Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hello Satan, I believe it's time to go.

Welcome to my blog, ladies and gents. (Though I suspect this blog is viewed mostly by ladies. Women's college and so forth.)

So I'm creating this in the wake of giving up on my xanga. I've had my xanga since...tenth grade, I think? Therefore it is rife with over-personal crap such as my unending depression (real, actual clinical depression, not emo-kid depression) health issues, and lovelorn drama. Oh, and a few really crappy poems, I think. If you want to read any of that (though I don't know why you would) you can head over to: Sure, some of it is embarrassing, but hey, it's part of me, too.

So while I was thinking about this during my interminable classes today, I realized that I could possibly say that History of Rock is the best class I've ever taken at Smith (or at Colgate, or in high school, though that latter part should be obvious.) But that's not really entirely true. The truth is that the best class I've taken is American Sounds plus History of Rock - I took American Sounds last spring, a history of strains of American music including blues, country, folk, and Latin music, with offshoots of each. Not because either of them isn't great, but because they really connect and inform each other. While they can certainly stand on their own - and I highly recommend taking both - they're really even better when you take both of them. And they're closely related, and I don't just say that because they're both held on the same days of the week, in the same time slots, in the same classroom, with the same (awesome) professor, and I've taken both of them in the spring.

Okay, so that probably has a lot to do with it. But they're both mad awesome and I just can't separate them for Best Class at Smith status. Just not happening.

Well, I was thinking about this in class - my mind was wandering, which is actually really rare for that class, so it just goes to show how exhausted I am today - and we're talking about Jimi Hendrix right now (woot) and reading this amazing book for it - Crosstown Traffic by Charles Shaar Murray - and there was this passage where the writer talks about how much of the myth of Jimi Hendrix is in his early death. Not to discount from what he accomplished, but that always informs a myth like that. And I got to thinking about so many artists who died young. There's the talk about the "forever 27" group - Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Kurt Cobain - but there are so many more.

Jimmie Rodgers, Robert Johnson,  Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Holly, Otis Redding, Eddie Cochran, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, Hillel Slovak, Ian Curtis, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls...and I'm sure I'm forgetting plenty of others - all were under 30 when they died. Jeff Buckley was 30, John Bonham was 32. John Keats, who we just read a lot of in my English Literary Tradition class, was 27 when he died of tuberculosis. Edgar Allan Poe was 40. And there are countless others.

I wonder, not for the first time, if I'll be among them. I guess at least I can hope that I'll achieve some small fraction of what they have before that happens. Such fucked-up lives a lot of them had, too - depression, poverty, violence, drug addiction. And in some cases, just terrible luck. Can you imagine the differences our cultures might have had if these people had all lived to a ripe old age? For better or for worse. Their great artistry may have been done when all of them died, but we'll never know.

It all comes back to death, I guess. Death and sex. Whether you're talking about literature, music, art, history, or even fucking biology, it all comes back to sex and death.

That's as good a place as any to end this blog entry, don't you think?

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