Out of My Brain on the Train

Part the first: this is an experiment to see how the iPad works as a mobile blogging device. If it works well then the chance exists that I’ll be able to do better with poor old Girlyshoes than once a month.

Part the second is a meditation on rock and roll. I had a conversation with someone from work the other day and she commented on my relationship with music, or at least with rock lyrics. She said that I quote them and read them like poetry, while admitting that they are poetry. I went home and thought about it for a while. Not poetry, scripture.

I often see people on the train reading dog-eared bibles, sprinkled through with underlines, highlighted passages and post-it notes. While this does not reflect well on me, I find myself mystified by this behavior. Having read the old testament, there is very little I would read over and over. And once you’ve grasped the concept of do unto others, or thou shall not, really, how many more times does one need to read it? But then I had an epiphany: scripture is scripture and it is a comfort and an affirmation. Those folks I see are doing no more than I am when I listen to “Badlands” for the hundredth or more time. For them, the words are, you know, something about the meek or whatever. For me, and other disciples of the Church of Rock and Roll, it’s the more immediate satisfaction of “I want to spit in the face of these badlands, let the broken hearts stand as the price you gotta pay.”

So last weekend, I spent a few hours at the laptop and created a short form proselytization for my co-worker. I had to include some variations, sort of like multiple translations of King James… Because there is the studio version of “Rosalita”, and then there are many, many, many versions of it live. She needs to hear the words, hence studio, but she also needed to feel the energy of the live version. With the intro of the band, during the heyday of the song, when it was the centerpiece of a concert? (Which is, by the way, what was playing when I saw the lights swinging from the rafters at Madison Square Garden, from the rhythmic stamping of feet of a full house.) Or without the intro, but with the happy shrieks of the crowd when they recognize the opening riff and it’s a rare treat during the encores?

Then there is the flip side of affirmation, those songs I go back to when I am so depressed that even killing myself would require more effort than I can manage. Those are the Leonard Cohen dirges, and Dylan’s “Desolation Row”. For the record, when I was a senior in college, “Desolation Row” was in constant rotation on my turntable. My shades were kept closed and the AC down low. My house plants never grew better.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 07/09 at 09:15 AM in The Church of Rock & Roll

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