Getting older

SIMON SWEETMAN
Last updated 11:43 10/02/2014

So Dolly dazzled - I'd no doubt, though the review really just tells me it happened. I want to know why the show was so good, not just a roll call of her biggest hits. I want to know what it meant to be standing there - or seated - and feeling the heat of the show, feeling so good, or so bad, so happy or sad, as the songs poured from the stage. I don't want platitudes - attempted bon mots - I need to know why it was unmissable, if it was. Or whether I in fact saved my money and my time. 

In the case of Dolly I know deep down that I should have been there - and I would have if I could, but life has a habit of getting in the way. You can't just drop everything, throw caution somewhere near the wind and head for the Bombays every time you think you'd like to see someone. Be nice if you could. But the kid needs a father and the house is our home.

I found a bunch of old CDs this week - burns, some old record company promos, a couple of folders that had found their way to being stashed under the TV cabinet. Now I have some more listening to do. This doesn't fill me with inertia the way I sometimes feel on the return from the letterbox. I'm genuinely pumped to find my way through these albums to see if they still mean what they used to - to answer the question of why they're still here. So far the soundtrack to A Single Man was as stirring as I remember, a swirl and wash of almost emotionally overwhelming music; somehow both subtle and OTT all at once.

And Ben Folds' Songs for Silverman remains my favourite - and the only album I care about from this guy. You know I interviewed him once, didn't have the forum to write it up at the time, so it just sits - what's left of it - in my memory (what's left of it). I chatted with him right around the time that album was released; he'd also made that one with William Shatner and was happier telling me stories about him; about how self-aware William Shatner was. How he was. Two steps. Ahead of. Anyone. When it. Came to. The joke. That phrasing. The way he. Broke up. A line. Left you waiting. Sometimes dangling. And then. He. Just gushed through a whole lot of words. Never really telling you a thing. Other. Than the. Music of his voice. Shatner knew what he was doing - and always. According to Ben Folds. I got the distinct impression that Ben Folds hardly ever knew what he was doing - but  threw enough of whatever resembled caution towards whatever seemed like a wind and hoped for the best. Sometimes you get exactly that with Ben Folds' work. Other times you get a guy just stoked to show you he can rub his tummy and pat his head at the same time.

I'm going to have a bit of fun digging through the CDs this week. (Found my Marvin Pontiac too). Funny how a new set of old sounds creates a whole new approach. I usually sit with my phone plugged in working through the latest download codes and links - some of it even feels like music. Mostly it's just assignments. The record player has a hum again, so it's (mostly) out of action. I'll get to that but the big bag of tapes I rescued from the tip is actually of more interest. Even though, right now, I look at these tapes and just crumble. I see the covers and think only of crudely written diary entries, not the music. I think of where I was - physically, geographically and perhaps mentally and emotionally - before I ever get to any of the music. Sometimes I catch myself staring at a tape-cover for seven or eight minutes. The room's silence the only sound I can hear. I'm buckled over holding one of Bob Dylan's worst - wondering why that's the one I held onto and not any of his best.

This week - and maybe on from there - I'll have time, all of a sudden, for CDs. They won't just go in the slot in the computer. They won't just pile up and seem like work.

The best thing I've heard the last couple of weeks is the new album by David Crosby. I can't say I expected this.

The new Damien Jurado album has me going back to his older stuff - fortunately I have two of his earliest albums in the CD folders I found this weekend. Timing. It's everything.

The new Ben Lukas Boysen album is sometimes all I want to hear. Lately that's been the case. I'd add it to any best-of list - for this year, or last year, or next - but it won't ever matter to anyone else.

The Liam Finn gig still rings on in my head, still resonates. The way that guy tears at his guitar, as if he's locked in a fight with a pissed-off hose and all the people who were not there can say is that he suffers a case of spoiled-son-syndrome. How rude. How stupid. How embarrassingly incorrect. How can they be entitled to their opinion when they were not there? (Don't answer that. If you weren't there you can't). Someone should write a book called Opinion Farm pointing out that even though all opinions are entitled some are actually more entitled than others.The Clean

I found those old diaries again too. I actually used to list all of the music I listened to each and every day. I'd come home after school and play the tapes and write down the list of all the ones I made it through. In the weekend the list of a day might be slightly longer, with more time dedicated to listening - to scratching down what I was listening to too.

Rehearsing for blogging, of course.

Tonight I get to see The Clean.  

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