…And I’ll Call You by Mine: A Cinematic Masterpiece That Speaks of a Transcending Love [Movie Review]

(c) IndieWire

This marks my first attempt at a movie review, although it could turn out as more of a movie rant. In my book, if something makes you feel, it’s art. And if it makes you feel something you didn’t think it was possible to feel, then it’s artistic purpose has been more than served. This movie has indeed “cunning ways of finding your weakest spot”. More than a magnetic cinematic experience, this masterpiece is in its totality an emotional journey like no other. “Call Me By Your Name” (directed by Luca Guadagnino) seduces you at first, pulls you in, almost hypnotizes you, then it makes you fall in love only to eventually rip your heart out. Sounds familiar?

It acts like the lover we’ve always wished we had, like the one we lost forever… We go from lust to agony to ecstasy to joy and lust again – we literally traverse every possible human emotion. It is that kind of movie which by the end of it will make us feel more humane simply because we got to experience it… to experience love at the highest level, in its simplest form.

(c) IndieWire

Once you’re caught in this mirage, there’s no turning back. You are so immersed in the story you begin to feel just as enamored as Elio (played by Timothée Chalamet), longing for reciprocity, recalling your teenage years, reliving the better days, when all grass was green, when rivers welcomed you naked and vulnerable, when you welcomed darkness with your lover beside you… What astounds me about this movie is that every scene, every landscape, every word, gesture, character – everything seems to be aligned to the love between Elio and Oliver (played by Armie Hammer), serving it well. Each small element helps build a love so intense and disarming, all-encompassing and fresh, consuming and maddening and really unique. Every line, every tree, every fruit, every musical note that Elio transcribes, summer itself – all bow down to humanity’s deepest most enthralling sentiment.

(c) IndieWire

Here is also why I believe this movie is the first one of its kind and why it will probably go down in the history of cinema. Aside from the brilliant performance of Timothée Chalamet, the magnificent scenery, and the magnitude of the story that unfolds, this movie cryptically manages to rise above labels. It aims to tell a universal tale and so it escapes identity politics; in that sense, if you think it’s a gay love story because there are two guys falling in love, you’re missing the point. This is not a gay movie and it’s not an LGBT movie. What is being depicted on the screen is the inner turmoil of a 17-year old falling in love for the first time. Nowhere in the movie (and perhaps nowhere in the novel either) is their sexual orientation specified and that’s because it wouldn’t serve the story. You are watching a younger version of yourself falling in love, longing, exploring and you reminisce about what could have been, and that is regardless of who you are, your gender, your social background and so on. As Timothée himself states in an interview, art happens in the eye of the viewer. For me, this is a story about lost love and about allowing yourself to grieve.

The movie also stands out because of the graceful way in which it portrays masculinity. Unlike other on-screen love story between two men, there is not a single trace of compulsive masculinity or violence. For me, this leaves Elio and Oliver gravitating in a utopic universe, outside any gender norms, with only love and tenderness for each other. There is a closeness that is rare between two men on screen, an intimacy that will leave you in awe and a friendship to celebrate all of our most-treasured friendships. Moreover, there is no eventual punishment, no bullying or ridicule, no death – all ubiquitous elements in “gay themed” movies. One moment that stands out in the story is the handshake between the two lovers (see photo above), as a symbol of peace, friendship, unity, and love – all so much needed amidst today’s socio-political unrest.

This is a love story that feels genuine, always in your proximity. In the end, you are the one becoming aligned with this force. Because you have retained your ability to feel, as Elio’s father (played by Michael Stuhlbarg) advises him, you are transformed. But not before you go through the soul-ripping experience of losing the one you love, of course, all by means of a nothing short of a cathartic performance that could even get young Timothée Chalamet an Oscar nomination (fingers crossed).

The movie’s philosophical, linguistic, artistic as well as erotic tones give the story a bohemian vibe and adorn it with many symbols, as we vibrate alongside Elio and Oliver (or I should say Oliver and Elio). Every character becomes an artist, not only contemplating, but delivering this nascent and forgiving love. We listen to piano chords from Bach, we savor nature’s ripe fruits, we read 16th century French romance, we swim in the river, we make love and hear the leaves of endless possibilities shuffling outside our window. And of course, we wish it never ended. When was the last time you felt this way about a movie?

(c) IndieWire

Spoiler alert: it does end. And it will break your heart only to stitch it back together. This splendid celebration of love will bring you back to life, will remind you why it matters to remain open and vulnerable, and why it is always “better to speak”. It will not solve the mystery of love though. But you will most certainly remember this cinematic feast as one of those experiences that has touched you.


A Past Year’s Tale

(c) Goodbye Depression by Chiara Aime

Nothing seems to surprise us more than the abrupt realization that, yes, one more year has passed. A whole year, an instant. One moment of deciding how the story goes, where we go from here. Of course, our mind rushes to say “up, always upwards”. We want to grab this year by the hand, shake off the bad stuff, strange happenings, instances of grief or mere loneliness, and dip in the pulp of juicy moments, the joy, warmth, our deep connections and perhaps the small epiphanies.

Only that we can’t, can we? Because life itself, time is but a tree with rotten as well as healthy fruits. We can’t rid ourselves of broken-ness, or drip magic potions onto our crying wounds. We can’t turn a blind eye to our past and perhaps we shouldn’t. It is our former experiences that allow us to stand on their shoulders and view the world afresh. Hurt shapes our emotional maturity more than anything else will. Is that self-deceptive rationalization? Could be.

In the end, what matters is what we do with what’s given to us. Even after many instances when I wanted to shut down and feel nothing, I remain convinced that to feel, or rather to retain the ability to feel is one’s ultimate triumph. A hard-won trophy that required days on end of patience and tending. And yes, healing. (Well, as much as trophies can heal).

The point is, when indifference, sadness, loneliness or pain hit and hit hard, don’t escape them by using that little back door. That will lead to an even lonelier place. Choose to sit with them and welcome whatever it is that you’re feeling right now. Be honest with what’s going on inside you, alert but never reacting. Respond instead in such a way that you will not regret it days or weeks afterwards. I have not always done so and hurt people as a consequence, people I cared for deeply whom I still keep in – and they promise to never leave.

I immerse myself in the new year with as few expectations as possible, openly. More precisely, I give myself to it completely, accepting that there will be good times ahead as well as bad ones. Who is to decide how much of which, or when? All I know is that I am the one in charge of watching everything come and go, as well as everyone. Because we don’t really get to choose who leaves our life or who stays either. And it’s not god playing dice, we’re just at the mercy of someone else’s choices.

A rather steep conclusion I’ve come at the dusk of this period is that human relationships are incredibly frail. Tragically, that coincides with another breakthrough – that deep meaningful human connection is irreplaceable. It is the birthplace of all that matters, but also the cradle of excruciating pain (cannot escape duality, can we?). And frail as they are, our relationships enrich us beyond any measure, if we allow them. Frail as they are, it is our relationships that we turn to when something goes wrong, or right; whether we weep or rejoice, we are almost hardwired to share our experiences.

Complex as human connection is, I have found there are no mathematics that could explain or quantify love. In the grand equation of life, love remains largely an x. A quite essential one though. Then, no mathematics can explain why some things happen the way they do, why they happen to us, or why they happen to us at a specific moment in time. Is it perfect timing, luck, fate, coincidence? It has come to my attention lately that there is a lot of random in the universe. In fact, there is more random than our organizing brains can bear (oddly enough, I chose the Random category for this post). So what do we do with it? Some even chase it, I run from it as hard as I can. As much as I incline to believe in a benevolent universe, where the stars align at ease just to please us, I can’t not recognize how much that is the epitome of self-centered-ness. Or is it? How about collective consciousness? And what about agency? The way I see it, science has its limitations and maybe it ends where human insight begins.

But back to love. Because, as someone once said, it all comes back to that. So keep your family and your friends close (and no, not your enemies closer). That’s one of the few things we have to do, one that will impact our well-being more than anything else. In a world of chaos and never-ending socio-political turmoil and unrest, rest. Self-care is a radical act and it will shape every aspect of your life. As for me, I must go on singing, painting and writing – the three strongest forces that have kept me afloat.

I started this year from a place of hopelessness and meaninglessness. I have read and written my way out of depression (Monologue of the Déprimé, Dialogue on Depression, One More, With Feeling) and after about two years of “flirting” with what someone called “emotional cancer”, I have reached some balance. I managed to shake off the grey and keep the vibrant colors. So luckily, I have not come full circle, on the contrary. I feel most grateful to the people who surrounded me and made my days better and lighter. At this moment, it seems that carrying on is the only raison d’être, even when there’s a marching band aggressively chanting in my head “QUIT QUIT QUIT!”. Or, yes, especially then. To those still battling mental health problems, I say you can overcome them. And when you will, you will find life rewarding again.

Some things have not turned out the way I planned to this year. They almost never fucking do. But that’s alright. It would be boring if we weren’t surprised every now and again. And then, “sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.” So let there be music and cheer. And some tears too.

Also, the psychoanalytical odyssey continues. Have a jolly good year!

Unique Blogger Award


I’ve been celebrating this within for the past few days. Now I finally get the chance to honor the nomination that has sparked something inside of me. This whole – should I call it incident? – made me realize how many nice people are out there in the blogosphere. This award means I now have the opportunity to bond even further with fellow bloggers. It gives me a sense of belonging and what a wonderful community to belong to!

Out of all these really nice people, one thought of nominating my blog and I feel most grateful to them. Thank you, Non-Euclidean Sofa! Your enticing humor, sarcasm and creativity are more than adequate to me. Needless to say, this is the first time I’ve ever received any kind of award in the two years since I’ve been around (and now, of course, I’m hungry for more).

Before I answer the 3 magical questions, here are the rules each of us is supposed to follow (I’m not sure what happens if we break them – burn in bloggers’ hell?). So, here we go:


  • Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award.
  • Ask them 3 questions.

These are the 3 questions I was asked. I hope my answers make me worthy of this magnificent award.

1. What is something you’d show from a rooftop on a Sunday night during a rainstorm? Also, explain why at your leisure.

I wouldn’t show people anything. But I would put on a show, a mask, anything to make them escape the fires of reality. I would most likely be covered in glitter, singing at the top of my lungs the most acute sounds anyone has ever heard. And then, of course, a rainbow would appear. Even if it’s dark outside. It’s a show after all so anything is permitted.

Why? Because “there’s something about Sunday night that really makes you want to kill yourself.” So a little bit of music and glitter wouldn’t hurt.

2. What is something you could enjoy complaining a lot about?

I’m not sure I enjoy complaining about anything lately. But it’s probably either the unbearable heat (I can’t stand summer), politics (national, international – all of them), or stuff related to gender (and how society thought it was a marvelous idea to pigeonhole and label us – I could actually go on forever on this subject).

3. What is something you think about that keeps you awake?

The sound of my thoughts (they can get pretty loud), or thinking about the sound of the alarm clock in the morning. But most of the times they range from crucial philosophical or psychological questions about consciousness, the Universe or quantum physics to the sudden realization that I forgot to take out from the freezer the schnitzels I was planning to cook in the morning (for lunch at work). And the latter is what I call the quintessence of adulthood.

By the power vested in me by a unique blogger, I now nominate the following 10 bloggers for the title of Unique Blogger (so that we can all be unique in our own ways):

Gospel Isosceles

The wishing well

Malakhai Jonezs

Alphabet City

Shutter & Pen

Luke Atkins



The Chatty Introvert 

And since nowhere in the guidelines does it say we shouldn’t nominate the person who nominated us

Non-Euclidean Sofa

Just take this as my way of thanking you 🙂 You are now doubly-unique.

Here are my 3 questions for you all:

1. What drives you?

2. What moves you?

3. What gives you absolute pleasure? 

So there you have it. I look forward to reading your thoughts! And thanks for accepting the award. See you all around!

With utmost excitement,


Proust Questionnaire


What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Artistic expression.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being alive.

What is your greatest fear?
Failure (and cockroaches). One stronger than the other.

What historical figure do you most identify with?
Emma Goldman.

Which living person do you most admire?
The artist.

Who are your heroes in real life?
The outcasts.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Long live the mask.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Politicians. The worst kind (of politicians).

What is your favorite journey?
The road to awe.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Being outgoing.

Which word or phrases do you most overuse?

What is your greatest regret?
I stopped.

What is your current state of mind?
Into creating mode (and more).

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
Place of birth.

What is your most treasured possession?
Language. And a book.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Staying in that low depth of misery.

Where would you like to live?
In space.

What is your favorite occupation?
Breaking into song in the middle of the day.

What are the qualities you most like in a man?
Cleverness and kindness.

What are the qualities you most like in a woman?
Cleverness and kindness.

How would you like to die?
Enthralled by the joy of having lived.

What is your motto?
Question(naire) everything.

The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature. Vanity Fair 

One More, With Feeling

(c) Inanda Page Awaken

So I’ve decided to write another post on depression. Most of us are going through something right now. Looking at the current world affairs, I would dare say there is something wrong with you if you aren’t depressed, or at least discouraged. But I’ve come to tell you a different story this time.

If you’ve been ricocheting between severe absence and presence, between maddening thoughts and mere seconds of tranquility, then you must know how debilitating this imbalance can be. One minute you think you’ve had everything figured out and you even manage to discern something that looks like a gentle light. Then minutes or hours later you remember something, a harsh word, a loss, a mistake you’ve made or you think you’ve made, and you’re spiraling back downwards. And you know there’s no off switch for your mind, you can’t erase memories, and you certainly can’t escape this back and forth – the ultimate emotional uproar.

But between those moments of pure self-torture, behind the thoughts triggered by an inner world that is decomposing, there are a few instances of clearness. And those brief moments have brought me here.

No one denies that clinical depression is a disease much like cancer or diabetes. And I’m definitely not here to diminish its gravity. But what if it’s not always an illness? This doesn’t mean we can discard what we’re dealing with. It’s important to talk about it, look for support, ask for help. It’s equally important to make sure you go through your emotions and not past them.

So I observed and mind-wandered as well as wondered (it may sound painless – it’s not). And one day I was staring at my nephew’s toys and thought: why can’t I be like a kid again when receiving a toy I liked brought me so much joy? How come I have no idea what I want for Christmas when family asks? Why can’t I find pleasure and happiness in most things and activities that would once get me out of a bad mood? Why is nothing working anymore?

We know that one symptom of depression is losing interest in activities you once enjoyed. But what if – and this was an if which changed my relationship with depression entirely – this loss of interest is a symptom of something else, of a larger picture that I couldn’t previously access?

I’ve known for a while now that whatever is happening to me is changing who I am to the point where I can barely recognize myself. Perhaps what I identified as depression is nothing but straying from what no longer fulfills me at a deeper level. I have lost any interest in material possessions, entertainment, politics (this transformed into a more profound preoccupation with the world), in drinking-partying-and-dancing (that could also mean I’m just getting older), small talk irritates me even more than before, and many other such symptoms. I’ve always played the part of the outsider, but the feelings of not belonging and not fitting in are more enhanced now.

Last year I said I had lost any sense of direction and my ambition. But what if the success story we’ve been programmed to follow no longer fits my story? I don’t strive to achieve things and be successful simply because there is nothing to attain, there is no future instance where I can wake up and say ‘I have achieved success, now I’m happy’. It actually baffles me right now to think people still fall into this trap. They turn away from what really matters to them and turn towards something that they think it’s been promised to them. What I do strive for is to give as much of my attention to things that are meaningful to me. For every thing I’m drifting away from, I gravitate towards others such as psychology, consciousness, and how the human brain works, but I also return to childhood passions such as my fascination with space and astronomy. There must be at the convergence of these that I think I will find some answers, answers to what has been troubling me lately, answers to this existential and seemingly never-ending query.

If you are experiencing something similar, then you know you are walking away from trifles and the ordinary into what actually matters to you. And you may have also found that we’re nothing without human connection. You know now that in the midst of all chaos what truly makes you a little bit more hopeful about tomorrow is to have someone near you with whom you connect at a deeper level. It’s been said that isolation from family, friends, and peers only worsens depression and anxiety; at the same time it’s not mere social interaction that can relieve feelings of sadness, but connection. So I’ve learned – the very hard way – to listen to what that lack was telling me. We abound in internet connections, friends lists, we have instant access to entertainment which make it far easier nowadays to give in to the trivial, to developing addictions. But when you stop for a second and think about what you are actually looking for you become aware that above all else you want to feel.

Depression is in a sense the absence of feeling, a hollowness, an acute feeling of nothingness, of meaninglessness, hopelessness, helplessness – yes, all the less-es. My problem is that I feel too much, too intensely – that goes for the sadness as well. And no, not just mine (as if that weren’t enough), but the world’s, the people’s, the planet’s, the trees’. In my world, even the leaves are crying. And the poets, oh the crying poets… As cliché as this may sound, I understand now that to write poetry is to feel. You cannot experience poetry (whether you’re reading or writing it) without being at least partially in touch with your emotions. Poetry demands that you access the deeper layers of your being. There have been moments when I dreaded writing poetry for fear that I might have to go to that place. I refused.

But what I need above all else is to feel, and to feel connected. It’s rather ironic and very tragic that antidepressants often stifle and suppress feelings. Although I haven’t tried them myself, I’ve heard of many people experiencing numbness while on treatment. And numbness is the opposite of what could carry you beyond the realm of impossibilities and heartache. This is not to say that I haven’t had moments when I wanted to feel nothing.

But I believe that no matter the hardships you’ve experienced, no matter the severity of the hurting, and regardless of how broken and damaged you are, the triumph is in retaining your ability to feel, despite all the pain you’ve been through. The key lies in dealing with your every emotion, bit by bit, as excruciating as the process may be, without becoming cynical or bitter as these won’t get you anywhere. Disregarding the quietly deafening sound of your emotions only amplifies the very thing you are trying to escape from: pain. The healing is in the aching.

At the end of the day, just know that the very agony that is stretching its arms to asphyxiate you and grapple your last traces of joy is maybe the same agony that its stretching its arms to help you shed what is no longer needed in your life, the agony that you will befriend in order to get to the other side, beyond what is keeping you down and into a space of clarity and openness. In that sense, the downfall becomes your ascendancy.

The psychotic drowns in the same waters in which the mystic swims with delight. Joseph Campbell


Dialogue on Depression

(c) Lora Frost Still Light

Only writers – and perhaps painters – know the terror of the blank page. For people with depression, it’s living with the terror of a blank life. Every. Single. Day. A blank life only to be colored by dark spots – those “friends” I was talking about last year: thoughts, ruminations, feelings, emotions that wreak havoc… The ever present enemies, the greedy monsters, demons, skeletons, snakes. They have become your worst nightmare. And they promise to stay until they’ve learned to master the place. And you’re not being evicted. They set the boundaries. They set the rules. You just have to learn to live with them.

One in two or three people I know are dealing or have dealt at one point in their lives with some form of depression. That includes people who are closest to me: family and friends. Last year when I started the monologue on depression, I was going through something but couldn’t put my finger on it. One day I found the energy to write about it. I knew nothing about mental illness at the time. I was merely describing my feelings, but I was being cynical and sarcastic about it. I hadn’t yet begun to see how many people were struggling with the same intense feelings or to realize the gravity of this issue.

Last year I was lucky enough to have my spirits lifted up by vitamins for hair loss, which also happened to provide me with what my organism lacked (certain nutritional deficiencies or gut imbalance can lead to feelings of depression). The problems I was dealing with had not been magically solved, but I started feeling a bit better, with a bit more energy in my body. And that was everything. It was enough to keep me going and to be able to head for a new start. That new start gradually came. I felt happy again. I’ve been through some of the happiest moments of my life this year. I had regained the sense of meaning and direction, there were colors and music again, the glitter, the magic. But the fear of relapse, of having to go through what I briefly went through last year lurked somewhere in the background.

I had read a vast amount of articles on depression ever since – mostly in an attempt to understand it better and to be able to provide my loved ones with the support needed – watched videos about it, looked for causes, symptoms, consulted natural treatment programs, even played a video game entitled Depression Quest (heart-wrenching!), read about what other people dealing with this wrote on their blogs.

And now I’m here, at the mercy of my own thoughts again. Dealing with loss. And it far extends hair loss. But it’s not mere emptiness or apathy, there is pain and grief and they’re threatening to stay for a while. It’s intense, but is it better than numbness? Because this time I feel. I really feel. And I feel the cries of people who are screaming for help, but only on the inside. And I feel the failure of comforting those who needed me.

All people suffer and feel sad every now and then, but what is so distinctive about depression? Here’s a really good quote I found while browsing through a psychology book in a library:

To turn natural sadness into depression, all you have to do is blame yourself for the disaster that has befallen you. Dorothy Rowe

The self-blame abounds. It’s practically endless. Someone said that living with depression is very much like living with an abusive partner – your mind. Not the light side of it, the one that creates, forgives, loves, the one that helps you plan, organize or play. Not the mind that observes quietly and doesn’t judge and is aware. But the ruminating one, the heartless murderer, the poisonous treacherous one that makes a vegetable out of you, a slave to its own patterns and convoluted ways.

The one that tells you lies so that it continues to live, the one that sabotages you relentlessly, remorselessly, ruthlessly because it wants to live. It keeps you away from your loved ones, from opening up, from talking to family, it distorts everything that is around you and prevents you from keeping an objective eye on things. Buddhists (and not just Buddhists) would call this the ‘ego’. It’s the reason why, I believe, depression and anxiety are often related to self-esteem, self-image, self-blame, self-sabotage. It may also be why people with depression have been called selfish or narcissistic. But that is limiting the severity of the experiences these people are going through.

There is one thing to look forward to when facing this illness: going to bed; they look at sleep as that eternal savior, when they finally don’t have to deal with the noise in their head. At the same time, what they most dread is probably getting up in the morning, they dread the thought of having to go through another day, knowing themselves still prisoners of the ever nagging and accusing mind.

I’ve tried almost anything lately (I’ve mostly tried to stay away from alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes): from coloring and painting, to more reading (fiction, non-fiction), writing, music, TV shows (one in particular), Facebook, YouTube clips, a night out with friends, meditation, walking, mindful walking, listening to music while walking, a bit of cooking, more reading (on depression and anxiety), more painting, music.

Nothing quiets the mind, not permanently anyway. For a few minutes, yes. And then comes another round of self-blaming, and torment and torture. And another round. And it’s becoming clearer to me that until we learn to be alone with our thoughts and emotions, and be at peace and in harmony with and within ourselves, the master machine won’t stop.

I am now far more equipped with knowledge and information on this compared to last year. You’d think it’s enough to be able to control it, to be able to stop it from turning into something more serious. I know that a prolonged state of deep relaxation during the day would help better sleep at night. I know the voices in my head do tell awful lies, about how I’ll never achieve anything, about how I’ll never be happy again, about how I’ll lose my way and give in to a sedentary, unhealthy, mediocre, boring adult life. And yet, there is nowhere to hide, to run to. From the turmoil, the overthinking habits, the worrying.

So you stay and listen. And observe.

Last year when I wrote my monologue on depression, I thought this was something ‘reserved’ only for the few. It was only after that post that I realized it was almost everywhere I looked, hiding under invisibility cloaks, and fake smiles, and really lonely people. Now I know it has devastating effects and that it’s devastatingly ubiquitous. At this point I should say ‘don’t give up’, ‘look for professional help’, ‘there is life after depression’, ‘it gets better’. It can be a solitary journey – working relentlessly to quiet the mind – but once you break free from the oppressor within, you will begin to appreciate the stillness and the flow of life.

Nobutada: Please forgive; too many mind.

Algren: “Too many mind?”

Nobutada: Hai, mind the sword, mind the people watch, mind enemy – too many mind.

Nobutada: No mind.

Algren: No mind.

“The Last Samurai”

Because this is Mental Illness Awareness Week, and World Mental Health Day is just around the corner, I thought I’d leave you with a few resources that you’ll hopefully find helpful.




We Need to Talk About Depression and Everyone Needs to Listen





Stop the Stigma: the Realities of Mental Health

The Science of How Your Mind-Wandering Is Robbing You of Happiness

What Depression Is Really Like

Thin Slices of Anxiety: An Illustrated Meditation on What It’s Like to Live Enslaved by Worry and How to Break Free







The Healing Powers of MUSEic



~ ♫ ~

Language will always fail music. Where language cages and limits, music releases. And finds a way. A way to convey the meaninglessness of it all and give it some form of meaning. I wouldn’t be surprised if scientists found that music boxes literally “inhabit” the center (or singularity point) of black holes.

And yet, I feel the need to express – non-musically – how much this band’s music means to me at a deep level. Their music magically managed (I always love a good and unintended alliteration) to bring all issues of personal and professional/academic interest to me under one all-encompassing umbrella. The pillar that holds everything together is still undoubtedly and everlastingly the one and only: music. And if that fails to make me see the light, then nothing will.

Music is one of the reasons – for there are a few – I will continue to fail at poetry (the other main reason being that I do NOT READ poetry). With the risk of hierarchizing arts, poetry will always come second to me. Here’s what abstract painter Agnes Martin has to say about art and music:

Art is responded to with emotion … and the best art is music — that’s the highest form of art. It’s completely abstract, and we make about eight times as much response to music than any of the other arts.

Why Muse again? Their music has grown on me episodically since my first encounter with it as I was fascinated as a kid/teenager in love with space by their Sing for Absolution video, not knowing that years later – more specifically around 12 years later – I would sing (my lungs out) for absolution at a live Muse concert.

And it was the music that gradually crept under my skin and built a nest there overshadowing almost any other bands or types of music I’d care to listen to. They have taken over completely but only because I let them.


~ ♫ ~

Drones Album Cover

Because musically, they complete me and put on sound world issues I’m yearning to hear more in music (and why not, since we’re at it, on the news). And whoever dares to tell corporate and capitalist fucks to kill themselves and do us all a favor – and sing about it – has earned my utmost respect (reference to Animals song).


~♫ ~

If you try to find the chemical formula or the magical potion that makes up Muse, you’ll find Queen and Pink Floyd nuances (two other bands whose music speak volumes to me), coupled with the genius of classical music, accompanied by the sound of space as they have clearly explored their affinity for space – in songs like Starlight with its black holes and revelations which also gives the name of the album, Space Dementia, Shrinking Universe, Dead Star, Supermassive Black Hole, Exo-Politics, Neutron Star Collision – and finally, mixed with Orwellian resistant flavors.

George Orwell happens to be one of my favorite writer (see my post on Orwell and why he writes) and 1984 one of the best novels I’ve read, if not my number one. No wonder this has contributed to making The Resistance album my most treasured one (alongside the chaotic Hullaballoo and the aggressive Drones).

The Resistance Album Cover

Another key ingredient that is more of a Muse trademark is the unexpected passage from rather tender tones to more aggressive ones – even the rage and the violence are delicate, but it’s a delicacy that shuffles all of your senses and makes you explode in colors you didn’t even know existed. It’s a subversive tonal violence and the live version of The Globalist song was one such experience for me.


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Lastly, the unifying element in this Muse symphony is the concept of freedom. It’s at the core of my personal and academic (past and future) research interest as well as the reason why I founded this blog. Muse never ceases to urge us to fight for our rights (Uprising), for our freedom, to defect from an oppressive and unjust system (Defector), to Revolt, to save ourselves from absent gods and silent tyranny and to make Love our Resistance against the dark forces, be they capitalist or simply inhumane.

Muse Rock the City Concert, Bucharest, July 2016. (c) Gicu Boboc

With themes ranging from deep ecology, the empathy gap, and World War III, the concept album Drones (2015) rebels against modern warfare and the evils of technology:

To me, drones are metaphorical psychopaths which enable psychopathic behavior with no recourse. The world is run by drones utilizing drones to turn us all into drones. This album explores the journey of a human, from their abandonment and loss of hope, to their indoctrination by the system to be a human drone, to their eventual defection from their oppressors. Matthew Bellamy

In that sense, the tale being told is rather an optimistic one. The more activist side of the band surfaces in many other past songs and this reinforces my idea according to which artists are the ones changing the world and never politicians.


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Of course, not all art is activist, as some of it is mere aesthetic, but there is something about merging aesthetic pleasure with an urge to not simply please, but wake people up to act against whatever wrongs or wounds this marvelous society of ours may inflict upon them.

And if you feel like you can’t speak up, write a good song and it will speak for you. There is healing in the process of creation. And there is healing in feeling like you’re on the same (political) side of the Universe as your favorite band.