#22 - Spectacle/Funeral (Blues Number One)
Kid Koala, "Basin Street Blues" Video
(To the pulse of the bass.) A window and shutter. Light breeze blows. The shadow of a tree limb. A still hand next to a green liquor bottle. A gaslight streetlamp. Close up of a face. Neon sign. Terraces and saloon doors. New Orleans. A bum with a long face, white beard. Slumped dead in the gutter. His hat rolls off. The top of his head is a gaping hole. Out of it fly three crows.
Resident President Apocalypse Drunk His Last Drip-Drop.
Pallbearers spy him. Lift him. Place him in a pine coffin and nail it shut. Pick up the handles. March down the street. Lockstep military style. Pomp and circumstance. Until... (a strumming banjo, a trumpet turned into a needle scratched across an old LP track)...suddenly...the the coffin lifts them up, dangles their legs. They float limply down the avenue, pulled by death.
A marching band trombonist joins them. A country huckster strums a banjo in a window. The rest of the marching band, lying low on a corner, decides to join the parade. A trumpet player pops up from a manhole and starts playing an old melody...Basin Street Blues...(hand pulls record back, bending the notes across the turntable and through the digital signals).
The windows open above the street. Young ladies yawn, smell the air, hear the tune below. Little children come bursting out (the beat is picking up). Confetti flutters down (bells tinkle).
Rally the base, Rally the Basin Street Blues.
Cockroaches flood out a sewer, under the doorways, from food pantries, out a dead man's nose. They join the people now lining the streets, paying their respects, the bitter laughter of mortality, even the cockroaches lift up their arms in praise. A man dances by with an umbrella.
Down the Mississippi...tin soldiers...red hot blues...heaven on earth...dead in Ohio...la, la, la...
The bass drum socked with a mallet (groove really kicking in now, a beat box kind of thing).
Campaign rally for the dead. Victory march for the beat.
A pig appears. Transmogrifies into a balloon float. A cat balloons up too. An alligator.
(Tune rollicking along now, then it stops, the break, the silent end to which the beat always intends...timbres rising.)
Every one is lifted up toward the sky -- coffin, pallbearers, band, umbrella man, cockroaches, crowd, floating up over the rooftops and into the sun, sucked up by gravity in reverse, liberated by a soaring vacuum (trumpet manipulated higher up the scale) of death and what beyond is we don't know.
Black crow lands on a streetlamp, seems to wink, still lit.
...heaven on earth...?
03 November 2004