Cleansing the Palate

It might just be me, but I’m finding the interworld a pretty inexplicable place lately.

Everywhere I seem to look there is another story/opinion piece/condemnation/defence/piece of fluff about a spoilt popster and her behaviour on an award show hosted by a channel that I once revered but that ceased to be about actual music a veryvery long time ago.  I have no opinion on the whole thing.

Really, I don’t.

Is she a talentless hack as is maintained in most of the posts I’ve seen?  Couldn’t tell you, since I don’t think I’ve heard one of her songs all the way through.  Ever.  I tend to be pretty quick to judge what I find listenable, and if it ain’t I change it up.  As far as my experience of her is concerned, she looks like Vanessa Bayer on SNL and speaks like a clueless teenager with too much time and attention afforded to keeping her in the spotlight.

Is she a young woman embracing her sexuality in defiance of her squeaky clean Disneychildstar image?  Couldn’t care less.  Not my type.

Should the guy she was grinding on be getting some of the flack about this whole event?  Probably- if it’s being handed out, it should be proportional to involvement.

Is he a misogynist jackass?  Couldn’t say- although in his case I HAVE heard the song (only because it was on Colbert and I love Colbert- the whole Daft Punk thing was awesome.  Didn’t see it?  You should) and I gotta say that ‘overrated pap’ is an understatement.

I don’t have children, so I really have no legitimate input about the impact and influence of ‘tween heroes on the littler humans among us.  Except to say that you’re the parent- therefore it’s your call on what what the littles are exposed to.  Or not exposed to.

Something like the MTV Awards is probably not appropriate viewing for the younger set (this is based upon my last viewing of the show which, if I remember correctly, involved an aging popster sharing kisses with two younger cookie-cutter-replica popsters).  Yes, there has been a lot of extraneous press about the whole thing that is creeping out of prime time and likely past the parental filters here and there- I get that.  It’s kind of the point of this post, actually.

So this morning, while getting myself ready to force myself out the door to get to the oh-so-frustrating day job, the CBC was talking about Syria, and the division in opinion as to next steps and points of no return’– at the UN, in the US, UK and here at home.  Seems Harper, as usual, is ready to act unilaterally rather than forestall his planned prorogation of Parliament.  You know, doing the opposite of what is supposed to happen in our political system.

(Haven’t we been here before?  All of us, I mean.  Not just those of us here in Canada with our Head Oligarch making all the tough calls.  All of us in the West who are being goaded into an untenable situation that will require the use of force and have lasting repercussions for all countries- and their citizenry- involved).

And then it was back to the Miley-crap.

The media- and the interworld especially- won’t shut up about half-naked shenanigans among the talentless over-privileged celebrities that are ever-present and prioritized by those in charge of setting the programming/editorials/filler that makes up our daily go-to sources of information.  While actual important and potentially world-altering news is restricted to argumentative and ill-informed pundits and brief editorial soundbites.

I’ve mentioned this, and my belief that it is a conscious technique being employed by our governments- with the complicity of the media moguls- to keep the population anesthetized to the mess that is the world (and the country, and the province, and the city), before.

Jebus.

I am increasingly finding myself at complete and total wits’ end lately.  Whatever wits to which I may have been able to legitimately lay claim seem to have fled completely.

This is, admittedly, partly due to my own current less-than-stellar Sitz im Leben, but the overwhelming desire to just turn it all off and disconnect completely from the wider world that seems immune to voices of education, intelligence, moderation and reason is, well, overwhelming right now.

Anomie, thy name is Cole.

Then a ray (or, literally, Ray) of sunshine popped up on one of those problematic social media outlets I was just railing about.

This:

I have one more cottage weekend coming my way in a couple of weeks, and I have now found THE book that will accompany me and help me from getting caught up in too much debauchery and craziness.  Ray will keep me company while the annual Bay Cup tournament is going on.

(‘The Bay Cup tournament?’ you ask.  It’s a full contact, no holds barred, friendship testing game of Risk- in which I cannot participate due to a long ago incident of Risk-related violence that has led to post-traumatic Risk disorder (PTRD)).

I love the Kinks.  I can remember hunting for limited edition vinyl copies of my fave albums at the Vinyl Museum on Yonge Street back in the day, and scoring a pristine edition of Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround Part 1 (there is no Part 2, incidentally).  THAT was a good day.

Ray Davies is a storyteller par excellence.  The characters and themes that run through his songs remain familiar- like old friends.  Who doesn’t know the name of the cheeky lass who had a ‘dark brown voice‘ and ‘walked like a woman and talked like a man‘?

‘Father Christmas’ gets a whole lot of air time in my house ’round the holidays.  It’s a social commentary and snappy tune all in one.

‘Father Christmas, give us some money
We’ll beat you up if you make us annoyed
Father Christmas, give us some money
Don’t mess around with those silly toys

But give my daddy a job cause he needs one
He’s got lots of mouths to feed
But if you’ve got one, I’ll have a machine gun
So I can scare all the kids down the street’

Today, being reminded that he, and other actual songwriters like him. are out there in the world was a breath of fresh air in the midst of my existential despair.

I’ll get back to you (and to my hero worship of Ray) once I’ve read the new book.

(Update: I got too excited too quickly and failed to check the actual release date of the book.  I have to wait until OCTOBER to get my hands on it.  Sigh.  Will have to find another cottage read.  But I WILL let you know once I’ve had the opportunity to bask in some more of Ray’s light)

But lest we forget why we NEED dudes like him, and his brother, Dave (shouldn’t play favourites, there’s enough sibling rivalry in that relationship already) writing songs and telling our stories and sounding alarms, the last word(s) can be Dave Davies’.

Time to shift the dialogue back to things of actual import.

‘All the stories have been told
Of kings and days of old,
But there’s no England now.
All the wars that were won and lost
Somehow don’t seem to matter very much anymore.
All the lies we were told,
All the lies of the people running round,
Their castles have burned.
Now I see change,
But inside we’re the same as we ever were.

Living on a thin line,
Tell me now, what are we supposed to do?
Living on a thin line,
Tell me now, what are we supposed to do?
Living on a thin line,
Living this way, each day is a dream.
What am I, what are we supposed to do?
Living on a thin line,
Tell me now, what are we supposed to do?

Now another century nearly gone,
What are we gonna leave for the young?
What we couldn’t do, what we wouldn’t do,
It’s a crime, but does it matter?
Does it matter much, does it matter much to you?
Does it ever really matter?
Yes, it really, really matters.

Living on a thin line,
Tell me now, what are we supposed to do?
Living on a thin line,
Tell me now, what are we supposed to do?

Now another leader says
Break their hearts and break some heads.
Is there nothing we can say or do?
Blame the future on the past,
Always lost in blood and guts.
And when they’re gone, it’s me and you.

Living on a thin line,
Tell me now, what are we supposed to do?
Living on a thin line,
Tell me now, what are we supposed to do?
Living on a thin line.’

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8 comments on “Cleansing the Palate

  1. […] other day I posted a little piece about some shenanigans going on in the world of popular music, and the fact that such shenanigans […]

  2. “…the overwhelming desire to just turn it all off and disconnect completely from the wider world that seems immune to voices of education, intelligence, moderation and reason is, well, overwhelming right now.” I feel this way at regular intervals too, whereupon I mutter, “I need to move to another planet.” I’m still here, though.
    I like your style (although I suspect we have quite different musical tastes. I agree that lyrics that actually say something interesting are essential to songs).

    • colemining says:

      Audrey- I’m still here too- although the exasperation gets pretty intense at times. My musical tastes are pretty diverse- you might be surprised at what you find! Thanks for reading and for your response.

  3. […] then there’s the Bay Cup.  That annual Risk Tournament that I mentioned here.  As I said, I will not participate due to a past traumatic Risk-related occurrence- except to […]

  4. bethbyrnes says:

    I really do think there is a plan afoot to keep us, as you say, ‘anaesthetised’ to what is really important by distracting us with ear-candy. I only watch cable or PBS here or listen to NPR to see if I can find out what is really going on anywhere since America seems to be prefer being lied to.

    • colemining says:

      Beth- Sad as I am to say it, I honestly think that governments- aided by the commercial media outlets- are very much capitalizing on our propensity toward laziness. We don’t want to see, hear or most certainly READ anything that challenges us to think, let alone things that might induce us to act to make changes. Our collective complacency is a dangerous thing- and it is something that seems to be worsening with ever-increasing access to more and more sources of mindless infotainment and ‘reality’ programming. Scary. Thanks for reading!

  5. […] a copy of Ray Davies’ new book Americana (finally picked it up- after finding out about it MONTHS ago). DOUBLE […]

  6. […] not going to say more about Ray, specifically (but I did link one of the other posts I wrote about him, if you’re […]

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