Sunday, 18 December 2016

And my choice is ...

Most Sunday mornings we listen to Desert Island Discs. I sometimes think that the theme tune to the programme might well be one of my chosen pieces of music, in the unlikely event that they might ask me to take part.

This week it was Bruce Springsteen, a performer we have seen on a number of occasions, whose music we have on CD, DVD, audio cassette and even video cassette: stuff we play frequently, apart, that is, from the video cassettes, and the audio cassettes for that matter. All the occasions when we have seen him live have been memorable, such as driving to Old Trafford to see him with a friend whose brother knew the words of just about all the songs, not just to sing along to mumbling over the bits you have forgotten but actually singing them totally word perfect unaccompanied in the car at the top of his voice!

We even saw him in Galicia, in a venue outside Santiago de Compostela (where health and safety had seemingly not been heard of) and ending up eating chorizo and chips and drinking beer at four in the morning, fantasising about running into the band in the old quarter next day. That did not happen! Such a shame!
 Anyway, there he was on Desert Island Discs, large as life and pleasant to listen to. His eight records, he claimed, all had some influence on his own music:

Elvis: You ain't nothing but a hound dog
Beatles: I wanna hold your hand
Stones: It's all over now.
Van Morrison: Astral weeks
Marvin Gaye: What's going on?
James Brown: Out of sight
Dylan: Like a rolling stone (this was the one above all he would save from the waves)
The Four Tops: Baby, I need your loving

In addition to the Bible and Shakespeare, books everyone receives willy nilly, he would like "Woody Guthrie: a life", by Joe Klein

As regards his permitted luxury, he wanted a chef but this was not allowed on the grounds that it meant having another person there on the island. He declined a kitchen, saying that he can't cook. In the end he opted to take his guitar. Fair enough!

He talked at one point about his relationship with his father, who he said loved him and couldn't stand him: that traditional duality in father-son relationships. Like many men of his (our) generation he found it difficult to talk to him. Asked if he talked to his mother about his father, he said not. You didn't talk about emotions back then, he said. Quite so.

You could send a card or give a gift, even end a letter, with "love from ..." but as a rule you didn't make a big thing about telling your family you loved them. Unlike now when " ' love you" is almost too easy to say, heard all the time on buses at the end of mobile phone conversations. We older folk are more restrained, although on the whole it's a good job we got past being totally unable to express our feelings. However, when my sister's granddaughter (my great-niece, I suppose) tells me she has missed me, there is still a bit of me that huffs and puffs and says, no, that she doesn't see me regularly enough, indeed has never seen me regularly enough to miss me when I am not around. But that's a different matter.

Anyway, Springsteen reckoned he has been working out his feelings on stage. He says his performances amount to putting on his father's clothes and going on stage to work it all out. Oddly enough the last time we say Loudon Wainwright he was reading out selections of his father's writings.

Maybe it's part of being famous.

According to presenter Kirsty Young, Barack Obama once said he was only running for president because he couldn't be Bruce Springsteen. Randy Newman has a song, "My life is good", where he makes us believe Bruce asked him to be "The Boss" for a while.

Everyone should have a dream!

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