Blesok no. 103-104, December, 2015
CAT POWER: Chan Marshall Blues
Slow Down the Images
Translated by: Elizabeta Bakovska
I watched again that movie to remember you. To be able to write again. Every time I finish what I write feels like the last one, like I would not be able to do it again. To be able to write about Chan, I had to remember you.
It's probably like that because I had fallen in love with Chan while I loved you. She had already changed her name to Cat Power and she had conquered American cities, madness, death, roads, relationship with Callahan behind her, and it was yet to be survived. I am sure even now which one of that was madder those days, nor whose music I like more.
And yet I learned that you cannot bid farewell to those who mean something in your life. But you can leave. Turn around and leave. As we all had to do it at least once in our lives. As it has been done to has.
At that moment one is not aware that there is no choice, and the pain is unbearable, just as the illusion of the twenty-year old dreams is endless. And we have all wanted to be famous for something. Our greatness would be immeasurable, and our dreams firmly pressed in our palms, so that they do not escape.
I am no longer sure whom I would rather write a letter… to you or Cat Power? To you whom I haven't known for a long time? How could I write to her at all? To her former her which I could hardly relate to her today's her. But that's the way it should be, my current myself hardly remembers my former me.
How would that look at all?
Like the poems I wrote long ago and I don't remember how. Like a cup of necessary coffee that we have drunk and we don't remember we have… You made me love Cat Power, I discovered her to you, Chan Marschall connects us against her will. Chan has become a chain. As if she had not had enough of herself, her dead past and everything that is not her song, that is not the Silvertone guitar which she had bought when she was sixteen and which lied for two years in the corner of her room before she took it in her hands and taught herself to play.
You, Chan and I have not been able to explain anything for a long time. We have travelled with Cave's album 'No More Shall We Part'. It has to mean something, these are the signs of unchangeable past. The two of you lived New York, I dreamt it. New York, New York – sometimes I feel as if I am never going to fall asleep again. And then everything loses having meaning, and it becomes covered with the thin membrane of peace. New York, New York – I will try to write her a letter anyway.
Forget the Keys
Dear Chan Marshall, I've always admired you sabotaging the music industry, stage appearances and outpours of sadness in front of people. After the very first hearing of 'I Don't Blame You' I knew it was about Kurt Cobain, although you needed a lot of time to admit it yourself.
I will tell you this, even if you become mad and tear this unsent letter – I love listening to Eddie Vedder singing in the background of the song 'Good Woman'. And Warren Ellis playing the violin in it. I know, I know, even without any of these two, it still is a great song, and only the song counts, stripped from everything, it doesn't need Lucien Carr, or Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, or the other fallen heroes of New York. It doesn't need Bob Dylan . Kill Your Idols, just as you said one should do. Don't be in love with the autograph, just be in love when ya scream that song (on and on)… I get it.
This song is self-sufficient, it is just like all of your songs. But I am also like I am, I get fascinated by hidden details. Because of reasons quite different than the music industry. You have every right to despise it. And you have the 'Dirty Three' on your side. Together, you have raised magnificent waves on a number of occasions. It's time we throw away the keys, because we already know that certain thresholds will never be crossed again.
Turn the Radio On
Tell me, is it true that your nome d'arte has nothing to do with cats? Is that the blood of the Cherokee Indians in your veins? Now, when we are no longer kids, and when we are parents to kids, have you found a way to tame your restlessness… Are you finally free and how many steps are there to New York?
And now I bid farewell to you, Cat. Slow down the images, add new colours, melt the keys. I will bring this letter that she will tear to its end. New York must be beautiful while the autumn is coming.
Autumn is poetry, and I agree to what I usually don't do. I turn the radio on. But only because I know whose voice will be there. Let's all switch to the same waves, let's find each other. In the city of enteral summer I will try to cross the street and find the autumn . It will be the autumn of a completely different city.