Thursday, August 11, 2016

You can't jump a jet plane, like you can a freight train...

I've got a kind of complicated relationship with Gordon Lightfoot, having heard him the most during a particularly conflicted time of my life.  Those early years'll do you in sometimes, but maybe it goes back that passage from Sherman Alexie I am so fucking fond of bringing up.  Something about how being a writer is like standing in the doorway of your own prison.  You can go back in and decide what is worth saving and then go about dragging it back out the door and into the present.

My relationship with music is like that.  It all started way back when, when I had no vocabulary for emotions, so every point of reference can be traced right back through the door to a specific point of time.  I'm pretty sure that the role of music in my life would be more like aural wallpaper had it come through any other means.  You can take it back to the escapist theme that I keep circling back on.  I disappeared into these pop music fantasies and imitated all my favorite artists, singing along and playing air guitar and dreaming of how different life would be if I ever got rich and famous.  That'd show 'em.  Of course I never even made a fair attempt because well, you know, fantasies are best left fantasies.  Why risk trying to bring it to life and then fucking it up?

It struck me too, listening to this song the other day, how many American (in this case North American) songs there are about traveling... about moving from one place to the next.  Americans have a reputation in Europe for being boorish (we might be that), provincial dolts that never venture far from the spot where they were born and rarely out of their own country.  That hasn't exactly been my experience with my people, and how many Europeans have ever traveled 3000 miles or more by car on a single holiday?  Americans sure have more songs about planes, trains and automobiles than anyone else.

Anyhoo... Gordon Lightfoot.  Not much more inspiring that the ring of a 12-string guitar.  This song too... the connection I suppose lies somewhere in my fascination with airport bars and train stations and bus stops. What am I but a typical American?

The big lonely... That's what I hear.  You either get it or you don't, or maybe you don't want to, but that's what I hear.

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