Sport 38: Winter 2010
from Investigation of the Candidates' Lives: Jeff Mangum
I played all I could remember
of Aeroplane—fans bought me beer
but didn't treat me like the Messiah.
Awesome show, Jeff, they'd say, friends
not apostles. There was just one
woman with magenta hair, dilated
pupils, who said, 'Religion itself,
any religion, keeps a person on the right
path. Not the fear of God, but
upholding your own sense of honour
and obeying your own conscience.'
I'm not afraid of you, Jeff Mangum,
but you keep my conscience strong
and my eyes from wandering.
Aeroplane is kind of my religion.
I listen to it on Sunday mornings
to soothe my hangover
while I eat corn chips and smoke.
I think you're amazing.
Usually this sentiment would send me
straight to the airport, back to my sofa
away from the stage.
It would put me off the smell
of beer and tobacco for years.
But, not her. You quoted Anne
Frank, I said.
Yes! You made me
read it—it's part of my worship.
I felt ill and wanted to yell
Worship Anne not me
but could only say Excuse me.
I was Anne's apostle,
this pink-haired woman was mine.
I didn't want her. Did Anne
not want me? I felt sick. Outside,
someone passed me a joint.
Cat drum tree truck car petal breath lie water tea trickle baby scream dog wind snore television Beach Boys maraca kettle birds (always birds and traffic) cars teenage-girls laughter giggling (always giggling) fiddle kick drum snare tom bagpipes singing saw voice my own my love's sex breathing friction car horn toots footsteps creaking doors teeth grinding (bruxomania—good word) words poetry birds smashing snail shells woodchopping lawnmowing vacuuming indoor and outdoor sounds the beginning of Under Milkwood read aloud by a twelve year old limping running capering jumping fawning sulking impressing caring caressing humouring listening humming whistling
a thousand sounds in a minute: that's my goal.
Laziness looks inviting, but only work gives you
true satisfaction. It takes four hours to record one minute.
If I work more than three hours a day, I forget
how to talk to people, how to eat and how to sleep
(not that I've ever been an expert at any of these).
I'd work in a trance and never stop
if it were possible. I'd do nothing but make sound
montages for my friends.
But I can't—the results would be disappointing.
So I take a break each afternoon
to collage acoustic Fenders. Black and white
photos glued in a harmonious pattern all over
the instruments' bodies. It is
a beautiful occupation until morning.