zorba

it’s friday. which means it is the weekend here. a much-needed day off. which means i don’t get up early and instead je peux faire la grasse matinee. amazing thing is, instead of having a truly fat morning of proper sound sleep, i tend to wake up generally earlier than on weekdays and have trouble falling asleep -truly one of those inexplicable phenomena. and so i spend the early hours of the day popping in pistachios and cashew nuts and drinking copius amounts of water while watching a movie and alternating between shamlou and hafez, and when i get tired of that, laying in bed and staring at the ceiling while contemplating existential questions such as the one in the previous post -often without a satisfying conclusion.

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today i watched the movie lock, stock and two smoking barrels. i feel that the accents and dialogues are sometimes overdone in these movies that invariably feature jason statham and the guv’nor with a posse of pissed-off irish/scottish/british/black-british gangsters (there are a few of these out there, but the only other one that i can think of now right now is snatch.) (note: in a pleasant surprise it turned out that this one movie also featured sting as jd.. and the man is a pretty good actor..) and of course they are all filled with very convenient plot instruments and deux-ex-machinas. but whatever -i am no cinema snob and do appreciate a good bit of light entertainment from time to time. i had watched this movie a few years ago too, but it turned out to be worth a revisit.

and on this viewing i really got a kick out of the character big chris’s acting and his knocking off debtors with his mighty forehead, and especially that last line of his where he says: ‘oh, and one last thing -it’s been emotional.’ now he’s not precisely the type to admit to this sort of thing, and that he does, with all sincerity and without the least bit of irony, well, it really is something.

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but that’s all beside the point. the point of this is to see whether anyone out there has the soundtrack ‘zorba’s dance’. i used to have three different versions of this music of various lengths and variations on my computer (of course we are speaking of the era before the cataclysmic hard-desk crash), and i really enjoyed listening to it on days like this one: popping it in and turning it up while i work to clear my messy desktop and to-do list, and a jambled and messy mind.

i first heard zorba’s dance in this place on 11th avenue in dc where i think they were having some sort of middle-eastern, iranian, greek night which meant the place was teeming with beautiful inheritors of the ancient persian civilization and its aesthetic -read music and dance- sensibility and its genes i.e. cheek-bones reminiscent of diane lane and auburn hair… well you get the picture. throw in a penchant for dressing in black. and of course an ambiance infused with scents of feminine sweat and designer perfume vying for the olfactory lobes in a tight rivalry with peppermint tobacco smoke.
anyhow, sometimes towards the end of the evening all the greek people started making their way to one side of the room which everyone else evacuated in deference to them and formed a semi-circle around, and that was the time when i first heard the beautiful composition that is zorba’s dance re-mixed with a pleasant and swell house beat and the dance -which is so full of movement and energy and harmony- started.

today, while watching lock, stock and two smoking barrels, i heard the greek zorba theme again and at first did not recognize it, and it was after rewinding the scene a couple of times that it came back to me. that constantly rising melody, picking pace, and that melodious mandolin (or is it mandolin?) sound. and i thought i should try to locate and find it. so has anyone got the song? can you please email it to me? or at least point me to where i can download it?

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speaking of zorba, why don’t new books have beautiful book covers like this first edition cover of zorba the greek? i am filled with nostalgia for this sort of stuff -that simple sans serif font, that sketchy drawing, and the unrefined paper. (by the way, orhan pamuk has so much to say about book covers in the new compilation of his essays ‘other colours.’)
forget about all this glossy paper and computer graphics -give me black ink on pulp with lots of soul. the kind of book that you turn to a random page in the middle and it gives off a faint and subtle scent of decaying, yellowing paper:

zorba book

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also i envy nikos kazantzakis for an unrivalled last name. try repeating the full name quickly a couple of times. i think soon i will start a category here with ‘beautiful names’ – to go with the category ‘beautiful place names’.

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lastly, here is a quote for you from zorba the greek:

how simple a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. all that is required to feel that here and now is happiness is a simple heart.

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~ by safrang on June 13, 2008.

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