Tag Archives: The Pogues

Happy New Year 2013…Let’s Hope 1/1/13 Brings 13 More Blessings Than Superstitions!

Lucky number 13.

At least, that’s what this year brings, right?  1/1/13.  I know, I know…technically it’s TWO-ZERO-13, but still…seeing that “13” hanging off the end there is enough to make even the least superstitious a little nervous.

So, will this be a year of broken mirrors, opening umbrellas in the house, black cats, and walking under ladders?  Or, will it be a time of truly wonderful omens and special opportunity?

I laid in bed for a few extra minutes today and stared at the ceiling.  I thought about 2012 and all of its past glory and really had to smile.  It was quite a year for me, and I’m sure for you, too…whether or not you know it.  Not that much “exciting” really happened to me, but it certainly was a time of near misses, false starts, new beginnings that turned into false starts, and…well…let’s just say I still have all 10 fingers and all 10 toes and am counting my blessings for it.

I’m not really a resolution man by nature, so I won’t engage in too much of that here.  But if you know me, you know I’m counting the ol’ blessings every second I can, just in case.  So, since we’ve narrowly avoided a fiscal cliff and a Mayan Apocalypse, let’s take some time to count some before the cliff drops off…13’s a nice number, don’t you think?  Some of these may be a bit obtuse, but again, if you know me, well…then that’s no surprise!

1.  Near miss in hospital avoided for one whom I love.  Heard the phrase “just in time” one time too many for my liking, but so far have not heard it again.  All’s well going into 2013.  There was good spirits, laughter, and positivity the WHOLE time it was going on, and there continue to be, and yes…that made all the difference.

2.  Conversations about new ventures are ongoing with some really cool people.  Why count this?  Because instead of being stuck in a rut bemoaning the state of things, it’s actually nice to be able to think about fresh adventures and see them unfold.  I’m open to that.  I have that opportunity.  It takes work, but I’m happy for it.

3.  Chicken parm.  That’s right.  I know it’s not a hospital near-miss or the promise of a new business venture, but it’s delicious, right?  Right.  Enough said.

4.  The new playlist in my car.  Yup.  I listen to certain things in the morning to get me spiritually motivated, but in the afternoon?  Well, in goes a playlist of songs that I love to rewind:

Speed of Sound by Coldplay

Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve

Afternoons & Coffeespoons by Crash Test Dummies

April Come She Will by Simon and Garfunkel

Bitter Tears by INXS

The Broad Majestic Shannon by The Pogues

This Cowboy Song by Sting

Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen

Strawberry Swing by Coldplay

Hannah Jane by Hootie and the Blowfish

Lonely Girls by Ian & Sylvia

Only Living Boy in New York by Simon and Garfunkel

Talk by Coldplay

Wisemen by James Blunt

Time to Move On by Tom Petty

Tiny Daggers by INXS

Trip Through Your Wires by U2

What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?  by REM

Why Should I Cry for You? by Sting

Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall by  Coldplay

Yes…thank goodness for that playlist.  Doesn’t get too too much better than that, my friends.  Go ahead.  Take your shots at it.  I’m immune.

5.  My agent.  Have to thank her again.  Why?  Just ’cause.  Y’know.  Just ’cause.

6.  Fresh faces and friends in 2012.  New spaces to fill with those new people in 2013.

7.  When I saw darkness in 2012, I was able to reframe it to see the message instead of trying to yell at it to become light.  Thank you 2012 for that.  Thank you thank you a million times thank you.

8.  That I continue to be able to forge ahead.  Thank you, 2012 for allowing that, too.

9.  I’m blessed for the ability to count blessings.  Yes.  Gotta list that one.  Thank you, Universe, for even allowing a count to happen.

10.  Thank you for dreams and reality.  Why?  Because when the line blurs, we know we’re on to something.  If you haven’t reached this state in life at least once, try it.  See that your world is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.  It’s interesting!

11.  Thank you for teachers, students, and the ability to connect with both.  You need to talk to people who think like you once in a while.  They’re your feel goods.  But, yes, you need to learn from the ones who yell at you for what you think.  Sorry.  That’s life.  But look for the people who believe what they believe out of conviction, and not because they’re told to believe or or believe it because of some lame news station.  Be a true teacher and a true student.  Nice.

12.  Thank you for the spice of life.  It ain’t always sugar.  It ain’t always lemons.  Sometimes…well…sometimes it’s just right.

13.  And lastly?  Thank you for allowing me to be Nobody in particular.  I love my Nobody brothers and sisters.  And, the more I watch reality TV, commercials, and sports (the NBA), the more glad I become for this one.  Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you a million times thank you to whatever is running this Universe that the world is not really about (at least I HOPE it’s not about…) the most money, taking talents elsewhere, or being “in”famous.  Thank you for quiet rooms, conversation over coffee at the local wherever, a special playlist, an honest day’s work, and knowing that when we point to heaven after something special, we know that everyone else is just as loved….Universe, we know you don’t only care about three pointers, touchdowns, winning a voice contest, and sunken putts.  These are special things, yes.  These are karmic things, I know.  But at the end o’ the day, you present glory to see how we handle it.  I have to believe you just want us to simply be grateful for what we have (except for the occasional blog post…sorry!), and we know you love that pitcher whether he gives up the homer or not.  I’m grateful for knowing that, even though I’m not a pitcher.

So, I know I said I wouldn’t make a resolution.  But I will.  As January 1, 2013 comes and goes I will vow only to do my best to keep on moving ahead.  To be open to new opportunity.  To let the past be the past.  To let the future be the future.  And…well…to keep on being the best Nobody I can be.

From this Nobody to you, whomever you are, have a safe, happy, and blessed 2013.

The Daily Headlines Make Me Aware of Suffering and Joy in the World, But James, Paul Simon, The Connells, Tears for Fears, and The Pogues Make Me Aware of the Occasional Joys of Suffering

I was driving home from work today listening to one of my favorite bands.  Nothing out of the ordinary, right?  I’m sure we all do it.

When I got home, I started to look through some web pages, just browsing the headlines and keeping up with current events.  At one site, the headlines were of this variety:

An Iranian nuclear scientist was killed by a bomb blast

A reporter went undercover to expose forced prostitution in Eastern Europe (This one is particularly chilling and particularly important as the article says that January 11 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day)

The Republican race is getting uglier (as if we needed to be reminded of that horribleness coming around every four years)

My review of these headlines got me to thinking why it is that I love the bands I listen to.  I think part of the reason is that the lyrics are powerful (at least to me).  There is so much terror, so much suffering, and so much grief in this world and in the headlines, yet there are folks out there that know how to reduce the human condition to lyrical poetry.

We all know some amount of suffering.  Some know more than others.  But the great thing about song is that we don’t compare our wounds or emotions when we listen.  In a sense, we’re all equal in music because we can all form our own connection with, and have our own interpretation of, the art form.

Let’s list out some great bands with great lyrics.  I’m going to give you a small sampling of my favorites, and if you are so inclined, you can give me a sample of your favorites in the comments section.

Feel free to click the links and have a listen!  By the way, none of these bands are paying me for any of this.  If there’s an ad before the video, well, that’s just because there is.  I get nothin’ for it!

1.  James.  You may not know the band James, but they are one of my favorites.  Their song Sometimes is so excruciatingly beautiful, that it is…sometimes…hard to listen to it.  James’ lyrics are painful and beautiful and are about high highs and low lows.  Everyone’s welcome!  Check out Sit Down.  But for a really great 90 minutes, it doesn’t get much better than their album, Laid.

2.  Paul Simon.  Do I really need to type anything here?  One listen to Only Living Boy in New York and I’m done for a while!  I was raised on Simon and Garfunkel.  I was too young to dive in too deep to lyrics from I Am a Rock, The Boxer, and April Come She Will, but I could bop along with 59th Street Bridge Song with no problems.  Groovy!

3.  The Connells.  I’ll bet you don’t know this band.  Too bad.  Incredible.  First heard their song ’74-’75 on an airplane many years ago and haven’t looked back since.  There are songwriters that can convert pain and doubt into melodic beauty through musical alchemy.  That’s The Connells.  When I met them back in the ’90s, I asked Mike Connell what ’74-’75 was about and he said, “A feeling.  A feeling of a year.”  Indeed.

4.  Tears for Fears.  Yes.  This is one of my all all all time favorites.  There is a lot more to Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith than just Shout and Everybody Wants to Rule the World.  Ever heard Who Killed Tangerine?  What about Cold?  Buddhism, astrology, angst, joy, and Janov’s scream therapy.  All rolled into one band?  You bet.

5.  The Pogues.  Shane MacGowan is a genius.  Absolute and pure genius.  Take time with The Pogues.  Don’t judge the book by the cover.  Judge by lyrics.  Delve into them.  Listen.  I know there are some who regard Thousands Are Sailing to be his masterpiece, but don’t forget about Misty Morning, Albert Bridge and White City.  I can’t stress their genius enough.  The breadth and depth of their writing and musical ability is beyond belief.  It’s a treat you give yourself every time you listen.  And if you listen deep, then you really discover something special.  They sing about love, loneliness, authors, sailors, prison, Spain, Mexico, beer, whiskey, greyhound racing…and so much more.  Not for the faint of heart, but so worth it for the rest of us.

Oh, there are so many more than I can list here.  But this is a good start.  These are some great bands (to me) and I’ve had many more hours of enjoyment than I can count from them.  They have my gratitude.

Read the headlines today and stay informed.  It’s important.  Then, go pick out a favorite band and listen to someone who can pluck the pains and joys from the world and set them down in your ears.

Maybe then, that drive home can take on greater meaning.