A few weeks ago a friend reminded me of an argument we’d had at university that had sprung from a statement I’d made about human capacity for flight. I’d read something about how at this present evolutionary pit-stop we only use a teeny percentage of our brains. I had reasoned that somewhere else in the grey mush may lay the ability to take to the skies, no plane required. My friend had a field day. Part of me still wants to believe it, a little to ruffle his feathers but mainly because it’s just so much more fun. Imagine! ‘What if…?’s are where the magic lives. The unknowable is richer and the maybes more beautiful that any static certainty.
It’s my last day in New York today. I’ve been here almost a couple of weeks and a little of that fabled American dreaming has got to me but I’m grateful for the reminder. It’s too easy to be cynical sometimes, almost a reflex to sneer, and really difficult to dream when the weight of everyday presses down.
What’s more, believing that anything is possible is simply shit scary: the odds that the evidence will stack against us, let us down, are high. But the opposite is grimmer: a life of mapped out monotony, of never trying to strive for anything because it probably won’t go the way we want it to. Well, yeah, it might not but then, guess what, we might discover a different way that spins us off on a whole new tangent. That feels alive.
So, yeah, while the screen dream skyline of NYC has definitely perked me up, it was the music I went to see (Mount Kimbie, The xx, Warpaint, Teengirl Fantasy, Gatekeeper, Blondes, the Roulette group) and musicians I spoke to (FaltyDL, Meredith Monk and Blondes) that really got me excited again, got me believing again. What they share – what all artists share – is the daring to imagine their own worlds, to build something beautiful out of uncertainty and invite us in. It’s in these maybe-places I want to live.