Pop Music (Part One)

B ig me
U p, Promoter Man,
B oost my image if you can!
B ring me
L oads of ready cash –
E xtra cushions when I crash!

Image result for shooting star

Easy enough target, of course, the pursuit of short-lived fame by people – often young and low on self-esteem – who are easy prey for the cynical Svengalis that feed the ever-hungry maw of modern media!

The search for novelty is relentless. Get famous and instantly the hunt is on for new (and now not-so-nice) things to say – scandals, skeletons-in-the-closet, stylistic faux pas – and if there is any dosh most of it will go to publicity agents, libel lawyers and anti-stalker security protection.

What do I know about it, you ask, whose only brush with fame was the soft brush I once wielded when washing Bert Weedon’s car as a Boy Scout during the fund-raising Bob-a-Job Week? Bert who, you inquire? Ah well, none other than the man who shifted a million guitar-tuition books entitled, somewhat optimistically, Play In A Day. Made it sound easy, you see …

And how much did this guitar megastar fork out for his carwash? A bob. Twelve old pennies prised with some difficulty from a battered leather purse. It was clear fame hadn’t turned his head.

Actually, I’m glad it never came my way. I’d only have gone off the rails. Mind you, it might have been a hell of a way to go …

Nowadays, of course, the high-point of hubris is looking up my Stats when I’ve linked to the WordPress Daily Prompt. Today it was Bubble. A celebrity bubble may go pop but if you live in one it could be suffocating. So there! Usually my posts go pop but I’m letting this one run on a bit, if only to prove I’m no flash in the pan … though it could be smoke and mirrors if I don’t come up with a subject soon …

Yeah, fame for its own sake is a dead end. Famous for fifteen minutes, anyway. Famous for being famous, even worse. But fame that’s earned, well, that’s a different story. Last year I posted a list of my personal heroes – Guiding Spirits is the link. Perhaps you share my belief that we carry within us everyone we’ve known or been influenced by. It’s not a religious idea but it is, nonetheless, an idea I think of as sacred. If we are not guardians of the past and gatekeepers of the future, we are nothing.

Something of this is behind the poem in my previous post:

Avatars

M any selves set out at first
E xploring many lives.
N ot one returns without a tale
T o tell of hates and loves.
O ne story holds them all at last –
R emains until one leaves.

There’s a slight tension here between the acrostic word and my interpretation. I made it plural. Having a single mentor has sinister overtones – makes me think of weird cults – whereas a range of influences orchestrated from within speaks to me of freedom.

Any culture worthy of the name encourages a multiplicity of viewpoints. At the risk of repeating myself – and what old codger isn’t? – coming of age in the 1960s was a gas because so many new voices exploded on the scene all at once. OK, maybe under the shadow of a bigger explosion but still …

Such a heady experience of freedom stays with you and any subsequent limitation of liberty always sets off alarm bells. Any attempt to put people in pigeonholes, niches, corners, classes, bags or boxes always gets my goat – maybe the mountain kind that leaps from crag to crag!

Which somehow reminds me of the Lakeland hermit who wrote on the wall of his cave: Don’t waste words, jump to conclusions! 

Haha, am I any nearer that subject yet? Let’s bring in some big guns …

Image result for whitman multitudes

Trust

Oh we’ve got to trust
one another again
in some essentials.

Not the narrow little
bargaining trust
that says: I’m for you
if you’ll be for me. –

But a bigger trust,
a trust of the sun
that does not bother
about moth and rust,
and we see it shining
in one another.

Oh don’t you trust me,
don’t burden me
with your life and affairs; don’t
thrust me
into your cares.

But I think you may trust
the sun in me
that glows with just
as much glow as you see
in me, and no more.

But if it warms
your heart’s quick core
why then trust it, it forms
one faithfulness more.

And be, oh be
a sun to me,
not a weary, insistent
personality

but a sun that shines
and goes dark, but shines
again and entwines
with the sunshine in me

till we both of us
are more glorious
and more sunny.

D. H. Lawrence, 1885 – 1930

Compare this with the spotlight of fame which fixes people into set positions, rather like jelly moulds. A famous star is often called a ‘personality’ – perhaps the ‘weary, insistent personality’ that Lawrence so dislikes? Such a person lacks the facility to reflect others and thereby engage with them. They become a closed book and their life a frozen repeat performance.

A book that remains open for me is The Diceman by Luke Rhinehart. This tells the story of a psychiatrist who, feeling bored and unfulfilled in life, starts making decisions based on the roll of a die. We are all, the novel suggests, restricted by our culture in the choices we make and must take active steps to break out of a straitjacket we may not even know we are wearing.

Our current climate appears to engender fear of the unknown, the unfamiliar, the unalike. Labels and soundbites swirl around the internet like the swarm of furies unleashed by poor Pandora. Superficial judgements are the order of the day and the sensitive feelers of empathy are withdrawn out of harm’s way. The big question becomes Whose side are you on? Unfriending is the default act of a faulty, fragmenting society.

Bluuurrrggghhh!

Do you know what? My bubble has just burst. Outside the sun is shining and I’m off to catch some calming rays. But soon enough I’ll return to the fray in Part 2, my stubborn and perhaps dangerous openness to new ideas symbolised by the next WordPress Daily Prompt – whatever it turns out to be.

Will I fly high or crash and burn?

Click on Pop Music (Part Two) to find out …

4 thoughts on “Pop Music (Part One)

  1. Wow, Dave, you did it. A magnificently thoughtful piece. I wish I had the time to digest and comment on each segment but my mentor Mother Nature is a demanding gal. She’s only one, and I have had many, but she has been the most persistent. She speaks to me from the past, the present, and the future. Like you, I am fiercely independent, a complex soul made up of many parts, each refusing to be pigeonholed. “I will not go silently into the night…” to quote a whole bunch of folks. But a good line is a good line. And neither will you. –Curt

    1. Glad it met with your approval, Curt! No better guide than Old Ma Nature, either, we all do well to hold the mirror up to her. She shows us that we ignore any of her faces at our peril. Natural is one of the biggest complements you can pay anyone. And natural tends to cross categories and flummox formulas … 🙂

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