Sunday, March 2, 2008

Ain't Misbehaving

Here’s a question. Does space & distance create yearning in love? Or can we be romantic without it? Essentially what I want to say is, has technology made it more difficult to be romantic in the traditional sense? Or does this now offer a whole new way to be romantic?

Gone, it seems, has the do or die meetings at severe times on station platforms, underneath landmark clock towers & by the fountain on the lake. Instead arrangements are so last minute. ‘Txt me when ur in the area, an we’ll meet up,’ a constant threat to the old way. One could suggest this is more spontaneous, but I can’t shake the feeling that we’ve become more lazy & relaxed when it comes to love, and are no longer left to a week of thoughts about a single person until we meet them at the same time in the same place the following week. Now we’ll just drop a quick text message or email, and we pretty know all we need to know about each other without speaking face to face.

However, this is the new romance technology now offers us. Having been coined by wealth of telecoms advertising campaigns, we can inject the excitement of romance any time of the day without waiting for the fatalistic meeting on a Friday night bridge.

Gaston Bachelard in 'The Poetics of Space' discusses the impact of lived-in-architecture on our lives. Looking at how memories are conceived of space, this got me thinking in terms of romance, and how romance can be one of the best triggers for memory, be it a song, a perfume, or a restaurant. This makes me think of site specific theatre. (I had to get there somehow in the end)

Through placing theatrical performances in unconventional places, we can trigger an even more powerful wave of emotion in the audience. Take Kneehigh Theatre’s recent adaptation of ‘Brief Encounter.’ The show is performed live in the Haymarket cinema each night, combining live music, film & theatre to jump start the audience into an emotional remembrance of a romantic religion. Using specific sites such as a cinema is enough of make any think of first dates on the back rows, nervously glancing left between screen blackouts to pin pick yourself and remember ‘this is not a dream.’ Memories are concealed in all things, and a great performance in the right environment can do just what Bachelard preaches, make the ordinary, extraordinary.

Stories such as ‘A Brief Encounter’ make romance dramatic. Not just because of the protagonists situation (they are both married) but because love can be a fight, especially when you have to prearrange meetings a week in advance and rely on faith that the lover will be there on that dark, cold & rainy night regardless of train delays.


Victoria Bennett said...

"We meet under the bruised skies/of night flights/of planes and birds and angels./We are destined for departures,/but it is too late to withdraw the heart.//Walking with you/in the blue-shadowed frost of evening/on these city streets/desire rises/in the blood-driven rhythms/of our footsteps./The moon stretches her amber hands,/unhooking our seams.//And everywhere I look,/you are here,/in the steam pouring/from sidewalk grates,/in the steel gleam/of the 512 Sreetcar of St.Clair,/in the taxis and buses,/the flower markets on Avenue Road,/in the tender flavors of sea bass and risotto/at the Italian bistro where we ate that first night. (City of Dreams - Rishma Dunlop)

So long as poetry lives in the heart and skin, romance is never dead. Just too oft neglected in favour of fast food emotion and ease of security.

I vote we bring back the art of letter writing!

Robert Haughton said...

We can clear our romantic memories as easy as our inbox it seems.

Romance has a half-life in a 'tailored, low-weight, cost-cut culture' (to cite Accoustic Ladyland).

rashbre said...

Or perhaps a thought from the long blondes...

In the pub where we learn how to talk about plans
You stand all dressed up with your vodka in hand
Oh girl, you’re waiting for a pitiful man

In the pub, at the bar with the omen I am
Alone with a pint of bitter in my hand
For a girl this is not an acceptable plan

Wipe your eyes darling, it’s OK
Meet me on the dual carriage way

Separated by motorways
The A14 and the A1
Separated by motorways
Two lonely girls go on the run

Your post and the comments here Illustrate there's plenty of themes around love and distance. Someone else even said love was a matter of distance (as well as a matter of input).