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Friday: Advice From the Balcony
11.6.2003 by Dan Beirne, every Wednesday.

Nathan Lane comes over every Wednesday to the house to watch a movie, or just chat with Dan. Dan found these little chats so interesting, he decided to tape-record them and tell the world all the neat things Nathan had to say about movies and stuff.

Friday, fifth day, it's raining and hailing and cold.

Advice From The Balcony (2002-03): a folded-paper magazine written by two people named Ilya and Tom. They live in Montreal, and Nathan and I stayed up all night reading and discussing their work. And "zines" in general.

(Nathan opens the tray of butter tarts again. There are only a few left)

Nathan: They're so damned honest!

Me: Yeah. That's...yeah.

Nathan: Everything that is said in these things comes from the heart. You know, the heart, Dan.

Me: Are you saying I don't know much about that?

Nathan: That's exactly what I'm saying.

Me: "And all the world crumbles while I sit here charting its decay."

Nathan: Are you paraphrasing?

Me: A lot of David and Goliath references.

Nathan: Here's the thing about cliches.

(the streetlights are beat-boxing outside, so we fall into a bit of a rhythm)

Me: What? Something I don't get.

Nathan: Just let me finish. Cliches, in this kind of hyper-honest, drunk-and-really-thinking situation, are really the truth.

Me: If you don't have anything nice to say..

Nathan: You're not listening. People can come to the realization that 'time flies', and write it down, and as long as it's honest, as long as it's really something they've come to and not something they read on a bathroom wall, it's real.

Me: Reading things on a bathroom wall; I get it.

Nathan: That's why stoners sound like such idiots. They're just finally realizing the things that we already think we know, but are moving too fast to even consider.

Me: But what about the writing?

(the studio version of "Edit the Sad Parts" plays softly; the good solo. I'm going to put that song on a mix tape)

Nathan: Self-aware.

Me: Not a review.

Nathan: Representative.

Me: Nope.

Nathan: True?

Me: You said that.

(long pause)

Nathan: Necessary.

Me: ...alright.

Nathan: These are actually guys who smoke cigarettes, wake up with strange girls, worry about their writing, and go to New York for the weekend. That still happens.

Me: Like you said, necessary.

Nathan: "Now I have to go home and try to progress, evolve, get even better knowing I've really gone nowhere."

Me: You've made your point.

Nathan: Have I? 'Cause I'm pointing at you.

Me: I said I get it!

(Nathan looks at the ceiling and laughs)

Nathan: Someone once asked me what it means to be "noticed".

Me: Yeah, why don't you tell us?

Nathan: Shut up. Where do you draw the line between art for yourself and art that is noticed?

Me: Well, certainly at a number greater than zero.

Nathan: (simultaneously whispering and speaking in a normal voice) Dan, you're greater than zero.

Me: A-fuck. A-you.

Nathan: Hey, don't yell at me. Look around you. What do you see?

Me: Art for art's sake?

Nathan: How dare you?! You see yourself, don't you? Are you not the audience to this art? Do you not factor into its existence?

Me: I guess. I paid the dollar for each one.

Nathan: Exactly! "The world is so full of folk heroes, that you can forget now nasty it can be sometimes." You, and them, make what they can because they can. And you support it because you believe in it.

Me: Are you making fun of me?

Nathan: A lot of George Orwell references too.

Me: Don't tell me what I think.

Nathan: Awww, that's cute.

Me: What's wrong with having ideals?

Nathan: Nothing. Nothing at all.

(the sound of someone being less-than-perfect)

Nathan: It's just sort of like eating apple pie for dinner. Okay for a few nights.

Me: I think you're just jealous.

Nathan: Of this naivete?

Me: Forget it, old man.

Nathan: No. Say it.

Me: You wouldn't understand, you're a bit too grumpy.

(the sound of knuckles cracking)

Nathan: I'll leave right now.

Me: That's rich. Almost as rich as you.

Nathan: Go fuck yourself.

Me: Don't move. Here comes Saturday.

Nathan: Don't talk to me.

Me: "I lamented the knowledge that no matter how close the moment we just shared brought us, at the end of the night, we all go to bed alone."

If you want a copy of Advice From the Balcony, e-mail Nathan, maybe he'll be able to get you one.

next week: Saturday. things can only get uglier.

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