Thursday, April 7, 2011

I shot the tiny Italian.

Destroyer. That seems to be a good place to pick up a thread of thought after a short hiatus.

Destroyer; I first heard Destroyer in Josh Ruth's kitchen years ago. He put it on in the living room while I manned the kettle corn on the stove. Bukowski split open at the spine on the table, forgotten cocktails at midnight. The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills (1969), a poetry book by Bukowski sums up the pace of my life these days.

Wild horses.

Destroyer for me is a once in a while listen, not a friend of the ages musician in my collection such as Joanna Newsom. But a great listen when the time is right. Led by frontman Dan Bejar, Destroyer rolled through Montreal last weekend. I went alone and the show was really something. I take great pleasure in that knowing feeling that comes when one is on the cusp of witnessing something really incredible. It came just before the horns dropped in loops and the bass led the way, full percussion filling the venue with that weird voice at the helm of it all; it was a great show. Friday night date with myself and one beer.

I walked back to my home on Clark still vibrating with music. Unable to wind down, I hauled Jess downstairs and zipped around the flat of the neighborhood, practicing. I forget how to skid, my body has started this hop stop thing on my bike which is not the best riding technique. Actually it is a habit that I am trying to break while biking. Spring is in, no need to look any further for it. HalleluJAH. Nothing beats cycling at night, clear streets, no turds on bikes in sight, soft light, no gloves, no weight, just Jess and I in the wind. Track standing is not something I can do yet. I have been trying for years, that simple balance between pedal, chain tension and a cocked front wheel just out of reach. While riding, I thought back to the days when Hum and I would practice night riding in parking lots off Young and Balmoral, learning to skid with the most insane handlebar set up. Somestimes he would offer up his Bianchi. Riding an expensive bike is like nothing else! The Surly, the Gitane, the Bianchi; too many hot babes to choose from. I would practice for hours, sleep the last thing on my mind in the summer of 2008.

Dark of night sliding into the light of day, a bike between my legs. Give it to me.

There has been a quiet shift and cycling has climbed to the top of my priority list once more. I tried in vain to keep away from the internet for the weekend and the first half of this week and instead spent hours degreasing my chain, head bent, STTB, Strange Boys loud in headphones, beer on the floor beside me, an upside down bicycle. I chipped and scraped and now she is so insanely shiny. OCD Margot, I can't help it. When I get in the tuning zone, there is no satiating my hunger for the clean.

So there has been plenty of cycling. There are a SHIT TONNE of show riders in my neighborhood specifically. Lots of serious cyclists as well. I love the range. I am for fixed and have been for years and it annoys me when people ride bikes that are made to look like track bikes but are indeed free wheel. For show. Sham, in a word; get out of here.

Life these days is breezy. Leo is bon, baaaaaaaad and happy all wrapped into one laughing chicken; we adventure on the regular. I take him along while striking away at long To Dos, he laughs and continues to twinkle and old ladies double over to pinch his cheeks and smack their lips at him. I laugh at them. Le Poulet and I went record shopping yesterday at Phonopolis. Picked up oldie goldie Newsom to round out my Joanna collection, a record for Grant, and some Abner for me. Leo and I have been listening to a lot of Strange Boys and Kurt Vile lately. Leo and I have been ending each day together outside, chasing his frog ball (or "baaaah" silent L) along Waverly. Never in my life have I spent so much time on a single sidewalk. Our perch is the best for babe watching (while watching my own babe and his bah), I am trying with no success to teach the art of hand holding to Leo. Not interested. Tantrums and screaming fits are big these days, there are innumerable spontaneous 'lie downs' (as I like to call them) on the sidewalk when Le Poulet is fed up, tired, annoyed, laughing. He lies down, camps out. Passersby laugh at his weird little saucer-eyed creature screaming at top volume, sea creature legs stiff with dispute. What is there to do but lie down too? Arms behind my head, extended on the concrete. It is a great way to see the first signs of spring. Irises, tulips are well on their way. People must think we are nuts. Oh Leo, how I love you.

How will I leave you in September? I will think of you in the darkroom, dragging your wide eyes through trays of fixer, exposing your character in black and white.

Black and white photography saved my sanity this winter! Color was not cutting it and focusing on contrast seemed to help nip my winter woes in the bud. Hallelujah for Spring. I took the portrait of my life yesterday. What a sentence, sincere as the day I was born. THAT is why I shoot, for sentences like these. I did. I shot the tiny Italian. And for the first time out of four stoop visits, I began to understand him! He has a weird face, but passionate and full of stories. I was walking up Clark, away from my stoop and yelled Ciao while passing his. He was leaning on the rail and said "come here". He went off about war and fucking women and ITALIA and how life is SHORT (that much I know) and how he appreciated my happy demeanor. I know he was trying to convey some sort of life lesson to me, this young woman carrying the five pound camera, but between the Italian, French and English, it was lost upon me. At one point in his monologue, he had worked himself up so much that he stood silent for ten seconds and I raised my Kiev wordlessly and he nodded and broke into this bright smile. Viva Italia.

I carried on after four Caio's and three Bella's and made my merry way back to Phonopolis to shoot the new store's interior. Along the way, a slicked Spaniard made a romantic comment while I was mid stride and I shot him in the face, wide open. He gave it to me, sex slithering out nearly fogging the lens of my Russian. Whoa, what a day for portraits, HUMP DAY. There was something in the air!!! Spring, no less.

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