(post made possible by the good graces of the High Point Cafe, West Mt. Airy, State of Deep Perplexity, U.S.A.)
...was reminiscing with somebody about high school a day or two ago...not actually reminiscing, more like referring...with none of that wistful emotional content reminiscing might imply...but then it turned into reminiscing when I remembered seeing Bowie...in 1983...on the Serious Moonlight Tour...which kicked ass...so, today, that in mind, I was listening to the Ziggy Stardust album...in mp3 form...on an ipod...in the car...thinking that shit holds up...though it may be as much or more simply a lingering residue of some kind of sardonic adolescent reverie...the way Bowie could make ya feel cool precisely because you were so hopelessly alienated and desperately miserable and despised by it seemed like every single one of your peers along with...everybody else...basically...i look at my watch it says nine twenty-five and I think oh god i’m still alive...keep your ‘lectric eye on me babe, put your rayguns to my head...to be insulted by these fascists is so degrading...along with perhaps the hope that maybe it was all really just a big mistake...a routine cosmic error by which you inadvertently got born on the wrong planet, and...who knows?...maybe that could be corrected somehow...though probably not...which only makes the teenage romantic despair that much more pungent...one of my all time favorite songs is “Strawberry Fields Forever”...which isn’t so much about drugs...as countless wasted teenagers...or one-time wasted teenagers...will tell you...or about some specific place in Liverpool that had some specific importance in John Lennon’s specific life as countless music trivia nerds will tell you...what it’s about, I think, is having a place in the mind where you can go where everything’s cool...there’s a bunch of Lennon songs about that, actually...except this one takes it a step further...that is you can’t you know tune in but it’s alright, that is I think it’s not too bad...to acknowledge the one big problem with that place...which is not, actually, that it isn’t real...that’s part of the appeal, in fact, and precisely the reason there’s nothing to get hung about...but that you can only ever go there alone...and no matter how many times you say “let me take you down” to how many people, you can only ever be alone there...any real connection requires setting out from that safe comfortable space back out into everything you went there to escape, facing the slings and arrows of outrageous bullshit and................................is there something wrong, do you think, with somebody at 42 thinking so much about old rock lyrics...too much like that kid in junior high with the strikingly early facial hair and funky smelling jean jacket and the complete words to the Dark Side of the Moon album inscribed on his math book cover...and even taking the time and bandwidth to share this shit? Probably, but it’s far from the worst thing wrong with me...when I think of how my light is spent...and anyway, here’s a quote from Hokusai (who, as far as I know, never rhymed “fire” with “desire” or “all night” with “all right”):
I have been in love with painting ever since I became conscious of it at the age of six. I drew some pictures I thought fairly good when I was fifty, but really nothing I did before the age of seventy was of any value at all. At seventy-three I have at last caught every aspect of nature—birds, fish, animals, insects, trees, grasses, all. When I am eighty I shall have developed still further, and I will really master the secrets of art at ninety. When I reach a hundred my work will be truly sublime, and my final goal will be attained around the age of one hundred and ten, when every line and dot I draw will be imbued with life.
So what the hell does that have to with anything? And wasn’t Van Gogh, anyway, the first rock star, in that glorified self-destructive kind of way? No, Keats doesn’t count—I mean, it’s not like he chose to die of t.b...and, despite what Shelley wrote about him, read famously by Mick Jagger at the free concert in Hyde Park in tribute to Brian Jones found floating in his swimming pool two days earlier while Hell’s Angels auditioned for the stabbing death of sixties idealism among the assembled London throng, even his good looking corpse likely meant a big fat missing-out on inspiration rather than any kind of romantic fulfillment of it...and, all in all, much as it’d be nice to have my teens and twenties back, truth be told it’d only be worth it if I could hold on to the mind I’ve got now....