perhaps i can squeeze in one more usage: even the high intensities that begin songs like Je Te Veux are contextualized in the playful format of a valse-chantées (refrain/v1/refrain/v2/refrain)… sentiments that might otherwise be opportunity for catharsis, for the universal, for every kind of sub specie aertenatitis—are instead couched in a local, familiar, casual, sociable context. the higher the altitudes of a philosophical idea the more it is need of some kind of a parlor. that is, the clicking of the mundane, the music of time passing by, windows that the reveal vistas of just how big the world is. that is, to be surrounded by those (and the artistic products of those) who have gotten used to living. those who can fit the same melodie to the most mundane happenstance as to the awe-some spectacle. those to whom every grand idea, every new and furnished preposition must exist within the larger, stronger, older context of a cultural aesthetic.
our dear nietzsche, for example, would have benefited greatly from a succession of parlors. his ideas—and in his case, the significance is the method of thinking—were already ripe for an artistic community. not the brief sojourns into wagner’s bayreuth but a commune the likes of which perhaps even the airs of his lofty ideals might get used to waking up to the same faces, places… this was the sentiment in one of wagner’s cheek in tongue letter to nietzsche, egging him on to find better company than his tenure at basel provides:
… Among other things, in my life I have never found such male get-togethers as you have them at evenings in Basel. If all of you are hypochondriacs, then there is not much worth bothering with. It seems though that the yound bachelors need women… but where to find them without stealing? But then again, one may steal if the need arises. I believe that you must marry or compose an opera. One as well as the other will help you; but marriage, I consider the better thing for you.
In the meantime, I can recommend a palliative for you …. You would spend the summer vacation with us. “”Richard Wagner, Christmas 1874
there are times when an author, after a fair bit of scurrying all over the page with wattle-words and every gimmick of evasion, does an about-face to look you in eye. she places her elbows on the table and whispers into your ear the very root and heart of all her scurrying. well then: take, for example, browsing through a newspaper after what has been a very consequential week—bombs deployed here and there, and heads rolling with it; that tribe hasn’t taken very well to what that other tribe has caught light of…'towards the happening of this happening the world now turns'. at the end of all this browsing there always that ever ancient section, unphased equally by peace and by war—the crossword puzzles and comic strips. how very much it’s creators and subscribers believe in the long thread of time. what are we saying in the filling out of ‘7-down’ and ‘2-across’?—yes this is happening, but much more has happened, much more will happen, in the meantime, in the meantime...that is perhaps what i mean by a parlor.
nietzsche too had hopes for something of a commune, if not something possible in actuality then perhaps as a metaphor with his zarathustra:
Then Zarathustra rushed forward to his cave, and behold! what a spectacle awaited him after that concert! For there did they all sit together whom he had passed during the day: the king on the right and the king on the left, the old magician, the pope, the voluntary beggar, the shadow, the intellectually conscientious one, the sorrowful soothsayer, and the ass; the ugliest man, however, had set a crown on his head, and had put round him two purple girdles,- for he liked, like all ugly ones, to disguise himself and play the handsome person. In the midst, however, of that sorrowful company stood Zarathustra's eagle, ruffled and disquieted, for it had been called upon to answer too much for which its pride had not any answer; the wise serpent however hung round its neck “” Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
what is crucial is not the eccentricity of the congregation, rather that they’ve grown accustomed to the eccentric. they’ve coaxed it with a heaping of routine, and can tolerate every kind of high-minded loftiness on account of their own well-groundedness. that is what our free-spirits today are in need of: the gradual tedium of the daily. some kind of a daily arena large and profound enough to make even our most daring philosophical leaps a thing we get used to... a parlor of some sort. a blog perhaps?.
elsewhere. for those coming to erik satie for the first time—what is it that we know as a prerequisite? his gnossiennes have come to define what we hear when we are told ‘erik satie’. where his chansons merely skim across the surface of what i meant by ‘parlor’, his gnossiennes—oh that beautiful gnossienne no.2–-are buried deep the fuck down in a parlor. perhaps you still doubt me? do i still need a third elbow—and you a third ear?—well then, proof: perhaps i had ventured too deep into the pornorama, deep enough that the background music was actually an acoustic cover of gnossienne no.2 whilst she inserted this into that. my allegiances, of course, were tested: i was in awe, not only of her performance or of the cover—but, crucially, of how neither of them interrupted each other, neither of them was actually in the background. that is as well what i mean by parlor, how the grotesque yields to the mundane, and the mundane has grown accustomed to the grotesque.
elsewhere. in the nba for example, i’m done with the raptors—i shall remain as unconcerned in their defeat as in victory. elsewhere in sports: this just breaking news of redskins cheerleaders forced to pose nude and act as escorts on a 2013 trip to costa rica—now what kind of shit that?...why does any team still have cheerleaders anyways? and if they must exist, why does the wnba not have male cheerleaders?
parlor: the word we used in nigeria for what we call here the ‘living room’. aside from it’s more chic intimations of cozy homeliness, ‘parlor’ has more uses than living room: for example, it describes a sitting room in a public building as well as a private building. in a parlor we can be in no one’s house and yet be in private company—erik satie’s song repertory (a miscellany of morceaux, mélodies, ludions and four-hand piano pieces) is music for the parlor, for standing around, milling in and out of conversations, leaning on every kind of tufted furniture.—for a flaneur coming home to mixed company.