Friday, June 16, 2006

No free lunch

Time ain't nothin'
When you're young at heart
And your soul still burns
I've seen rainy days
Sunshine that never fades
All through the night.


Man, you have to love a life that has things that brilliant in it. I just bought Green on Red's No free lunch. I used to have it on vinyl but I haven't heard it for more than 15 years. It is as fresh and wonderful today as it was when it was released. Maybe that's because music has stagnated and become backward-looking, but maybe it's just because alt.country tends to be timeless.

It's a great American invention, an aching, powerful rock that was born from the collision of folk, the blues and the electric guitar. Most of the American bands I like -- Yo La Tengo, the Replacements, GonR, Mazzy Star, Labradford, the Shins -- could more or less be described as alt.country. I think this is more a consequence of American rock's sharing roots and influences than their actually being kindred in any way.

It sounds like open roads to me, dusty forgotten highways, stormclouds and showers on hot afternoons. America for me is a huge land of spaces, a place a man could ride a horse in. We dream that in America we can find all our heart desires. The bands I love chronicle the breaking of that dream and how we find love and life in the wreckage. It makes for resonant, moody music that strikes a bell deep in me.

Me, I gotta keep on movin'
I don't think much about what I'm losin'

Friday, June 2, 2006

"More than words"

Zenella looks lost at the door of the disco. No one she knows is in sight. I am standing by the door watching her as she looks around for friends. Her hair is still wet from swimming, hanging down in the braids Mrs Zen put it into that morning.

She finds E, her best friend, and immediately becomes animated.

I am overwhelmed by my feeling of love for her. I love her more than I have ever loved a woman; more than I would ever have imagined was possible. How do words, humble tools that they are, rise to describing it?

They cannot. Love is not expressed in words but in the fond look of a father who sees the joy in his child's meeting a friend, in the warmth that her smile brings, in the gentle touch of his big hand on her small forehead when she has a fever.

Sometimes, on a cold morning, when Mrs Zen is already up with the twins, Zenella comes into my bed, looking for warmth. I feel her cold feet in the back of my legs and I know this is what love is: to be the safest place my child will ever know and for those few minutes, feel there is no better thing.