Something Good #79: Tropical Interlude
Winters are very long in Montreal. They manspread themselves into spring’s territory shamelessly; you can expect snowstorms in March, April, and sometimes even May. This is why going somewhere warm in late February is advisable. We call it “breaking winter’s back.” A vacation at this point allows us to collect ourselves and re-gird psychologically for the season’s final assault.
I have spent many weeks walking through cities, getting on trains, visiting museums and bars and restaurants and soccer stadiums. Urban travel is more my thing. But I have to admit the appeal of the beach is strong. What I have always found fascinating about beaches is their soundtrack: waves, wind, footsteps, distant voices.
I’ve written here previously about “On Some Faraway Beach,” an art project for which I have been half-assedly collected recorded materials for years. The idea, basically, is to create an audio archive of sounds which could be used in conjunction with various tools and props to create a reasonable simulation of lying on a specific beach in a specific moment somewhere in the world.
Last week, I was lucky enough to find myself in Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, where I was able to record a very nice audio sample. So I’d like to offer you some step-by-step instructions for your very own DIY home “On Some Faraway Beach” installation:
Set up a lounge chair (a couch is fine)
Point a heat lamp at it (or at least a bright light, and turn up the heat in your room)
Put on a bathing suit and sunglasses
(optional) Prepare a fruity, watered-down tropical rum cocktail
Lie down, put on your headphones, and listen to the following, as you picture aquamarine waves and swaying palm trees:
If you are somewhere where winter’s back needs breaking, I hope this can be helpful.
It’s interesting how the process of film colorization, so derided in the 1980s (like when Ted Turner tried to colorize Citizen Kane over Orson Welles’ dying wishes, good lord) has become a fascinating way to bring images of the past to life, stripped of all of the “old-timeyness” we associate with early black and white film, low/unsteady frame rates, etc. Of course I was interested to see this digitally remastered, 60fps, soundtracked version of 90-year-old footage of Montreal (and its so many lost theaters 😢). The de-noising is a bit aggressive and I bump a bit on the soundtrack, but it’s still pretty transporting, and a great example of How to Travel Through Time.
Movie update: You Can Live Forever opens across Canada on March 24! We’ll be playing Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto starting that weekend, and expanding thereafter. Stay tuned for more details soon. And if you are somebody with any pull in our country’s increasingly anemic and underfunded arts news media and would like to help get the word out, by all means get in touch. Also, if you are in Canada and love movies, please go see my friend Chandler Levack’s wonderful new movie I Like Movies, opening this weekend at a theater near you!
Every once in a while I’ll send you Something Good. I’ll keep it brief this week because I have something big coming. Until then, feel free to tell a friend or subscribe below: