Sunday, 24 April 2016

Maybe the best we can do is do what we love as best we can...

I've just finished Peter Ames Carlin's biog on Bruce Springsteen. It's an efficient if oddly bloodless overview. What seems evident is Bruce's overwhelming integrity and almost myopic focus on HIS cause; his undaunted bloody minded self-belief. Narcism is invariably pitched as a negative but not here; here was a man with limited options but a God gifted talent that gave him only one real outlet for his creative energy. He recognized early that his 'everyman' appeal would somehow elevate him above the mundane, even though that was his very subject matter. He didn't always offer answers but he did articulate the confusions and frustrations of a baby boomer generation, offered the possibilities of... everything, but with little chance of collecting. It made me think about my own musical ambitions: the fact that perhaps I've been hobbled by comfort; maybe too many choices and 'outs' made this Jack a dull boy. Intent is often thrust on folk who have no option but to succeed. The alternative is unimaginable to them. We all dream about horizons from the comfort of our beds and awake to sleepwalk through our days. Part of the power of Springsteen's early work is in how he seized on that lackaday ideal: the power of dreams, and somehow gave luster and energy to the unlikely possibilities; he harnessed the energy of that transient light that inevitably become shadows in most of our hearts. He believed in magic; he made the magic real by his unquenchable belief in it; primarily in recognizing the spellbinding power of music but also in the belligerent belief that gave magical shape to his spells. Spellbound by the spell, he is like a hypnotist, charming himself to believe in his own smoke and mirrors.

I'm unsure why I feel the need for this rambling... maybe as more and more of my musical heroes drop off the planet I'm learning to cherish the legends whose living vibrant voices are more than just revenant wails of souls departed.
Odd how we lament loss.
There is nothing quite as sweet as the grey warbling of a bird near extinction. We push things towards extinction, and only when we're fearful of their loss, do we cherish them. Why do we need to make things rare, when we should celebrate the common place?
There are certain people that inspire us to keep eyeing the horizon, yet offer shelter and safe harbour should things go awry. We bottle their benevolence and call it ‘home’. These kindred spirits are not pious custodians, just ordinary folk with the same vulnerabilities as the rest of us, but they are somehow able to focus their energy and intent. Something sets them apart, moving us to burden them with our wellbeing. They become the keepers of our faith in other people. The American poet Galway Kinnell said ‘Maybe the best we can do is do what we love as best we can’. His countryman Springsteen is an abiding bellwether for me: his imperfect poetry rings true daily, encouraging me to find the best in myself and learn to love it. Di keeps reminding me that you can't love other folk until you truly love yourself. If you see that as narcism then... you can kiss my ass and call me shorty.
Here's a reminder of the power of dreaming. 
This could be my favorite live vocal performance.
It's magical.
Watch it twice and then tell me that is doesn't give you a reason to believe...

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