Friday, June 21, 2013

Trumbling Through The Trenches (Of Our Broken Heart)

"In a world where Nina Simone can break your heart with a Morris Albert ditty, anything is possible"
Mr. Trumble, who's great, sent me this and it moved me on so many levels - before I'd even gotten through the first minute of it - I thought, I ought to let him in on it: 

That face. I love black faces. There's a timelessness, an "indigenous" we-were-here-first look, that's comforting.


 I look at black faces and know (as they say in Rap) "We will be here forever" and "All they can say about the black man is he was, he is, and he shall be." 

Then of course, I go to Yurp and discover we're morons because everybody's "indigenous" to somewhere and - wow - if you look at 'em long enough, you can fall in love with practically every face on the planet.

They just don't all claim to be robots who need-to-get-them-selves-to-ge-ther. That's ours. 

Nina Simone was probably the first musical voice I became familiar with, as I remember "Don't Explain" playing often in my old man's home when I was a baby. She haunted me. I wondered what was wrong with her. Now I can see her as an adult, and understand, she was clearly insane. Talk about knowing why the caged bird sings, her life (which she made even more difficult) was tragedy personified.

As with Wesley Willis, there's something deeply disturbing about a true case of insanity being sold as a product, though I'm grateful for the view. Art can be troubling that way. But so can life. The functionally insane are everywhere, some producing beauty far beyond what the rest of us deserve (like here - even her drummer's been reduced to a spectator). Whether they're good earners or not, the rest need help. 

I'd still like a chance to see Americans whole, and rational, before I go.

This driving-ourselves-beautifully-insane shit has gone on for much too long,...

1 comment:

  1. I'm flattered, really. Thanks for the kind words. I, too, noticed that Nina was pretty much completely out of her mind, and though mental illness as art can absolutely be a form of voyeurism, there is also, often, a certain honesty that never comes through with artists trying to "give the audience what they want". The audience doesn't know what they want, so being less than real, trying to second guess them, is a sure ticket to being third rate. Think: Madonna or Bon Jovi. They're rich beyond words, and people adore them; but does anyone really believe them to be Important Artists? (apologies for putting that image in your head).

    On the other hand, there's a fair chance that being too honest is what makes some artists crazy and self destructive--Miles, Billie Holiday, and this woman, who is one of my favorites from the last couple of decades:

    I can think of a dozen pop stars currently in the radio line up, all males, who wish they could rent balls that big. Owning them, apparently, comes with too high a price tag.