Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hey Jack


All this boxing up things and moving things around has presented the opportunity to be reminded of some good things. Remember when in order to listen to an album you had to actually go to the trouble to carry around a physical copy of that album on a compact disk? I can barely believe we used to be such Philistines. My wife bought a 4th generation ipod for me years ago as a Christmas gift and when I realized how much this was going to change the way I listened to music, I began the process of copying hundreds of CDs to my computer. Those fossilized CD's are now just taking up precious storage space and had to be moved. As I stacked them neatly in a box I ran across a few that failed to make the migration over to the world of itunes. Many of them did not deserve to be computerized. There were some one hit wonders, some embarrassing hair metal bands and some that I'm pretty sure were inserted into my collection as a practical joke. A few though, I realized I had not yet copied and curiosity demanded that I put them on the ipod and give them a shot.

One of those CDs was by Jack Kerouac. In one of those moments that I'm sure was NOT coincidence I had just packed away most of Kerouac's books in a heavy storage container and thought fondly of reading those years ago. When I picked up the CD I couldn't remember what was on it. I suppose you'd assume it was Kerouac reading his greatest poems or selected portions of his most beloved books...as opposed to Kerouac trying his hand at singing as so many modern celebrities want to do these days. Oddly enough, it was both.

Exiled in the two kid rooms painting well beyond my level of patience, I scrolled through the ipod days later looking for some music to grab my attention and to get me through this low odor, 30% faster coverage, organic latex enamel Hades. And right before I got to "Johnny Cash" I saw "Jack Kerouac" and decided this would be the time to see what that was all about.

He started off with a song and then got to some reading and it was good. It's always interesting to hear the words spoken in the artist's voice. The pronunciation and inflection of each word creates a feeling of honesty or sarcasm where it may have been missed in the dry black ink on white paper. There were moments where his words would sound forced through smiles as he remembered the scenes he and his friends lived out. And then he'd just laugh at his own memories before moving on and finishing the sentence.

There was also this very interesting selection where he presented the same idea and experience in two separate poems. The first was written traditionally with an academically acceptable poetic format. The second was written as a beat poet would write. It was free form, an almost constant stream of words doing their best to race toward the ears of the listener hoping to be the first to most accurately get their point across. Of course he did this presentation in an effort to prove that his way of writing was superior to that of the poets who emulated the classical styles. It was immediately clear that there was a parallel between poetry and visual art relating to his point. I can not say that his way was "better" but I can say that his way was more effective in communicating modern ideas to a modern audience. Like it or not there are still things he's borrowing from the old fogies and changing up and repackaging in a new format. He's still creating "little rooms" made of words for the reader to enter and experience. Similarly contemporary artists are still standing on the shoulders of the more traditional artists who came before them as they produce work they feel is more effective, more honest and more advanced.

Or....

It could have just been the paint fumes.

And that "low odor" paint? Not so low in odor. Just so you know.

1 comment:

Paula Gillman & Co said...

i would love to see the variety of music in your i tunes. also, i would like to hear these kerouac tunes.

not sure if i told you but chris recently got a desktop imac and he has been working on his itunes alot lately.