Words & Music

Daily doses of creativity

Monday, June 26, 2017

Genius in Our Midst: Hunter


David Bowie's death was such a loss because he was an artist who was still at the top of his game. Black Star was one of last year's best musical collections. What happened to John Lennon is a wound that doesn't heal, made even more painful by the fact that he'd just released Double Fantasy. George Harrison's final recording, Brainwashed, stands with his finest work.

There is genius in our midst that we recognize and appreciate: Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Stevie Wonder. But there are others that by luck or design fly below the cultural radar, musical genius who are writing, performing, and recording timeless music without the recognition they deserve. Ian Hunter leaps to mind.

New York Dolls

In the 1970s Marc Bolan, Lou Reed, David Bowie, and Ian Hunter introduced a glamorous masculine ideal of the 20th Century Boy. Ian's the only one left and he is putting out music that is as good as any he's ever made.

His latest recording is called Fingers Crossed and it includes a tribute to his fallen mate David Jones called Dandy. They should put a statue up in Piccadilly Circus.

Something is happening – Mr. Jones
My brother says you’re better than the Beatles ‘n’ the Stones
Saturday nite ‘n’ Sunday morning
You turned us into ‘Heroes’ – can you hear the heroes sing?

Dandy – you’re the prettiest star
There ain’t no life on Mars
But we always thought there might be
Dandy – you opened up the door
You left us wanting more
And then we took the last bus home

Who let the Genie – outta the lamp?
And Little Lord Fauntleroy – who let him outta his amp?
Saturday nite ‘n’ Sunday morning
Trevor’s getting’ bolder – ‘n’ Woody loves to hit things

Dandy – the world was black ‘n’ white
You showed us what it’s like
To live inside a rainbow
Dandy – you thrilled us to the core
You left us wanting more
And then we took the last bus home

You beat up Goliath – you had it all
The voice, the look, the songs that shook
The gift of the gab ‘n’ the gall
Saturday nite ‘n’ Sunday morning
All we had to look forward to was the weekend
You made our lives worth living

Dandy - you’re still the prettiest star
There ain’t no life on Mars
But we always thought there might be
Dandy – You took us to the fair
Cabaret Voltaire – and then we caught the last bus home

Dandy – we’ve waited long enough
They should put a statue up
In Piccadilly Circus
Dandy – you blew us all away
Outta the drab ‘n’ the grey
And then we caught the last bus home

Dandy – the keeper of the flame
We won’t see your like again
No, Dandy was a one-off
Dandy – look what you’ve become
I guess I owe you one
So thanks for the memories

Sunday, June 25, 2017

It's No Game

The year is 1980. There has been a swing to the right across the free world. Margaret Thatcher is Prime Minister of England and Ronald Reagan is elected President of the United States. At the Republican Convention in July the party’s platform has changed since their last gathering. Gone is support for an Equal Rights Amendment to guarantee “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” In its place is support for an amendment to guarantee “the right to life for unborn children.”

Devastation stalks the world of rock music. Before the year is out John Bonham will drink himself to death, Ian Curtis will hang himself, and John Lennon will be murdered.

David Bowie released his 14th studio album Scary Monsters…and Super Creeps in 1980 and opened it with the most unhinged vocal performance of his career on the track It’s No Game (Part 1). He is matched in ferocity by the vocals of Japanese actress Michi Hirota and the guitar of Robert Fripp.

Silhouettes and shadows watch the revolution
No more free steps to heaven
It's no game

I am barred from the event
I really don't understand the situation
It's no game

Documentaries on refugees
Couples 'gainst the target
Throw a rock against the road
And it breaks into pieces

Draw the blinds on yesterday,
and it's all so much scarier
Put a bullet in my brain,
and it makes all the papers

So where’s the moral?
People have their fingers broken
To be insulted by these fascists – it’s so degrading
And it's no game

Shut up!
Shut up!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

CitySketch: Empire State

The Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world from its completion in 1931 until it was surpassed by the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 1970. It is currently the 34th tallest building in the world, the fifth tallest in the US and from September 11, 2001 until the Freedom Tower passed it in April 2012 it was again the tallest in New York City.