24 Jul 2013

What a musical life!

Several hours ago I decided I should practice describing things without saying what they are;

Shapely curves undulating to its apex, a smooth translucent surface serving to imprison that which it contains, a tight squeeze and it crackles under the pressure, the prisoner surging closer to freedom, the shape distorted. The pressure released and a silent sigh as both resume their form.

That was as far as I got in the five minutes that I dedicated to the task. Have you guessed what it is? That’s right! *cough* A water bottle.

I admit that I didn’t really get very far. I am easily distracted. I like dancing. Sorry, where was i? Ah, yes, I was just being hilarious. No really, ok, you are allowed an opinion but don’t make me make you agree with me.

Anyway…so, seeing as I posted on Monday and Tuesday, I thought maybe I could continue but as of now Five Sentence Fiction is not yet released. Expect it tomorrow J

So what amount of bumf and fluff could I pad this blog out with today? This weekend I watched two music biographies and I thought that it would be good to review them in a comparative manner. One was about Rodriguez and the other was about the Kings of Leon. They are both quite different. And I never got around to properly reviewing them. But here are my impressions of each.

Rodriguez was spotted in Detroit in the 70’s and was signed to a label. The album wasn’t a success in the US and the label dropped him and he slid back into oblivion. Yet amazingly his music was loved and adored in South Africa. Young South Africans of the time appreciated the messages in his lyrics at a time when Apartheid was still dominant in society. In the 1996 a South African music fan decided to find out how Rodriguez had died. There had been many rumours of him committing suicide whilst on stage. Imagine the man’s shock to discover that Rodriguez had not committed suicide, he wasn’t even dead, but alive and living still in Detroit. The money Rodriguez made in South Africa he never saw and more surprisingly, he wasn’t even aware of his popularity there until the music journalist managed to reach him. If you get a chance to see it, I watched it on Love Film, and then I highly recommend it. It’s a great story and yet it’s not fiction. What stole most of my attention? The man himself, the way he acted, the way he spoke, and the way he lived his life. He had always worked hard, always loved music and played, but had focussed on having money to support his family. He had never had much and even after a few concerts in SA he gave his money away. Even now I have a frog in my throat at the compassion this man has, a complete lack of vanity or pretentiousness, he just embraced his life so completely both the good and the bad, and never any resentment. The film is called ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ and watch it! Here is a track:

You deserve another one!

In contrast, Talihina Sky is about the four members of the Kings of Leon, their early years growing up in a religious family in the southern states of America, their rise to fame and their music. No one member of the band has stuck in my mind or made any lasting impression. The only person who did was their uncle Cleo. The film was dedicated to him (he had cancer of some sort) and he appears in it before the diagnosis, telling a few stories of the boys and of what life was like. He was honest; he made no excuses, and was unreserved in being himself and I liked him.

They were both very different stories about musicians and it made me think about todays struggling musicians and their expectations. How many do it and will continue to do it even if they never make a penny in their life? I understand that there are costs to them in doing it but still, this is a valid question, isn’t it? What drives them to get up every day and do it? What do they really think about other musicians I also wondered about talented musicians and those who are no longer around but have left a legacy of some kind; did they know they were capable of what they achieved? Did they set out for greatness? Or did they stumble upon it by accident?

I also ask this as I was reading about the lead singer and writer of Pink Floyd (Syd Barrett 1946-2006) and how he had always been expected to do something remarkable and how his life fell apart along with his mind. I find reading these things leave me with so many questions.

I love biographies, and I like to find out about people’s life stories, almost everyone has a story that will intrigue and surprise us. I would one day like to write a biography, if I can find anyone who will let me!

Well, there it is! A random post for you all today J Have you got any music biographies to recommend to watch, or biographies to read, like me were you addicted to ‘This Is Your Life’ when it was normal people doing amazing things? You know that question, who would play you in a film, well if you were a musician who would you be?

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