I can’t say that I’m a Billy Joel fan but tucked in a couple of different mp3 collections I have The Stranger; Turnstiles; Nylon Curtain; Innocent Man. His career has had its up & downs but he’s still performing. I love the whistling intro on The Stranger. His story telling on songs like ‘Scenes From An Italian Restaurant,’ ‘Good Night Vietnam’ is superb.
He’s a less rock Bruce Springsteen 🙂 He was never, what one might call, a teen idol, which allowed his songs to be adult pop & lets his musical style roam from ballads, jazzy nightclub, to emotional personal declarations ‘Pressure.’ Never challenging and frequently emotionally compelling I’m always happy when these lps come up in my listening rotation.
In the same mp3 collection are Howard Jones’s Human’s Lib; Dream Into Action. A less dour version of The Cure, Howard Jones rode that British new wave wave with cheerful, optimistic songs. He appealed to the MTV crowd with great videos & an easy to listen sound. As much as the Clash or the Sex Pistols were trashing new ground people were eager for the softer sound that Jones delivered.
The lyrics are more adventurous than the music itself, which made almost counter-culture songs like Conditioning appealing. Sexually ambiguous at times he was not as in-you-face as Boy George. Is he still around? I don’t know. As much as I love these two 80’s artifacts I haven’t been interested in seeing what he’s up to today.
‘Which cup and saucer set do you want?’
I looked over the four matched sets – purple thistles on one, red rose buds on another, greenish heath and clover on the next, and buttercups on the last. I wanted to turn each of them over, check the markings like some Antiques Road Show expert – as if knowing the cash value would change the sentimental value in any way.
‘Butter cup.’ The yellow appealed. I didn’t care if it was Spode, Royal Dalton, or rare Japanese enamel ware.
The cups and saucers had materialized from one of several boxes found in Rob’s storage locker. It was like Christmas as we pulled the age-browned boxes and the dusty plastic bags up from the locker. We tore them apart and then unwrapped the various pieces of china, brass and pottery.
So this is the after life, I thought, we go through what what has been left behind. The strange bits and pieces of a life that someone has stored in a dank apartment building basement locker. Old shoes, cross country skis, broken lamps, papers. Some of which was headed directly to Goodwill.
The box of stones and shells from beaches around there world would stay there for the next owner to dispose of as they saw fit.
Some things of greater value than anything I ever owned myself. Milk glass, red crystal leaded glass. A life of memorabilia and memory, some of which no one could share now. Things that had been saved by Rob for sentimental value were now merely objects to us. Objects to be appraised for some sort of retail value that sentiment couldn’t increase.
I wasn’t sure if I should be sad or glad, if I should be excited and pleased to find all these bits and pieces or dismayed at the pointless of them.
Some things got repacked in new paper into new plastic bags. Some were left open to view for a proposed contents sale. Maybe some of these items would hold new memory for new people. Maybe their mothers had the same green glass vase & they had been looking for exactly the same one for years.
The mystery of memory, time and space. Like meeting the old friend at Rob’s funeral service and hearing his school mates say the same things about him as mine did about me when I was a school boy. The echo of of our lives through each other’s lives.
Echoes that we sometimes don’t even hear or have an awareness of till the moment is right. The membrane of time rendered useless.
So I hold the buttercup cup up to the light. It glows slightly in the strong afternoon sun. A good sign. I think. The better the porcelain, the warmer that glow. A white membrane to protect new memory.
every Tuesday 2019
August 8: Highland Arts Theatre: https://www.highlandartstheatre.com
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Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)
Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors
Stratford Festival – The Crucible
June – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C. capfireslam.org