PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Featured: Top of Home Page

Strange Meetings

When I travel, I carry a camera; just about everywhere I go. But, it is often hard to focus. Not the camera--me--my brain; for all the travel.

So, much so that I often find myself somewhere along the way checking myself--"hm, what is that camera doing there? And why aren't I using it?"--recognizing, on delay, that I am simply toting it as if it was an appurtenance; right past all the things that I should be pointing it at. Cradling it in the crook of my elbow, or allowing it to sway behind me, slung over a shoulder. Transporting it, but nothing more. Not bothering to unclip the lens cap, raise the mechanism to eye-level, fix on a target, bring it into focus, squeeze off a round.

Other times, once I remember to point and shoot, I am lucky if I can capture what I think I see--what may possibly be there. So sluggish is my travel-weary brain's eye.

It is only after the day, or sometimes the entire trip, that I upload the shots to my hard drive to regard what plums I've managed to score. Often, this becomes occasion for a succession of WTF-moments.

Followed by voices that go:

"nope, sorry, too late to board a plane and go back and try it again."

"You had your chance. That door has been shut."

"The opportunity has long since escaped.

I bring all this up because of the video below--a slide show of shots from a few trips to Southern California, culled on time-lapse. There are snaps from an afternoon in Hollywood; a day trip to the beach community of Santa Monica; a long drive down to San Diego--and beyond: to the island resort known as Coronado. When you click on the "play" button, what you'll find is just what the title indicates: a strange meeting. An aggregation of ill-matched situations, often gathered under the number one influence of peripatacity: post-flight haze.

Some might simply say "that's Southern California for you": a cornucopia, a compendium, a menagerie, a rummage sale of people and acts and objects. (Well, they might say much worse). But whatever they attribute to the locale would be charitable toward me. Because, for the most part, this particular strange meeting is all on me; all on account of the eyes and fingers of, and whatever decision-making was operative by, yours truly.

On the other hand, that said, there are times, when it does all come together. Just like the lyrical, haunting, inviting, wondrous tune that accompanies these slides--by Bill Frisell--and inspired this apologia. And when that happens, why, there aren't sufficient words to describe or explain or fully understand. It just works, it simply is.

The strange meeting of elements--of indoor merry-go-rounds and Spiderman impersonators astride newspaper stands and tomato-hued apartments and fathers smothered by their kids in sand, and sunbathing pelicans and bored teens turning idly in circles on lampposts while chatting on their cellphones, and adolescents sitting numbly in miniature cars, and fortune tellers reading actual discarded dregs of tea . . . and so much more.

The strange meeting is purely--simply--the aspects of life; the stuff all around us. To be spied, recorded, mused upon, carried forward.

It is the strange meetings that so often makes life the treat that it is to live. And the reason why we peripatetics must continue to venture forth and record it.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.


Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.


CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.


Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.


While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.


Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.


Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.


Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.


In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.


The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.


The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.


The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.


When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.


20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.


The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.


Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.