Sunday, March 25, 2007

Teenage Wasteland

Don'tcha just love it when:

* You find a new widget for your blog

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* It's 12pm and you're wondering where the day has gone and then suddenly you're told the clocks went back an hour and now you have an EXTRA HOUR to play with!

* You have a sublime moment when you're fully content and happy with exactly who you are and your place in the world. Of course it disappears as quickly as it came but for that one moment you were absolute.

* You go out for breakfast and the eggs are cooked exactly how you like them!

* You find two cheques you thought you'd lost. Yay - free money!

* For once, it's not a hot night - in fact it's cool, cold even, you can snuggle under the covers and it feels so good to do so.

* You go see a movie and remember a band that you once loved... (beware, many songs to follow)

I would have been in my mid teens when I first saw the movie Quadrophenia. I wasn't aware of the album at the time. I was aware of The Who, of course - Pete Townshend wrote the story and much of the album. As always, a passionate man - which you have to admire. I haven't seen Quadrophenia in many years now but there were a few songs that really stuck with me - especially Love Reign O'er Me. If you are not aware of this song, I wouldn't blame you, but you're doing a disservice to yourself if you don't go listen to it now. Just absolutely mind blowing. I think The Who is like that. They are just amazing. If you move past My Generation and and into their more aggressive stuff you realise that they were certainly no one trick pony.

Pete Townshend described the song and how it fits into the story in this way

[It] refers to Meher Baba's one time comment that rain was a blessing from God; that thunder was God's Voice. It's another plea to drown, only this time in the rain. Jimmy goes through a suicide crisis. He surrenders to the inevitable, and you know, you know, when it's over and he goes back to town he'll be going through the same shit, being in the same terrible family situation and so on, but he's moved up a level. He's weak still, but there's a strength in that weakness. He's in danger of maturing

Love Reign O'er Me - The Who

I was still not a Who fan though - but a couple of things did tip me over the edge.

1) A couple of years later I happened to come across the rockumentary Message to Love - The Isle of Wight Festival. At the time I was going through a bit of a 60s and 70s music phase. Okay, I'm still going through that phase. Okay, it's not a phase at all. I taped it and watched it almost continuously - whenever I had a spare moment as a matter of fact. I knew it off by heart after a while and I suspect the fam was thoroughly sick of it (though they put up with it, more or less anyway). Their performance at the Isle of Wight - 1970, depicted in the movie is amazing. How many times did I rewind that tape to watch Young Man Blues (Mose Allison)? God, bazillions. I think I wanted to be them. Yes, even with the crazy vest tassels and jumpsuits! In fact the whole cover of Young Man Blues is crazy. Definitely not a song to sip a coffee over. It's a song which needs scotch. A lot of scotch - hopefully also mixed with illegal drugs. Bloody brilliant song.

Young Man Blues (live) - The Who

2) Tommy their masterpiece of a rock opera. I was just so taken with it - how could I not be? It featured baked beans exploding over Ann Margret. Eric Clapton as The Preacher. Crazy-eye Tina Turner as the Acid Queen. Elton John in weird clothing and big glasses (okay, not a big stretch). But yes please to all of that! I identified with it too. There were bits in it that I just thought, yes - I get that. Plus, I just adored the music. I especially love Go to the Mirror (I read that it is customary for Who fans to stand in silence during this song at their concerts as a bit of a tribute to Tommy). Very cool. The songs See Me, Feel Me/Listening To You which recur in the movie - are are both part of Go to the Mirror as well. I really like these versions - they're a bit haunting.

See Me, Feel Me & Listening to You - The Who (from Tommy)

So there you have it - The Who.

Now, because I've already lathered this entry with songs by The Who. What's two more? Both seemingly on constant repeat. It is actually I Can See For Miles that I'd play most consistently - and Baba is really more of a new favourite than anything. Strange huh? - it's such a classic! I think I initially resisted it because it was so overplayed, but it's a powerful song.

I Can See For Miles - The Who

Baba O'Riley - The Who

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