August 10th, 2005


Beauty No. 7: Nine

So, Beauty No. 7: the culmination and climax of my beauty series. One object, one sound, one person or image that sums up the nec plus ultra of beauty for me, personally. What to choose? The art clown sleeve for Bjork's beautiful new album "Drawing Restraint 9"? An anti-war song from "Cripple Crow", the new Devendra Banhart record? An outrageous outfit by Cassetteplaya? A poem by Paul Celan?

But no. I am a man, a heterosexual. The most beautiful thing in the world for me can only be a woman. So I have decided that Beauty No. 7 is Nine. I don't just mean how Nine looks and dresses, but also how she sees. Nine lives for and in intense beauty. Nine is half French and half Japanese. Nine is a student of literature. Nine is a brilliant photographer. I admire Nine's style and find her life more glamourous than my own. I don't know Nine, we had some brief correspondence a year ago (so I can tell you that Abe Kobo is her favourite writer) which I spoiled by my impatience, my clownish rush to lust. I am in a relationship now and I think Nine is too — she's certainly surrounded by beautiful boys. Nine and I have some friends in common, and we both live in Berlin, but we never see each other and probably wouldn't speak if we did. I'm twenty years older than Nine, for Beauty's sake, she could be my daughter! But in some way, Nine can all the better represent Beauty No. 7 for the fact that our relationship is so unreal, stymied, embarrassing, problematical, detached, mediated. I consume only the parts of her life that Nine selects and posts, but based on the glimpses I get of her life, I trust her sense of beauty more than I trust my own. And that, for an artist, is the most humbling thing to say. Nine's is a world sparse in detail but rich in texture and imagination, feeling and soul, like the world you create in your adolescent head around a rock star you don't know too much about. Nine really is a rock star and (because I'm just irrepressibly chatty, daily, political, familiar, didactic) I really am not. Nine is the secret muse of my Otto Spooky album, her influence is all over it. I could tell you exactly which lines and which songs her beautiful ghost haunts, but that would just spoil the mystery, wouldn't it?

Well, so, voila, it's all very blushy and bashable, isn't it, very LiveJournaly (see Chapter 7 of that link, "The Structural Meaning of LiveJournal-Bashing"). Finally beauty is something almost embarrassingly personal and situated. It's something a man feels and, in the manner of a 12 year old girl, confesses in his LiveJournal. Perhaps that's why I'm here. Deep down, I'm a 12 year old girl. And a lesbian, apparently.