Sunday, March 8, 2020

New Moon, Supermoon

It’s the awful anniversary of your accident, tonight, little sweetheart. I’ve been praying and going quietly with extra care and kindness about the day.

Tonight as I sat here on (new) sofa, I saw the moon - huge and rising - between two buildings. Still in my pajamas, I put on a coat and hat and headed to the roof in wonder to talk to you.

A supermoon, not unlike the one that passed above us simultaneous with the ascension of your beautiful spirit the night you left us, was overhead. I read more about it once I came back to the desk here where I sit now writing this to you.

I feel you close, blessing me, encouraging me, keeping me safe, strengthening any faith that we will be together - indeed, always are - soon and forever. Our Oneness Can Never Be Erased.

With all my love, forever. Forever.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

The Greatest Gift - You!

It’s unseasonably warm today, little sweetheart, and although I got a late start on the day and then had things to do at home, I wanted to get out before the sun went down and enjoy the fresh air. I took my headphones with me, so I could call Sylvia before it got to be too late in France but they weren’t working. I could barely hear anything. I disconnected them and put the phone to my ear and could instantly hear much better. Something is wrong with the headphones, I thought, and when I got home I checked and confirmed that was the case.

Many Christmases ago, I remember, you gave me a very nice air of earbuds. I had a bottom of the line cellphone - the free one they used to give you just for signing up for service with AT&T - and you thought if we were going to be on the phone so much that I should have them. I thanked you and kissed you and we were sitting at the red table here in the apartment and I tried to connect them but the phone was so crappy they wouldn’t work. You were pretty annoyed by that and I apologized all over the place.

Just a week or so later we were back in California and one day we drove up to see your folks. You told your dad you thought it would be a great Christmas present if he wanted to add me to the Serafin family plan on AT&T and avail ourselves of a new iPhone for our trouble and give it to… me. A testament to the ineffable generosity of both you and your beautiful parents, he didn’t even flinch, just took me in the car with him, drove over to the AT&T store and got me a new phone, an iPhone, my first one. When we got back to the house, you immediately took it out of my hands and typed all your info into my Contacts. The first one. You. Entering yourself not as Summer but as “Cheeky”. Quite right.

Finally, I had a phone to fit the lovely earbuds you’d gotten me. They went with me everywhere, of course, and for years, even the lost, inconsolable ones after your tragic passing. One day I was walking through the park listening to an SF Giants baseball game and I noticed one of the earbuds, the left one, had gone silent. I looked all over the place for someone who could repair them even though everyone said it would be cheaper just to buy a new pair., Finally, I found some guys down in the garment district. Later they also fixed that crappy old bottom of the line phone I’d had so that I could save all the texts you’d sent me before I’d gotten the iPhone. I painstaking took a picture of each text with my iPhone, aiming it at the screen of the old phone until I had all 200 or so of them.

Anyway… the headphones. The were able to fix them but they had to replace the little speakers inside the earbuds themselves and although it worked both left and right again, the sound wasn’t quite the same. It was kind of toppy, more treble than bass. And anyway I didn’t want to wear them out again, so I slipped them back into the lovely little black pouch they’d come in and I had saved all this time and put them on the red table with all your things there, kind of part of the shrine.

Tonight, I took them out for the first time since then and still a bit toppy, I didn’t mind so much. I’m ordering another regular old pair of Apple earbuds but it’s lovely to have these so very special ones in my ears tonight, little sweetheart. It brings you close to me.

May it always be so. With all my love and gratitude forever. Your Michael…

Sunday, March 1, 2020

The Cruelest Month

It’s March, little sweetheart. TS Eliot once called April “the cruelest month” but however mournful, even he did not know my sorrow. March is mine. March is the month you were taken from me. March is the month of the bitter anniversaries if your accident, our ten day vigil praying for your recovery, your tragic passing and soul-ripping grief that has followed me to this day.

Each day this month, little sweetheart, perhaps more than usual, perhaps more than any other, I must pray and be mindful, find ways to be kind and endeavor to busy myself with the work that remembers, honors and conjure you - The Most Beautiful Spirit, the blessing and very reason of my life.

Please be near me, won’t you, little sweetheart? Please help and guide me. And take me to you the moment heaven will allow. With all my love forever.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

eleven:eleven

Endeavoring, as I said, little sweetheart, to do our work with greater vigor and energy and even as I work on both the book and our 9th album, another special project has come up.

For the second year in a row we’ve been invited to contribute a new work for the experimental radio event The Dark Outside in London.

It’s due mid month and Sylvia & I have just finished tracking it, your vocals very much leading the way. I’m working on the final mix now before sending it up to Boston for mastering and them on to London for the festival itself.

It’s called eleven:eleven - named for that special time of day when we are told our angels are often most close.

As ever, it’s all for you, my gorgeous girl. Soon and again I can say “listen, little sweetheart - you’re on the radio!”.

With all my love forever.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Ash Wednesday 2020

It’s Ash Wednesday, little sweetheart. For a couple of reasons, it seems important that I observe it. I didn’t really, until a few years ago.

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent which itself is the season of worship just prior to Holy Week concluding with Easter Sunday. The most striking thing in my own life about Ash Wednesday, of course, is that it came the morning after your accident that year.

After spending the whole night awake in the halls of the hospital waiting to see you, the shift changed in the morning and people began coming to work, many of them wearing the black ash mark of the cross on their foreheads. Eerie, surreal and unforgettable, it has stayed with me ever since that terrible terrible day.

It wasn’t until a year or two later when I discovered the little church on West End Avenue that I first attended an Ash Wednesday service (outside of happening into one in London when I visited St Paul’s). It was the first one I’d ever participated in, actually hearing the blessing and receiving the ashes myself. I’ve continued every year since.

Tonight there’s a service at West End but I’m gong instead to the one here at Sacred Heart, which is a bit closer and directly across the street from the rectory where I take cookies and things to Sister Catherine and the nuns. My prayers, as ever, are for you.

May God keep you safe in the Beautiful New Place and help me to hew the path of goodness and kindness and come to you when it is my time. With all my love forever.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Two Visions

Pausing work on the album, briefly, little sweetheart, to compose and record and special new work we’ve asked to contribute for WFMU’s annual fundraising “Marathon”.

Carol Crow, who’s featured us several times on her Sunday morning show, is putting together a special compilation album as a “premium” for pledging and asked us to contribute a new work. It’s meant to have a spoken word component (as does her show) with ambient or post-rock underscoring, so it’s very much up our alley.

I composed two poems for Sylvia to read in both English and French, then wrote and recorded the music, flying in your vocals over the top. It’s called Two Visions and very much, as ever, of, for and about you.

It’s always so wonderful literally bringing your voice to new works. Feeling very close to and grateful for you, today, my little sweetheart. With all my love forever.

Friday, February 14, 2020

An Anniversary...

Two years ago today, little sweetheart, we released “Better Girl”. It still strikes me so - its all for you! I think what I said in the liner notes is still so very resonant. I’m going to share it here again.

I love you so! Forever!

February 14, 2018
(Valentines Day)

Just six weeks ago, we released our seventh album, a 28-track double-album - SOMETIMES IN DREAMS. But, unable to restrain ourselves, today we release a new single on its very heels.

Released on Valentines Day, it’s a cover of Best Coast’s “Better Girl” and available via all the usual suspects/platforms - Apple Music/iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, CD Baby, Spotify, Deezer, et al.

Immeasurably indebted and unbelievable flattered to (occasionally) being likened to bands like Low, Slowdive, and The Velvet Underground, who we revere, we’d like to say something about Bethany Consentino and her group - we love them.

Long story short as possible - when we were wrapping up work on OF LOVE AND LOSS, still very much shattered by grief, our art director gave us a mix tape, something put together by the great Since ’78. Entitled Adios Los Angeles, it was all around the theme of leaving, of all that’s lost and all we might hope to one day once again find.

The final track was Best Coast’s “Up All Night”, the kind of pop song so filled with the ache of longing and distance that I nearly fell apart listening the first time. And again. And again. I’d never heard the band before, so I got myself the album “Up All Night” came from (and, indeed, closes) - “The Only Place”.

As our band has moved deeper and deeper into post-rock terrain, it may seem a bit of an anomaly to hear how felled I was by Ms. Consentino and her sunny, bittersweet anthems - long-suffering friends are far more likely to hear me enthusing or indeed insisting on one more spin of “Metal Machine Music” at full volume - but felled I was.

“The Only Place” was in heavy rotation here at The Shrine for the better part of the winter I first acquired it and this mid-album track with its refrain - “you gotta keep me away from what they say about me” and its soaring repeated ending chorus “I wanna be a better girl, a better girl, a better girl” stuck in my throat and heart and chest.

This album, this song, came to me at the darkest of times, opening the wound of loss and longing even yet a bit deeper all in the service of helping me remember and keep moving, however hurting.

Our shoegazey version of this song, released today, on Valentines Day, is meant as a tribute both in thanks to its author and to our fallen bandmate herself, my love and partner. my soulmate, true love and best friend, Summer.

If Ms. Consentino herself comes across this, I hope she doesn’t roll her eyes too much. Because, in the immortal words of John Lydon, “we mean it, man.”

With love and faith…

Michael Serafin-Wells
Bipolar Explorer
New York City