I’m in a car with no cassette tapes or CDs and I’m flipping radio stations rapidly between the six preset and thus easily locatable locations on the dial. There’s nothing on and I have that “57 Channels and Nothing On” post-consumer, dry, sweaty feeling which is rather suddenly relieved by a song that’s not too bad. It’s not great, but it’ll do, maybe it’s a popsong that’s not going to be around in ten years or maybe it’s a random Motown song. But whatever it is, it’s okay, and I listen to it. And it’s pretty good for maybe two and a half of the song’s four minute duration. My head’s bobbing appropriately, if I know the particular song I sing along enthusiastically, and I finally lose my distaste for consumer society. But then I get bored of the song and feel the need to turn the dial. After all, it’s not my favorite song, just something to listen to in the meantime of consumption. But now it’s boring as all meantimes become in our jaded capitalist society. So, I turn the knob from preselected station through countless unknown songs to another preselected station. Finally (and here comes this feeling that I have felt before) I hear one of my favorite songs, and not only one of my favorites but also a song that functions perfectly as a driving soundtrack (some Springsteen maybe, perhaps the Clash). I tune into the song at the chorus so it’s difficult to tell how far into the song I am, but I presume it’s the beginning. Unfortunately, I am wrong, it’s the last chorus and the song is almost over. And this is the feeling that I have felt at this particular moment: regret that I listened to a mediocre song instead of one of my favorites, anger that too much is available and so much of it is not perfect, and sadness for not possessing the instincts necessary to find the perfect song.
Francis Raven’s books include Architectonic Conjectures (Silenced Press, 2010), Provisions (Interbirth, 2009), 5-Haifun: Of Being Divisible (Blue Lion Books, 2008), Shifting the Question More Complicated (Otoliths, 2007), Taste: Gastronomic Poems (Blazevox 2005) and the novel, Inverted Curvatures (Spuyten Duyvil, 2005). Francis lives in Washington DC; you can check out more of his work at his website: http://www.ravensaesthetica.com/.