congealed into indifference. Failed auditory nerve medication. Brain beaten wire irregularity. Memory and recognition. Marks left on bodies. They always say the perfect film contains a single scar down the middle. It never gets screened the same way twice. A soundtrack no one needs to score.

“What was that?”
“I didn’t hear anything.”
“Did you lock the door?”
“We’re outside.”

Max woke up before dawn. He found some gaff tape and a garden hose. He drove his dad’s car from downtown out to the suburbs. The traffic lights were blinking so he didn’t have to stop. Maybe only crossing the train tracks for a freight train heading south. He turned off the main road near his home and followed a dirt track into deserted scrub. He got out and taped one end of the hose to the exhaust pipe. He taped the other end through the back window. He sat in the front seat and turned on the ignition. He put his head down on the steering wheel. When the windscreen fogged over, he looked up for the last time and wrote I love you M.

The police came to my house with a fine for drinking in public. They said something about dropping off my friend’s. They asked for his address. I told them he was already dead. There was no funeral. Only a wake. We got drunk and stoned and talked about Max. He was cremated in his new clothes. After the wake, I visited the guys who stole the nitrous oxide from the hospital. They had a tank set up with a gas mask in their living room. I took a hit and freaked out about the police killing Max. I stumbled downtown and shouted at the police to fuck themselves. They put me in a van and drove me to the station. My jeans kept coming down because they took my belt. I wasn’t wearing shoes. When a friend came to get me, I was sitting on the counter and talking to the police. They advised me to stay away from jail. They said I wouldn’t last five minutes. I told them my friend was too wasted to drive.


FOUR

You spoke so quietly towards the end no one could hear what you were saying unless they turned up the volume. I used to replay every word at varying speeds, getting faster with each repetition, each loop, distortion /splice/ distortion (blip), wall of fuzz, disintegration, slower when a new line came out, and then slowing right down and dispersing with longer lines such as “Sometimes I still miss you” or “Sometimes I still wish I’d thought about everything more back then” or “Sometimes all I want to do is go back and for things to turn out better.”

“What was that?”
“I didn’t hear anything.”

Fuck your air quotes. Fuck your Generation X. Fuck your technostupidity. Fuck your notebook PC. Fuck your spam. Fuck your bungee jumping. Fuck your peace dividend. Fuck your rollerblade. Fuck your brain freeze. Fuck your bestie. Fuck your molecular pharming. Fuck your photoshop. Fuck your grunge. Fuck your arm candy. Fuck your snail mail. Fuck your Munchhausen’s by proxy. Fuck your ethnic cleansing. Fuck your information superhighway. Fuck your whirlpooling. Fuck your McJob. Fuck your emotional quotient. Fuck your world wide web. Fuck your starter marriage. Fuck your urban camping. Fuck your millennium bug. Fuck your DVD. Fuck your e-commerce. Fuck your Y2K. Fuck your darknet. Fuck your spoiler alert. Fuck your humanitarian intervention. Fuck your Pokémania. Fuck your sudden loss of wealth syndrome. Fuck your courtesy call. Fuck your facial profiling. Fuck your webcam. Fuck your impeachment nostalgia. Fuck your weapons of mass destruction. Fuck your blog. Fuck your googling. Fuck your regime change. Fuck your pre-emptive self-defence. Fuck your SARS. Fuck your red/blue/purple states. Fuck your truthiness. Fuck your podcast. Fuck your internal nutrition. Fuck your sudoku. Fuck your pope-squatting. Fuck your pluto. Fuck your climate canary. Fuck your waterboarding. Fuck your YouTube. Fuck your googlegänger. Fuck your greenwashing. Fuck your subprime investment bailout. Fuck your recombobulation area. Fuck your tweet. Fuck your fail. Fuck your Dracula sneeze. Fuck your app. Fuck your Wikileaks. Fuck your trend. Fuck your prehab. Fuck your kinetic event. Fuck your hacktivism. Fuck your pad. Fuck your telework. Fuck your 99 percenters. Fuck your job creator. Fuck your tablet. Fuck your amazeballs. Fuck your planking. Fuck your cloud. Fuck your human microphone. Fuck your #hashtag. Fuck your YOLO. Fuck your 47 percent. Fuck your fiscal cliff. Fuck your Gangnam style. Fuck your mansplaining. Fuck your hate-watching. Fuck your twerking. Fuck your selfie. Fuck your bitcoin. Fuck your revenge porn. Fuck your binge watching. Fuck your drone. Fuck your lifehack. Fuck your slut shaming. Fuck your conscious uncoupling. Fuck your God view. Fuck your selfie stick. Fuck your robocar. Fuck your Ebola. Fuck your ghost. Fuck your Netflix. Fuck your fuck boy. Fuck your swipe right/left. Fuck your white student union. Fuck your trigger warning. Fuck your adult. Fuck your squad. Fuck your mic drop. Fuck your zero fucks given. Fuck your locker-room banter. Fuck your fake news. Fuck your alt right. Fuck your gaslight. Fuck your fam. Fuck your post-truth. Fuck your alternative facts. Fuck your initial coin offering. Fuck your blockchain. Fuck your deepfake. Fuck your wall. Fuck your techlash. Fuck your cancel. Fuck your emoji. Fuck your meme. Fuck your opioid crisis. Fuck your flex. Fuck your permaculture. Fuck your Covid-19. Fuck your carbon sink.



══════════════════
Paul Curran was born in England, grew up in Australia, and lives in Japan. His novel, Left Hand, is available from Schism² Press.

*Image credit: Chris Burden, 747, 1973.