On December, 2nd 2000, The Smashing Pumpkins as I knew them split up. Arriving on the scene in the wake of the grunge phenomenon, of notably, Nirvana and Pearl Jam, The Smashing Pumpkins made music that was dense and layered and this provided a perfect framework for their alternately angst-ridden and dreamy,poetic lyrics, and made the Pumpkins a chart-topping success in the Nineties. The Pumpkins were: originator, driving-force and leader, Billy Corgan, guitarist James Iha, bassist D’arcy Wretzky and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin. If I was to describe their music I would, to use a metaphor, describe it like this; if The Cure, Depeche Mode and The Cult were to have a threesome which produced a lovechild, that child would be the Pumpkins.Their career-defining 1995 double album MELLON COLLIE & THE INFINITE SADNESS is a brilliant and a truly classic one. If you have never heard it trust me you need to. In it they turn a state of being into a character, a personality, finely crafted through their lyrics and melody. Melancholy becomes Mellon Collie, and this is how I feel on this Monday night, as the Easter weekend draws to an end: melancholy. Mellon Collie has sat on the fringes of my mind and at the edges of my vision this entire weekend. I have purposefully ignored her, keeping myself busy writing an art assignment essay on the deconstruction of Modernism. It has been a complex task, the facts of a theoretical, philosophical nature, and very dense and mind-expanding. Thus I have been suitably occupied as well as preoccupied. But still I have felt her gaze, and she has patiently waited for me as I completed the essay assignment. I did that today and now she has my attention, this Mellon Collie.
A year ago, after the last Easter weekend, I was on an airplane returning from my very first visit to Los Angeles. I went to visit the woman I refer to as LA in my posts (pretty self-evident as to why), she who quite literally, as well as figuratively, laid waste to all that was me: my life as well as the emotional and psychological being that I am. For three years we had Facebooked, texted, chatted on the phone and Skyped, and this was to be our first meeting. This was to be the consummation of all that had grown between us, of all that we had shared. We were to, as LA put it, seal the deal. We wanted to see if this was real, this thing between us, if there was a next step, a future for us, to see if there was in fact an us. Holding her in my arms, almost cradling her, that Monday morning in LAX as we waited for the departure time of my flight back to South Africa, we both knew anguish and sorrow and the fear of never seeing each other again. Within a month I had resigned from my job, sold up everything I could and had left South Africa to begin my new life with LA in the United States.
Now, dear reader, you’re thinking my state of being is to do with LA, and in a way it has, but it has nothing to do with any residual feelings for her. The fact is the woman I loved probably never existed. I try not to think badly of her because perhaps she really wanted to be the woman she showed me. She wasn’t though, to my great sadness, and was eventually quite selfish, cruel and duplicitous in her dealings with and treatment of me. So why melancholy you ask? Why not angry and bitter? Melancholy because of everything that happened to me as a result of that relationship, the expense, the humiliation, the trauma, and the fact that I still feel a disappointment at the loss of our, my, envisioned future. This is slight though, and I have already adjusted to a new future, the potential, whatever it may be. The worst feelings that remain are for Champers, my beloved friend. I miss him terribly and still feel so much guilt over what transpired with regards him. My fluffy buddy still haunts me and I truly hope that whatever may happen when we pass on, I get to see him again in the afterlife.
In addition, if you have been following my posts, you will know that I have tried, and failed, to move on. I was rejected by this new love, and our relationship, if you can call it that, has become a sort of Twilight Zone, a sort of surreal, insubstantial, ghostly daydream: we’re not friends, not lovers, not acquaintances. We’re nothing and yet so much, but then again, it may be all in my head, which you may have realized, dear reader, is quite a place, to say the least. So therefore, melancholy, which is defined as: sadness or depression of the spirits; gloom: “There is melancholy in the wind and sorrow in the grass” (Charles Kuralt). Mine, however, is more of a pensive reflective or contemplative nature, think Winona Ryder in Beatlejuice or Romeo, pre-Juliet. So Mellon Collie and I may be seen walking along wind-swept beaches or standing in the rain at twilight or just sharing comfortable silences. We say little to each other but are well-acquainted so there is no need for words. She walks a step behind me and sits alongside me, and every now and then she allows me a glimpse of fluffy, champagne-coloured cat with glowing eyes and I smile sadly, melancholy.
By The Smashing Pumpkins:
Is never time at all
You can never ever leave
Without leaving a piece of youth
And our lives are forever changed
We will never be the same
The more you change, the less you feel
Believe in me
That life can change
That you’re not stuck in vain
We’re not the same, we’re different
And you know you’re never sure
But you’re sure you could be right
If you held yourself up to the light
And the embers never fade
In your city by the lake
The place where you were born
Believe in me
In the resolute urgency of now
And if you believe there’s not a chance tonight
We’ll crucify the insincere tonight
We’ll make things right
We’ll feel it all tonight
We’ll find a way to offer up the night
The indescribable moments of your life
The impossible is possible
Believe in me as I believe in you