CDs and Collage


My CD collection was relegated to a single, padded binder which had taken up residence beneath the driver’s seat of the minivan sometime in 2010 and had not moved since. I dug it out in the hopes of rediscovering the pleasures of some forgotten favorite tunes, but found that nearly all the disks were already digitized in my music collection. This explained why I hadn’t felt the urge to go looking for any of these disks before. 

I found a homemade mix-disk that I’d put together of swing dance songs. Most of these were songs that I listened to with excruciating repetition during my high school and undergrad years, but then hadn’t listened to since. Listening to them again was an interesting walk down memory lane. I had some questionable taste at the time, but then again who doesn’t question the choices of their youth? And while I may find myself gently embarrassed by my enjoyment of the songs, I can at least relax in the knowledge that I wasn’t the person who walked into a recording studio one day and said: “Hey, let’s do a duet song about swing dancing with a heavy metal riff on the chorus and a ska interlude on the bridge.” 

It was the nineties. I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time. 

So my inner soundtrack consists of a lot of swing music at the moment, which makes my mental landscape a pretty lively place. I have to keep fighting off the urge to diverge down memory lane into recollections about high school. The high school I attended is almost unrecognizable now from when I went there- one old building has been torn down completely, and the other has been expanded and remodeled so much I don’t recognize much. The teachers that I had are all retired by now. There wouldn’t be much nostalgic value to visiting. 

The memory that my mind keeps circling is of the summer before my senior year. I spent nearly the entire summer commandeering the family room floor to construct a large collage of a face. Every day the ritual went like this: 

  1. Spread out magazine clippings on the floor.
  2. Put the Star Wars: A Phantom Menace soundtrack on the stereo.
  3. Pour a Pepsi (not because I liked Pepsi, but because it came in special edition cans).
  4. Construct a portion of the collage through whatever abstract alchemy inspires such things.
  5. Inadvertently get high from spray adhesive.
  6. Get a backache from sitting on the floor.
  7. Lie down to stretch out.
  8. Fall asleep.
  9. Get called to do something.
  10. Shove all collage materials under the couch.

Rinse and repeat until the collage is finished our the school year begins. 

It was a pain to make, and took forever, but it’s still one of my favorite pieces. Lately I’ve been toying with the idea of doing another such collage… As if I need another project in my plate. The idea has been fluttering around at the back of my mind for a while now, though, and I can’t quite seem to make it go away, so maybe it’s time for me to give a listen. 

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on July 12, 2017.

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