Babylon Line Video

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“So we get so busy on the go … Always trying to get somewhere …

Forever on to the next show you know … But never really getting anywhere …

“So we lose our precious time … Spinning in circles so hard-wired …

Down streets of urban desires … Always wanting more in the fire …
“So when we find ourselves, sinking into this big city life …

Maybe it’s time we took a long drive …

“Down on Babylon Line … Way down on Babylon Line …

“So back to our roots we will rewind … Back onto that old country mile …

Where the people still feel so fine … And a heart can still keep time …

“So when we find ourselves, sinking into this big city life … Maybe it’s time we took a long drive …

“Down on Babylon Line … Way down on Babylon …

Way Down On Babylon … Way Down On Babylon Line …”

 

Babylon Line (Our Atomic Sun): Back Story

I woke up on the couch in a start. It was early. I was crashing at Marcel’s place for the weekend. It was Beanfest. Zurich & Huron County were abuzz. Burnouts all up and down the main drag the first night was followed by beer, music and merchants the next two. Small town folk were at their finest. It was refreshing to return to my roots.

It’s odd that I say ‘my roots’ because I only ever lived in Ipperwash four years. Sure we spent some summers by the lake, but it was those early days that honed my experience of the world. Isolation. Slower pace. Inner focus and calm. Perhaps it’s all those negative ions flowing off Lake Huron that makes the people more down to earth.

It’s a funny thing about negative ions, because they say they are positive for our health and happiness. But I’m no atomic scientist, so what do I know? Anyway, as far as I can figure, in the winter, when the cold weather comes on, electrons diminish–contributing to a wide variety of emotional and physical imbalances. Too many protons surround us–suffocating us–tipping our atomic level toward positive ionization–away from an even split.

So anyway, Marcel found me on the roof smoking. We finished our coffee and headed out to his folks house to see his kids again. He had been working hard running the show for days without food or sleep—taking his job pretty seriously, like usual. He was always a good friend and I think I sensed he would be—I sensed his small town attitude, even though we met as call centre coworkers in the city. We started writing some music together and ten years later we were making some progress into radio.

He played that weekend too, in a band with his father. They sounded good and I enjoyed everything, even the covers. God Bless the originals—but a few good rounds of other people’s songs is cool too. I think I came away from it with a better sense of where Marcel was at sonically, because I had not heard him live as much in recent years. It was this country feel—and so while we were driving to the bank—I noticed the highway sign read Babylon Line and had a flash of a snippet of an idea flit through mind: A song about the contrast between city and country—about our instinctual need for both—for balance.

The country comprises the electrons orbiting the urban centre—those negative ions so crucial for wellness—while ‘Babylon’ represents the atomic nucleus with all of its positive ion protons. The people of the city long to get away—back to nature. The people of the country long for a little big town action now and again. We need these things—to switch up from time to time—just to unwind.

Anyway, the bank turned out to be closed, but we got a song out of it—and sat down for half an hour to write it out—just like the old days—all at once—without blinking—total concentration and then we’re done. Of course, it’s never quite that simple, with editing and instinctual tweaking after hearing it back a few times. But nevertheless, as easy as it ever was, out came Babylon Line—effortless and uniform. That was always the way to make it shine—by making it quickly—so it didn’t have time to morph. You wanted it to retain its symmetry—its beginning and end at the moment of conception—to keep it real.

I learned a little more about Babylon in the process, like how it was one of the greatest Metropolis’s the world has ever seen—and then the usual decline and fall we see with civilizations. It seems like it’s something to do with how mechanical daily life in the city ends up being. We go through these motions and gradually lose ourselves—lose our grounding. We build up a bad positive charge.

Sure there are many conveniences—and many temptations too. It becomes difficult just going a few hours without spending money. If you live at the true core—the hub of the wheel—you get depressed by the homelessness and the constant begging. The beggings become more polite albeit—but it’s still begging. Everyone has compassion, but when you live amongst it you cannot possibly constantly be giving away money and cigarettes. It hurts to see.

It also sucks to have to lock up your bike and constantly keep your eyes down. Marcel said in Zurich he could only ever remember one instance of a bike being stolen—and people could just leave their bikes wherever unlocked. That is definitely one of those things that gets overlooked. I love my bike but I’m constantly locking it up and inhaling exhaust. Luckily there are some nice trails by my house, but getting back to nature even just a little bit everyday becomes a bit of a task. I take my moments by the river—taking in as many negative ions as I can.

Driving out of Babylon—back to my roots—brings back all these memories I have so deeply entwined—of how it feels to not always be rushing—to be forced to take it step by step—having hour long conversations again—talking about nothing at all. To be able to see the stars again—in their countless glory so clustered it looks like the night of sky is bleeding light—like a black canopy being pricked by a zillion points to reveal the gold shimmer of Heaven behind. It’s a stark reminder that the universe is not so scary—not so bleak—never so shrouded by night that we cannot see a light—even in the end.

Perhaps Earth itself is just an electron spinning around our atomic sun, destined to one day plummet in entropy toward the raging fireball that is Our Mother—but until then we are in seemingly perpetual balance—swinging around the solar system like the perfect top—as if guided by an hand unseen when we should be going so off course. So when you find yourself next in a tight spot—or wild spin—on uncharted land—in a pickle again—just remember—to get away from it all—away from the hustle and bustle—back to the beginning where you first learned life—to remember what it’s supposed to be like …

Rian Torr

Marcelg.ca

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