7 min read 🤓

Wash (Not Wash)

july 16, 2007.

I guess I badly needed a rest. After all the busi-ness of the past couple of months I was badly in need of a rest. I was in need of a rest that badly, that in the middle of the day I fell asleep in the car while we were on our way for a couple of weeks of holiday on the french isle of R(h)Ă©. It was raining and gray, the windshield wipers were slowly - molto adagio - wiping off the rain drops away. We had just passed Poitiers, and now were on the highway to Niort. The car's wheels buzzed along the wet asphalt, humming along with the engine to an Ornette Coleman tune that played over the car's stereo, with the wipers beating time.

It was a peaceful trip. All and everyone was quiet.
And I dozed off ...

Now of course there is nothing a priori wrong with dozing off in a car, were it not for the fact, that at that particular moment it was me that was was driving it.

We had made a short stop at a gas station not long before, filled up the car's tank. I had had a coffee. Nevertheless, shortly after, I dozed off. I dozed off listening to Ornette Coleman playing, staring at the wet gray surface of the road being shoved backwards by the wheels going whéééééézzzzzz, windshield wipers doing tzzk ..... tzzk ...., driving at 130 kilometers - that's slightly more than 80 miles - an hour along the french highway from Poitiers to Niort.

lavage 2007 lavage 2007

The pictures (click to enlarge) of Marie Aerts headless walking backwards along the rue Rochebrune in Montreuil ( * ) and of le Rhinoceros in his grotesque costume were taken during the first part of the third Lavage Salissage Multiplexage festival, which took place on the 17th, 18th and 19th of may. They have nothing much per se to do with my more recent highway misadventure, except that they do strike me as visualizing part of the mix of feelings and thoughts haunting me afterwards; and also now, thinking back ... Marie's daily chemin sans tĂŞte from the Mairie de Montreuil metro station up to la MACH'Inante, le Rhinoceros's head, looking as if it just had come bubbling out of a Francis Bacon painting ...

It was a pleasure to join the boyz of Ana-R in a collective son-if-ication of this third Lavage - a festival, as curious and unique as is its lieu - from my own little corner, where I sat, cleaning and restoring found tapes. The result of my 'tape washing' at Lavage 2007 is the 74th acquisition of the found tapes exhibition.

I have been 'washing' tapes at La MACH'Inante only on the 17th and on the 19th, and missed friday's performance. But that was because on friday we did a concert with Blinde Kinder and Jean Bordé at the wonderful La Comète 347, at 45 rue du Faubourg du Temple (fond de la cour), Paris X.

lavage 2007 lavage 2007

For the first half of the concert we continued the Blinde & Kinder trio adventure, which like earlier this year, in february in Bern, confirmed itself as a pretty interesting and fruitful combination. For the second half, the trio was joined by Jean Bordé on double bass.

[ As this edition's podcast, here's a little flash blop that will enable you to stream and listen to the final ten minutes of this quartet's encore (to play, click the little black circle inside the star on the right hand side of the image) ... Alternatively, you may use this link to download the mp3 file. Thanks to Cosmo Helectra who MD recorded this. It's our 2007 summer holiday gift ! (_cc_) ]

When I went back to 'wash tapes' at the Lavage festival the next day, after having missed friday's events, I - obviously - felt somewhat of an outsider, unaware of frictions and unease that during collective creation on friday here and there had built up, and which on saturday saw me arriving in the midst of a Didier Calléja exploding and a Thomas S. packing his bags. Some shout-out that was ... even my dictaphone refused to record it ...

Ah, but sometimes I will choose to be an outsider - without this meaning that I will also shun responsibility for the outcome ... however ... as said before: lavage is a pretty curious sort of a group event, and de-spite (mainly) DĂ©-dier's insistence on the one-ness, the collect-ivity of the three days of artistic lavage, the cleansing universe inside the Rochebrune washing-machinante consisted in a number of isolated galaxies, each of which was occupied by a pretty much isolated life form, expressing its proper brand of solipsism and together striking solipsists-united chords ...

Majestic yet at times they were. Like Marie Aerts's pilgrimage, of undeniable tragicomic beauty, who every evening headlessly walked backwards all the way from the Montreuil town hall up to la MACH'Inante, wearing a clerk's suit and a briefcase. Or le Rhinoceros standing and performing - living - inside this monstrous head of his, which makes it near impossible for him to hear ...

The short YouTube clip above - La disparition de Didier, II - is part of Rébus's video chronicles of the Lavage 2007. On each one of the three consecutive evenings, Didier Calléja, with the help of rubber gloves, considerable amounts of shaving foam (or was it whipped cream?), a ladder and the power of will, set himself the heroic task of becoming a cloud, and then to dis-appear into the Montreuil skies ...

I'm afraid though that Didier did not succeed; not on the first, not on the second, and not even on the third evening of the third Lavage festival.

But unfortunately I did.

I remember holding the steering wheel and listening to Ornette Coleman playing - recordings made in New York in 1966, with David Izenson on bass and Charles Moffett on drums.
Then I disappeared.
For how long, I can not tell you.
When I appeared again it was not to Coleman's music, but to loud and very frightened screaming, while our rented car came bumping back sideways from the rails lining the highway. The shock had shattered the car's side window, and wet rain and a cold wind came flooding in.
I had appeared again, and re-gained control of the car.
Nothing hit but the rails, no-one hurt ...

The car's right side was badly bumped and scratched, one of the side windows was gone, but the car was still driving. So I drove on to the rental service in Niort to change it, this time staying awake, turning on the radio and wondering aloud whether I'd have to blame Ornette Coleman for my disappearing? I didn't dare to play that record again until at this very moment, writing these words.

But of course it was not Coleman's fault.
There's no-one but myself to blame.

One of those things I'd always lightheartedly wave away, with a "cannot happen to me ...!"
Oh, but bet ya it can.
It's easy to disappear.

stayin' alive[ On the isle of Rhé, on the fourteenth of july (quatorze juillet) I made a four minute piece for Kjetil Hanssen's Ambolthue Records, who is releasing a CDr compilation of field recordings on this sympathetic and 'noisy' scandinavian label. A good deal of the recordings that I used were done on the island, most notably while walking along the beach, where on the first day of our stay a small storm was raging. That was why I put a blue plastic shopping bag over my head, to protect it and my lapel microphone from the winds blowing. Wading through the moist sand along the tide line with my head inside that bag, I suddenly realized that this must be almost what it is like to be a bat rhinoceros ... almost ... The track's title is Stayin' Alive. ]

[ Added january 6th, 2008 : The Ambolthue compilation meanwhile has appeared, with the very appropriate title "What More Do You Need Than A Recorder?". Its catalogue number is AMBOLT-12. ]

[ earlier related SB-entry : Washing, dirtying, multiplexing ]

notes __ ::
(*) It is not only because of the street's name that each time I visit la MACH'Inante I can not but be reminded of that middle aged eccentric, ir. Walter de Rochebrune, a Wim de Bie character that will/can be familiar (only) to our dutch viewers, somewhat gruntingly addressing the world from the shed in the back of his mother's garden where he is living and spends his time thinking. [ ^ ]

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