Thursday, May 10, 2012

i've got to grow a pair...

of empathies. So many deaths in the last week of people who have in some way impacted on my life. To say Adam Yauch impacted on my life would be a stretch, but still, he's my age and was from all reports a great guy (cancer). Maurice Sendak - what can I say. In the Night Kitchen was the soundtrack to my childhood (yes, I know that is a stupid thing to say, it just came out). I enjoyed that book, and others of his, very much when I was a child and since. Now I discover Edith Bliss is dead after two years of cancer, and of course I wouldn't wish that on anybody. She sang a very bad song called 'Heart of Stone' and was a reporter on Simon Townshend's Wonder World, a show I was a little too old for.

It seems mean spirited to say I don't care, and to a degree that would be untrue. But how much can you care about the death of someone you didn't know at all? I think this is one more example of the lack we have in the English language. Here is the formula: Person X did some work, at some stage in their life (probably a brief stage) which I liked/enjoyed/admired/admire/know of. Now Person X is dead. I still have the work they did, or could access it easily if I wished to. (As is the case in most instances when a celebrity dies) I haven't taken much notice of what they did in the last few decades i.e. from my point of view as a consumer, they no longer have extensive importance. Yet I am saddened by their passing.

It seems to me (1) to be wrong to be sad someone dies when all you really knew of them was their output. It seems selfish, in fact, to express grief on that basis. Moreso (2) when you are only interested in a small portion of their output, and moremoreso (3) when the real reason you are interested in their output is because of something it reminds you about yourself and your life. If they were creative and you continually follow their creative work, then to be sad because you won't get more of that, is valid, though it's pretty extreme to see that as a cause for grief. I mean I assume Mayo Thompson will die before me and I enjoyed his most recent record at least as much, probably more, than the records he was putting out when I was born. I will feel a bit annoyed when the source of great records I love dries up. I will be sorry he's gone, because I like him. He really was the soundtrack to, if not my childhood, then my later teen years. But I don't get this grief business. And tributes! And 'vale' and stuff. I mean come on.

Maybe I have a problem. You tell me.

Edith, you didn't deserve to die at such a young age, and everyone says you were a very nice person. But this is a terrible song:



This is real music:



Here's a tip: play the two of them simultaneously. 

6 comments:

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Mama.Kendall said...

I don't think it's wrong to be saddened for "selfish" reasons like that. I'm sure that people who are creators either in acting, music, or whatever else, continue to do it for the people who enjoy it.

David Nichols said...

Is it wrong to be not saddened, though?

Wayne Davidson said...

I think it's ok (perhaps only human) to be touched by the death of someone you don't know but admire, or at least like. Kirsty MacColl and Billy MacKenzie come to mind for me as famous people whose passing saddened me (still does), especially due to the tragic circumstances of their deaths. Although I did interview Kirsty MaColl on the phone once, I doubt I would have otherwise met either of them, let alone known them. I still miss them though, and what they brought to the world.

Mary Hansen and Trish Keenan also come to mind as artists whose deaths resonated with me. All four of these people made music that I have listened to over and over which I guess creates some sort of artist/fan intimacy.

Edith Bliss put out some terrible records, but she always seemed nice.

boy moritz said...

Edith had me until the chorus

JRudd said...

I miss Linda McCartney so effing much.