Noble Phantasm

“writing about music is like dancing about architecture” – a quote attributed to countless musicians and journalists


one can dance about architecture

in fact when one dances inside one can’t help but dance about architecture, and i mean this in two ways:

first, you’re not dancing around the architecture, and unless you’re staying still on one spot, you are moving around the architecture – you are literally dancing about the architecture, and so you are, when you’re dancing, dancing about architecture. even when dancing outside you may still be surrounded by architecture, still dancing around and about it.

second, when dancing in architecture, what is it about the architecture that may inspire you to subtly interpret it in your dance? lighting, space, atmosphere – all things i believe will impact your dance, the things you interpret perhaps unknowingly, but you can totally do it knowingly in relation to the other elements of the dance

i think maybe in dancing one does communicate that, i think many things in society are a form of dance

for example i was discussing my job AS I OFTEN DO SORRY with a friend and i was talking about how me and a mate at work deal with the inane, petty full time managers – this mate of mine is very brash and upfront, any bullshit starts and he will resist it, but as a result he’s on his last warning and often has to go sit in an office and talk to a bunch of other high-up staffers

i have turned the tables a couple of times, i think – one time this mate of mine could have gotten into plenty trouble for swearing on the job as he often does, but this manager we had was swearing herself at times, but i wasn’t the only person to have heard her ( a few did, only a few, but gossip itself is as communal and natural as dance). because i was originally complacent and giving her the benefit of the doubt i think she found it ok for her to swear around me, but as for the animosity between her and my mate, she was more careful around him or anyone more obviously hostile to her. i instead waited ‘til we were all aware of her hypocrisy, and then commented upon it in the canteen – there was a quite heated debate about something not the most tasteful going on, other people had sworn, the moment this mate of mine swore she got uppity so i just calmly said “is that not very hypocritical?”, and she got flustered with me for a while, then in order to worm her way out of it she said something to the extent of “ok no swearing in the cafeteria”, which we all agreed to, but she couldn’t use this no swearing rule afterward on the shift as a way of petty power play or to get this mate of mine into trouble

and i was on a walk a minute ago and i was just thinking about how that kind of equates with the fencing i used to do – i used to be a jabber, no grace, just lots of very simple jabby movements all the time, eventually an opposing fencer might slip up and id get a point but i wasn’t very good.

there are two types of good fencers imo – those who use natural advantages and just focus on those, a former friend of mine was like that – tall, athletic, but no grace, and those who use grace and technique – these were not always the best of the best but i always had more respect for them, and it was because they danced – they would use their movements, their technique, to form some kind of pattern between your movements and theirs , compliant, almost submissive, and then slowly they would gain the upper hand – hypnotic, totally hypnotically, and when the right moment arose there would be a strike – some could be dramatic with the dance, others more subtle but it didn’t matter, because both were beautiful. and, well, i thought of that because i was thinking how at my job there is a bureaucratic system that favours those in the higher rungs – it allows for petty managers to wield quite undeserved power over those who, no matter how good they were at the job, didn’t like how they abused their authority – like my mate i was talking about, and yet i found it more effective to use the bureaucracy that allowed that to happen against them – to make them clearly define boundaries that they could not escape from themselves. it was a dance like that, a subtle dance to remove their jabbing force. when one fences, one must dance around the piste – the narrow battleground where there is not much room for sidestepping. the dance becomes a part of that, or rather, that becomes an inevitable part of the dance – the dance is about how in this restricted battleground, one can exercise a play, a performance, of power. the ones who never had to think about that and could just lean over and touch the head of your helmet (this fencing was epée by the way, foil and sabre have different rules) without ever having to dance, but how can one respect that? There is no beauty or grace in exercising natural privilege even if one gains so much prestige, rather the opposite – they never earned, but they could be beaten by the most meticulous and brave dancers, the ones who danced about architecture and power, even if the ones who danced lost, how could one not respect that? This subtle dance of bureaucracy i had performed lacked beauty entirely – retail sucks out the beauty of all things, well maybe not, but big chain retail does – but I still maintain there was some subtle grace, some quiet victory there – one steeped in patience, virtue. to dance for that manager, to smile and be compliant until i realized i had to stop giving her the benefit of the doubt, and then to wait for the right moment to strike. to redistribute power in the playing field defined by the architecture of the business – in both ways, i was very much dancing about architecture.

one can certainly write about music, but far more importantly, one cannot help but dance about architecture.

now if only i could bust out some slick moves on the dancefloor…..

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