New Russian Chronicles
Surviving monotaxocausofilia

Meghan Elisabeth Lanegal-Melua

I was cooking some chick peas this morning. This wouldn’t have much relevance, if it weren’t because, apparently, cooking chick peas takes my trains of thought on weird trips. Ok, so here it is:

My favorite male singer is Mark Lanegan.
My favorite female singer is Katie Melua.

And so I was wondering….. what would it be like if they had a baby… AND that baby took singing lessons?

The possibilities began to fill my mind in the way smoke fills the lungs of a smoke, going into every single space and crevice, until I choked on the pleasure my imaginings were providing.

In short: It would be AWESOME.

But then I thought, would it be so awesome, really? Let’s discount the possibility that this baby would like, say, biking, or competitive knitting, instead of singing. (Both very legitimate activities). Let’s imagine the daughter of those two great singers can sing like no one has sung before.

Would that spoil all of music to everyone, after listening to her? Wouldn’t it spoil it in the way that visiting Rome regularly has spoiled pasta and pizza for me forever? (Seriously).

But then, in a bright flash of light I realized where that thought came from, what, in my youth, had primed me to consider things in such a way, to consider the sublime to be the sworn enemy of an accomplished, rich and satisfying everyday life:
Isaac Asimov.

Yes. It so happens, apparently, that I am going to speak about mr. Asimov again, in this blog.
Isaac Asimov has a collection of short stories that is centered around Azazel, a little (2cm tall) devil that provides favours to a human. I won’t say anything else not to spoil it, but I advice you to read more.

What follows is an extract of his short story “One night of song”, in which the protagonist helps a friend take revenge on a former lover, by making her sing perfectly… for one night.


She started at her usual level and then at 8:15 precisely, it was as though another voice had been added. I saw her give a little jump as though she didn’t believe what she heard, and one hand, which was held to her diaphragm, seemed to vibrate.

Her voice soared. It was as though she had become an organ in perfect pitch. Each note was perfect, a note invented freshly at that moment, besides which all other notes of the same pitch and quality were imperfect copies.

Each note hit squarely with just the proper vibrato, if that’s the word, swelling or diminishing with enormous power and control.

And she got better with each note. The organist wasn’t looking at the music, he was looking at her, and-I can’t swear to it-but I think he stopped playing. If he were playing, I wouldn’t have heard him anyway. There was noway in which you could hear anything while she was singing. Anything else but her.

The look of surprise had vanished from her face, and there was a look of exaltation there instead. She had put down the music she had been holding; she didn’t need it. Her voice was singing by itself and she didn’t need to control or direct it. The conductor was rigid and everyone else in the chorus seemed dumbfounded.

The solo ended at last and the chorus sounded in what was a whisper, as though they were all ashamed of their voices and distressed to turn them loose in the same church on the same night.

For the rest of the program it was all her. When she sang, it was all that was heard even if every other voice was sounding. When she didn’t sing, it was as though we were sitting in the dark, and we couldn’t bear the absence of light.

– From Isaac Asimov, “One Night of Song”.
Also, I bet you had no idea Isaac Asimov had written fantasy about little devils and stuff. Well, shame on you. Isaac Asimov wrote on many, MANY topics. Seriously, if you think reading about chemistry is boring, read one of his books on the topic. They read like a saga.


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