It was three years ago in M’s car that this song played and as oblivious as I’d become to the conversation my companions were having, I couldn’t make out the words to this wonderful tune. I just overheard that the band was called The Whitest Boy Alive–the meaning of which I was slow to get as well.
But the beat never left the soul and I found the album, Dreams. Two songs stood out: Don’t Give Up and Above You. That’s when it became personal. Their other album, Rules, also became close to my heart. I learned to dance alone without having to feel “good,” necessarily. Dancing is always a happy act but on the dance floor, the movements can reveal our truest selves. I remember putting the ipod on loop two days after getting dumped and when the song Courage played, there was no stopping the tears or the feet, for that matter, which seemed to have gained lives of their own. Dancing is personal and often I use it to awaken the rest of my body–those parts that fall asleep in the thick of the routine, the heart especially.
When the news of the band coming to Manila came, I knew I wanted to see them but I also knew that I had to go with M who introduced me to them to begin with. She and I really share a love for them so, we braved having to buy the expensive ticket at the last minute and vowed to dance.
Last Saturday the Cosmos really aligned for us. We got to the venue in time despite having been stuck in traffic for almost two hours. We heard all the songs we wanted to hear including All Ears. That slow song was great to sway to. After the concert, we went to this restaurant where M wanted to grab dinner. We were so hungry. They kept telling us that they didn’t have tables anymore because of a private party inside but the whole time we were just standing there saying, “We have to eat and we’ll do it standing up if we have to.” So, we got a table eventually. We were seated right at the entrance. They had these huge, gold-lined Victorian chairs that served as lounge seats and while that was uncomfortable, it was fun to be there. We sat next to a huge mirror and amused ourselves by counting the number of people who would absentmindedly exercise their vanity. Whole throngs of people walked in and it was only when biting into our starters that we noticed the band members walking about. They were having a party and we knew our priorities so it was no big deal. At that point we had already heard them live and danced much of the night away so we were really happy. Plus, the food and the wine really capped an already worthwhile experience.
We were in mid-conversation about this spiel the front-man did on monkeys and being in the jungle…something about that line and the allusion to a “mythical East” really made us think twice about what we were hearing. The white boy truly came to the East and almost got us to relinquish our humanity in favor of deeper animal instincts. How colonial, really. But can you blame them? They’re Europeans after all and their funny spiel just made us remember why we saw them together to begin with.
But then in the course of the evening we managed to speak to Mr. Øye’s mom. It was her first time in Asia and she had similar things to say about this East/West clash. There was talk of art, a photo of our feet, thoughts about Bergen (their hometown) and on it went until they had to go back to the hotel. She gave us both really warm hugs and when she walked out, M and I both knew our night was made. There was also that part about getting kissed twice but let’s save that for some other time.
We left. I ended up staying in M’s place for the night. We talked books, dreams, hopes and anxieties. There was fruit, chocolate and 45 minutes of Jools Holland showing music from the 90’s.
I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.