“Q Samba” : Arto Lindsay, from “Mundo Civilizado”
Arto Lindsay. The geeky, skinny kid at school, scribbling in his notebook when he thinks no one’s looking, or when he thinks that people think he thinks no one’s looking. Probably just schoolboy crush scribbles, arrows through hearts, epigrams. Eyes almost upstaged by his owl-like lenses, which are looking straight at you, and it’s a hard stare to look back at. People don’t. Prom Queens, though, might take him home in one of those High School movies, people would learn to look beyond appearances, towards new experiences, everyone would learn things and nothing would change. Music, credits, thank yous, etcetera.
But he’s an eccentric. A real one, not a muscle boy they put in glasses to indicate intelligence, reticence and hostility to games lessons. He is thin, thin like he lives on some unknown energy, some ambiguous pulse. He plays guitar, but no real notes, just a noise, and only when it’s called for. Mostly it just hangs around his neck, as it does on this song. The weight of it might kill him.
Through the gate, now the path winds to the door, you pass sculptures, perpendicular pagan gods staring down suburban sidewalks, old amplifiers, guitar strings wound around slow growing creepers. Carnival melting into darkness and out again. It’s taking forever to get to the door.
Shall we listen to some music? He reaches for a cd, the cover a photo of a woman’s face, or maybe a girl’s, her expression masked by the blood red smear of a rose. Smiling eyes though; maybe. A strange, disjointed guitar, Brazilian, lurches into a kind of beat that doesn’t belong where it is, as a voice, half-spoken, half sung, asks:
“How do you do that?
Did you just make it up?
Is there a special need for that?
Now don’t just make it up”
Not exactly poetry, this is like a kid asking questions at school. But he grows up fast;
“How do you shake just that and not shake all the rest
Breaking all those beats apart you careless hypnotist”
A careless hypnotist, still thinking about what that implies. The lyrics feel like they are meaning something, but they sometimes fold in on themselves, like…
“You dance like you’re not alone
You dance like I’m not here“
Often they seem like a study in a single sound…
“Your supple cheekiness
Your sure footedness
And you pelvic finesse.”
But that last line,”pelvic finesse”, what the hell is that? Animal sexuality crossed with featherlight delicacy? The music echoes the words, mismatched but familiar sounds, somehow stitched together, a brash and buzzy keyboard flooding the light and sunny samba like chilli sauce in Angel Delight, its line left jagged and raw like the edges of an awkward conversation. Samba school drums sucked into a lop-sided sample, another piece in the jigsaw of disorder, of musical and verbal memories, those memories that for each person are their own.
Except for the Prom Queen. Tradition dictates that her head must be empty, as she trots home to recount, perhaps reluctantly, some other version of these few short minutes.