Monday, January 11, 2016

A man who's left the world

Always, the camera loved him. It wasn't primarily a matter of looks. They were fine, even distinguished, but a little off. Nor was it the outlandish costumes, which came and went. The theatrical and mime training he underwent before breaking through helped. He knew which gestures would communicate the most.

But even that's not all. Underneath the flash and the dramatics you could detect a very human warmth, a quality that's almost impossible to fake.

That's part of what he brought to his music too. Things could get weird and they could get dark, While Diamond Dogs is sketchy as a concept album, the one thing to understand about it is "bad→worse." But there was always a heart beating within, if sometimes an angsty one. That may have been the secret to his success, and it's definitely worth remembering.


susan said...

I'm not a prophet or a stone-age man
Just a mortal with the potential of a superman
I'm living on
I'm tethered to the logic of Homo Sapien

Quicksand is another of his marvelous musical poems. He wore masks and personas, because he wanted to communicate how much of what we cling to and perceive as real or authentic is a chimera. He was an inspiration to so many and provided an amazing example of how to stay classy right to the end.

Here's another (we could go on, couldn't we?):

Time takes a cigarette, puts it in your mouth
You pull on your finger, then another finger, then your cigarette
The wall-to-wall is calling, it lingers, then you forget
Ohh how how how, you're a rock 'n' roll suicide

You're too old to lose it, too young to choose it
And the clocks waits so patiently on your song
You walk past a cafe but you don't eat when you've lived too long
Oh, no, no, no, you're a rock 'n' roll suicide

Oh no love! you're not alone
You're watching yourself but you're too unfair
You got your head all tangled up but if i could only
Make you care
Oh no love! you're not alone
No matter what or who you've been
No matter when or where you've seen
All the knives seem to lacerate your brain
I've had my share, I'll help you with the pain
You're not alone

Ben said...

I know that he studied Buddhism as a young man and took it pretty seriously, even though he wasn't a full convert. As you suggest, there's a good chance he was influenced by the Buddhist idea of no-self.

"Quicksand" I love. It's a bracing poem set to music. "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" is very much one of the times that the warmth showed through.