Blesok no. 101-102, November-December, 2015
Sound Reviews

Mark Sandman: The Morpheus of My Night

Mehmed Begić

On the Other Side

    In front of the house in which I have lived for too long already there are amulets made by my daughter. I am no longer scared from persecution in my dreams. The wind sways those keepers of dreams and slips through the window nets. In the garden in front of the house there are palm trees, and bushes of aloe vera under the palm trees. Nothing from this might not mean anything, but it calms me down at times when the rain that is awaited is not here.
    On the other side, in another time, in a Europe before the end of the last century, Marc Sandman conquered Europe, recognized as a leader of something that unites Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti and Kerouac. The sound that Morphine created became even a bigger fascination to many people after they had seen them live. Before this, Sandman had worked his part of the life on the road, from Alaska where he had been a professional fisherman, via Middle and South America, his life with their mushrooms and pot, he had lost two brothers in the meantime and he succeeded in having himself stabbed as he drove a taxi…
    And still he managed to remain the mysterious private man who had been forced by ambition to become the voice of a completely different sound. Of what comes at the same time from the future and from the past, the rhythm of the wandering of Kerouac’s worn out shoes in the twenty-seventh century.
    By the way, tell me, do you know how you call the rain? How much patience does one need to wait for the cloud without calling it? Calling the rain in the rain season is a special ritual. Totems and amulets in general do not help. Leaving certain dreams behind also does not help. The pain is unbearable until it passes. Words help. Dreams too, unless they turn into nightmares.

What We Do Not See

    Had the Italian merciful drops bathed the ancient Palestrina, hadn’t it been so hot, maybe Sandman’s heart would have not stopped, maybe decades later he would be killed in a hospital bed by some of the omnipresent cancers. But he would see how much we loved The Night album and we would all have the albums that Morphine would record in the meantime. I do not dare think about these impossibilities.
    From my personal experience I know that three is quite enough for magic. I return to music. Baritone saxophone, drums and slide with just two strings create the sadness that one can not dance at. Where the blues seduces the jazz, Low Rock is created. Or Fuck Rock, as Sandman used to say.
    And the night is no longer so dark, nor woven out of fear. It fills in the quest, the yearning, the dance steps in unexpected places. The poetry, the almighty poetry. Let us call it Lyla. Each one of us has something to search for, lost in the fairytales and forests of the unexpected. Each one for himself and each one with his Lyla. I chose my darkness to be a night just like that.
The Night:

Cure for Everything

Translation from Bosnian by Elizabeta Bakovska

    Once you told me that I looked like the rain. Marc Sandman came to my thoughts with his bass guitar and its two strings. Sometimes the two strings are everything that we need. Sandman, just as me, spent some time in Middle America, and then he descended to South America. My South America will wait for a while. Maybe I arrived too late to Middle America to continue the travel.
    The summer and dust, in some other story, would be a winning combination. The music lives within us soaked in the memories that we left behind long ago. It does not want to have any relation to leaving. Morpheus is not on my side tonight. But Morphine is.
    I changed my third shirt. There has been less than an hour. Managua, where I live at the moment, is mostly like that. The summer never ends, and the humidity in the air enables the fish to enter through the window. The tree bark and soil have cracked, and everything turns into dust.
Saddest Song:

Two Strings Away from the Dream

There is no use running from the sorrow. Nor from confronting. Only in this way something better will come, only in this way the pain disappears. Morphine passages through the darkness open. One should know how to wait and see. One should know how to listen. Music is sacred. Music is the secret passage from the unbearableness to the blue skies that will tell us that there are other things as well.
    I think about the rain and what you have said. I think about Sandman. What a way to leave the stage. A heart attack half the way though the song, without suffering, without thinking and planning. At one moment you are on the stage of the ancient city of Palestrina, in Italy, you poured all of your life in front of strangers, and also gave them your death by nightfall. What a real way to go, Jo Strummer would smile.
    While Supersex is on, your knees lock down and you fall on your back, still clinging to your bass guitar. Queens of The Stone Age see you off to the sky with their riffs. It can hardly be more appropriate.

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