born to run

November 24, 2017

PBS Newshour showed again Part 1 of Jeffrey Brown‘s interview with Bruce Springsteen (originally aired December 19, 2016; the video url: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/bruce-springsteen-tackles-truth-song-memoir ). It was meant to be a promo of his memoir but it was much more to me.

He might not be my favourite artist or a technical singer but like he says: he’s learned to ‘inhabit his songs’ which makes his songs more believable.  Moreover, his working-class roots makes him seem authentic and relatable. I don’t pretend to be an expert on him (or his numerous works) but it wasn’t until I heard the original acoustic (and much more slower) version of ‘Born in the USA’ that I thought I understood the lyrics and what that song was truly about.

As he says in his interview and his in his new memoir “I wasn’t modest in the assessment of my abilities. Of course, I thought I was a phony (sic). That is the way of the artist. But I also thought I was the realest thing you had ever seen.” It’s about dichotomy, I guess – existing on two different planes at the same time.  For me, a real artist lives (and exists) with contradictions – they are only human after all.

You can watch Part 2 at https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/music-medicine-bruce-springsteen

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April 19, 2017

had a recurring “nightmare” last night about people seeking any shelter they could find.  What’s weird is that I have a different dream each time I get up from bed but for some reason it just continued where it left off.  I thought I was not really bothered by the threat of nuclear winter but it looks like subconsciously I am.   This just illustrates how, often, control is not in one’s own hands.  Like my mum used to say:  you’re ok but other people might be “crazy”.

me, myself & I

April 13, 2016

movies like “The Big Short”, “The Wolf of Wall Street”, “2oolander”’ and television shows like “Billions” and “House of Cards” remind me how much narcissism is prevalent in our society.  Media often reflects back the world we live in. I most of the time (in my view at least) can overshadow community. We still look to “exceptional” individuals as “saviors” when we should also “empower” everyone to contribute to changes ourselves (no matter how miniscule in the grand scheme of things).  We should not solely have to rely on others to improve our lot but also allow for “grassroots” changes.   We should not only embrace a “top-down” approach but additionally combine them with “bottom-up” methods.

Like all technology, social media can be a double-edged sword:  at one end it is a tool for empowerment, at the other spectrum it feeds the “outrage machine”.  We do not need to know all the minutia of your daily lives:  we do not benefit from what you are doing 24×7.  The majority of expressed opinions are often unconsidered – relative ease has trumped reflection, emotions override thoughts.  Immediacy and convenience are at times not desirable nor appropriate. Do not get me wrong:  providing a voice to the voiceless is good but one needs to consider the source/context and weigh the different perspectives. It is sad that some people hide behind anonymity and screen names to hurl abuse:  a case in point is the withdrawal of such luminaries as Stephen Fry from Twitter – context can alter perceptions.  Unfortunately, akin to what Churchill said about the shortcoming of democracy, social media is in the same boat.  Like most prescription medication, the good hopefully outweighs the bad effects.