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Sunday Soul – Arcadian Sway
Year 11 – Playlist 31/52 – Art, Essay and music for the week of November 16th 2014
The ancient Greeks believed with all their hearts in arcadia. Ἀρκαδία in greek, and it represents a complete harmony with nature. They so beloved the idea of an arcadian reality that they named a province after the idea itself, and measured all ideas of balance, harmony, and peace against the quality of life established there. Ultimately, arcadia is the groundwork for the concept of utopia for our entire civilization.
Todd Rundgren had a band called Utopia in the late 70’s. Todd also named his band after his practially unnoticed song “Utopia.”. Young Mr. Rundgren rose to popular success in the early 70’s with his smash hit “Hello It’s Me.” It was a wonderful time in 1972 when society was at odds so deeply with itself that the radio became a kind of refuge of equality and cross genre togetherness. It was from within this assemblage of sounds and styles that a singer/songwriter like Todd found his way into the public spotlight. While he never really scored another song that rang the world’s bell quite like ‘Hello It’s Me,” he definitely managed to gather and nourish a huge fanbase which carries him and his musical adventures to the present day. I love that. A musician appeared out of nowhere by way of the most benign commercial avenue only to thrive for decades entirely on grass roots and person to person performaces, recordings, and the pure devotion of his fans. That’s ideal. It’s a total inspiration to me.
The modern concept of uptoia is essentially the Greek arcadia as adpopted by the Romans. In fact, arcadia in Roman means utopia. So they are exactly the same thing. However, over time, as we strive for perfection and heaven on earth one begins to feel somewhat discouraged. Have you ever gone camping with a total control freak? They think they know how to camp, and how to dig a fire pit, and what to do with the garbage, where to hang the sun showers, and seem to spend the entire trip adjusting the tent spikes and following you around with helpful suggestions about how to be a better camper?
It’s far from a utopian experience, and absolutely not to be repeated (if you can help it.) So you can see that as we refine our ideas, our thinking, our practices and get “closer” to whatever it is we have imagined is the ideal, the further away from the world we become.
Sometimes being far away from the world doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, it’s true, but that more or less defeats the purpose of seeking a balance, or harmony with nature. Perfection is a state of fear, unless you redefine it as I have, by considering that even the most beautiful and valuable diamond in the known world is full of flaws. Nothing is perfect. “Perfect,” defined as without flaw is a simple myth, and the cause of eating disorders, drug addiction, murder, suicide, and lives that go on and on and on in a state of abject misery. Not a life at all, and far far far from “perfect.” It turns out that these “flaws” like in the diamond actually add to our beauty, and take nothing away whatever. We are wrong about the idea of “perfect.” It needs to change.
So it seems, in terms of a practical application, the concept of Utopia has had to be bisected. And indeed for rational and healthy reasons it has been. In Latin Utopus means “the good place.” It’s a great place to be, where one is in harmony with nature and god. It’s what we mean when we say we want to be “ok” or “comfortable.” It’s not always an easy place to find, but a state of balance between heaven and earth is indeed a place with room for everyone.
However, in Latin the word Utopos means “the place which cannot be.” In that place we are what we are, and the aching for different pelvic bones, or a different outcome of genetics, gender, politic or history is a landslide into hell as we refuse to stand in balance with the world, and find all the love we need to be here as we are. Afterall, whomever you are, wherever you’ve been, and wherever you feel you must go is a beautiful thing. I want to help you celebrate (or heal from) wherever you were, and cheer for you as you burst forward into the next level of your adventure. I may even weep because I miss you after you’re gone. But I promise you that you are already perfect, just the way you are. You may not measure up to the false images you’ve been sold, or your insides may not quite match your outsides, but self destruction, elective surgery, self hatred, or mutliation or simple low grade depression is a shabby surrogate for the deep fulfillment of balance and harmony within and without.
I suppose in my utopia we would all drop the walls around us, and love. The ego would be strong enough to love and serve, to accept and to offer, to share and to receive. The id would be blissfully warm and make a sexy,
stony glow around everything all the time, rising and falling like breath, or the rush of love coming over us, and the super ego would be free to mind its own business, and speculate the origins of the stars, and language, art, and god. It’s likely that as a collective experience I am talking about Utopos – I will never be younger again. I will never be someone other than what the universe has forged before you now. I didn’t know if I was a boy or a girl for many years of my life, and I realize that it doesn’t matter now. What matters, and this is the only thing that matters, is love. It’s the secret to the universe. It is my gift to you.
Thank you for listening. See you next week.
Here is the track listing for Sunday Soul: Arcadian Sway
1. Depak Ine – John Talabot
2. Stop – B.W.H.
3. Uptown (Jay’s Up! Dub) – Aya
4. Keep On – Andy Hart
5. Tomorrow – Jono McCleery
6. Heaven – Paul Lyman Instrumental Remix – Unkle
7. Rune – Ari Fonner Remix – Smay
8. Stronger – Kidnap Kid
9. Devotion – The Groovers
10. I’ve Got To – Reika
11. Painted On Glass – Sunshine Jones Instrumental Rework – Sean O’Brien and His Dirty Hands
12. Cusco Disco – Stan Kolev & Juan Meija
13. Woman – Instrumental Slow – Mirage
14. Starlite (D-Pulse Remix) – Paul Weller
15. Love We Have – Alex Kidd
16. Cheenese – D-Pulse Paranoid Mix – Pompeya
17. Longtime – Sunshine’s Rough Mix – Jaswho?
18. Sunday Soul – Program ID
19. If You Should Need A Friend – Fire Island
20. Sunday Soul – Program ID
Year 11 – Playlist 31|52
16 November 2014
Total Running Time: 01 Hours 55 Minutes
May the stars above you shimmer and shine, guiding your heart always, all of the time. May they guide you sweetly, all the way home. And may all your sundays have soul.