I was browsing through my music library tonight and selected an album by Robin Guthrie. I hadn't listened to him in a long while, but memories came flooding back to me.
I first came across his music in college. My roommate at first appeared to be nothing like me, but had the exact same musical interests. It was an uncanny pairing, especially as neither of us listened to anything remotely "popular". In fact, we tried to outdo each other in terms of who could find the most unusual, bizarre, and eclectic music we could. It was a game we played often. I think the first time he applauded my efforts was when I played Captain Beefheart's "Bat Chain Puller".
Despite our penchant for the bizarre, we both did enjoy solid musicians. He introduced me to some very profound and significant bands over the year. One group we both enjoyed unwinding to was the Cocteau Twins. Whenever we played their tracks, we put aside our competitiveness and pontificated. Undoubtedly, it was the creaminess of the music that made us contemplative. We were young. We were in college. We felt as if the world was, indeed, ours for the taking.
Those were good times.
We had another shared interest, which was our fish tank. We bought a behemoth that took up a quarter of our room and stocked it with bizarre and exotic aquatic creatures. Our neighbours thought us cruel when we bought a fish from the Congo that required a daily diet of live goldfish, but it wouldn't eat anything dead. Nevertheless, it was the perfect fish for students who disappeared for holiday breaks. We'd simply dump in a lot of feeder fish and say goodbye. Weeks later, we'd return and he'd be the only one left in the tank. He would watch us with his cold eyes. Swivel in place to keep us locked in his gaze when we moved around the room. He was a smart fish. Viscous but smart.
It did, however, torment a poor Dino Dog that we put in the tank with it. We though the Dino could take care of itself. It was too big to eat, but the Congo bully still pecked at its head and played with it for sport.
One day, the Dino Dog was gone. We figured the worst. That was the first time we felt angry at the Congo. We chastised him for it. We liked the Dino and we were angry that he'd eaten him. Gradually, our anger subsided and we stopped withholding food from him.
i was startled several days later, when I came across a strange creature covered in muck crawling across my bed. I was about to pound it with my shoe, when I realised it was the Dino Dog. Our room wasn't very clean (we were college boys, after all) and he must have picked up all sorts of refuse and residue (my roommate once found a half-eaten cheese sand which under his bed that must have been at least six months old; I thought it was the smell of his feet). Anyways, that wasn't the biggest surprise. We had no idea that Dino was amphibious! All this time, we thought he was a fish.
Well, once we realised our ignorance, we did what any respectable college, student would do. We held Dino Dog races in the hallway!