[DARK INDIETRONICA] Dillon Francis-When We Were Young (Grandtheft Remix)
Being hitched to whatever ride my darkness takes me on has it’s benefits. I’m jumping on the back of motorbikes of men I just met that I’m 100% sure are mob assets. All because I’m just as sure they’re heading towards the next bump of energy in the night. I’m teaching English to ‘massage parlor’ Burmese immigrants during the day and graciously accepting the party invitations I get for the night. I don’t care if that places me square in the range of ping pong balls to the face or in the middle of roving gangs of lady boys that famously throw down in the streets of Bangkok once a year, forced to count punches to see who ‘wins’.
Those ladies have a way to ‘laugh, to live, to cry again, like when we were young’–literally by the balls.
It’s versimilitude for a night of really living that for so many people my age has grown stale as fuck. Kudos to you that in your mid-to-late 20s you’ve shat out a baby or yoked yourself into marital slavery. You have a mortgage that you get to watch Dancing With The Stars in; and if you honestly care who wins, I hope someone donkey punches you just so you feel a little thrill again. None of those are bad in and of themselves; but the culture of killing you that comes with them is. The point is, that life doesn’t need to be this crazy to get at what Dillon Francis and Grandtheft fuse together here. Perpetual youthdom isn’t a curse like you’re meant to believe. Sometimes your responsibility factor is just you fucking you over.
I grew up in multiple, ultra-conservative cultures of stability.
All I knew were men inseminating women by the age of 21 and settling down in ugly furniture homes. And the grimacing, all the goddamn grimacing.
When I was 23, I met one of the most remarkable women I’m sure I’ll ever meet. She was 47, a philosophy professor, committed socialist activist, and one of the purest humanitarians. She fucked all over town with all the agency I never knew anyone could behold. She told her stories with a wry smile of conquest, rubbing her fingers on her lips with excited grace. She had caring, long terms flings with all the people she wanted, but there was nothing that felt shackled about her. Nothing.
She was the only happy person I’d ever met.
And she told me she didn’t care about this idea of ‘when we were young’. She was wiser, she knew when to step on the balls of an asshole misogynist earlier that was just going to waste her time, and to avoid situations that had maybe an 87.5% of ulimately killing her. I didn’t ask about her maths, I knew intuition was the key there. The lesson was that she lived with the spirit of her 20s well into her 40s, and it didn’t make her some perpetual lady manchild.
One time I saw her dancing. It convinced me music was the key to everything. We’d just got done regaling on Hobbesian choice, and the depressing failures of Descartes; and suddenly she shoves two Adios Motherfuckers my way and says,
‘Dance with me! No matter what darkness I feel, I always remember to dance, to let go’
And there she is, drink in hand, not so subtly scream shouting the lyrics to ‘Poker Face’, so free as a bird that I had to join her. It was the first time I felt free. And it’s that spirit, the spirit of this darkpop/EDM, Grandtheft/Dillon Francis imagination in a track that I try to take with me everywhere in life. Even if I’m drowning in sorrow in Saigon I’m going to shout some shitty Avicii at a 5am dive bar with the mafioso that I met, I’m going to sing Alesso with lady boys that just got done beating the shit out of each other. It’s, for me, all about giving me the freedom to do so.
There’s two sides to a song like this: one of Killers-esque regret about recapturing wasted life, or one that’s the same freeing darkness you always feel pulsing through you making its way out on a dancefloor. Whatever that darkness means to you, I’d rather live the latter way.