Mike James part 2

Friday, 1 June 2007

I got mail from Mike James yesterday. I hadn’t heard from him in months. I hadn’t send him any mail too, being to busy wasting my time on other things.
The envelop contained the usual surprises that Mike James has been sending me for many years: an incomplete scientific article on the nature of reality, print outs of an article on Paramount 78’s, an article from the magazine Soldier of Fortune on the killing of Theo van Gogh (which reminded me of the nature of reality, which in my opinion is a personal reflection of one’s own mind, and not the impersonal machinery that most media wants us to believe it to be), two DVD’s (one with Spike Jones TV shows and a documentary on Gangs of New York after the Dutch left ), and of course a cassette tape with a spoken letter.
The stroke that Mike James had four or five years ago killed the artist in him. At least that is what he tells me on this tape. He can no longer read or write, his speech is slurry and strange, and of course there will be many subtle changes that he doesn’t even care to talk about. But I don’t agree: the artist in Mike James is more alive than ever. He just doesn’t realise what he is doing! The fact that he still makes spoken word tapes for me, and that he sends me all this stuff which he knows I like, makes him a true artist in my opinion. Art is not about producing artefacts, art is a way of living.
Mike James has a lust for life that I find incomprehensible. I can hardly imagine that a man in his position still has a will to live at all. I probably would not be making tapes and jokes if I where in his situation. But he does. In fact I was in bad headspace (a new word that I learned recently; we don’t have this in Dutch and I love it) when I picked his mail out of my mail box, but after listening to his cassette I felt much better. Ain’t that what true art is all about: changing the lifes of others?!
On this picture you can see Mike James as he was in 1991. I have no idea how he looks nowadays. I do know how he sounds nowadays, but I am not going to share that with you. Here is a tape that I got from him many years ago, with some of his favourite audio. There is no info with the tape, of course. But I think that is better: listening to a compilation of somebody’s favourite sounds gives a great insight in the mind of that person. And it works best when you have no information on what you are listening to. The reason why Mike choose this for the openingstrack, is no coincdence. Neither is there coincidence on the rest of the tape. Or in the rest of the Universe! But that is a whole different story.