Once he finished packing, he took out Liszt’s Years of Pilgrimage for the first time in ages. The three-record set performed by Lazar Berman, the set Haida had left behind fifteen years before. He still kept an old-style record player for the sole purpose of playing this record. He placed the first LP on the turntable, B side up, and lowered the needle.
"First Year: Switzerland." He sat down on the sofa, closed his eyes, and focused on the music. "Le mal du pays" was the eighth piece in the suite, the first track on the B side. Usually he started with that piece and listened until the fourth composition in "Second Year: Italy," "Petrarch’s Sonnet 47." At that point, the side ended, and the needle automatically lifted from the record.
"Le mal du pays." The quiet, melancholy music gradually gave shape to the undefined sadness enveloping his heart, as if countless microscopic bits of pollen adhered to an invisible being concealed in the air, ultimately revealing, slowly and silently, its shape. This time the being took on the shape of Sara-Sara in her mint-green short-sleeved dress.
The ache in his heart returned. Not an intense pain, but the memory of intense pain.
What did you expect? Tsukuru asked himself. A basically empty vessel has become empty once again. Who can you complain to about that? People come to him, discover how empty he is, and leave. What’s left is an empty, perhaps even emptier, Tsukuru Tazaki, all alone. Isn’t that all there is to it?
Still, sometimes they leave behind a small memento, like Haida and the boxed set of Years of Pilgrimage. He probably didn’t simply forget it, but intentionally left it behind in Tsukuru’s apartment. And Tsukuru loved that music, for it connected him to Haida, and to Shiro. It was the vein that connected these three scattered people. A fragile, thin vein, but one that still had living, red blood coursing through it. The power of music made it possible. Whenever he listened to that music, particularly “Le mal du pays,” vivid memories of the two of them swept over him. At times it even felt like they were right beside him, quietly breathing.
Venture capitalist and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel joins us to discuss his thoughts on capitalism, innovation, and entrepreneurial success. We’ll also get Thiel’s take on college (he thinks it’s often a waste of time) and find out why he believes our society fears change and technology.
I listened to a few interviews of famous tech entrepreneurs, mainly via Charlie Rose (Charlie loves a good tech success story so he’s interviewed pretty much everyone who’s made it big in Silicon Valley) – and didn’t like any of them. Not the interviews per se, but the entrepreneurs themselves. (Except maybe Bill Gates talking about his foundation.) I don’t know why but the tech guys always come across as super sharky (much more so than in any other industry… the revenge of the nerd syndrome maybe?), no matter how much they try to disguise it. Anyway anyway, It had been a while since my last tech guru talk and I thought I was done with that lot but then recently I chose to listen to Peter Thiel’s interview on KQED’s Forum (that’s the pulling power of Michael Krasny for you). Verdict: I really like that guy — his answers were always very thoughtful and measured, I like what he says and how his mind works. He’s someone who clearly spends a lot of time doing some proper thinking (and not just about tech solutions). Good guy.
“This thing here, which looks like a wooden club, is actually several pieces of particular wood cunningly put together in a certain way so that the whole thing is sprung, like a dance floor. It’s for hitting cricket balls with. If you get it right, the cricket ball will travel two hundred yards in four seconds, and all you’ve done is give it a knock like knocking the top off a bottle of stout, and it makes a noise like a trout taking a fly. What we’re trying to do is to write cricket bats, so that when we throw up an idea and give it a little knock, it might…travel.”—About the art of writing and cricket bats. Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing.
“The gods are in the betting shops
the gods are in the caff
the gods are smoking fags out the back
the gods are in the office blocks
the gods are at their desks
the gods are sick of always giving more and getting less
the gods are at the rave –
two pills deep into dancing –
the gods are in the alleyway laughing
the gods are at the doctor’s
they need a little something for the stress
the gods are in the toilets having unprotected sex
the gods are in the supermarket
the gods are walking home,
the gods can’t stop checking Facebook on their phones
the gods are in a traffic jam
the gods are on the train
the gods are watching adverts
the gods are not to blame –
they are working for the council
now they’re on the dole
now they’re getting drunk pissing their wages down a hole
the gods are in their gardens
with their decking and their plants
the gods are in the classrooms
the poor things don’t stand a chance
they are trying to tell the truth
but the truth is hard to say
the gods are born, they live a while
and then they pass away.”—Kate Tempest - Brand New Ancients