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Book 4. Words Are Music…

Book 4. Words Are Music…

 I am more than a little careful (or try to be) with my words. Apparently, far more careful with my words  than I am with what I use my words to actually say. Sort of like a painter whose little “pointillios” (what ever the heck that word means,-I’m making believe it refers to little pointed daubs of paint, that all together make up a little part, maybe a very little part of a pitchure ah..picture) In my example the pointillios are perfect, but the picture it’s self may be vulgar, ill-advised or estupido in the extreme.

And so, because I’ve been told (more than once)  that I’m capable of that, and I suspect that it may be true that I am capable of that, I have to be careful of that.

Aside from the fact that I think that words are music, they also have meaning  and beyond that, sometimes maybe even, a mind of their own.  I don’t know about your words, but from time to time, one or more of my words,  have (in spite of locked lips and a screeching no, no, fer God’s sake no!  from the brain), have slid down the nostril slide and out on to the upper lip or moustache, and then leapt from there, out into the air, Sounding for all the world to hear, exactly as if they had been intentionally spoken.

Those are words with a “mind of their own”, but just try to explain that to someone who my “self-directed” provocative words have just stimulated to the verge of imminent and  eye popping violence.

In addition, I s’pose I  ought to let you know that I’ve already had the shocking experience of kicking my own bottom, butt or bum, with my own boot, thereby stimulating that timeless question “jeeze-ka-weezel, wot’ n why th’ heck, did I do that? In other words, I’ve had the opportunity to inventory by own actions to the point that, well  you’d think I’d know better by now.

But, but, but…

I do get off-balance (unbalanced?) when the meanings of a word or words are misconstrangled, or words are used to mislead intentionally or even (as often happens,) unintentionally.

Now you might think that I’m about to launch into a rant about the lying “rat wings” of our established, corporate sponsored so-called political parties and their polluted propaganda and propagandists, and perhaps I ought to be doing just that, except I believe that less of that sort of thing, would be more of a better thing, all around.

My concern is more personal, and has to do with one of the unfortunate and unexpected side effects of being a singer, which is that one is then subject to all sorts of stupid jive from all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons.

For example, here are some excerpted things  about yours truly, (me)that a writer in Toronto recently presented in an article about my son Stephin Merritt.

 “Fagan was a folksinger in the ’60s folk revival, then a singer-songwriter with enough cachet that Jasper Johns did a painting of one of his records, then wrote an anti-music-industry rock musical in 1970-71 and, he claims, was blacklisted from the biz. He then retreated home to the Virgin Islands, where he had grown up, and has stayed there doing music in a sort of Jimmy Buffet vein ever since

The writer goes on to say “He (meaning me) and his mom were abandoned by his own musician father.

 And “You can debate the legitimacy/ickiness of Fagan’s blue-eyed-Caribbean style as much as you like”, He (meaning me again) “is this sorta white-rasta guy who sings in dialect”, “and who (me again) happened to leave you (meaning Stephin) and your hippie mom to fend for yourselves”

Friends, so much of that is so far from truth, that it is pure (well not pure, more like toxic) fiction and it hurts my feelings. Why? Because the idea that someone would present information as factual with out caring to check the truth of it, is disheartening, depressing, and upsetting Why? Because we all work long and hard at becoming who we are, and, at not becoming who and what we are not. To be so easily misrepresented leaves one with the feeling that our hard work, behavior and ethical choices didn’t and don’t matter a whit.

 When someone presents themselves as knowledgeable enough about me to write about me, I think the  first question ought to be “when and where did they meet” and “how long have they known each other?” other wise I think the writer  ought to begin by saying “Hey, I don’t really know Scaddy Waddy Doodles, or anything about him, I’m just going to pretend I do, so my editor and readers will think that I’m important and worldly and hoop, hup, hap, hup ahh…hep hoop, ah..well, anyway, know stuff.

I’m just going to be building on second or third hand (or worse) information, and extrapolate jive crap across cultures that I don’t know or understand.

That way, us naive “true believers” will know right off the bat that the writer is making it up, in fact, maybe even making it up on top of  the making it up that someone else did before, and we will know not to take it seriously, not to believe a word that is said (unless of course they claim to be sorry, but working with words with a mind of their own, in which case I for one will understand perfectly).

It’s sort of like when (oh oh here we go) someone presents them selves as sufficiently knowledgeable about music and the music business, to present themselves as an “expert” a knowledgeable and reliable insider. I think the first questions then ought to be “when can we hear your music?” How many tunes have you written? How many publishers have there been,  How many tunes have been recorded? How many record deals have you had, How many producers have you worked with?. Or, how many decades have you been in the business, at exactly what positions, when where what, and so forth

Because with out their own honest to God experience inside the music business, the writers knowledge is most likely consumer level misinformation, and not to be taken seriously. (You do know that we are talking about “show “:business, and that folks that are not really part of the gritty backstage world are seeing a show, right? And that while music critics, disc jockeys (and DJ’s) and other so called “in” crowd people may get a “Backstage Pass” to make them “feel” important, they aren’t really privy to what is really going on behind the scenes, right? You do know that right?)

It’s like a tourist sailing through the Islands on the Disney Princess and then presenting them selves as expert on West Indian culture and race relations. Or a guy in Toronto assuming that the confused political correctness of contemporary Canada, is reflected in the  cultural realities, racial identies, and racial and musical melting pot of the Caribbean.  It’s obviously silly, never the less, it can be  upsetting.

What are the real requirements to be a knowledgeable and expert writer about the clash and conflict between art and the crassest commerce? Between artists and those who are in the business of exploiting them and their art?.

You know something? I think I’m just realizing for the first time, that that is exactly what these “critics” and self important self proclaimed expert music business writers are doing. They aren’t in the business of creating music, they are in the business of exploiting music, and the people that make music.. They don’t have to know a blasted thing about artists or the music business really, they just have to convince an editor that they do, or in the case of blogs, they just have to convince themselves that they do.

I am naïve, and the small example, is just a small example. But what  does one do if the self proclaimed are spreading misinformation about one, and one is the one in question?, (that is one good question) Perhaps one ought to consult an astrologer or self proclaimed expert on public relations on this, but then what are the requirements, or the qualifications to be an astrologer or expert on relations with the self proclaimed experts on anything?

I confess that from while time to time I may have a slippy grip on the silken strand (or is it a rubber band) of consensual reality,  never the less, I am still four square in the game.  I guess that’s just another reason why there’s no business like show business!

PS. If we are able, we sing a Spanish song in Spanish,  a French song in French,  we sing a song that’s in English, in English, and we sing a Calypso song in Calypso, if we are able.



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