Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Garden City Movement - Lir


"I look around me. The kids are good-looking all right, as sexy as ever. Lustful and provocative. But there is a war up north tonight. Young soldiers are struggling in the bush at this very moment, stifling the fear in their hearts, smelling death close by. And the distance between what the soldiers are enduring in Lebanon and what the clubbers of Tel Aviv are doing in the black-walled cellar is incomprehensible. They are nearly the same age, same background, same education. But they are worlds apart. Planets apart. They are playing out Israel's schizophrenia.

All of Israel's wars had this sort of tension. In 1948, while citizens were being shot on the road to Jerusalem, others were flirting in Tel Aviv cafes. In 1969, while soldiers were taking fire in Suez Canal outposts, other Israelis were having a ball in Tel Aviv's discotheques. This duality was part of Israel's health and strength. It was as if there was a covenant between us: today I will stand on guard while you party; tomorrow I'll party while you stand on guard. This way we don't turn our nation into a barracks where life is not really worth living. This way we continue to live while we defend our right to life." (Shavit, 336).

I thought about this passage from Ari Shavit's highly acclaimed book My Promised Land quite a lot during last weekend's inDnegev festival, which took place in a sandy area by Kibbutz Gvulot, about 10 km from Gaza Strip. My friends and I laughed when we took a wrong turn on the way from Tel Aviv and accidentally reached Erez Crossing but we were silent as we passed by Yad Mordechai, Re'im and Ein Habesor, places that we were well acquainted with from news reports during the operation/war though they felt vaguely distant, as if from many years ago. Only when you really think about it the situation seems surreal-a festival with over 7,000 participants so close to Gaza and with absolutely no protected areas but for some reason it felt so natural-at its 8th year I can't imagine an October without the festival, or the festival taking place in any other location. Even more surreal was the fact that the festival served as a pastoral escape from the mounting tensions in Jerusalem. My favorite moment was Friday afternoon when I found a shaded area a bit distant from the stages but close enough to still hear what was going on. I used my bag as a pillow and fell asleep on the sand-on my left a young couple was quietly talking while on my right a few guys were sleeping heavily. I felt some weird connection with a guy who was sleeping right next to me-it was somehow very intimate and innocent at the same time, as if there was a collective appreciation of the calm with live performances as the best possible soundtrack.

Garden City Movement have been enjoying outstanding success-Stereogum described this song as "sound[ing] like waking up from a comfortable slumber only to find yourself still inside a dream state" while COS writes that Lir "keeps things cool, a breezy whirlwind of woozy vocal samples and tantalizing percussion". I can only add that it sounds like beauty.

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