Tuesday, 7 December 2010

An Unreliable Record

Found Nite Flite in a second-hand shop in Brighton. I was looking for Night Flight (Vol de Nuit), Saint Exupery’s novel of 1931 based on his experiences as an airmail pilot in Argentina. Nite Flite cost 50p (Ryan Air prices, on account of the cover being damaged: ‘Bargain - it should have been a pound’, the owner said). But I didn’t mind - I always judge an album by its cover; I wanted Exupery’s literature, but came away with Exupery’s – a pilot’s – point of view of the UK, completely covered in snow (topical or what? And Ireland relocating to the right could have something to do with Ryan Air, too). Antoine Saint Exupery was a flyer – spent most of his life airborne -, his most famous book, The Little Prince, was written and illustrated in the cockpit of his plane. Exupery’s best ideas came when he was looking down on the world from above; the author of The Little Prince was aviator first, and a writer, second.
I could never navigate by the stars (as Exupery did), because I’m too spaced-out, too taken in by ‘found’ tares on unreliable records. I spent most of the train journey back to London scrutinizing what - with the ‘other-worldliness of the ‘find’ – I’d got into my head was Planet Earth (floating in the sky – moored, montaged - above Scotland). Where off earth - yes, 'off' - what planet did I think the picture had been taken from? But I didn't think and by the time the train was passing through East Croydon I was convinced I could make-out America (on the left), Africa, and Russia (over on the right), yet, yet, yet, the UK was missing…there’s no us attached to Europe! Look.
The whole experience (find) was so ‘other worldly’ that - for the entire Brighton to London train journey – I mistook the moon for the earth. And the irony of it: of finding a record – an album I wasn’t even looking for and had no intention of ever listening to, a record of ‘our shore’, defined by a tare, dominated by a world (our world) without us there: we had been torn off the face of the Earth. An unreliable record matched only by my unreliable knowledge of the moon and the stars.    

No comments:

Post a Comment