Life is about building bridges, not walls

[Begin vent]

I feel the need to vent.  I haven’t used this forum to do that too much, I don’t think.  Only for important things like EJ not getting a Grammy nod for the Union (smile).

But this week, something happened to me – nothing earth shattering, truly – but it affected me nonetheless.  Silly, really, but then I guess I need to develop a thicker skin.

So the story goes like this…

Someone de-friended me on Facebook this week because of a political figure that I follow.  And then posted to my timeline how that essentially made me anti-gay and a bigot.  I was crushed, not because this person de-friended me (good riddance, frankly), but because no one has ever called me anything like that before.  And it stung.

Now, I do follow several political figures on Facebook. Though I shouldn’t have to qualify this or justify myself (because I know who I am and my true friends know who I am), let me say one thing: Just because I follow someone does not mean I support him/her.  (Some I can’t even vote for)!  Unless you’re truly a Facebook dolt, you should realize that there is no “follow” in Facebook.  There is only a “Like.”  And in Facebook land, “Like” doesn’t always mean “Like.”

So, you might ask, how does this relate to Elton John?

Well, I have been an Elton John fan since I was 14 years old.  When he came out in Rolling Stone, there were many people who wouldn’t listen to his music any more.  And, for many, many years, whenever I told people I was an Elton John fan, I was usually greeted with an “Oh, the gay singer.”  I used to respond, “Yeah, so what? There’s not enough love in this world as it is.”  Now, that doesn’t make me a saint or a big thinker, but it never once dawned on me that I should ever care what his sexual orientation was/is.  It just plain didn’t – and doesn’t – matter.

I’m happy to report that I don’t get that response very much any more (thank goodness) when I tell people that my favorite musician is Elton.  I think that’s a statement of how society has evolved.

[Deep breath.  Venting (ranting?) sometimes requires one to take a breath or two].

Now, I’m not claiming that society doesn’t have a hell of a lot more evolving to do. Nor am I claiming that I ever had to deal with flagrant bigotry (although I can say that I’ve had to deal with some inequity because I’m female).  But to call me anti-gay and imply that I am also a bigot was not only very hurtful, it was just plain wrong.  And to do it through Facebook was cowardly.

Of course, there are homophobes, racists, bigots and haters out there.  No question.  And hate is wrong. PERIOD.

In any case, I quickly deleted the post from my timeline and attributed it to the rantings of a Facebook bully. But (as you can tell), it still bothers me.  So, the goal of this post is to get it out of my system and turn the “bothers me” into a “bothered me.”

Back to how that relates to Sir Elton.  When he played at Rush Limbaugh’s wedding, Elton was the recipient of vitriol from both sides of the political equation.  He has since talked about how he and Rush have become friends, and that (I paraphrase here), even though they don’t agree politically, “Life is about building bridges, not walls.”

Amen.

And I quote Sir Elton again:

“One of the old adages in life is never judge someone until you meet them. I didn’t like his policies but I have to say when I met him, I found him charming, I found him well informed and I found him determined to do something about the AIDS situation so I changed my opinion of him. And his wife was astonishingly kind to us well. So it was — I learned a lesson.”

Who was EJ referring to in this statement?  Believe it or not, George W. Bush. And if Elton John can say this about W – truly, what two people could be more diametrically opposed (except for maybe Elton and Rush!) – then we all can take a lesson from this.

There, I’ve gotten it off my chest.  Have I moved to the it “bothered me” stage? That remains to be seen.

In any case, I feel a little better.

Perhaps we should all give these words some heed.

[End vent]

Where in the world was Elton John?

So the 2012 Olympics is a fait accompli and not a sight nor sound of Sir Elton. As if there were any doubt, I was tremendously disappointed that he did not perform in either the opening or closing ceremonies, nor was his music even acknowledged.  Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed:

Exactly.

A glaring oversight?  Apparently not.  It appears as if Sir Elton was, at one time, the musical director for the London Olympics, but, at some point, was ticked off at the organizers and disassociated himself from the games.

All I can say is…can’t we all just get along?  I mean, he could’ve performed for over a billion people…and I can just about guarantee you that he would have been the highlight of the closing ceremonies…bar none.  Both sides should have come together and made amends for the sake of British music fans everywhere.  I guess in this case (and I’m talking for both sides) sorry really was the hardest word.

Elton John vs. Pnau: The verdict is in!

Surprise of all surprises, I like it!

I honestly wasn’t sure I would, after I heard the first release, Sad.  Perhaps it was just a shock to my EJ purist system.  You know, I’m not a huge fan of the George Michael version of Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.  I prefer the EJ version of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds over that of the Beatles.  And, of course, I’ve got the Two Rooms CD, but, I’ll say it again – I am a purist.  But, you know what, after giving the disc a few spins, it’s not so bad.

It seems to me, at least, that Pnau has been very respectful in their interpretations of the original songs, and I’m sure that’s why my reaction is so positive.  I truly did not know what to expect.  So I am pleasantly surprised.

It has been quite interesting to listen to the CD.  There’s that voice, those lyrics, and the music, and yet these songs are that different. They’re not just remakes or samplings.  They’re “re-imaginations.”  There’s a snippet from one song here, one from another there  – some of the snippets are vocals, some are instrumentation.  Meld several of these elements together  using a different tempo and vision and you get something very new, very unique. (Listen to Tonight overlaying Funeral for a Friend in Good Morning to the Night, for example).  Some would say modernized, I would say innovative.  And EJ himself has said “groundbreaking.”

What I’ve enjoyed most while listening to this CD is trying to decipher which original songs Pnau used to create their new songs.  You see, they just didn’t remake Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters into Good Morning to the Night.  It’s comprised of elements from Philadelphia Freedom, Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters, Funeral for a Friend, Tonight, Gulliver/Hay Chewed, Sixty Years On, Goodbye Yellowbrick Road  and Someone Saved My Life Tonight.  It’s kind of like an EJ scavenger hunt.

Plus, I’ve actually rediscovered a few songs that I hadn’t thought of or heard in a long, long time (Nice and Slow, Cold Highway, Three Way Love Affair).  So that’s a nice added bonus, too.

Oh, yes, and Sad has grown on me.  I like the flair that Nice and Slow adds to the “It’s sad, so sad” stanzas.

And the album is #1 in the UK!  First #1 in 20 years for Elton – HOORAY!

[Side note: Speaking of the UK, did you know that Good Morning to the Night is one of five official songs of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London?  Not bad.]

I’d have to say that Foreign Fields is my favorite song on the album.  (I feel inexact calling them songs, but not sure what the right term is in this genre called electronica).  Anyway, I really like both of the key elements that are blended here – High Flying Bird and Cage the Songbird (both of which I’ve blogged about, by the way)!  Lyrically, thematically, vocally, the songs do blend well together – and now musically, too.

Not that Good Morning to the Night will replace any of my favorite EJ albums as a new favorite, but I am duly impressed.  Very nicely done, Nick and Peter, very nicely done.

(Good Morning to the Night – 2012)