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Written on October 19, 2005, and categorized as Secret and Invisible.
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Last time I took on a behemothic theme it was Death. I struggled with it, wrestling at the cliff top; and by the end of the month, I was near to despair. I was then heartened by IG who kindly reminded me that the great central themes, the ones labelled HUMAN CONDITION we cross and re-cross. Therefore I took on Time not even intending to cover the merest scrap of it’s immense woven trailing tattered layered incomprehensible fabric, in fact, knowing that this month, of all months during 2005, I was going to be hardest pressed for time to write. I simply wanted Time to be a nail for me to hang my coat upon, and blow me, if it hasn’t cooperated.

Time started to become comprehensible to me as a seven year old child when someone – I cannot remember who – explained to me why our experience of it changes as we age. He (I recall it was a “he”) used the following explanation to show me why afternoons as a seven year old last ten years, and ten years as a seventy year old last a single afternoon. Think of a record, an old vinyl disc, spinning around. You are born in the middle. Near the centre, we travel around quite slowly. As we grow, we move at a steady speed out to the edge. See how much faster the edge travels, and yet the disc still spins at the same thirty three and a third revolutions per minute. And then we fall off, he didn’t say. But I could see that, unless someone was making the disc bigger, that was eventually going to happen. Then I would be on the living room floor, chewed by the dog, and hoovered up on Saturday morning.

I never thought we’d be able to change the record, or the speed of its spin, or perhaps, navigate to the edge using special ropes to cross over and start to return to the centre on the other side. CDs didn’t exist, so I couldn’t come out with a precocious lazer light concept, arguing for immortality via hiss-free digital recording.

Since then, I have spent much time on Time. I have cogitated, meditated, made art and music and written about it, dwelt comfortably upon its cushions, engrossed in the glorious detail of all it has given me, despaired at the wasting of it, wept and marvelled at its passing, as the microgroove takes me backwards inexorably towards the edge, playing all sorts of hidden messages.

Songs become emblematic of a time. Remember the old adage, Tom Waits for no man? Tom Waits wrote his superb song, Time in 1985, which was a time when my cultural horizons were expanding hugely. It’s from the album Rain Dogs.

Well the smart money’s on Harlow and the moon is in the street
And the shadow boys are breaking all the laws
And you’re east of East Saint Louis and the wind is making speeches
And the rain sounds like a round of applause
And Napoleon is weeping in a carnival saloon
His invisible fiancee’s in the mirror
And the band is going home, it’s raining hammers, it’s raining nails
And it’s true there’s nothing left for him down here

And it’s time time time, and it’s time time time
And it’s time time time that you love
And it’s time time time

And they all pretend they’re orphans and their memory’s like a train
You can see it getting smaller as it pulls away
And the things you can’t remember tell the things you can’t forget
That history puts a saint in every dream

Well she said she’d stick around until the bandages came off
But these mama’s boys just don’t know when to quit
And Mathilda asks the sailors “Are those dreams or are those prayers?”
So close your eyes, son, and this won’t hurt a bit

Oh it’s time time time, and it’s time time time
And it’s time time time that you love
And it’s time time time

Well things are pretty lousy for a calendar girl
The boys just dive right off the cars and splash into the street
And when they’re on a roll she pulls a razor from her boot
And a thousand pigeons fall around her feet
So put a candle in the window and a kiss upon his lips
As the dish outside the window fills with rain
Just like a stranger with the weeds in your heart
And pay the fiddler off ’til I come back again

Oh it’s time time time, and it’s time time time
And it’s time time time that you love
And it’s time time time
And it’s time time time, and it’s time time time
And it’s time time time that you love
And it’s time time time

Go find it, if you have time.

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This thing has 3 Comments

  1. dave bones
    Posted 19 October, 2005 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Thats strange. I was going to say about the Tom Waites song. Your record analogy is good too.

    The Mayan calendar fanatics say that time moves in a spiral outwards.

  2. karma
    Posted 20 October, 2005 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    my favourite is Pink Floyd’s take on this

  3. arthur decko
    Posted 20 October, 2005 at 2:45 am | Permalink

    when i think about time, it’s like i am trying to herd a roomful of cats, or trying to mold water…i like what you’ve done with it though…

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