Checking in, Changing Tones

            “Can I show you this world, baby?” Lance Skiiwalker, in a deep distorted pitch asks on ScHoolboy Q’s Oxymoron bonus track His & Her Fiend. SZA’s serpentine vocals wrap around the sentiment. The constant hum of the track’s deep and unintrusive bassline is backed by a rattling of chains that echoes the pain and oppression of decades past. In the spirit of this, any intention to chain myself to or acknowledge existing artistic mores has exited my personage, and from here on out I will be writing and acting as a being liberated from the trapping of film scholarship, at least on this platform, and I will be pursuing moment-to-moment humanistic subjects that interest me. That being said, the song, once again identified by myself as a bonus track to an album most dismiss as 2010’s hip-hop mid, is one of my absolute favorite pieces of media. I want to become more declarative in my writing and eradicate any traces of timidity, so I will state definitively that His & Her Fiend has provided me with endless fascination since I encountered it back in 2016, when I bid farewell to my old self and entered a world of  sexual and artistic exploration and stands as an absolute pillar of my life. Things have changed for me drastically since then, and I think of these shifts often. Last night was a beautiful night, Saturday was a beautiful night. Moments shared with individuals in these sessions are things I carry with me and they all continuously stack onto His & Her Fiend, building both the mythology of the song in my subjective lens as well as my personal artistic ledger. My exposure to love and comfort, all the hugs and kisses and extended eye contacts of yesterday join form with the memory of my last goodbyes to the ones I love. The song has space for all of them and for all of the versions me I was and will be, and entering it is similar to journeying into a pocket dimension of warmth and acceptance, a place where many people who look, dress, and act as I do are often denied entry.

            My biggest mountain is apathy. I don’t have any idea of how I can conquer the crashing waves of uncaring that tie me to my bed, nor to I have a solution to the problem that takes the form of constant dread and terror that follows in its wake.  

On my desk right now are statues of Josuke Higashitaka and my newest All Might, a striking foot tall lad that cost me a clean $40. They bring me boundless peace, I love my material possessions, perhaps more than I should.

            My obsessions and fascinations come in stages and phases and each leaves a residue that changes my chemical structure and builds into the next period of my existence like Lego bricks. I’ve recently divorced myself from the reality where I could only see John Cassavetes when I closed my eyes, not that he doesn’t maintain payments on a month to month room in my mind, I think deeply about Cassavetes every day and 59 is still my desired death date. In the past month, as it has strangely been about a month since I’ve written, I’ve become completely enamored with Hirohiko Araki’s series JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, which I had dismissed for years upon years because of its place in memetic culture. I finished the animation of part 5 of JoJo’s on Tuesday, September 29th of 2020. I felt a change take place in my mentality. I live for works of art that do this to me, His & Her Fiend being an operative example. In my brain, Bruno Bucciarati’s slow and contemplative passing has already tied itself to more instances in my life than I could have imagined and cemented itself as an everlasting encounter with transcendent design, writing, and execution. Seeing him face his destiny with pure tenacity and grace, even as his body crumbled away and his vision went, I wanted to steel my own resolve. Bruno became my friend and watching his vision and body go was crippling. Bruno meant very much to me and I mourn for him the way I have my loved ones.

            I have been listening to Aminé’s album Limbo very much recently and despite the opinions and leanings of my peers, I find it to be expressive, surprising, and perhaps antithetically, comfortable. On the brilliant and underappreciated song Fetus, Aminé states “I’m protective cause this world got an evil will.” The later bars he and guest group Injury Reserve (one of the three best hip hop groups of all time, coincidentally) place emphasis on both the beauty and righteousness of childbirth and the act of fatherhood, but Aminé’s initial impression is one of fear of the systemic, antihumanist tomorrow. Despite the feeling of apprehension that I personally find at these beginning moments, all three of the track’s vocalists seem to have a quiet hope and resolve themselves to be fathers that can make their own fathers proud, and each uplifts the others. This is a great, optimistic song, its mood and tone extratexturally altered by the passing of Injury Reserve’s Groggs two months before the release of the album. I can remember very clearly the way I cried in my younger brother’s arms, Dragon Ball Super: Broly paused on the television as my body was racked over and over with the reality of his loss like waves. We miss you, Groggs. Thank you for this final goodbye, Aminé.

            My goal with this and further essays is to build a new format of authorship where more emphasis is put on the things I like than the, as my dear friend and contemporary Andrew Williford said, “I’m going to tell you why this is good, I’m telling you why it’s good, I’ve told you why it’s good” mode of film writing. Sincerity and integrity reign over all, and much as I’ve tried, I cannot in good confidence produce works that betray my interests or intentions. Hopefully this slight window into my current mentality provided you interest for a few minutes. I’ll check in soon.

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