Autumnsongs: U2

30 10 2014

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.





You’re the top!

30 10 2014

So it was the Statue of Liberty’s birthday the other day—and I missed it.

Sorry, big copper statue that lacks a central nervous system and thus cannot feel bad that I neglected to wish it a happy birthday!

It may or may not (see the photo heading up this blog) surprise you that I fuckin’ love the Statue of Liberty. I have no idea why.

I did fall, hard, for New York City when I was a theatre-mad teenager, but my ardor was focused on Broadway, not the harbor. And yeah, my bitter little heart swells a bit at The New Colossus, but the poem wasn’t added to the site until 1903.

Maybe it was print of the magnificent work of the Pail and Shovel Party, submerging the Lady in Lake Mendota:

Photographer unknown/(surroundedbyreality.com)

I’ve got a color print of the original incarnation (it’s since been recreated) that I’ve been meaning to frame and hang.

For all of my troubles in Madison, I loved the town and the university; maybe it was the merging of the two places (Montréal was yet to be for me) where I felt This is where I’m supposed to be that fixt the Statue in that bitter little heart.

Or maybe it’s just watching it get taken out in all of those disaster movies that made the impression.

Anyway, I’ve probably mentioned once or thrice before that I think the Statue is the bee’s knees, but why not use the occasion of missed birthday to once again send my regards to the Old Broad.