Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Delia Has Not Left the Building

Been seeing a lot of music lately. A few weeks back, it was Richard Thompson. It was a little disconcerting how old both he and the crowd was; some people had teenage kids along. The novel I'm working on (this is the real work, not the erotica, which is the potboiler) is about whether people get too old to rock and roll, whether rock is still valid after the rebellion's simmered down, and subtextually about whether women get too old to fuck, whether sex is still an open door for them after the reproduction's over. And on another level having rock/jazz/pop/hiphop stand in for the American experiment; is that dying too? Yes, it's very pretentious; that's why I have to write about policy and erotica for money.
I wonder when Thompson sings "let me ride on the wall of death one more time" if he means yes, yes, just try me, death, or if he's thinking, well, yes, um, wall of death, but it would be good if it could hold off a bit til I finish this next recording. Or maybe he thinks that the ride and finishing the song are one and the same.
It also put me in mind of the best show I'll likely ever see--Johnny Cash. It was right at the beginning of his final incarnation, just at the release of the first American Recordings cd. it was like the older people there, dressed conservatively to befit the velvet-draped Warner Theatre, were schooling the younger crowd, more used to their feet sticking to beery floors of clubs, in how to do it when someone serious is in the house...he was also the best interview I will ever get to do. At the time he was getting a lot of shit about the violence in "Delia," and he said he didn't really get that, because "Boy Named Sue" was truly the most violent song he'd ever done. What a fantastic day.
Besides by virtue of being an artist, I think he evaded the trap of age by being simultaneously rebellious and wise and chastened--simply human? Though I don't hold with his Christian god, I respect that sense that it's a privilege to live in a state of grace and that on some deep level, it's a gift both freely available and entirely undeserved.
A little ironic, me writing about Delia. "If your woman's devilish...you can let her run...or you can do her like Delia got done..."

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