The desire & consciousness are free
The bathroom is a squared-off bit of drywall at the far back of the garage. It’s in Chelsea, near to the river, where the streets get wider and the air carries some of the fragrance of the salt off the ocean. As you walk back to the dark door of the bathroom, slipping sideways between the tight-packed cars, feeling your way blind on the lumpy concrete, you have an instant of losing your own dimensions to the flattened perspective of the low ceiling, the dim light, the stagnant and exhaust-plumed air. You are like Alice, you’ve sucked down the shrinking liquid and you are dizzied by the wild change.
Dirt is scrubbed into the floor. Yellow formica sink. Chipped toilet tank. Rust stains in the drain. Toilet seat at an angle. Broken mirror, reflective mineral breakdown. Mis-matched brown squares of sticky paper pasted up on the wall. Black marker stains seep through. Graffiti covered.
Standing at the toilet taking a leak you can’t help but look at the graffiti written into the corner. It’s odd that someone decided to write across two walls. The words are tantalizing, almost profound, maybe trite, the kind of language that is too grand to be specific, too vague to be meaningless, making you doubt your own understanding of the words.
It makes you curious. You pull the brown sticky paper away from the wall. Beneath, more words, scribbled by the same hand, excoriating Bush, extolling the beauty of life, praising the sunny skies. You look around. Whose cell was this, this tiny bathroom? Whose dreams are etched upon the walls, dreams of freedom and fairness and a world that they can call just?
Your car is at the exit. You tip the old black man who brought it around. A wide-eyed Spanish man sits by the wall in a ragged swivel chair. The light outside is bright . Later you go onto the computer and look up the Stereolab song. It’s called SurrealChemists. The lyrics are brief. The vision is grand. The song winds down with a few minutes of lugubrious organ music. This was someone’s anthem. We don’t know where they are now.
Even more than philosophers
Aiming at no less than the total transformation of man and the world
Begin with the dissolution of superfluous matters
So that desire and conciousness are free
New man, new woman proud and free
New man, new woman happy to be
True life embodying pleasure principle’s noblest triumph
Over the cowering mendacity of bourgeois/Christian civilisation