This was going to be my next entry for the 2010 launch of the official Donnarc.net site, but unfortunately, due to an overwhelming amount of obstacles, Donnarc is no more. I feel this piece is worthy of sharing, and still fitting for the new year. Enjoy.
“Hold your breath, make a wish, count to three.” You have just survived the holidays. They get longer and more drawn out every year. Finally, it’s a new year- time for new beginnings, but also for retrospection.
I used to like Christmas. I used to think it was a magical time. Working retail Christmas years ago killed that magic. I was pushed over the ho-ho-horrible edge! A glimpse of a candy cane and I am now ready to hurt somebody. I’d rather stick a skewer into my eyeball than hear about Jesus and his eight tiny reindeer, or Santa asleep in the manger! People only buy their mother-cousin-uncle-boss a gift because they feel like they have to give them something; it is tradition. Also, don’t forget the everlasting Christmas carols! All I wanted to do was to get away from Jesus fucking Christ-mas.
So, I spent Christmas in Egypt. It was such a relief. There is virtually no Christmas in Egypt, and definitely no carols. What I hadn’t taken into account, however, was that a different kind of musical environment exists- this one year-round. The Adhan, Muslim call to prayer, starts around 5am everyday. A sheikh painfully howls the basic Muslim beliefs from mosques practically posted on every street corner. The words tumble across the land like moist nuggets of feces which are merrily slurped up by the submissive believer like a dog eating its own shit. This takes place five times a day, everyday, until the end of eternity. One becomes numb to it after a while. Eventually, however, it starts to become a handy time-teller throughout the day. It also made me notice just about how much music and religion go together- like eggnog and hard liquor.
Music is a big part of religion; it’s so catchy it’s ingrained. It affects you on a subconscious level- much like brainwashing! It also appeals to one’s emotions, which makes for something difficult to resist. Muslims live for the reward of an after-world of pure imagination, and they use a musical prayer outlining their beliefs to remind themselves daily. One intriguing branch of Islam uses music for worship in a different way. Sufis are more or less the black sheep of Islam and are described as the mystical dimension of the sect. Slow and sedate music accompanies the Sufi dance- a form of meditation designed to bring the dancer to a state of kemal or perfection. Allegedly, it reaches the soul of the dancer and awakens one’s consciousness. Spinning around in repetitive circles is compared to the movement of the planets around the sun. Everything from materials of the costume to the movements during the trance is symbolic of the steps toward purification. Witnessing the dance is like hypnosis, but it is colorful and passionate, and watching a man spin around in circles for an hour and a half is admirable on a certain level.
Have religion and music always danced cheek-to-cheek like Jesus and Santa? For Christians, that is like asking the chicken-or-the-egg question. The chicken came first because it was created. For those of us living in a world where snakes only slither (as opposed to talking) and all fruit is acceptable (as opposed to forbidden), there are more educated answers for their origins. Religion came about shortly after the development of language about 50,000 years ago; the human brain was then large enough to comprehend philosophical ideas, yet not filter out superstition. The oldest musical instrument discovered is 35,000 years old and is a vulture-bone flute from Germany. This discovery shows a society which drank beer and partied around the campfire long before Creationists claim God created the universe. Let me guess, just like fossils, the Devil planted the evidence to lead us astray.
Humor Judaic mythology for a moment and assume this is accurate. It makes perfect sense! After all, Lucifer was a musician, and is the prototype of a metal head! He was cast away from the obedient masses for having a rebellious attitude, pride, and refusal to conform. Like other angels, he started out child-like and naïve, but later he decided to exercise the ability to make choices and think. He didn’t do anything wrong except question authority and flirt with doubt. If there were a Handbook of Core Metal Values, Lucifer would be the author. Yet he received the ultimate punishment. Leading the “Fuck Authority” movement, his fall from grace served as the metaphorical seed of Metal buried in soil. I imagine his handbook’s opening sentence, “In the beginning, Lucifer said, ‘Let there be fucking Metal!’”
Rest in Peace, Donnarc.