Thursday, 25 March 2010

Memories of Canada

I cannot be expected to accept the fact that I am not Neil Young. There is a gross and continuous injustice involved in this state of affairs.

Neil Young makes me cry. Not the songs of Neil Young, mind you; not the story of Neil Young - his existence.

His disposition, I suppose. Neil Young evokes for me, and I know it's a somewhat incongruous image, a sense of religious devotion, of the kind I haven't been able to properly relate to and embrace in an organised religious setting for years. It's not piousness, or enthusiasm, or even kindness, but, I think, a kind of naked vulnerability. An "I am coming to you because I need you."

Apart from functioning as a sloppy paean to the man and the legend, this is an attempt to discover what it is about him or the impression I have of him through his songs and fragments of interviews that reduces me to a blob of goo.

My sneaking suspicion is that, besides his mastery of the guitar and ability to write beautiful songs and mountains of cash in the basement, we are not at all so very different.

I know nothing of the biography of the man, so bear in mind I'm only talking about my mental construct here, but he seems to second-guess himself much less than me. And ultimately respect himself more than me. And, above all, to play-act far far less than me, despite being an international superstar under the vicious scrutiny of the blood-sucking music and celebrity press. He shies away, so I'm told, but he doesn't put up a front.

I put up a front. I pretend I don't feel things, especially the need for people. For attention, for respect, for love, for sympathy. Neil Young doesn't have trouble saying, never mind implying, "I need you", pretty much regardless of circumstances. The chorus to one of my favourite songs of his goes:

"But if crying and holding on
And flying on the ground is wrong
Then I'm sorry
To let you down
But you're from
My side of town
And I'll miss you."

I can't even say that out loud, but he sings it, and then distributes it to millions.

What I think we have in common is that intensity of feeling. I am devoted religiously - to people, to God, to myself - but I'm so terrified of betraying this it rarely ventures beyond sentiment into the realm of activity, never mind conversation.

Sing it out from the rooftops. This is the challenge of near future. I need you.

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