Out on the eastern coasts of the Mediterranean, history has no meaning. Oh there's history. There's probably more history in any five square miles of the coastline than a thousand archaeologists in sunhats could uncover with toothbrushes and sonography in lifetimes. But that's not what I mean.
History plays no active part in the life of people here. Every second stone may have been laid by Herod or Alexander the Great, and Napoleon might have docked anywhere, but it matters not. What matters is the day-to-day, the quotidian, but unlike the quotidian in New Delhi or in New York or in London, there is no relevance of politics or finance. Neither the high priests of finance nor the high priests of temples enter into it.
The right music for these places is Tame Impala's psychedelia, the beautiful sensual drone like the wash of warm water, soft like sand shifting under your feet.
Tame Impala - Glass Half full of Wine - 2008
There are the governing rhythms of the day, like the bubble of the sheesha at dawn in Alexandria as the fishing boats set out, gliding over the temples of Ptolemy, which are now sunk. Everywhere, breakfast is bread and cheese and olives and oranges and thick sweet black coffee. When the sun is high, the sea is blue like lapis lazuli is blue and the houses along the coast are white like sugarcubes. There is the glint of wineglasses in the afternoon, and the smell of anis and sugared deserts. In the evening, the sun falls into the ocean like a red iron disc and there is music. Time passes in long beats, like the contraction and expansion of jellyfish.
Tame Impala - Solitude is Bliss - 2010
In parts, there is a gilding of modern life over the same rhythm. The fall of the same red hot iron disc is mirrored in a millions sunglasses on hundreds of beaches. Like the same jellyfish, beach umbrellas shut and are stacked away by immigrant labour. The water of the Mediterranean loses its transparency and shimmers like a shield. The yachts come back into the harbour. In one of these cafes on the marina is Francis Fukyama, sitting across from Keith Richards, evaluating the continuum of the eternal present.
Tame Impala - Sundown Syndrome - 2009
Move here. Run in the morning. Eat organic and low fat food, fresh orange juice, skimmed milk. Drink in moderation. Stay active. Don't work more than forty hours a week. Wear white linen. Wear suntan. Surf and parasail on weekends. Pay your taxes. You'll never die. You'll never grow old.