This book ensnared me in its whirlwind tempo and spit me out at the end, spent and spinning. DJ Darky finds himself en route to Berlin, on a quest to find Schwa, this illusive musician whose work is unparalleled in the modern world. After sending a mix tape to the bar, Slumberland, DJ Darky gets his dream job of jukebox sommelier along with a German work visa. This is circa 1989, pre-unification, and the Wall is still intact. Soon, the Wall falls, and people miss it. Schwa is found in the form of a beggar man with wheelbarrow full of bricks saying “For the nigger, it niggereth every day,” which is the key phrase that identifies him as indeed Schwa (Charles Stone). DJ Darky gets out from behind the jukebox he’s fixing and follows him to watch Schwa try to rebuild the Wall with his pile of bricks. Somewhere along the way they recreate the Wall with Schwa’s sounds via boom boxes placed in trees all along the perimeter of where the Wall was.
Reprints from the book (p 13):
“Most languages have a word for the day before yesterday. Anteayer in Spanish. Vorgestern in German. There is no word for it in English. It’s a language that tries to keep the past simple and perfect, free of the subjunctive blurring of memory and mood.”
“Listening to America these days is like listening to the fallen King Lear using his royal gibberish to turn field mice and shadows into real enemies. America is always composing empty phrases like ‘keeping it real,’ ‘intelligent design,’ ‘hip-hop generation,’ and ‘first responders’ as a way to disguise the emptiness and the mundanity.”