HOW CAN YOU READ THIS? THERE’S NO PICTURES!, Ep. 1: The Crossroads, Laurel Canyon + Mulholland Drive


I riffed on Laurel Canyon and Mulholland Drive into a recording device for eight minutes and forty-nine seconds: this is the verbatim transcription.

Okay, fifteen minutes. I’m at Mulholland and Laurel Canyon. So, I guess the most fitting thing for me to do at this point would be to talk about what Laurel Canyon and Mulholland mean to me. Fifteen minutes. So we’re on the clock, and we’re twenty seconds in: so, to me, Mulholland Laurel Canyon is just The … I wanna say The Fame. Oh. I wanna say The Fame, but it is fame: it’s American fame. What is The Fame to me? Mulholland and Laurel Canyon are Hollywood. It’s Cal – it’s … we’ll figure it out together.

Laurel Canyon is the Hippie Movement, right. It’s this, y’know, makeshift cobblestone ver– y’know, sloping – It’s… this canyon. It’s a canyon. It’s a cavity. It’s a cavity; but it’s the vein, and it’s the artery at the same time. Y’know like, you get traction. Y’know Laurel Canyon is the Hippies, is the Sixties, it’s the counterculture. It’s Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison. Umm, it’s an odd counterculture. It’s very calm and weathered. And then you’ve got Mulholland, which is fame to me.

I remember Mulholland Drive, the movie; and I just kinda knew what it was. Just the name stuck with me, but there was no real reason why I should have known what Mulholland Drive was. Y’know, I remember in Rolling Stone, when they said Britney lived at the top of Mulholland, at the top of this vertiginous fall. And that was fame to me: Britney 2007 was fame to me, and that is Mulholland Drive.

You want to look over the cliff, you do. You do, but you can’t. And if you do, oh: you’re divine. Y’know, because you can see it, and you’re your own pilot. To be able to see that first-hand y’know – and have it be an individual, independent experience is something else – because otherwise, you’re having to share it with other people. So y’know, if it’s a movie, it’s not as exclusive y’know. And so that’s why love is so beautiful, is because it’s two people seeing the same thing. It’s two people sharing the same space. And the only other person to know it’s true is that witness, and that is why you bear witness.

I have a tendency to stop when a flow is really good, and over-think what the perfect ending would be, and so this is that.

And uh, Laurel Canyon, I mean it’s a great drive. Got Willow Glen. It’s got really interesting names. Lookout Mountain: Lookout Mountain and Laurel Canyon, I mean are you kidding. Reality L.A. that’s what it is: Reality L.A.

It’s a trinity right: you’ve got Laurel, Mulholland, and you… your vehicle, you’ve also got the city. And everything about these two streets is so identical, and so distanced. It’s glamour on Mulholland – it’s secretive. I mean there are so many secrets in these hills. One you’re riding high, the other you’re caught in the depths. You’re in the belly of the beast. It’s scary. The Canyon is scary because it’s all tumbling down on you. If you’re claustrophobic – you can’t.

It takes a very particular person to be able to drive both of these at leisure, um, and routinely. You’re experiencing the highest highs, the lowest lows, at lightning speed – and that’s your normal. To be facing death at 65 mph every day is stellar. And you cannot be slow on Mulholland. If you’re slow, you will get sideswiped, rear-ended. And I cannot tell you how many cars have gone around me – ‘cos I don’t remember, not because it’s too many, it’s just that it would be inaccurate. I guess maybe eight. I’d say between – I wanna say between like four and six actually, but it could be like six and eight. Point being: people face death, and to be able to live to see the day, and this to be your normal… and nobody really understands. People don’t understand stardom, or y’know they downplay it because it seems it seems artificial.

It seems superfluous, but in all honesty: it’s just an energy transfer.

Big stars going to little stars, little stars becoming big stars, giving their energy to other stars and hopefully making light. That said, there’s anti-matter, or the space between that’s darkness. The thing about fame is that it’s atmospheric, right. And it becomes the all-encompassing everything, and you don’t even notice it when you’re there. To be able to live in that darkness, you have to have immense light. You have to have enough light to guide the way, right. You don’t know how bright you are until you’re far enough away to where you can see the darkness. Because let’s be honest: darkness, you can’t see darkness. Darkness is right in front of us all the time, right. But it’s clear, like where does darkness begin?

It’s far away.

Point is you can’t see it, you can’t touch it, and it’s what’s right next to you. That is your cheek to cheek, you’re touching it. The last thing the fish sees is the water, the last thing the human sees is the air, and the space between the darkness that’s around.

You see light because it breaks through: it resists, right. That’s the thing about it. We’re looking at stars from so far away. We could very well be stars to beings who are at an equal distance. Fifteen thousand light years away, there could very well be stars looking at us: figuring out how to live, how to move, how to engage, how to trail light – which constellations to link up with. All in motion towards creating a universe that is more light than dark; so that darkness is the one streaking across the skies, and the light is so bright you can’t even realize what lies in the space between now.

So, I don’t know. I guess Laurel Canyon and Mulholland are like that in a way. They’re so stellar. They’re so conversion. They’re beautiful constellations. And it’s just because a star trailed through a mountain to make a canyon, and a star trailed alongside a mountain to take the high road. It’s not for everybody: it is, not, for, everybody. Everybody can’t be a star, but it’s our job to give them energy to do so if they try: no matter how small the light, it’s gotta be big. Oh no.

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