You knew this one was coming.
I thought I’d get to it earlier, but this whole month has been unusually warm, and when I think of “October”, I think not just of a fading sun through fallen leaves, but sweatshirts and collars pulled up and knuckles reddened from the chill.
Some New York Octobers, yes, but not this one.
Still, it wouldn’t really do to play this in November, and today the wind did smack me around a bit, so why not now?
It’s lovely and melancholy not too much, in the way that U2 is often too much.
I loved that about U2, actually, that they were so often too much, too hot—never cool. I loved the righteousness and the politics and the absolute emo—a term nowhere in evidence back in the day—of the joint.
U2, in other words, were never cool, and I was all right with that.
Still, “Seconds” was about as cool as they got, in terms of perspective. It was angry, yes, but in a kind of can-you-fuckin’-believe-it way.
Why is this an autumnsong? The detachment, perhaps, but more so that I associate this song with that first semester at college, when the air in Madison was definitely chill, and I was running around trying to soak up all of the politics my skinny 18-year-old self could handle.
One weekend just about tipped me over: a Mondale/Ferraro rally (with which I was very involved) at the Capitol on Friday, an anti-nuke march in Chicago on Saturday, and a speech by Gloria Steinem in Milwaukee on Sunday—bless that skinny little heart, but I made them all.
The Chicago rally was a bit odd. I went alone (on the bus), wiped out, broke, and marched with I don’t know how many thousands of others through the foggy streets of Chicago, before we we emptied ourselves into a park to hear, oh man, was it Helen Caldicott? could Petra Kelly have been there? It seems like it, but thirty years on, and memory, like the sun, fades.
Well, except for Jesse Jackson, hometown son. I remember him, up next to the stage, I remember him. Man, the man could speak.
So, “Seconds” is a foggy Chicago Saturday in October, thousands, tens of thousands of us marching against the bomb, against our annihilation, and for our lives.