jan 14 2008

Bang the drum

Today came along an interesting video. “People in Order”, by Lenka Clayton and James Price. A simple idea. 100 people beating a drum. Aged 1 to 100.

Is there anything more vital than banging a drum? Yes: sex, maybe? No wonder “banging” is also a synonym for “sleep together, roll in the hay, love, make out, make love, sleep with, get laid, have sex, know, do it, be intimate, have intercourse, have it away, have it off, screw, fuck, jazz, eff, hump, lie with, bed, have a go at it, get it on, bonk, copulate, mate, pair, couple)”.
Yet here the banging gets weaker and weaker as you progress through the age levels. Until at a 100, the lady wielding the drumsticks hardly seems alive anymore. Like her heart can stop banging any minute now. The rise and the fall. Growth and decay.

Don’t quite remember for which documentary it was, but a few years ago there was a trailer featuring 100 naked people in a wood (I believe it was for “The Human Body”). More wrinkles could be seen there. But this movie shows childhood, youth, adulthood and old age mortality much more poignant than those static nude bodies could.

Somehow, this reminded me of little Oskar Matzerath, the main character from the Gunther Grass genius novel “Die Blechtrommel” (“De Blikken Trommel” – later also the story for an equally disconcerting movie “The Thin Drum” in 1979 by Volker Schlöndorff). At the age of 3, Oskar has already seen enough deceit, sex, lying and violence, that he decides for himself he does not want to grow up. He throws himself down the cellar stairs (to let others believe that is the reason he stops growing). Inseparable from his toy drum, he goes through life refusing to grow up. Banging the drum.

Oskar Matzerath

Drumming until the earth stops. Knowing that the earth can’t be stopped. That ageing won’t stop. That the end is coming closer, a day at a time. 100 bangs. And then it’s over. Not with a bang. But with a puff.
“Mildly depressing” somebody called the video in the comments on Digg. Only mildly?

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