Letters Have No Arms have packed their bags, put their travel hats on, and moved to a new land!
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Nosoträsh is currently my 4th most played artist on Last.fm. This is largely due to one album of theirs, the sheer musical joy that is "Popemas". If I had a top 50 albums that say a little something about who I am, this would definitely be one of the 50. One of the characteristics of the songs on it is that they're all really short, averaging around 2 minutes long. This is hardly coincidental. In fact, inside the cd jacket sleeve, accompanying the song lyrics is a quote by Augusto Monterroso. The quote - perhaps slightly paraphrasing here because I couldn't find a translation - goes something like this: "What's certain is that there is nothing that the writer of brevities wants more in the world than to write endlessly long texts; long texts where the imagination wouldn't have to work, where facts, things, animals and men stumble upon one another, look for each other, flee from each other, live with each other, love each other, spill their bloods freely without subjection to the semicolon, to the colon. To that colon that in this very instant has been imposed on me, by something stronger than me, something that I both respect and hate.*" Monterroso is a writer of brevities - indeed he is said to have written the shortest story in the world**. And Nosoträsh are writers of brevities as well. They're that kind of band. The kind that cares about the difference between the colon and the semicolon. They pay attention to the detail; they look for the simplest but greatest of melodies; they look for the right words, the perfect words. Yet they talk about simple everyday objects like ashtrays and coffees, and coats and milkshakes and clouds. Their songs feel very much like short stories - sometimes in the song descriptions I couldn't help but write "the protagonist" instead of "the singer" - and in fact I might've called them short stories, if only their melodies weren't so beautiful. I've included only a sample of three songs here, but I strongly recommend that you get the whole album.
In the first of the three songs the singer is attempting to describe what constitutes Art for her: letting you brush my hair instead of thinking about it; abandoning myself to anyone's hugs, as long as they know how to lie to me and they kiss me hard; returning to your arms, sensing your rejection, yelling until I am left speechless...
This one is a metaphor of the singer's love life as the process of smoking a cigarette, which lasts only briefly, leaving you forever unsatisfied. She concludes that, for her, hopes of love are extinguished all too soon and the only thing left is the cigarette butt that is her heart. And even after all the disappointment... "I will draw your picture in the ashes. I will draw your picture with the ashes. I will draw your picture in the ashes".
In "Gloria" the protagonist is trying to come up with ways to cope after a break-up. Her first impulse is to write to him, and tell him how she's been doing lately. But she realizes that nothing at all mention-worthy has happened in her life ever since and that the letters would be very boring. So she makes plans of what to do with her day instead. Her "1001 ideas" include planting some flowers, getting lost in the streets and "making myself a dress with maps of all the places I've visited since you left me". Dance in cold hallways, make chocolate milkshakes, stay up until dawn on Sundays, "have dinner with the waiter of our restaurant". Jump up and down on the bed or, even better, not be alone while jumping up and down on the bed. Yes, those are all the things she plans on doing. If she ever does do them however, we never find out. And that's how the best of short stories always end. In doubt.
*1: "Lo cierto es que el escritor de brevedades nada anhela más en el mundo que escribir interminablemente largos textos, largos textos en que la imaginación no tenga que trabajar, en que hechos, cosas, animales y hombres se crucen, se busquen o se huyan, vivan, convivan, se amen o derramen libremente su sangre sin sujeción al punto y coma, al punto. A ese punto que en este instante me ha sido impuesto por algo más fuerte que yo, que respeto y que odio.
**2: The shortest story in the world is this: "When she woke up, the dinosaur was still there." (Cuando despertó, el dinosaurio todavía estaba allí.)
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