It’s been seriously long time since I shared something on this blog. Not because there was nothing to share, rather because there was too much.
So with New Spring, I will attempt a new take on this blog. I will try to share more, without many comments or personal statement, preludes, more focused on getting out their and sharing with the world what “makes me click”, in this wonderful quest for beauty, wander and inspiration.
Here is a wqxr video found on kottke.org of Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Apparently wqxr compiled 46 different performances of this beautiful piece in one video. And it works beautifully.
This blog became two years old the other day. If it could take a voice, I imagine it would take the voice of Sixto Rodriguez and say, “Thank you for keeping me alive!”, in the same simple, clear and vibrato way as Rodriguez welcomed his fans at his ‘resurrection’ concert in S. Africa in 1998.
So two years in, Thank you Escape for making some sense out of me. Thank you all.
And yes, I Wonder. And I thank you for Wondering:
The first song I ever heard of Rodriguez was this very “I Wonder”. It was summer, I was in a bar above the sea, on a starry night. Its style and his voice amplified the evening breeze. Shazam, beautiful shazam app, helped me ‘tag’ the song and led me to Sixto Rodriguez’ limited discography.
Then, recently, I watched the documentary film “Searching for Sugarman” (2012) about the weird story of Sixto Rodriguez. Rodriguez, living in Detroit, made a couple of albums as a young musician at the end of the ’60’s beginning of ’70’s that didn’t do well. With his music career not going anywhere, he spent his life working as a builder in constructions.
Parallel to his low expectations life, from the ’80’s onwards his records became popular and loved in South Africa. There, for the anti-apartheid white youth of South Africa, he became a symbol; he was actually considered bigger than Elvis. And although we are talking about the final years of the 20th century, Rodriguez was living in Detroit poor and unaware of his success in some other part of the world, while in South Africa he was believed to be long dead. The rumour had it that he had heroically committed suicide on stage. That was the case until he was ‘discovered’ alive in the 90’s, thanks to the internet, to an equally big surprise to his South African fans and to him and to his family and friends. As a S. African article put it during his first ‘resurrection’ tour there in 1998 that attracted more than 50.000 people: “The US zero – the S.A. hero”. How can you not ‘Wonder’?
Here is the ‘Searching for Sugarman’ documentary film (duration: 1hr 26mins):
And I wonder,
I want to keep wondering
and I want to keep on sharing my wonders and my wanderings with you on ‘Escape’
I started this day by watching a 1965 film about Leonard Cohen (via OpenCulture). A young Leonard Cohen. In the film, Cohen is portrayed mainly as a poet, as a literary man. So that got me going and I started looking on the web about his poems and his quotes and I bumped into plenty of interesting material.
“If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick everyday.”
At some point in the film, at 20mins into it to be exact, Cohen explains how he got to move to Greece, to Hydra. He says he lived in London at the time. It was winter, it was gloomy, rainy, and he had a cold, when he bumped into the Bank of Greece, the title of which was etched in marble on the building facade. He walked in and the man behind the counter was wearing sunglasses. Leonard felt, and I am quoting him, that this was “the most eloquent protest against the entire landscape.” That was the beginning of his affair with Greece.
Here is a page from the Leonard Cohen Files website, an incredible database, with Leonard’s photos & poems from the island of Hydra (click on image to access the link):
Leonard Cohen Poems & Photos from Hydra
“Reality is one of the possibilities I cannot afford to ignore.”
I still don’t know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
Every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste
was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test
(Turn and face the stranger)
Don’t want to be a richer man
(Turn and face the stranger)
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
Paco de Lucia, this amazing Spanish flamenco guitarist plays the Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo, another spaniard. De Lucia cannot read music, so he interprets this piece following his unique sense of rhythm. Apparently Rodrigo thought that this was the best interpretation of his work.
This video (via youtube) includes all three movements, but my favorite ones are the second and third and they begin at 6:20mins into the video.