Astral Van

I have been a Van Morrison fan since Moondance. Over the decades I have built a fairly complete collection, so large that I’m splitting it into two posts.  The first song of his I was familiar with was Gloria – though at the time I didn’t connect it with him. It was a cut on The Blues Magoos’ Electric Comic Book. 

His music journey has from from Irish garage-band rock with Them, to his early searching solo years after Astral Weeks, then Moondance, a return to traditional Irish, a transcendental mystic time of great spiritual discovery, to his present sense of looking back – even re-recording some of his early work. Each period has great work by this restless musical spirit.  

There are several books about him. I have read Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968 which is an excellent look at the pop scene of the time & his formative US years. Many of the songs it discusses are found on Bang Masters (67). I picked this up in February 1993. Brown Eyed Girl was his solo break-though. Mostly good solid soulful rock. The Bob Dylan inference shows on some tracks.

I have as mp3: Astral Weeks Expanded Edition 68 – which has extended versions a few tracks. The jazzy/chamber music setting is sweet &, at the time, quite revolutionary so radio stations didn’t know what to do with – musically a clear influence on the chamber rock of groups like Antony & the Johnsons. 

A stand-alones I have Moondance 70, His Band and The Street Choir 70, Tupelo Honey 71, St Dominic’s Preview 72, Hard Nose The Highway 73. At one time I had them as cassettes & upgraded to cd. Moondance remains a classic, timeless album. A more commercial recording than Astra Weeks. The music is celebratory, romantic & fun. The next ones are less hit-song driven, his sound changes from one to the next, choirs on one, more horns on another. I had most of these as cassettes at one time. Also mp3’s of Veedon Fleece 74, A Period of Transition 77.

Listening one can sense how his real life is reflected in his music. The end of his marriage, the wrestle with booze & drugs, his spiritual longings & his search for ways to express though lyrics & music his need to balance his expectations, fame & friends. In some ways a male version of Joni Mitchell but with a more rock sensibility. All of these are great albums but if you are unfamiliar start with Moondance & then Astral Weeks. 

More Van next week.

Anticipation 4

It was as he said ‘I want to know’ that he realized he did, in fact, accept The Book. It didn’t matter what he did, he couldn’t avoid his fate so he might as well start living to enjoy it. It didn’t matter what he did as long as he did something. The idea of making a decision that was not escape frightened him. That was also in The Book – ‘Martin will make the fearful choice after death.’ He regretted that it was someone else’s death.

So, this was the day. Overcast & slushy. No Michelangelo skies. As he dressed he wondered exactly what he would be doing at the moment of impact, the fulcrum of healing? Saving a drowning child? Taking a good shit? ‘What becomes the healing the world the most?’ he inhaled ‘God’, held it; breathed out, ‘Thank you.’ Then reversed the order.

Recently he had been pre-occupied by what would become of him after that moment. The Book ended with ‘On that February 14 Martin will begin the healing of the world.’ Nothing followed. Not that The Book had even been helpful in any important way. He had frequently wished it had said things like ‘Martin will become a doctor, or ‘wear those blue shorts to the beach.’ It only commented ‘… will then no longer feel lost.’ The horoscope in the newspaper was more helpful.

He hoped that once he got the healing started he could begin to live his own life for himself.

A list of To Do Today on the fridge had only one item on it – ‘Replace plug on corner lamp.’ That meant a trip to the hardware store, people, uniformed sales clerks. All the things he’d rather avoid.

The elevator in his building wasn’t working, again. Luckily he only had a six flight walk. In the carpark he discovered his arial had been snapped off, again. At least this time they hadn’t scratched a map of the world on his roof.

He went the hardware store in the mall. Found what he wanted quickly then went over to Finest Burgers in the food court. Ordered one with works & found a quiet spot that faced the dining area.

He looked at the hamburger & the fries. Fries overcooked to just the brownness he liked. The first bite was perfection. He knew it wasn’t the most healthy food but the combination of salt, ketchup & grease exploded in his mouth in the most satisfying way. A way he knew alfalfa sprouts couldn’t come near.

The molecular structure of the grease changed & the cholesterol deposits in Martin’s arteries began to dissolve. 

Brenda’s doctor looked at the test results. “Gone! Completely in remission.”

Charles put the gun down.

Brian decided he could look after the kids without her.

The blood sample on the slide mutated, the helper cells began to win.

Sylvia decided not to have that last donut.

Martin glanced up & saw that it was just after one. The healing had begun! He looked around expecting to see transformation. All he saw was people eating. He bit into his hamburger, Perfection again. And so it should be, after all wasn’t this a perfect day. The first perfect day ever.

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Honesty

sample

Honesty

look I’m going to be honest here

I want people to think

I’m one of those men

drawn to the inner light of a person

someone who has that unique gift

to sense the tender spiritual values

the hesitant sweet flicker

of the ethereal in a soul

and once I have that flicker

my heart is the candle lit by your flame

we fall in righteous burning love

but let me tell you

that is not the case here

I dig you in those jeans

the hug of denim on your calves

that brush of hairy wrist

when your each across the table

is what gets me burning

I don’t give a fig for spiritual values

for all I care you could be

a callow insufferable arrogant prick

really

I just want to get naked with you

I want to run my tongue over you

feel you do the same to me

take you

without the weight of personality

don’t tell me your political views

your favourite sport team is irrelevant

the last book you read

screw that

forget all pretences

of being intellectual thinking creatures

and be the animals

we are ashamed to be

I don’t even have to see you again

I won’t give you a phone number

don’t want yours

I just want you

head to toe   mouth to mouth

wipe that shock off your face

it only comes from

all those years of inculcation

that to act like barn yard animals

is less than honourable

that to give in even once

to the rutting gut busting urge

is demeaning   isn’t right

who wants to be right

when it feel so right

come on

I’m ready to drop my pretences

as fast as you can drop your pants

look I’m being honest with you

I know how rare that may be

when we have to commodify desire

to mask lust as art or apologize for it

but I’m not into apologies

unless its to say I’ll be sorry

if we let this chance go by

dolls04 welcome to the doll house

Part of the inspiration or this piece was hearing one to many poets (of both sexes) talking about how sensitive they were to the true essence of their loved ones. All too often, to me, these sound like a plea by the poet to be seen as being so sensitive you would be a fool not to have sex with them. In fact they are begging for you touch their cosmic transporting neither regions, what Zappa calls the latex solar beef, to experience true delight. Please please please.

dolls03 ooh Santa

My pieces about sex are usually frank, direct & often funny, sometimes sensual. I’ve found that often the emotional content is human-sexual as opposed to homo-sexual.

Though some people get the impression I write about my actual sex life all the time – let me tell if you had as much sex as people assume I do, I would not have time or inclination to write about it. 🙂 Others assume I’m a sex addict because I write about guiltlessly enjoy sex. I think that comes from that ‘inculcation’ by cultural & religious pressures – the message that pleasure is bed, suffering is good.

dolls02 valley of the dolls

I enjoy the play of words through this piece as well – ‘the weight of personality’ ‘drop my pretences as fast as I drop my pants.’ As LMFAO says – I Am Not A Whore – if I was, you couldn’t afford me.

soon1

November 1-30 – participating – NaNoWriMo 2014 –nanowrimo http://nanowrimo.org

December 14 – special guest spot – Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir

noirxmas

https://www.facebook.com/events/743240899058830/?notif_t=plan_edited

snowman

dirty old snow man