Wednesday, December 8, 2010

30 years ago today...

dear john,
you were my first artistic crush. I fell in love with you when I was 13 years old--still a child—not yet musically savvy. And then you schooled me in rock and roll, love, life and revolution. Soon I knew every note of every song of every beatles album. I had posters of you (like this one->) and your fab friends all over my bedroom. I thought of you as a friend of mine, I watched all your movies, I read books by and about you. I studied your harmonies and lyrics, I imagined what it would be like to be you, tried to crawl inside your head. It was love like it can only manifest for a 13 year old—as idolization. Obsession. You and the boys were all I listened to, all I thought about. I had about 3 beatles t-shirts in heavy rotation all thru high school, my favorite being the rainbow tie-dyed one. (yep.) note: this was during the time when grunge had taken over the radio. I didnt even notice. When my friend sang pearl jam's 'nothing man' I sneered and said they stole the idea from 'nowhere man'. The sentence 'kurt cobain shot himself' actually evoked a 'who?' from me. I had no patience for a rockstar who took his own life, believing your assassination to be the most tragic thing that could ever happen.

It was tragic. You, of all rock royalty, were the one who was supposed to be around forever. No burning out or fading away for you. I think about the state of the world right now and wonder if we would be as war-focused as we are if you had lived. I imagine your tireless 70 years young self campaigning for peace, love and understanding even now. I see you and yoko having tea with the obamas, talking about afghanistan. I love that you loved the usa so much and hope (against hope) that the country has lived up your standards. We have needed you these past 30 years, friend. Rock and roll activists could have used your help and guidance, and your connection to the old guard. I think you would have been a big fan of the riot grrrl scene. I bet if you and kurt had sat down for coffee you would have had a lot of things to talk about (heroin being the least of them).

I was in nyc this september, a couple weeks before your birthday, and saw the front steps of the dakota and strawberry fields for the first time. I had a poster of the imagine mosaic on the ceiling above my bed for years as a teenager and it was a little surreal to see the spot in person. It was a sunny day and there were people around and I felt silly taking a picture. My tourguide was in a bit of a hurry so we didnt stay long, but it was peaceful there and I could imagine going in the summer to sit and write all afternoon. I became smitten with nyc during that visit in the fall, I guess thats what happened to you too, about 40 years ago. I can see how the energy of that city would totally jive with yours, with your humor and candor and charm (oh, you libra, you). nyc makes you want to get things done and gives you the belief that they can be cuz there are so many people out there trying to make shit happen. Its a city of hustlers (in the best sense) and you were always one of those.

Last night I sang beatles songs at karaoke. I started the evening with oh darling (I know its pauls but still) and ended it with twist and shout, shredding my voice just like you did. Everyone was up and dancing and singing backup on your song. It made me really happy. I felt like you for just a second--something ive wanted since I was 13. It was pretty marvelous.

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