So Russell…what do you love about Music?

William takes out his tape recorder, plugs in the mic, and points it at Russell.

William – So Russell…what do you love about music?

Russell smiles, stands up, turns his chair around and leans into the mic.

Russell – To begin with…everything.

This is one of, if not the last, bits of dialogue in a Cameron Crowe’s ‘Almost Famous’ a movie of a young man who’s blagged his way onto a tour with the band Stillwater, and a nice well-paying article for Rolling Stone magazine. It’s a film that I always intended to watch, and had the DVD lying on my shelf for quite some years now.  Owing to my current, financially frugal, situation I’ve been forced to sell on another clump of my precious DVD’s.  Last time I was happy to get rid of some of my more embarrassing and ‘guilty pleasure’ DVD’s, but this time I’ve had to break my heart and get rid some of my more cherished movies.  Admittedly, Almost Famous wasn’t in that category when I agreed the fee, but having wanted to now finally watch it before saying goodbye, it has to now be classed as a cherished one. 

As a movie, it has everything I love – humour, eccentric characters, Rock and Roll, cute, creative and imaginative women, the geek/loser getting to be cool and accepted, road trips, rock music, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin music, and rock music again.  And it has Cameron Crowe’s personal touch and affection that could only come from a script based on his personal experiences.  But more than anything, it’s made me remember just how much I love music – and as Jack Black says in ‘School of Rock’ ” Rock isn’t about being perfect” (or words to that effect, I’m not good on remembering specifics and it’s late, I can’t be arsed to check the finer points!). 

What’s more it’s made me think more about myself as a writer.  William, the protagonist of the movie, is a wannabe music journalist, and gets to live out his dreams.  I am beginning to feel more like I’m beginning my journey, but admit that it’s a long way (to the top if you wanna rock and roll…couldn’t resist, I love AC/DC).  And something that has been bugging me lately, and prompted this blessay tonight is a sense of the undefinable, abstract concepts that I struggle to define and explain. 

I set up this blog, and the two others associated to it, to get me writing, regardless of the topic or the form.  And at first, for the first month of this blog, I wrote prolifically, or at least as prolific as I’ve ever been.  This second month has been less so, and I haven’t felt the same urge to just sit down and write.  Actually that isn’t true I’ve felt the urge many times, but I haven’t done so because I’ve never had a clear idea/topic/theme/subject to write about.  Vague feelings and compunctions that have eluded my concerns as a writer.  For writers have many things to consider – Theme, plot, structure, genre, character, denouement, conclusion, introduction, twists, style, content, then on top of that I worry about the form of my blogs.  Every other blog I read are wonderfully short and concise, I seem incapable of writing anything short and I worry that this puts readers off, that I’m doing it wrong, and that the content I choose to write about as of any interest or value to anyone.  Then I worry that I’m not writing enough…and then I look at this second month of the blog, I’ve written less articles, and yet the hit count and the lovely comments received from the wonderful people who have taken time out of their busy lives to read my blog, have quadrupled.  I don’t know why or how it as happened, or what I’ve done different…but then, I'[m not sure that I care.

Today is the first time in a while I’ve felt utterly compelled to write, and I’m doing so without any real theme or structure in mind, this is pretty much out of my head and onto the web page.  I made note of the dialogue exchange above, between the protagonist and Billy Crudup’s temperamental lead guitarist, because of the words.  How do you answer that question? “What do you like about music?” Music is beyond definition, beyond explanation, beyond understanding.  And yet Cameron Crowe managed to write a whole script about it! And I ask myself, did Cameron Crowe know all this when he started writing, did he have a definitive structure, did he know it would end in such a vague question and vague answer? 

It has made me remember just how much music means to me, how I love the thrill of a live gig (which I haven’t been able to experience recently owning to lack of funds), I love a mesmerizing guitar solo, the buzz of seeing living gods perform on the stage.  And you forget that these are real, flawed human beings with the same preoccupations as any artist/human being; the two are not mutually exclusive entities.  It’s their flaws that make them such remarkable human beings.

I’ve recently been watching a remarkable documentary series of Beethoven on Sky Arts, which discusses his life and music.  He is, in my opinion, the unequivocal musical genius of music history.  His music has awed and inspired me since I was a young child learning to play the piano.  I cannot begin to comprehend the mind and genius of a man who has written such incredible music that has lived on for hundreds of years and is still revered to this day.  But the documentary states that as a human being, he was an absolute prick!  Were I to have met him I’m certain that I would have hated him on sight!  (Although he was gradually going deaf from a young age, and given his talent it was understandable he should be depressed at such an affliction).  But I will never forget the day I first heard the fifth symphony, nor can I express just how exquisite his music is and how much it means to me.   

There are many people out there who have derided Cher Lloyd because of her attitude and behaviour (I realise it’s quite a leap from Ludwig Van Beethoven to an X-factor contestant, but humour me!).  There was an article recently from another of the contestants slamming her as a bully (I forget the womans name, she wasn’t all that good and was binned from the competition before Cher).  I was bullied at school, and I don’t condone it, but Cher for me was by far and away the best contestant on the show, and she made the final, but was the first finalist to go because people didn’t like her attitude.   Balls to her attitude, she had more talent than all of them put together, and if history shows us anything, artists are assholes!  She may throw away her talent, squander her opportunity, but she could also reshape music forever…you don’t know.  I say let her be a human being, no one is perfect, she seems nice enough to me, and strong enough to deal with the effects of her personality, let her be amazing.  She converted me, I’m not a hip hop fan, but I would happily buy her album. The future is hers to reshape…

So where does this leave me?  I do not know.  That’s the thing, with any of my writing, I find I have to meander through.  Everything should fit together all so perfectly – putting together the jigsaw before you know the picture or the shape of the pieces. It’s maddening and the pursuit of someone who is a borderline lunatic. But now, whereas I would have left the urge unsated, I’m writing, searching for the meaning, for the definition; striving to define something which defies definition. 

So I’m going to write, which was always the intention behind beginning this blog.  Recently that’s all I’ve done, I’ve contributed only to my blogs, as I’ve taken a vain satisfaction on seeing the hit counts rise everyday.  But I need to begin my career, and there are things I need to write, that I cannot bring to this or any other of my blogs.  Almost Famous is a movie that is similar in subject matter to a novel I’ve been planning to write.  It’s been in the prep stages for a few weeks, or in truth a few years as it’s a concept I began writing some time ago and was never happy with.  I’m still not happy with everything, it is once again eluding my instincts a s a writer and is flitting around my mind – so close yet so far.  However, what the hell, I’m just going to write it.  That means that articles my be sparse on this blog for a while.  My Bobbins character seems to be quite popular, and he will continue to reappear, and I have set myself deadlines for the other blogs so they will continue to be updated weekly. 

Cameron Crowe won an Oscar for his screenplay for Almost Famous.  He got it out there and accepted the reward.  I’ve a dream to chase, and it cannot be achieved by doing nothing.  This is why Billy Crudup’s reply is perfect.  What do you love about Music? To begin with…everything!  It’s both vague and concise, it makes no attempt to define what cannot be condensed.  It show his thrill at not knowing.  Perhaps it’s because he has experienced music.  Perhaps only in the experience can there be meaning…yeah!

It’s late, my head hurts from over thinking every word and concept in this literary soup of metaphoric dribble, and I need to step back.  I’m sure this article is again overlong and poorly grammatised, and for that I apologise and thank you if you have persevered to this point. I need to sleep, then I need to to just write. What happens next? Well…you’ll be the first to know.

A goodnight to all of you wonderful, intelligent and creative people out there, I hope I shall write again soon.

Fubar

Fubar Robinson

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~ by Ian Fubar Robinson on March 5, 2011.

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