apolla: (Rock Chick)
In the days, weeks and years to follow, you'll hear a lot of stories about Amy Winehouse. Most everyone with a half-decent anecdote will inflict it upon the rest of us whether we want to hear it or not. This isn't new, and it's even understandable. Reflected glory (notoriety) is still glory (notoriety) after all. If you're very lucky, some of the stories might even be true.

I'm not going to tell my own Amy Story now, and I'm not going to pontificate about THE DANGERS OF DRUGS or THE DANGERS OF ALCOHOL or ROCK AND ROLL IS EVIL or any of that bollocks. This isn't even entirely about Amy, to be honest.

How many stories have you already read about The 27 Club? How many lazy journalists have drawn lines between Amy and that clutch of poor fuckers who died 1969-71, whose names we all know so well? I have a Google News Alert set up for Jim Morrison, and I get maybe one or two links a day. On Sunday morning I had rather more than that... because his name is being invoked in many of the Amy Stories. There's a thing on the BBC website which looks like it's almost entirely Copy Pasta from Wikipedia.

It's not fully clear what we're supposed to take from these stories. It never has been. Yes, quite a number of notable musicians died when they were 27 – but the moral 'they' want us to learn is unclear. Are we supposed to just take it as a straight-up tragedy of a dead young person? Or as some would say, are we supposed to learn from their mistakes? Are we supposed to condemn them as dirty junkie wastes of humanity? Are we supposed to laud them for living 'on the edge'? I guess it depends on what you're reading.

There are several problems with the live fast, die young myth. First off, it hurts all the people who love you. Second, you can't make any more music. Third, and maybe to me most important: you lose control over your work and self. You can't defend yourself.

I have never been in a physical fight with anyone, but I've come close several times, and most of those times were related to Jim Morrison. Once, there was a guy who told me that the best thing that ever happened to Jim was to die. He really believed it, too. Another time, a couple of years ago, there was a drunken twat at the London Film Festival screening of the latest Doors documentary. He was berating the quiet audience as we left (quiet largely because of what we'd just seen – the agonised and contrary life of a great artist), telling us that we should rip it up because 'Jim would want it' and basically taking only the hedonism from Jim's work and nothing else. I've had many moments of wanting to pummel people but that was the only time I actually considered doing it. All this because if he can't stand up for himself, then I will.

Dead people cannot sue for libel. Anyone can say basically anything they want about that person and they're untouchable. An 'author' in the 1980s accused Errol Flynn of being a Nazi spy during the Spanish Civil War. There was almost nothing to support this, and indeed most of what EF wrote at the time and later suggested he was left-leaning. Accusations like that stick, and even recently I saw an article which dredged it up again. Like Flynn was ever going to take time out of carousing for espionage! I could accuse Jimi Hendrix of selling nuclear weapons to Kafiristan, or say that Janis Joplin was planning to assassinate Richard Nixon, and there's nothing much to be done. Whether people believe it is a different matter, of course. I could say that Brian Jones was one of the most unpleasant human beings ever to make music and... well, that would be true, actually.

The problem is more than just plain ol' libel. The artist in question loses control of their reputation certainly, but they also lose control over the music itself, and how it is regarded. I recall a Popular Culture class in California where we discussed the image of Bob Marley before and after his death. Before his death he was presented (presumably with his consent to an extent) as a rebel, someone politically dangerous to the status quo. A fighter, if you like. Since his death, he has been largely repackaged as a poet, as a gentle thinker type – look at the album art for Legend. The danger has been removed and because he can't argue, it stays like that.

By a weird quirk of fate, I've been looking into Janis Joplin a little this weekend. I'm not a fan because I don't like her voice, although I would be lying if I suggested she wasn't good (same as Amy, actually). Now, I'd forgotten how massive she was back in the second half of the 1960s. Since her death she has been relegated – in the mainstream – to a cautionary tale, to an example of what happens to the wimminz when they try to live like the guys, to just another member of the rock dead. Example: those of you who aren't already Joplin fans, name me five Janis Joplin songs you've heard. In death, she lost control of her image, of her music. She has been somewhat airbrushed out of history – how many documentaries about that period of time in music really deal with her on a musical level? No, she's been half-forgotten as an artist and mostly remembered as a dead junkie bogeyman to scare the kids into behaving themselves.

Jim, on the other hand... actually, it's pretty much the same with him. He was someone who was fucking with the establishment before he died and since his death he has been reduced to just That Poster and a punchline to a joke about a fat guy dead in a bath. His death has given people the freedom to talk shit about him, to adapt him as they want, to lose all perspective. You might be able to tell that this is the one I care about... I still argue that the Doors are still 'dangerous' thanks to the music, but it must also be accepted that in dying, Jim handed over his power to the myth-makers and the detractors in equal measure.

I haven't really even mentioned the control they lose over the music itself. Do you really think Queen would've released Made in Heaven as it was, if Freddie had lived? Course not – there's tracks on that record which only saw the light of day because there wasn't anything else. A lot of it is to do with the record labels and marketing types, but it is also dependent on who gets control of the Estate. Tupac Shakur has had more music released post-mortem than in his lifetime – did he want it released, and in the mix/arrangement he wanted? We can't know. I'm not knocking Donal Gallagher for a second, but I don't think the recently released 'lost' album Notes from San Francisco by his brother, guitar god Rory, would've been the same record if your man had the choice. I mean, the vocals on 'Overnight Bag' are double-tracked! On a Rory Gallagher record! Would he have wanted that? We can't know for certain, although the fact he dropped the record in the bin is a clue... Without new material, the labels and the estates seek out what they can find to release, whether the artist considered it worth releasing or not. It's understandable, but we don't have to like it. We can only wait and see what will happen with Amy's music, depending on who gets control of it and how much unreleased material there is.

Dying ain't much of a living: maybe record sales sky-rocket, but there won't be new music. The Glorious Rock Dead are frozen in time, unable to fight their corner, unable to respond to attacks, unable to tell their adoring worshippers that they're fucking idiots. They hand those who hate them the freedom to tear them down. Sure, they leave behind good-looking corpses (theoretically) and remain forever young and beautiful... but it seems to me that there is more freedom in growing, developing... and even if they can't fully control what is said and thought about them, they can at least respond and defend themselves.

I don't know what the future holds for Winehouse's artistic reputation. As with the others I suspect it will become a tale of two images: super-artist beyond criticism on the one hand, drunk junkie who pissed it all away on the other. Both are true – to an extent – but the image of Amy now rests not with her but with marketing and record label executives. My money is on her being packaged as a 'Tragic Chanteuse' in the Billie Holiday/Edith Piaf mould. I also expect a shit, cookie-cutter biopic within a few years which will basically be La Vie En Rose in the 21st Century, Walk The Line without the happy ending, or The Doors without the American Indian.

There is nothing good about this 'club' of damaged people dying at 27, and the next person who says so about Morrison near me does run a very serious risk of injury. If he can't defend himself against both the haters and the acolytes, I will.

apolla: (Rock Chick)
In the days, weeks and years to follow, you'll hear a lot of stories about Amy Winehouse. Most everyone with a half-decent anecdote will inflict it upon the rest of us whether we want to hear it or not. This isn't new, and it's even understandable. Reflected glory (notoriety) is still glory (notoriety) after all. If you're very lucky, some of the stories might even be true.

I'm not going to tell my own Amy Story now, and I'm not going to pontificate about THE DANGERS OF DRUGS or THE DANGERS OF ALCOHOL or ROCK AND ROLL IS EVIL or any of that bollocks. This isn't even entirely about Amy, to be honest.

How many stories have you already read about The 27 Club? How many lazy journalists have drawn lines between Amy and that clutch of poor fuckers who died 1969-71, whose names we all know so well? I have a Google News Alert set up for Jim Morrison, and I get maybe one or two links a day. On Sunday morning I had rather more than that... because his name is being invoked in many of the Amy Stories. There's a thing on the BBC website which looks like it's almost entirely Copy Pasta from Wikipedia.

It's not fully clear what we're supposed to take from these stories. It never has been. Yes, quite a number of notable musicians died when they were 27 – but the moral they want us to learn is unclear. Are we supposed to just take it as a straight-up tragedy of a dead young person? Or as some would say, are we supposed to learn from their mistakes? Are we supposed to condemn them as dirty junkie wastes of humanity? Are we supposed to laud them for living 'on the edge'? I guess it depends on what you're reading.

There are several problems with the live fast, die young myth. First off, it hurts all the people who love you. Second, you can't make any more music. Third, and to me most important: you lose control over your work and self. You can't defend yourself.

I have never been in a physical fight with anyone, but I've come close several times, and most of the times were related to Jim Morrison. Once, there was a guy who told me that the best thing that ever happened to Jim was to die. He really believed it, too. Another time, a couple of years ago, therewas a drunken twat at the London Film Festival screening of the latest Doors documentary. He was berating the quiet audience as we left (quiet largely because of what we'd just seen – the agonised and contrary life of a great artist), telling us that we should rip it up because 'Jim would want it' and basically taking only the hedonism from Jim's work and nothing else. I've had many moments of wanting to pummel people but that was the only time I actually considered doing it. All this because if he can't stand up for himself, then I will.

Dead people cannot sue for libel. Anyone can say basically anything they want about that person and they're untouchable. An 'author' in the 1980s accused Errol Flynn of being a Nazi spy during the Spanish Civil War. There was almost nothing to support this, and indeed most of what EF wrote at the time and later suggested he was left-leaning. Accusations like that stick, and even recently I saw an article which dredged it up again. Like Flynn was ever going to take time out of carousing for espionage! I could accuse Jimi Hendrix of selling nuclear weapons to Kafiristan, or say that Janis Joplin was planning to assassinate Richard Nixon, and there's nothing much to be done. Whether people believe it is a different matter, of course. I could say that Brian Jones was one of the most unpleasant human beings ever to make music and... well, that would be true, actually.

The problem is more than just plain ol' libel. The artist in question loses control of their reputation certainly, but they also lose control over the music itself, and how it is regarded. I recall a Popular Culture class in California where we discussed the image of Bob Marley before and after his death. Before his death he was presented (presumably with his consent to an extent) as a rebel, someone politically dangerous to the status quo. A fighter, if you like. Since his death, he has been largely repackaged as a poet, as a gentle thinker type – look at the album art for Legend. The danger has been removed and because he can't argue, it stays like that.

By a weird quirk of fate, I've been looking into Janis Joplin a little this weekend. I'm not a fan because I don't like her voice, although I would be lying if I suggested she wasn't good (same as Amy, actually). Now, I'd forgotten how massive she was back in the second half of the 1960s. Since her death she has been relegated – in the mainstream – to a cautionary tale, to an example of what happens to the wimminz when they try to live like the guys, to just another member of the rock dead. Example: those of you who aren't already Joplin fans, name me five Janis Joplin songs you've heard. In death, she lost control of her image, of her music. She has been somewhat airbrushed out of history – how many documentaries about that period of time in music really deal with her on a musical level? No, she's been half-forgotten as an artist and mostly remembered as a dead junkie bogeyman to scare the kids into behaving themselves.

Jim, on the other hand... actually, it's pretty much the same with him. He was someone who was fucking with the establishment before he died and since his death he has been reduced to just That Poster and a punchline to a joke about a fat guy dead in a bath. His death has given people the freedom to talk shit about him, to adapt him as they want, to lose all perspective. You might be able to tell that this is the one I care about... I still argue that the Doors are still 'dangerous' thanks to the music, but it must also be accepted that in dying, Jim handed over his power to the myth-makers and the detractors in equal measure.

I haven't really even mentioned the control they lose over the music itself. Do you really think Queen would've released Made in Heaven as it was, if Freddie had lived? Course not – there's tracks on that record which only saw the light of day because there wasn't anything else. A lot of it is to do with the record labels and marketing types, but it is also dependent on who gets control of the Estate. Tupac Shakur has had more music released post-mortem than in his lifetime – did he want it released, and in the mix/arrangement he wanted? We can't know. I'm not knocking Donal Gallagher, but I don't think the recently released 'lost' album Notes from San Francisco by his brother, guitar god Rory Gallagher, would've been the same record if your man had the choice. I mean, the vocals on 'Overnight Bag' are double-tracked! On a Rory Gallagher record! Would he have wanted that? We can't know, although the fact he dropped the record in the bin is a clue... Without new material, the labels and the estates seek out what they can find to release, whether the artist considered it worth releasing or not. We can only wait and see what will happen with Amy's music, depending on who gets control of it and how much unreleased material there is.

Dying ain't much of a living: maybe your record sales sky-rocket, but there won't be new music. The Glorious Rock Dead are frozen in time, unable to fight their corner, unable to respond to attacks, unable to tell their adoring worshippers that they're fucking idiots. They hand those who hate them the freedom to tear them down. Sure, they leave behind good-looking corpses (theoretically) and remain forever young and beautiful... but it seems to me that there is more freedom in growing, developing... and even if they can't fully control what is said and thought about them, they can at least respond and defend themselves.

I don't know what the future holds for the artistic reputation of Amy Winehouse. As with the others I suspect it will become a tale of two images: super-artist beyond criticism on the one hand, drunk junkie who pissed it all away on the other. Both are true – to an extent – but the image of Amy now rests not with her but with marketing and record label executives. My money is on her being packaged as a 'Tragic Chanteuse' in the Billie Holiday/Edith Piaf mould. I also expect a shit, cookie-cutter biopic within a few years which will basically be La Vie En Rose in the 21st Century, Walk The Line without the happy ending, or The Doors without the American Indian.

There is nothing good about this 'club' of damaged people dying at 27, and the next person who says so about Jim near me does run a very serious risk of injury. If he can't defend himself against both the haters and the acolytes, I will.

apolla: (Jimmy M)
I'm an hour late, I guess, but I just saw this link:

What would Jim Morrison look like if he was alive today?

Now, to me, the picture just looks like someone went crazy with the blurring button on Photoshop, but what do I know? I can't believe that actual scientists have done this and have been given, like, real money for it.

It, of course, cued up lots of JIM MORRISON WAS A DRUNKEN EGOMANIACAL BASTARD stuff over on ONTD and lots of OMG SO SEXY!!!! in return. Some of it turned into HE WAS A TALENTLESS DRUNKEN EGOMANIACAL BASTARD (this after someone invoked the other man of the day, John Lennon and it had to be amended) and some turned into 'no way, he'd look way worse' and stuff.

Someone else posted a link of some apparently psychotic Doorzoid who is so crazy it's ruined the Doors for this other person. I didn't dare click.

There was a lot of 'I'd be a supergroupie fer sure!!!" and even some stuff along the lines of "Just as well he's dead then".

I am filled with quiet and resigned bitterness. I should be asleep right now, but no, I'm not and it's 1am. I'm off to see Seasick Steve in Bethnal Green this coming evening. Seasick Steve is two years older than Jim would be and has only become a 'name' in the last few years. He's also a very sweet, kind man of the sort who will give you a hug and make you feel immediately relaxed in his company. This I know from personal experience (and was better than Shakin' Stevens telling me to smile. Sod off, Shaky).

I just really really wish that Jim had lived, not even for selfish reasons. I wish he'd lived to prove his naysayers wrong, that he wasn't a talentless wanker (really, I don't believe he was) and that he was capable of such great things as we can't even conceive of now. I wish he'd been there to fight his battles and make his arguments.

I also wish that this June just passed, I had been backstage at the Pyramid and instead of sidling a little nervously up to Steve to say "Man, you're great!" and getting a hug from him... I wish it had been Jim. I wish the Doors had some kind of fantastic gig and I'd had to knock nervously on the door, hands shaking, to do my job and then just to say "I really loved your set." If all he did was breathe in and out and completely disregard my presence, I actually think that would be OK: if he lived, that would be enough for me. Unusually, I don't think this has ever really been about me... huh.

Or of course, he would've lived to expose himself (narf narf) as a total wanker. In which case I wouldn't care anyway.

Happy birthday, you old bastard. Give Lennon a nod from me too.

apolla: (Jimmy M)
I'm an hour late, I guess, but I just saw this link:

What would Jim Morrison look like if he was alive today?

Now, to me, the picture just looks like someone went crazy with the blurring button on Photoshop, but what do I know? I can't believe that actual scientists have done this and have been given, like, real money for it.

It, of course, cued up lots of JIM MORRISON WAS A DRUNKEN EGOMANIACAL BASTARD stuff over on ONTD and lots of OMG SO SEXY!!!! in return. Some of it turned into HE WAS A TALENTLESS DRUNKEN EGOMANIACAL BASTARD (this after someone invoked the other man of the day, John Lennon and it had to be amended) and some turned into 'no way, he'd look way worse' and stuff.

Someone else posted a link of some apparently psychotic Doorzoid who is so crazy it's ruined the Doors for this other person. I didn't dare click.

There was a lot of 'I'd be a supergroupie fer sure!!!" and even some stuff along the lines of "Just as well he's dead then".

I am filled with quiet and resigned bitterness. I should be asleep right now, but no, I'm not and it's 1am. I'm off to see Seasick Steve in Bethnal Green this coming evening. Seasick Steve is two years older than Jim would be and has only become a 'name' in the last few years. He's also a very sweet, kind man of the sort who will give you a hug and make you feel immediately relaxed in his company. This I know from personal experience (and was better than Shakin' Stevens telling me to smile. Sod off, Shaky).

I just really really wish that Jim had lived, not even for selfish reasons. I wish he'd lived to prove his naysayers wrong, that he wasn't a talentless wanker (really, I don't believe he was) and that he was capable of such great things as we can't even conceive of now. I wish he'd been there to fight his battles and make his arguments.

I also wish that this June just passed, I had been backstage at the Pyramid and instead of sidling a little nervously up to Steve to say "Man, you're great!" and getting a hug from him... I wish it had been Jim. I wish the Doors had some kind of fantastic gig and I'd had to knock nervously on the door, hands shaking, to do my job and then just to say "I really loved your set." If all he did was breathe in and out and completely disregard my presence, I actually think that would be OK: if he lived, that would be enough for me. Unusually, I don't think this has ever really been about me... huh.

Or of course, he would've lived to expose himself (narf narf) as a total wanker. In which case I wouldn't care anyway.

Happy birthday, you old bastard. Give Lennon a nod from me too.

apolla: (Lynott)
If Philip Lynott had been reincarnated into a new born baby the day he died, as apparently some theories hold happens, he'd be old enough to drink in the USA again.

I miss him very much, but you should already know that. Right now at Vicar Street in Dublin there are hundreds and hundreds of people listening to loud guitars attempting to reconjure a magic that has long been absent from the world of man. It can't be regained or reproduced and my heart bears the scars of such knowledge.

I am not in Dublin tonight, but I wish I were. Not because I'd be any closer to Philip than I am now, not because I could say  I was a real fan then... because I miss the town of Dublin very much itself... and because at least surrounded by Thin Lizzy fans I might not feel so quite alone in my probably misplaced grief. It's hard to feel lonely or even terribly sad when surrounded by a thousand drunken fools humming the bassline to Dancing In The Moonlight.

But I'm not there. I'm sat in my room killing time before Grey's Anatomy, trying to get used to the keyboard I bought to attach to my laptop until I can afford a new computer.

I'm not in Dublin. I'm not in Dublin and it's not 1971.  Every year takes me further and further and further away from the people I've loved the best.

If dreams were wings, I'd have flown all the way to Heaven to sit with my Philip by now. If love could possibly be enough to resurrect the dead, he'd be sat with me now. Or perhaps he'd be at Vicar Street with everyone else.
apolla: (Lynott)
If Philip Lynott had been reincarnated into a new born baby the day he died, as apparently some theories hold happens, he'd be old enough to drink in the USA again.

I miss him very much, but you should already know that. Right now at Vicar Street in Dublin there are hundreds and hundreds of people listening to loud guitars attempting to reconjure a magic that has long been absent from the world of man. It can't be regained or reproduced and my heart bears the scars of such knowledge.

I am not in Dublin tonight, but I wish I were. Not because I'd be any closer to Philip than I am now, not because I could say  I was a real fan then... because I miss the town of Dublin very much itself... and because at least surrounded by Thin Lizzy fans I might not feel so quite alone in my probably misplaced grief. It's hard to feel lonely or even terribly sad when surrounded by a thousand drunken fools humming the bassline to Dancing In The Moonlight.

But I'm not there. I'm sat in my room killing time before Grey's Anatomy, trying to get used to the keyboard I bought to attach to my laptop until I can afford a new computer.

I'm not in Dublin. I'm not in Dublin and it's not 1971.  Every year takes me further and further and further away from the people I've loved the best.

If dreams were wings, I'd have flown all the way to Heaven to sit with my Philip by now. If love could possibly be enough to resurrect the dead, he'd be sat with me now. Or perhaps he'd be at Vicar Street with everyone else.
apolla: (OTP)
Heather Mills really will do anything, won't she? Even if her accusations (including that Paul beat Linda) are true... wouldn't it have been best to keep it in the courtroom and not everywhere else?

Still, he wouldn't be the only Beatle to have suffered from a giant ego or beaten his wife. He has taken all manner of drugs and quite openly said so. He does drink, sometimes to excess. He does surround himself with people too willing to do exactly what he wants. Still, I find it hard to believe his children would adore him so much if he'd beaten their mother. I don't know. I hope that it's all false- I'd rather believe her a mental fantasist than reconcile myself to another of my heroes being a total cunt. Mind you, he'd be in populous company.

Anyway, I scribbled this a few weeks ago and thought I'd share it with you:



apolla: (OTP)
Heather Mills really will do anything, won't she? Even if her accusations (including that Paul beat Linda) are true... wouldn't it have been best to keep it in the courtroom and not everywhere else?

Still, he wouldn't be the only Beatle to have suffered from a giant ego or beaten his wife. He has taken all manner of drugs and quite openly said so. He does drink, sometimes to excess. He does surround himself with people too willing to do exactly what he wants. Still, I find it hard to believe his children would adore him so much if he'd beaten their mother. I don't know. I hope that it's all false- I'd rather believe her a mental fantasist than reconcile myself to another of my heroes being a total cunt. Mind you, he'd be in populous company.

Anyway, I scribbled this a few weeks ago and thought I'd share it with you:



apolla: (Freddie)

As I have a habit of doing, last night I was flicking through the music channels on the telly. I rarely find anything I really really like and even rarer find something I've never seen before.

Last night, one of them, Magic, had 'Barcelona' by Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballe. I have seen chunks of this, clips of this, but never the whole thing, not until today.

Freddie Mercury was the first rock star I liked to die on me. I was nine years old and although I remember feeling sad that Roy Orbison died, he was more my dad's than mine at the time. Freddie's death set the scene for me for the rest of my life so far. A life caught between reality and unreality but mostly between love and mourning- that singular feeling of great joy and great sadness combined together.

The thing is, this particular songs has very particular memories for me and probably other people in the UK. In 1992, the year following Freddie's death, the Olympics were held in Barcelona. The BBC, or whoever was doing the coverage that year, chose the most obvious theme song. The year after his death, Freddie was still there every time some steroid-fuelled runner/jumper/swimmer person was running/jumping/swimming.

But I never saw the whole video before. He looks so terribly fragile, but still beautiful in that strange way of his. That "You think I'm beautiful but don't know why" way. Montserrat is a great singer, but she's largely redundant because Freddie is there. Her voice is ornamental and although she's great in it, the song would be little worse off without her there. I like to think of Barcelona as his last triumphant hurrah, moreso than Made in Heaven which is a nice album but would probably never seen the light of day if he'd lived. Barcelona is something of an end, and you can bet he knew that in 1988 when it was released.

Like the last line of 'I'm Going Slightly Mad' being "I still love you", I like to think that he was quietly preparing for the death he knew was coming. He knew it, even if he kept it from the rest of us until closer to the end. He knew it, and I hope he was saying goodbye.

Why do I think this? Because in Barcelona, the one line not distracted by operatic stuff is this:

And if God is willing we will meet again someday

This is the sentiment that not only gets me up in the morning, but the one that gets me out of bed, into the bathroom, gets me dressed, forces the smile onto my face and the joke onto my tongue. It is the thought that honestly keeps me alive, that one day (ironically, when I die) I will be with my boys at last. I nearly typed 'reunited' and 'again' just then, but I remembered in time that I haven't been with any of them in their lifetimes. I was too young for Philip and Freddie, and as for John and Jim...

I'm getting off the point. I was reminded last night of the glorious exuberance of Freddie Mercury and the searing pain of losing him. Somehow Barcelona has always captured for me that spirit between the sparkling, glittering triumph and the crushing sadness of losing one of our greatest to such a horrendous, slow, painful and premature death.

If God is willing
If God is willing
If God is willing
Friends until the end.




apolla: (Freddie)

As I have a habit of doing, last night I was flicking through the music channels on the telly. I rarely find anything I really really like and even rarer find something I've never seen before.

Last night, one of them, Magic, had 'Barcelona' by Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballe. I have seen chunks of this, clips of this, but never the whole thing, not until today.

Freddie Mercury was the first rock star I liked to die on me. I was nine years old and although I remember feeling sad that Roy Orbison died, he was more my dad's than mine at the time. Freddie's death set the scene for me for the rest of my life so far. A life caught between reality and unreality but mostly between love and mourning- that singular feeling of great joy and great sadness combined together.

The thing is, this particular songs has very particular memories for me and probably other people in the UK. In 1992, the year following Freddie's death, the Olympics were held in Barcelona. The BBC, or whoever was doing the coverage that year, chose the most obvious theme song. The year after his death, Freddie was still there every time some steroid-fuelled runner/jumper/swimmer person was running/jumping/swimming.

But I never saw the whole video before. He looks so terribly fragile, but still beautiful in that strange way of his. That "You think I'm beautiful but don't know why" way. Montserrat is a great singer, but she's largely redundant because Freddie is there. Her voice is ornamental and although she's great in it, the song would be little worse off without her there. I like to think of Barcelona as his last triumphant hurrah, moreso than Made in Heaven which is a nice album but would probably never seen the light of day if he'd lived. Barcelona is something of an end, and you can bet he knew that in 1988 when it was released.

Like the last line of 'I'm Going Slightly Mad' being "I still love you", I like to think that he was quietly preparing for the death he knew was coming. He knew it, even if he kept it from the rest of us until closer to the end. He knew it, and I hope he was saying goodbye.

Why do I think this? Because in Barcelona, the one line not distracted by operatic stuff is this:

And if God is willing we will meet again someday

This is the sentiment that not only gets me up in the morning, but the one that gets me out of bed, into the bathroom, gets me dressed, forces the smile onto my face and the joke onto my tongue. It is the thought that honestly keeps me alive, that one day (ironically, when I die) I will be with my boys at last. I nearly typed 'reunited' and 'again' just then, but I remembered in time that I haven't been with any of them in their lifetimes. I was too young for Philip and Freddie, and as for John and Jim...

I'm getting off the point. I was reminded last night of the glorious exuberance of Freddie Mercury and the searing pain of losing him. Somehow Barcelona has always captured for me that spirit between the sparkling, glittering triumph and the crushing sadness of losing one of our greatest to such a horrendous, slow, painful and premature death.

If God is willing
If God is willing
If God is willing
Friends until the end.




apolla: (Freddie)

I have just lost a post about Freddie Mercury for the second time. Fuck it, let us do this quickly:

Love you Freddie. Miss you Freddie. Wouldn't be me without you. Hope the celestial champagne is flowing, dear boy.

*

Both times, I was writing about George Best, so I can only surmise that Somebody Up There doesn't want me to say what I want to say. Even if it is George's old drinking buddy Philip Lynott, I am going to say this if I have to retype it sixteen times.

Legend Best 'enters final hours' says the BBC. He doesn't have long, but only the blindly optimistic have expected him to recover.

The Belfast Boy is not going to get a hero's death. It will have been and will continue to be slow and painful, probably more for his family and the people that love him than for him. But you know what? George Best has not been a true hero for decades. Literally decades. That's alcoholism for you, I guess. Had he died in the 70s, he'd be amongst the pantheon of our great heroes, loved and admired far and wide. He'd probably be more sainted even than those tragic Busby Babes. But he lived, and so we have watched as alcoholism has ravaged this man and those who love him.

And I'm sorry, but the media has to take some of the blame. Not for his inability (or indeed unwillingness) to kick alcohol even after getting a new liver, for only he can (and should) shoulder that. The media really needed to leave him alone years ago. To just say "fine George, get on with your life", but instead they built him up and up and so he and second wife Alex became tabloid regulars when what he needed was peace and quiet. The last thing he ever needed was front pages and headlines.

This country deified George Best, and I suspect that this is a contributory factor to what is happening right now. We've even had a kind of grotesque deathwatch going on for the past days.

Terrible as it is to say, if he'd died in the 70s, he'd be a real legend. As it is, he is an empty shell of someone who used to be great a very long time ago. I wish I didn't have to say it. When he got the new liver, half the country said he was undeserving, and the other half said 'give him a chance'. I was in the latter group, and I'm a little heartbroken that he didn't manage to take his chance for long.

Perhaps the real reason I care at all is because I suspect that George's fate is the one all my boys risked had they lived. Would Philip Lynott be like George if he'd not died? Would Jim? I'm going to say not, because it's the only way I'll get to sleep tonight.

Lastly, George Best was a legend once. Please let us not forget that. Perhaps with death, George will regain the grace and beauty he once possessed. I've seen the old film of George playing in that famous 1968 European Championship and in a hundred other games. He was a great player. So brilliant that even casual football fans like me were left breathless watching. David Beckham may play for a hundred years and never be quite like George.

George Best was a rock and roll sportsman. He was dishevelled and scruffy and handsome. He was all those things Keith Moon was, all the things Philip was, right down to the charisma that got him not one but two Miss Worlds.

God love you George, and so do the British, for we love nobody so much as a fallen legend. God love you, and may you find the peace you deserve.

***

Have now seen Goblet of Fire. Might talk about it over the weekend here, but while I found the second third funny and the last third affecting, I was annoyed to see that the 'style over content' theory was still being adhered to. However, much love for Doctor Casanova and the endlessly brilliant Brendan Gleeson. So glad he got to keep his more usual accent.

apolla: (Freddie)

I have just lost a post about Freddie Mercury for the second time. Fuck it, let us do this quickly:

Love you Freddie. Miss you Freddie. Wouldn't be me without you. Hope the celestial champagne is flowing, dear boy.

*

Both times, I was writing about George Best, so I can only surmise that Somebody Up There doesn't want me to say what I want to say. Even if it is George's old drinking buddy Philip Lynott, I am going to say this if I have to retype it sixteen times.

Legend Best 'enters final hours' says the BBC. He doesn't have long, but only the blindly optimistic have expected him to recover.

The Belfast Boy is not going to get a hero's death. It will have been and will continue to be slow and painful, probably more for his family and the people that love him than for him. But you know what? George Best has not been a true hero for decades. Literally decades. That's alcoholism for you, I guess. Had he died in the 70s, he'd be amongst the pantheon of our great heroes, loved and admired far and wide. He'd probably be more sainted even than those tragic Busby Babes. But he lived, and so we have watched as alcoholism has ravaged this man and those who love him.

And I'm sorry, but the media has to take some of the blame. Not for his inability (or indeed unwillingness) to kick alcohol even after getting a new liver, for only he can (and should) shoulder that. The media really needed to leave him alone years ago. To just say "fine George, get on with your life", but instead they built him up and up and so he and second wife Alex became tabloid regulars when what he needed was peace and quiet. The last thing he ever needed was front pages and headlines.

This country deified George Best, and I suspect that this is a contributory factor to what is happening right now. We've even had a kind of grotesque deathwatch going on for the past days.

Terrible as it is to say, if he'd died in the 70s, he'd be a real legend. As it is, he is an empty shell of someone who used to be great a very long time ago. I wish I didn't have to say it. When he got the new liver, half the country said he was undeserving, and the other half said 'give him a chance'. I was in the latter group, and I'm a little heartbroken that he didn't manage to take his chance for long.

Perhaps the real reason I care at all is because I suspect that George's fate is the one all my boys risked had they lived. Would Philip Lynott be like George if he'd not died? Would Jim? I'm going to say not, because it's the only way I'll get to sleep tonight.

Lastly, George Best was a legend once. Please let us not forget that. Perhaps with death, George will regain the grace and beauty he once possessed. I've seen the old film of George playing in that famous 1968 European Championship and in a hundred other games. He was a great player. So brilliant that even casual football fans like me were left breathless watching. David Beckham may play for a hundred years and never be quite like George.

George Best was a rock and roll sportsman. He was dishevelled and scruffy and handsome. He was all those things Keith Moon was, all the things Philip was, right down to the charisma that got him not one but two Miss Worlds.

God love you George, and so do the British, for we love nobody so much as a fallen legend. God love you, and may you find the peace you deserve.

***

Have now seen Goblet of Fire. Might talk about it over the weekend here, but while I found the second third funny and the last third affecting, I was annoyed to see that the 'style over content' theory was still being adhered to. However, much love for Doctor Casanova and the endlessly brilliant Brendan Gleeson. So glad he got to keep his more usual accent.

apolla: (Jimmy M)

Ronnie Barker died.

Many of you won't know who he is, much less care. Even those who do know will shrug sadly and say something like "oh, he was 76. Had a good innings, etc etc."

Fuck that. I'm not going to shrug it off, because he was, and will remain, the greatest of my comedy heroes. I learned a great deal from David Jason about the power of expressions, as much from Mark Lamarr about a well-timed jibe (and also where the line is and why not to cross it), but from Ronnie B I learned everything. Every eyebrow lift, every nuance of tone and timing, every double-take. And I'm not the only one. Where would Peter Kay be without Ronnie? Or Rob Brydon or Jack Dee or even The Great And Lofty David Jason himself?

Mind you, most of you already know that I adore Ronnie Barker. [livejournal.com profile] emony texted me this morning asking how I was. I hadn't heard the news yet, so she didn't say anything, but knowing that she knew I'd be upset is a strangely comforting thing to know. And proof that she's an excellent friend, too! *hugs*

You all wanna talk about the greatness of British comedy? If you're over the pond or an ocean or wherever else in the world, no, Monty Python is not the sum of it. Monty Python is not the greatest laugh ever. Check out Porridge and Open All Hours and everything Ronnie Barker ever touched.

The Pythons could make you laugh, but Ronnie Barker could make you feel like you'd die laughing. And you wouldn't mind.

Ronnie Barker was the kind of man who doesn't come along very often. A character actor and a comedian. Who else could even think of being Norman Stanley Fletcher AND Arkwright at the same time? A ginger ageing recidivist from Muswell Hill and a snowy-haired tight-wad of a Northern shopkeeper captivated the people of Britain, and they did it at the same time! Porridge ran from 73-77 with the film in 79, and Open All Hours ran 73-85. He did these two ENTIRELY DIFFERENT characters at the same time, and they're each so convincing that it's hard to tell they're not real people! And this alongside The Two Ronnies.

And anyone who could make RONNIE CORBETT appear amusing must be a GENIUS.

To any boys out there, remember this: make a girl laugh, really laugh, and you'll own her heart for ever. Ronnie Barker was not handsome. He was himself quiet and quite introverted. And yet he has a country mourning him, because laugh and the world laughs with you.

I have for many years gone on about Richard Beckinsale (yes, Vapid Kate's dad) and how funny he was. And he was, but he was always best stood next to Ronnie. Ronnie was, in my opinion, best stood next to Richard. And now, one hopes, they have joined together for some celestial porridge, as it was once called on the show.

And if I were God, I'd feel most lucky today. But I am not God, so I shall shed some tears as the voice of Ronnie Barker sends himself to prison in the introductory credits of Porridge. And then the man himself will turn up as the snarlingly charming Fletch and I know that I will laugh.

God love you Ronnie, and so do I.

apolla: (Jimmy M)

Ronnie Barker died.

Many of you won't know who he is, much less care. Even those who do know will shrug sadly and say something like "oh, he was 76. Had a good innings, etc etc."

Fuck that. I'm not going to shrug it off, because he was, and will remain, the greatest of my comedy heroes. I learned a great deal from David Jason about the power of expressions, as much from Mark Lamarr about a well-timed jibe (and also where the line is and why not to cross it), but from Ronnie B I learned everything. Every eyebrow lift, every nuance of tone and timing, every double-take. And I'm not the only one. Where would Peter Kay be without Ronnie? Or Rob Brydon or Jack Dee or even The Great And Lofty David Jason himself?

Mind you, most of you already know that I adore Ronnie Barker. [livejournal.com profile] emony texted me this morning asking how I was. I hadn't heard the news yet, so she didn't say anything, but knowing that she knew I'd be upset is a strangely comforting thing to know. And proof that she's an excellent friend, too! *hugs*

You all wanna talk about the greatness of British comedy? If you're over the pond or an ocean or wherever else in the world, no, Monty Python is not the sum of it. Monty Python is not the greatest laugh ever. Check out Porridge and Open All Hours and everything Ronnie Barker ever touched.

The Pythons could make you laugh, but Ronnie Barker could make you feel like you'd die laughing. And you wouldn't mind.

Ronnie Barker was the kind of man who doesn't come along very often. A character actor and a comedian. Who else could even think of being Norman Stanley Fletcher AND Arkwright at the same time? A ginger ageing recidivist from Muswell Hill and a snowy-haired tight-wad of a Northern shopkeeper captivated the people of Britain, and they did it at the same time! Porridge ran from 73-77 with the film in 79, and Open All Hours ran 73-85. He did these two ENTIRELY DIFFERENT characters at the same time, and they're each so convincing that it's hard to tell they're not real people! And this alongside The Two Ronnies.

And anyone who could make RONNIE CORBETT appear amusing must be a GENIUS.

To any boys out there, remember this: make a girl laugh, really laugh, and you'll own her heart for ever. Ronnie Barker was not handsome. He was himself quiet and quite introverted. And yet he has a country mourning him, because laugh and the world laughs with you.

I have for many years gone on about Richard Beckinsale (yes, Vapid Kate's dad) and how funny he was. And he was, but he was always best stood next to Ronnie. Ronnie was, in my opinion, best stood next to Richard. And now, one hopes, they have joined together for some celestial porridge, as it was once called on the show.

And if I were God, I'd feel most lucky today. But I am not God, so I shall shed some tears as the voice of Ronnie Barker sends himself to prison in the introductory credits of Porridge. And then the man himself will turn up as the snarlingly charming Fletch and I know that I will laugh.

God love you Ronnie, and so do I.

apolla: (LZ I)

It is a terrible thing to feel like you've been born wrong. Like somewhere, some deity took His/Her/Its eye off your particular ball for a second and it resulted in some weirdness that makes you feel like you don't belong. Maybe you feel like you were born in the wrong place.

Or the wrong time. I've often joked about being born too late. Other people joke about it - my mum's been saying it about me for years. A lot of other people, some who don't even know me very well, have echoed the sentiment. I've laughed and joked about it, all the while wondering if the great tragedy of my life would prove to be the death of my great love before I was born. Of course, the identity of that 'great love' changes every now and then, or they fight amongst themselves. I've accepted this because, let's face it, it's not like I've got a choice. Time travel remains the realm of science fiction, daydreams and Marty McFly. I've accepted it and figured that I'll find my place in the now sooner or later. Like I'm choosing to live in the past because it's easier, or something.

Lately though, I've never felt more like it's wrong the way it is now. I mean, out and out wrong. Like somebody up there made a mistake. And I can't bear it.

There was one thing, one little thing, in my mind that kept me anchored in the now. It was something that said to me "Yes, this might just be the reason you're now." And now it is, more or less, gone. The reason I had for being now has been taken away and once more, I sit here floundering, wondering why I'm in 2005 and not 1975.

I never felt like I was meant to be in 1955 or 1965. I'm interested in those times, the people and the music and the motion pictures. But you know, I am desperate to get back. Let me get it back, let me get it back, baby where I come from.

I can understand the feelings of not belonging I've always had. I'm Irish-Anglo and adopted. I don't belong in this town I live in, but I'll never belong in London or Dublin or Galway either. I learned a long time ago that one must make one's own home. Mine is created in the small sphere of a purple room that's been my only sanctuary through times I thought I might not survive. But it's not right. I'm not meant to be here and I'm not meant to be now.

What, pray tell, is keeping me here, now? The internet and DVDs? I love you all a great deal, and I adore what the internet does, but I could certainly live without it. I did for a long time. I read books instead. I hate mobile phones. I don't need the six hundred cable channels one is now afforded. Hell, I could even live without Never Mind The Buzzcocks. I don't need McDonalds. I could even live in the pre-Diet Coke years as long as I could get meself the occasional regular Coke. I don't like this world we live in, but then nor do a lot of people. A lot of people hark back to days gone by - the nostalgia industry is booming. But do they feel like they don't belong here, as I do? This is not a new thing for me, but it's become something harder and harder to ignore. I could live without computers (I like writing although nobody else can understand my handwriting, and I'm familiar with typewriters) and fabulous light fabrics or whatever. I don't need a car with GPS satellite nonsense.

I do need to go back and look after my boys. I just... what the hell is keeping me here anyway? I need to go back and help my boys find their reasons to live. I know I couldn't do it for them, but I know I could make it easier. What the hell is keeping me here? What the hell is keeping me now?

apolla: (LZ I)

It is a terrible thing to feel like you've been born wrong. Like somewhere, some deity took His/Her/Its eye off your particular ball for a second and it resulted in some weirdness that makes you feel like you don't belong. Maybe you feel like you were born in the wrong place.

Or the wrong time. I've often joked about being born too late. Other people joke about it - my mum's been saying it about me for years. A lot of other people, some who don't even know me very well, have echoed the sentiment. I've laughed and joked about it, all the while wondering if the great tragedy of my life would prove to be the death of my great love before I was born. Of course, the identity of that 'great love' changes every now and then, or they fight amongst themselves. I've accepted this because, let's face it, it's not like I've got a choice. Time travel remains the realm of science fiction, daydreams and Marty McFly. I've accepted it and figured that I'll find my place in the now sooner or later. Like I'm choosing to live in the past because it's easier, or something.

Lately though, I've never felt more like it's wrong the way it is now. I mean, out and out wrong. Like somebody up there made a mistake. And I can't bear it.

There was one thing, one little thing, in my mind that kept me anchored in the now. It was something that said to me "Yes, this might just be the reason you're now." And now it is, more or less, gone. The reason I had for being now has been taken away and once more, I sit here floundering, wondering why I'm in 2005 and not 1975.

I never felt like I was meant to be in 1955 or 1965. I'm interested in those times, the people and the music and the motion pictures. But you know, I am desperate to get back. Let me get it back, let me get it back, baby where I come from.

I can understand the feelings of not belonging I've always had. I'm Irish-Anglo and adopted. I don't belong in this town I live in, but I'll never belong in London or Dublin or Galway either. I learned a long time ago that one must make one's own home. Mine is created in the small sphere of a purple room that's been my only sanctuary through times I thought I might not survive. But it's not right. I'm not meant to be here and I'm not meant to be now.

What, pray tell, is keeping me here, now? The internet and DVDs? I love you all a great deal, and I adore what the internet does, but I could certainly live without it. I did for a long time. I read books instead. I hate mobile phones. I don't need the six hundred cable channels one is now afforded. Hell, I could even live without Never Mind The Buzzcocks. I don't need McDonalds. I could even live in the pre-Diet Coke years as long as I could get meself the occasional regular Coke. I don't like this world we live in, but then nor do a lot of people. A lot of people hark back to days gone by - the nostalgia industry is booming. But do they feel like they don't belong here, as I do? This is not a new thing for me, but it's become something harder and harder to ignore. I could live without computers (I like writing although nobody else can understand my handwriting, and I'm familiar with typewriters) and fabulous light fabrics or whatever. I don't need a car with GPS satellite nonsense.

I do need to go back and look after my boys. I just... what the hell is keeping me here anyway? I need to go back and help my boys find their reasons to live. I know I couldn't do it for them, but I know I could make it easier. What the hell is keeping me here? What the hell is keeping me now?

apolla: (Rock Chick)

This is my second attempt at writing this in a manner that is articulate, intelligent and succinct. Not sure how it's going to work out, given that I'm still in the "OMG!" stage. I'll leave my other stuff in the old post, cos I'm sure that most people reading this aren't going to give a flying one about my wander through St Stephen's Green and Dublin Castle.

I might as well just cut to the chase.

Friday Afternoon: Philo. VERY NOT DIALUP FRIENDLY. MANY PICTURES )

Saturday )

The Concert )

To borrow a phrase from Bernard Cribbins: And then we went home. PS. Don't nick my photographs. I doubt any of you would want to, but a vague disclaimer is nobody's friend.

apolla: (Rock Chick)

This is my second attempt at writing this in a manner that is articulate, intelligent and succinct. Not sure how it's going to work out, given that I'm still in the "OMG!" stage. I'll leave my other stuff in the old post, cos I'm sure that most people reading this aren't going to give a flying one about my wander through St Stephen's Green and Dublin Castle.

I might as well just cut to the chase.

Friday Afternoon: Philo. VERY NOT DIALUP FRIENDLY. MANY PICTURES )

Saturday )

The Concert )

To borrow a phrase from Bernard Cribbins: And then we went home. PS. Don't nick my photographs. I doubt any of you would want to, but a vague disclaimer is nobody's friend.

(no subject)

Monday, 22 August 2005 16:45
apolla: (LZ II)

From the BBC:

Thin Lizzy's Lynott Back In Town

And I was there. I spoke to that beautiful, classy lady not so long after that picture was taken.

I was there.

Also, Dr Moog died. The 80s wouldn't have been the same without you, sir.

(no subject)

Monday, 22 August 2005 16:45
apolla: (LZ II)

From the BBC:

Thin Lizzy's Lynott Back In Town

And I was there. I spoke to that beautiful, classy lady not so long after that picture was taken.

I was there.

Also, Dr Moog died. The 80s wouldn't have been the same without you, sir.

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