March 6th, 2006

Suction of the Self

Those of you -- a small number, I realize -- who have been reading me since the early days of this journal may recall my previous trip to Louisville back in February, 2004. That was my first time traveling on my own with the digital camera and I made the most of it.

One of the goals for my return visit earlier this month was to have a similarly fruitful time photographing. As it turned out, the conference was too interesting for me to do much prior to its conclusion. But I had luckily booked my flight back to Arizona for a whole day after it ended, thinking that there would be a Saturday night affair as there had been in 2004.

Saturday night I brought my camera to the DIY show I found out about from conference attendee and electronic musician extraordinaire Drew Daniel of Matmos, who turned out to have grown up in Louisville and still has numerous friends in the local indie scene. I'd say more about that wonderfully fortuitous experience, but I'm saving it for the introduction to my book. So you'll have to wait. I captured the spooky house behind a Dodge hood ornament on the street outside the club -- I got a nice anonymous comment about that one from someone in Louisville today -- and the empty room with the fan in it from the back of the bar area inside.

The next day I took my time getting ready, then took shots of some of the beautiful late nineteenth-century homes south of the U of L. From there I headed east past the "transitional" neighborhood in which the club is located, stopping to shoot the railroad tracks and some more modest homes along the way. I took a long break at Lynn's Paradise Café, which I've already documented, then ended up on Bardstown Road just as I had in the hours prior to my flight two years before.

My favorite photo from that earlier foray was of a mannequin in a vacuum cleaner store across from the wonder that is ear-X-tacy Records.

I made a point of returning to the location this time in order to reacquaint myself with her, only to discover that she had been replaced by my own reflection.

After I'd stared at this disturbing prospect for a few minutes, I realized that I had unwittingly acted out the plot of The Cure's song "Just Like Heaven," displaced from the diffuse landscape of pop Romanticism into a realm where all mod cons seem to hold the promise of a less literary repudiation of reality.