Thursday, 16 May 2019

Carver's Law: 5: Drinking Alone

Here is the latest in a series of films made by the Slovenian artist Matej Kolmanko in support of Carver's Law. For me, the fascinating thing about this collaboration is that I have no control over the outcome: unusual for someone who likes to have his hands set firmly on the wheel. 
The content of this particular film is undeniably provocative and unsettling: not something that you'd usually connect with my music. It is interesting that Matej homed in on the notion of transience: something that colors many of the songs on Carver's Law. Matej offers us a children's birthday party and his own Granny's 80th celebration. And a decaying pig. Two parties and a pig then... The central image might unsettle a few folk but I think that it acts as a stark reminder that, however willful and spirited we are, flesh is weak, decline is inevitable. I wrote 'Drinking Alone' with Australian writer David Bridie. It's the first track on the album: a song that sets up the journey and it is echoed by the final song, another Bridie co-write, 'Woebegone'. 
I find Matej's film oddly moving: grossly engrossing. The eye is unsettled; flits from image to image. Youth, decay, old age. We celebrate the passing of time and yet we often deny and reject the effects of the yearly transition. Every journey leads to a 'home' of sorts: that ultimate destination. As such, the recognition of death is a celebration of life. There are reoccurring themes in the songs on Carver's Law: transience, hope, remembrance, the filtering of memories, the settling of scores, forgiveness, aging and (yup) decay, so the decomposing pig, although unpalatable, is apt; a stark reminder of the inevitabilities: and we all kick against those: ever hopeful that a quick jog and a smoothie will conquer all. We try to hold back the years with lotions and potions but it's hopeless: that 'hoping of hope'. And, as we know, it's the hope that'll kill you. We are not stardust. We are not starlight. We are not golden. We are olden. But is this delusion the secret to a happy life? I reckon not. It's a cover up. We age. We cover it up. We die. We cover it up. We bury the body deep. It would be glib to simply say that we should celebrate decline. Any nurse or carer will remind us of that. We all watch our loved ones slip off the planet. Why look away? I reckon that it's vital to recognize the passing. Facing it square on is a celebration of sorts: however hopeless the prognosis. And hope? Our best hope is for some kind of legacy; that signs of our own life endure: markings on a wall to remind folk that 'I was here'. St Augustine wrote that “it is only in the face of death that man’s self is born.” And Montaigne posited that “although the physicality of death destroys us, the idea of death saves us.” Woody Allen added to the party: "My relationship with death remains the same. I am very strongly against it." 
I'm with Woody... 

Song: 'Drinking Alone'
Writers: Trevor Jones/David Bridie
Album: Carver's Law (2019)
Film Director and Editor: Matej Kolmanko
Time lapse footage taken from "Decomposition of Baby Pigs" by Jerry Payne (1965).


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