Monday, July 18, 2022

Coldplay, A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)

1. When I was younger and going through a college breakup, I listened to this album and one other Coldplay album on repeat. Most surprising to me about that memory this morning is this. I got to the office, put on a random album, this one, and recalled the breakup, and yet none of the what I am sure were incredibly horrible melancholic feelings were there at all. But such is the passage of time.

2. One of my friends sent me a video of her daughter playing in a fountain for kids in a public park. My friend's little girl was squealing and splashing the water. I sent my friend a message: "You can definitely tell she is your daughter." She wrote back, "Ha! Thanks. She's gotten big, hasn't she? And she's talking so much now. Time flies."

3. Sunday, my wife and I went to a bakery owned by her friend. My wife and her friend began talking about having children. "You don't have a child yet yourself?" her friend asked. "No," my wife replied, "but we've been thinking about it. It's scary to think about the responsibility." "I know, right?" her friend said. She went on to say she is worried because she and her husband are getting older, and he is on this side of forty, which is scary. I was sitting at a table near the window at the time as my wife leaned across the serving counter and said, "You know, my husband is older than yours." "Oh," the friend said, "do you think he heard what I was saying?" "Maybe," my wife said. But I don't mind.

Some of the reservations my wife's friend has about having children are the same I would have about myself and having children. The friend said that as much as she loves her husband, she's observed his habits. He doesn't cook or clean or tidy up. He likes to play video games too much. If he had at all shown that he was possible of changing his behavior, to behave more like her and her expectations of what a responsible adult does, then perhaps she would be more open to having a child. I could criticism myself in this department all day: too work-obsessed, a tidy-upper at home but selectively: I like to wash the dishes, and I average a good bathroom-cleaning about once a month, but I'm not much for sweeping and vacuuming the floor. Like any fool, I have an excuse. There are several of my wife's items in the house I would be reorganized and put into other places, and I would much rather not have to clean around them as I do now when I clean. One might say there is very little connection between these things and the cleaning. One would be right. I doubt this issue is exactly the rub regarding the future for us and children, but I don't doubt that it's a factor.

4. When I was going through my college breakup and listening to this Coldplay album, I do recall being extremely touched by the song "The Scientist." But I just now discovered, all these years later, I had misheard the chorus, which I thought was:

Nobody said it was easy. It's such a shame for us to part.

Nobody said it was easy, figuring out who we are.

Let's go back to the start.

That's not it. "Figuring out who we are" doesn't figure in the song at all. I had heard what I wanted to hear.

5. Coldplay is good for 20-year-olds but probably not for 30-year-olds, unless they're so steeped in nostalgia, they're hopeless.

And yet no one can fairly say this album, A Rush of Blood to the Head, isn't easy listening. If you put it on, you would enjoy it.

I wonder whether I would own it, but then perhaps I ought to be more in agreement with my wife about the ownership of albums. I told her recently my plan to buy all the albums in CD which I will have dubbed best, that is, once I've listened through these 500 plus albums, this prolonged project of mine. "Just stream them," my wife said. "YouTube ads," I said. "We'll buy YouTube Red," she said.

6. These days, our home's two bookshelves overflow. The culprit is me. Books must be placed in awkward places. When it's time to eat at our dining table, bookstacks move from the table to the lid over the kimchi refrigerator. But then when we remove cold beverages from that refrigerator, the stacks must move to a shared desk, which will then have to be cleared when my wife does her web design work. As many gripes as I have about my wife's assorted things which I find it difficult to clean around (some boxes of art supplies, bags of dried goods), I somehow am easier on myself about the rotating bookstacks. I don't regret owning books in general. I regret owning books I read and didn't like. It would be unethical to offload those books to someone else. ("Here, you took this terrible read.") You see, I have a stupid vision: to have only those books on my shelf which I've deemed the greatest books. And I'd like to do the same with music, with a shelf of CDs. None of this is for bragging rights. The older I get, the more concerned I am about surrounding myself with beauty. Music, books, maybe even  some art prints, those I've deemed the top five. If my mind changes later, that's fine. I can overhaul.

7. Some days ago, I went to a coffee shop. Cute, cream-white, cool (well air-conditioned), simple menu, reasonable prices, big windows up front letting in the natural light, not too much, though, not enough to make your back sweat or your neck turn red. But after I began studying the d├ęcor, I was almost revolted by the place. Almost all the accoutrement were impersonal. There was a record player near the door, but the player didn't function, and it didn't look like the owner would have used it if it did. There was a squat bookshelf full of art books, Klimt among them. Was the owner a fan of Klimt? I doubt it. It looked as though the place was decorated by someone who said, "I'll put a record player in here, because that'll give the place a vintage air. The Klimt book will make the place seem artsy, intellectual..." After I'd finished my coffee, I walked over to the squat, horizontal table of books running along the wall, on top of which was a crystal water pitcher with a glass beside it. I lifted up the pitcher to pour myself some water, but there was no water in the pitcher. It was merely for decoration.

8. In the album's title song, Chris Martin sings, "I want to buy this place and watch it go."

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