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Saturday, February 28, 2015


siouxsie sioux

I took measures to improve my mood. Put on a Siouxsie & the Banshees live album from 2002. I saw them in 91, one of the great concerts of my life. Sat back in the movie-watching chair, cranked the volume up to concert, hunkered down and enjoyed the concert all the way through. I know Siouxsie's stage presence and was able to see her in my mind's eye and the rest of the band, seeing the stage, the different ones in the band, volume up good, it put me there in the crowd, shoulder to shoulder, everyone in motion, feeling the energy of the moment, one with the crowd and the band. I like her vocals, the ways she uses her voice, the songs she writes that to my ear are poetry. I think of her a poet who sings her verses with a rock band, like Bob Dylan in that way, Patti Smith, Steve Earle and many others. I questioned myself why I don't do this more often. I have so much good music in the house and have fallen into a time of the life where I want silence. Most of the time I want quiet. The radio in the car doesn't work anymore and I'm glad. I'd rather listen to the motor. Siouxsie tapped me in to where I wanted to be, got some rhythm in my bones and some of their ecstatic guitars in my head. The guitars in her band don't play melody. They play with sounds they can make that sometimes sound like a huge factory making things out of steel, hammering, all kinds of noises that come to an ecstatic frenzy and keep it going. Siouxsie Sioux I have appreciated as an artist, the same as I appreciate Bob Dylan, who goes her own way, makes the music the way she wants to make it. In its time, mid Seventies London punk was an act of separation from the rock that went before having become predictable. Immediately, punk rendered Sixties "classic rock" slow and dull. Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols made headlines saying Peter Townsend of the Who was an "old fart." 

siouxsie sioux

In my chair, hearing Siouxsie's vocals I recalled that I know better than go to Siouxsie with expectation. She makes her songs her own way. I feel like I'm at a poetry reading where I hear the sequence of poems as the poet chose to read them. This was the second time hearing this album I bought when it was new. First time playing it, I went with expectation and was disappointed. Never heard it again. This evening, I picked this live album from the half dozen or so cds by Siouxsie because I knew I had not given it its due, had not listened to it with fresh ears. It has been between then and now that I have learned to let expectation go, be done with it. Early in the show, I was getting a little impatient because the early songs were slow and draggy. Then I shifted gears, remembered I listen to Siouxsie to see what she does with her art form rather than go to her with expectation. That's all it took. I was hearing the Siouxsie Sioux I love and stayed in the groove throughout the concert. I was remembering the first time I saw her on a video. It was on a tv screen in a punk club in Atlanta, late Seventies, I think. Ty Butler was in his apprenticeship for advertising photography. An Atlanta band at the time was playing there Ty wanted me to hear, The Swimming Pool Qs. Good band. While a band wasn't playing, videos played on the tv screen. I couldn't take my eyes off Siouxsie. It was the first image I'd seen of her and maybe second time I'd heard her. She is too good looking to be a rock star, so she fixes her face up in such severe makeup it's like face paint. She went to art school in London before the band. She painted her face in imaginative, interesting designs. Not full face paint. Around the eyes and sometimes lines going across her face. Severe hair. She has a pretty voice too, so she roughs it up doing as many vocal antics in a line as words, sometimes one word at a time, articulate while seeming not to be, the band overwhelming her and her screaming into the guitars. She does it right.   

siouxsie sioux

It felt good to be listening to Siouxsie again, haven't heard her in a few years. I can hear her in my head any time I want. I'd like to turn it on now, but it would seize all my attention. I was thinking while listening to Siouxsie, we have so much that is wonderful, beautiful and good in this world. Hiroshima was known for the finest Japanese gardens in Japan. Poof. We artists tend to want a peaceable world where the art that is in studios, stored, shown for sale, can be everywhere. I see Atlanta has some interesting art emergence, public art, art activities, classes, people getting together of a creative spirit. This is the world as I want it to be. Paris in the Twenties and Thirties was popping with Surrealism going on and the other artists and writers of all varieties. Paris having a renascence recovering from WW1, then bam, WW2. The 20th Century was the most violent, most deadly century ever. While the population was involved in war and war mind, resources going to the war machine, artists all over the world were illustrating the changes in human consciousness set in motion by Prometheus's second fire, electricity. Advancements brought on by the discovery of how to make electricity took us collectively to a place we were not ready for. This coming century will be one of moving inland to higher ground as ocean waves take over the foundations of coastal cities and residential areas. These mountains will fill up with people such that by the end of the century there may not be a tree left, the Appalachian chain one long city. Where will they get the water after the whole chain has been fracked and no longer the water source for the eastern half of the continent the Appalachians have served for so long?

siouxsie and the banshees

Glaciers, water source for much of the globe have melted and are melting. Maybe people of the future will figure out how to make water. Or be like Bermuda with no fresh water source, paint the roofs with lime and catch rainwater in barrels. Humans are creative. A whole lot of changes. We're used to it. Change is the nature of existence. Now that I see everything that went before is going away, I cannot imagine what civilization will be like in one more century of major changes. It will be now, the present moment, every moment, just like today. Different circumstances. Archival libraries will be moved to the mountains. The entire earth's coastline will have to be resurveyed. I see the atrocities those maniacs that call themselves Isis are doing, tearing up museums of antiquities in Syria, my heart sinks, and I remind self this is happening everywhere. The old civilization is on its way out. The Enlightenment is over. And something else is taking its place. More than likely some people know what philosophical era we're in now that's in ascendance. We'll get on, day by day, like usual, amazed looking back in history at the way we are now, so backward, like the Nineteenth Century looked from the Twentieth. The only thing I think I can say with certainty about the future is it will work out. I'm an apocaloptimist, one who sees everything going to shit, but it will all work out to the good. As this round of civilization is on its way out, the new round of civilization is presently on its way in. It will be a seamless transition over a few centuries, a natural flow that won't even know it's the beginnings of a new civilization. Or so I imagine. If I can imagine it, it's the signal that tells me this is the one thing it will not be. An old hillbilly sayin is in my mind, Just keep on a-keepin on. For me, this is the key. Just keep on a-keepin on. Go day by day seeing it's all to the good and keep on a-keepin on. Listen to more Siouxsie and the Banshees.


1 comment:

  1. One of my favorites, TJ. Keep on keepin' on!