Book Hippo

Sunday, April 15, 2012

New-Old Music?

Being older, there are things which happen that surprise me because it's so at odds with the attitudes I grew up with. Like listening to old music. When I was a kid, that meant Frank Sinatra, and no kid of my age would've been caught dead listening to him.

So imagine my surprise when I heard in a Tim Horton shop two post-nineteen nineties born kids talking about their favorite band. Who was the band? The Beatles!

How did this music survive for fifty years to speak to these kids?

I wondered about it for a while and thought of all the influences that younger people have grown up with. Mostly bad-guy TV shows like Sopranos or Hip-Hop and Rap, all the negative gangster influences that have had kids walking around with their pants waist down around their knees, the prison-chic style so many seem to like. Or the cholo-fashion of t-shirt and baggy pants with crotch lower than the knees.

But most of all, the take-whatever-you-won't-get-caught taking that a lot of youngsters have. It seems that the younger people are finding that kicking someone's ass is not a solution, just an impulse and as they find that gangsta creed does not work in a civilized society, they want to find something that will.

So instead of the violence and people hating negativity of hip-hop, they've found the simple message of the Beatles, live for love, keep love, get love anyway you can, to be what they want to hear now.

I guess it means that people, though they may be led astray, always know what they need deep inside, they need to be people and to be seen as human and to love.

So I guess it's a good thing those people recorded all those songs, so that later generations can find something to open their hearts.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Good Weather

Well, I'm going out more, especially now, at Easter. There's next to no one downtown. It's so quiet and peaceful, just right for walking around. It's nice and warmish, one still needs a small jacket but there's no discomfort.

I do find it hard to work when it's so peaceful. I think for hours of how I should be writing but it just never happens when all is quiet, I need the noise of the city to focus me, I guess. I find that strange in a way but it's always been how I am. When I was younger, I would take off to the woods in the north for a month or so just to escape. I was so happy to come back, though, when I was ready.

My knees are too decrepit now for me to go walking in the woods but I do go out to my friend who lives in a small town outside Ottawa. It's a quiet place and I enjoy being there for something different. One place I'd like to go is the Iles-des-Madeleines an island group in the province of Quebec but closer to PEI. Here's a poem I wrote about one of the islands. It takes place it the nineteenth century.

Devil's Island

I'll tell you a tale
of our own Devil's Island
and the demonic crash
of the waves in a swell,
the smell and the taste
of the ball-breaking weather
the ghosts that deliver
poor sailors to Hell.

We were out in the water
amongst our Magdalens
the wind plucked the ropes
of our rigging at sea
we looked for a port
and saw many lights flashing
that's old Devil's Island,”
said the skipper to me.

Ghosts began hurling
their fierce imprecations
to “come to the Island
safe landfall to thee”
but the skipper turned round
the ship with a vengeance
that old Devil's Island
will never catch me.”

I thought he was mad
to be scared of a legend
it was my first time
in a storm on the sea
and two men washed over
to Davey Jone's Locker
God bless 'em, they'll rest now”
the skip said to me.

Protesting the treatment
of two forlorn sailors
I said to the skipper
It's not good to tell”
“It's better,” he said,
that they're resting in Heaven
than entering into the portals of Hell.”

Winds lasted the night
then the voices did falter
the lights blinkered out
and I saw very well
so many rocks jagged
just waiting to smash us
The Devil's Isle gateways
await in the swell

If you're on a ship
and the voices of demons
come tell you it's safe
in their harbor alee
remember the shoreline
at old Devil's Island
then turn the ship seaward
and gracelessly flee.

I fully intend to get there someday. It's got so many beaches and nice, little hotels. I can hardly wait. I plan to travel when I'm older so I'm getting my list ready. Cheers