Happy birthday, Bruce

65 3Dearest Bruce
Please open your heart for thousands and thousands of sincere good wishes coming your way today.
May this be a peaceful day and the start of a great new year.
May there be sunshine wherever you are. And if not, may the clouds be enfolded in thick, heavy silver linings.
May your redheaded woman be by your side. And may things be really good between the two of you.
May your children shower you with love and care today and always. You made them a priority from the very start. In my mind it is one of the greatest gifts one can give your children.
May your dear mother be spared to you for many years to come. We love her, because she believed in you when nobody else did. (Except maybe you yourself. That’s one of the many things I have learned from you, this believing in oneself. I am doing my best.)
May you be surrounded by good, real friends. May the E Streeters never be far away. May you always remain blood brothers.
May the creative juices never cease to flow.
May your health stay as good as it apparently is. Please, please continue to look after yourself really well. And do consider skipping the crowd surfing. We do love it, but we love you more.
Please consider another tour. But first consider your health.
Please consider another album. Could be anything you want to do. We will be grateful. Except maybe rap. 🙂
Please consider to visit South Africa again. I don’t think you have been to the Kruger Park. But firstly come to Cape Town again!
Thank you for another year of giving freely to your fans. We treasure the example of love, energy, passion, some good solid common sense, creativity, joy and deep humanness that you show us.
Please be with us for a very long time to come.
With lots of love
The fans

Springsteen in SA: Ready to grow young again

Cape of High Hope 1

From Backstreets, the largest Springsteen fanzine, for which I was privileged to write about my experience:

Bruce Springsteen landed in Perth earlier today, where he and the E Street Band will begin a month-long Australia/New Zealand run on Wednesday night. But before we turn our full attention to Oz, let’s take one more look at Bruce’s first visit to South Africa, which wrapped up on Saturday. These four shows constituted a massive road trip for writer Connor Kirkpatrick, who flew 14,000 miles in covering Cape Town and Johannesburg for us. But we also wanted to hear from someone who wasn’t traveling, but rather traveled to — someone for whom South Africa is home. Alta Cloete, who administers a Bruce Springsteen South Africa Facebook page, found Springsteen’s first visit to her homeland “a tremendous experience.”

When I was privileged to see Bruce Springsteen for the first time in the UK in 2012, I never thought for one moment that he would ever come to South Africa. For that matter, when I became a fan in late 2009 I never thought I would ever get to see him live.

Bruce has proved me wrong again and again. He taught me to dream and to work for my dreams. So I, not an adventurous traveler and aged only a few years younger than Bruce, made it to the pit in Sunderland — and survived to tell the story. It ain’t no sin to be glad Continue reading

Johannesburg: 1 February 2014

HandeOn Saturday afternoon six formidable women (Yes, I include myself! 🙂) packed themselves into a sexy silver 4×4, turned Wrecking Ball up real loud and got ready to grow young again. As we went barreling along the highway way above the speed limit, I felt like I was living dangerously for the first time in my life. (Yes, I know that’s a bit sad, but so be it.)

Of the dangers of Johannesburg I did not see anything. I saw thousands of excited people streaming into the beautiful stadium affectionately dubbed The Calabash and groups of friends preparing boerewors on gas fires and drinking lots of beer. I saw diehard fans from Europe who had spent the day in the African sun for that treasured place right in front. I experienced a level of anticipation Continue reading

Cape Town Day One – 26 January 2014

Belville-VelodromeNabyWhen I was privileged to see Bruce Springsteen in the UK (Sunderland and Manchester) in 2012, I never thought for one moment that he would ever come to South Africa. Well, for that matter, when I became a fan in late 2009 I never thought I would see him live.

Bruce his proved me wrong again and again. He taught me to dream and to work for my dreams. This enhanced my writing career, but most of all my personal life. So I, not an adventurous traveler, in 2012 managed to find a dear friend to guide me through the terrors of the level of public transport we only dream about here. Aged only a few years younger than Bruce, I made it to the pit in Sunderland – and survived to tell Continue reading

Another year is over!

Onlangs kitaar hoogI have really neglected this blog during 2013. But I have not forgotten my readers. And I have certainly not forgotten what Bruce has done and still is doing for me.

The dream of an e-book about handling depression with the help of Springsteen music has brought me to the point where I had the courage to announce it to kindred souls worldwide and to start the Facebook page Fighting depression with the music of Bruce Springsteen. This has brought me into contact with lots of wonderful people. It is precious when you share your pain and your victories with me.

Of course the greatest joy of my year was the announcement on 1 November that Bruce is coming to South Africa. I cannot describe my joy. I am extremely grateful that I can (more or less!) afford to attend each and every one of the four shows. Of course I am totally scared about handling four shows in GA in a week. I had a knee operation during the year struggles to get fit again. Another problem is that only for one show I will be among real fans. For the three Cape Town shows I will be with three different people, only one of the being a bit of a fan. The other two will be there because they love me. I am grateful for that, but also quite stressed. I laugh a little at myself, but I am very apprehensive that South Africans will not really know his work well enough to understand and appreciate the shows. If I catch one soul complaining about the length of the shows, I am certainly going to do something to him!

Thank you for popping in here. Thank you to everybody with whom I can share the depths of my struggle with depression, as well as the joy and strength I get from the music of Bruce Springsteen. I feel privileged and humbled by the contact with Bruce fans and depression fighters from all over the world.

And as always: Thank you, Bruce!

Reasons I admire Bruce Springsteen (4): A well-rounded person

Onlangs beautifulThis short post was written about three years ago. In the meantime I have learned a lot about Bruce. And I still feel the same. He seems to be a devoted husband and dad, conscious of his health, good at keeping long-term friendships, respected as rock’s decent guy, always attentive at interviews, always ready for some fun. What really earned my respect, was when I read how he tackled his out of control life after the BITUSA hype and worked hard to create a more balanced life.

Original post: During the last year Springteen’s influence seeped into nearly all aspects of my life. And all of it is positive. I read and listen to his lyrics for inspiration for my own writing, his music fills the times when I am alone/bored/down with power and energy, my daily walk has become better with his music in my ears, I have even started working out on some Springsteen DVD’s. Does that sound crazy? Obsessive? My family seems to think so, but I honestly don’t agree. I think it is just because there are so many facets to his work that his influence stretches so wide into people’s lives. (If you start reading on the internet, it quickly becomes clear that there are many, many people all over the world who experience this influence on their lives.) He is not a shallow character – like many so-called celebrities – who can do only one thing really well and that is it. He seems to be a rounded personality who really tries to live his whole life in balance and integrity. Yes, surely he must have a little weak point somewhere – but who cares? 🙂

Reasons I admire Bruce Springsteen (3): Unique combination of music and lyrics

Vooroor by fans in pitI am constantly amazed at Bruce’s talent to marry the depth and scope of his lyrics to the wonderful tunes that make them accessible to thousands (millions?!) of people. Three of the best examples (in my opinion) are Badlands, The promised land, Dancing in the dark and Better days. All of them songs with a profound meaning, but also a whole stadium of people can dance on that music.

I have once read somebody describing one of the shows as bipolar. This person found the distance between the often sad lyrics and the exuberant music too much. Personally I have often wondered how Bruce himself can handle it. Maybe the answer lies in the question: He can handle the sadness in the lyrics through the joy of the music.

Of course there are many songs where the music is just as sad as the lyrics. I often find these difficult to handle. The whole of the Nebraska album is certainly the best example, with Tom Joad not far behind. I admire those fans who can really enjoy these songs. I certainly need the music to lift me up.

Fighting depression: The value of lasting relationships

FriendshipTo me this picture symbolizes the lasting friendship among these eight people. There must have been occasions when things did not go that well. There must be some personalities that do not gel that well with certain others. But over the years they managed to not only keep in touch, but to maintain that special something which make them so special as the ESB.

I am sure the band members had lots of negative feelings when Bruce basically sacked them to work on his marriage with Patti and building a family. I have only read of Clarence who said something in the press about it and even then it was without malice. Recently I have read about Bruce saying he was just no good to them at that stage. I am sure as time went by they realized that and respected him for his decision.

The way they all came back when the time was right never seizes to amaze me. Surely the time apart gave each one the opportunity to build his own life, find other ways of earning money and expressing himself, to work on their own families. The wonderful thing among wonderful things is that all of them survived in the big world outside the ESB, all of them were there when it was the right time for the reunion.

Healthy relations are crucial to human beings. We need to work on that and not take it for granted. Without people to really connect to, we are more susceptible to all kinds of dangers, among which is certainly depression.

We need to work on surrounding us with people who add value to our lives and try to avoid the negative ones who only take value away. Of course it is not always possible, but at least we can try.

I always like the image of Bruce personally calling each band member when he had to tell them he wants to go forward on his own. It must have been very difficult for him, but he did not send Jon in to do it of let them read about it in the press.

Communication is vital to healthy relationships, we all know that. Unfortunately most of us also knows how difficult real communication is.

Let’s keep the band’s example in mind and work hard to follow their example of investing in the important relationships in our lives.

Bruce on Bruce

Springsteen on SpringsteenI am reading this book of interviews slowly, savouring every moment. Through his own words, Bruce comes forward as the human being we know him to be. Just a kid from an insignificant town doing what he does best. And trying to be useful while enjoying himself.

Just a few random picks to wet your appetite:

From the early years:

… overlooked aspect of Bruce’s many talents is his ability to express his hopes, dreams and dedication so eloquently in interviews and speeches.

… he is often as articulate and provocative in interviews and speeches as he is emotive onstage and in records.

“I don’t just grind (interviews) out … I think the main thing is the quality.”

Springsteen has little small talk.

… signs of having had some considerable thought expended on them.

… he was running on fumes and Continue reading

Once again: Thank you, Bruce!

AgteroorThis article sums up beautifully the gift from Springsteen to all depression fighters – the gift of not hiding it any more:

Bruce Springsteen’s decision to take antidepressants was coloured by the fact that his father didn’t or wouldn’t. But it took a lot of psychotherapy for him to reach that point.

That is the stark admission we get from Bruce, the recent biography by Peter Ames Carlin. While the book wasn’t authorised per se, Springsteen gave Carlin countless interview hours, facilitated meetings with family and friends, and opened up his personal scrapbook to the author.

The fact that Springsteen has spoken openly about his chronic depression and other issues, and his use of medication to deal with those problems, has been welcomed by some in the fields of medicine and psychology as a breakthrough, given his popularity as a performer. It’s been quite a Continue reading

A special gift!

BruceNo, I am not talking about the book as such, although it is one of the best presents I have ever given myself.

But even better are the few paragraphs on pages 454 and 455, where Bruce speaks about his struggle with dark moods and depression. By speaking about it, he acknowledges the ongoing battle of so many depression fighters. So many of us are still ashamed of it and find it very hard to admit that we struggle. But here is this brilliant, rich and famous man – and he admits to being in therapy for many years, to being on antidepressants, to being unable to stay completely out of the claws of depression. Then surely the rest of us can do it, too?

“You go through periods of being good, then something Continue reading

Brucified!

Bruce met boekmerkThis is my first read of a Springsteen biography.

Overall experience with books about him has not been too good.

With the exception of the Big Man’s book. Which in fact did not say that much about Bruce.

Thus Bruce is a real experience to me. I have not finished it yet, is reading and digesting in small parts.

I feel the author has really tried to portray the man in all his greatness and humanity. I do not find attempts at sensation. Or maybe it is because there is so little stuff for sensation is his life.

Full report later – enough to say that I think this book is an absolute must for every Springsteen fan.

PS. No, it is not a peace of jewellery, but only part Continue reading

On the rollercoaster again …

Skets Angela Cotena 2

Sometimes I miss my boring life-before-Springsteen.
I really don’t like all my emotions when these dates just start to roll out.
Joy, nerves, joy, anxiety, joy, fear, joy …
Should I try to attend a show? Should I spend the money and take the stress?
Should I wait and hope he comes here?

What if the man totally overworks himself?
What if … a hundred things … I am not even going to think any further.
One can only stand Continue reading

Speak your mind – without the fear of stuttering!

Bruce fans, please allow me this one non-Bruce post!

Or maybe it is not a non-Bruce post, as it has a lot to do with changing your life if you are not satisfied with it.

And with perseverance and lots of hard word.

Things we all know are important parts of the Springsteen magic we all love.

So please allow me this little ode to my brave son:

Most of us often find it difficult to speak our mind, even without having a Continue reading

A new dream!

I am happy to report that Bruce’s name has been mentioned by the top promotor of shows in SA as one of the possibilities of the future.

I also know this as a very thin branch – but I have grasped it with enthusiasm and good faith.

Most shows in the recent past have been in Johannesburg and Cape Town – the first being the home of my friend who travelled with me to Sunderland and Manchester, the second being about ‘n hour’s drive from my home.

As always, dreaming about a Springsteen show has filled my with joy and a feeling of being young and full of life.

PS. Thanks to the unknown artist for the wonderful sketch!

Happy birthday, Bruce!

What a privilege to be 63 and to be able to party till the morning hours with thousands of friends enjoying it with you!

But to earn such a party, you must be a pretty special person.

You must have unlimited passion for what you do.

You must absolutely believe in what you do.

You must really love people with all their strengths and weaknesses.

You must be able to turn great personal loss into Continue reading

Can’t stop dreaming!

Yes, I have tentatively decided to be there when and if Bruce tours again.

That was a good start after torturing myself for some time with the idea that I should stop right here. I have seen him twice and that should be enough.

Well, of course it was not enough.

So here it is, black on white: If and when he tours again, I will try to attend some shows again. Preferably more than Continue reading

No surrender? Not always a good idea …

As I am listening to the tracker from Gothenburg, Sweden, I can gladly announce that I have surrendered … 🙂

For a painful month I have tried to persuade myself that I have seen two Springsteen shows in my life, that it was a great, great blessing – and that it was enough.

It was a terrible month. (I must add that other factors attributed to Continue reading

Manchester (continued)

About ten days have passed and I seem to have lost the essence of the show experience. I find it difficult to remember detail about any of the songs. As dearly as I would have loved to catch time in my hands and hold it, to hang on to the essence of the experience, I could not do it. It is over. It is gone. I will have to find a way to deal with the sense of loss that threatens to overwhelm me at the moment.

But I can see myself very clearly on both nights. In Sunderland in the pit, absolutely overwhelmed by the mass of people pressed around me (have read that somebody said he has Continue reading

Sunderland – 21 June 2012

  1. Dreams can really come true.
  2. Reality can be even better than the dream.
  3. I could look forward to the shows like a child, something that I have lost long ago. And I was not disappointed.
  4. Bruce Springsteen gives his all for his audiences. Every time.
  5. I can handle a day of fourteen hours.
  6. Also when eleven of those are spent on my feet.
  7. Two small sherries just before noon can help some. 🙂 Continue reading

Diary of a depression fighter: Missing the music

On this wonderful trip through Ireland and Scotland – on my way to my first ever Springsteen shows – I have encountered depression quite unexpectedly.

One of the reasons for this has to do with the lack of opportunity to really immerse myself in the music, as I have become used to.

At home Bruce’s music has become integrated into my whole life. I usually go to bed with either The Promise or 18 Tracks, I work on The Rising, BTR, Darkness, The River. For some reason I often have Backstreets on repeat while I am hurriedly preparing to go out. I daily work out on any of the live concert DVD’s.

For others this looks like obsession. For me it has become a way to help me handle life.

My family – although I love them dearly – are not fans. On the trip there has been only opportunity for short indulgences into Springsteen music. There was no privacy and no me time.

After two weeks I have realized that the music is loosing its power for me, because I do not absorb enough of it. I even started to find it difficult to remember why I REALLY am on this trip.

The tour is over and we are stationed in Edinburgh at the moment. Today’s Bruce Brunch on The Hawk helped a lot to make me feel part of the Springsteen community again.

The dream is alive again. And Sunderland is drawing near. 🙂

The

Missing the Boss

While I am enjoying a great trip through Ireland with my family, I sorely miss my home routine, which includes a lot of Springsteen when nobody is around to complain about the volume.

This just makes me realize again what a great role his work has come to play in my day to day life.

All of it in a positive way.

Springsteen time is me time.

It is time to lift the spirit.

It is time to exercise.

It is time to dance. (I am no great dancer.)

It is time to fight depression by doing the above.

It is time to dream impossible dreams.

And to believe they can come true.

Luckily my little MP3 player is with me, although it is not the same.

And Sunderland and Manchester are drawing near … 🙂

 

 

A fine example!

Here is theSpringsteen  applicable part of a fine discussion of the work of three icons in the music world: Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen and (of course!) Bruce Springsteen. It makes some interesing and very valid points about what makes Bruce so special. And why he is such an inspiration for so many people, musicians, fans or anybody trying to do anything creative.

“And then by far the weirdest release of the three: Springsteen’s post-recession bitchslap Wrecking Ball.  I’ve been mildly obsessed with The Boss for years, and spent most of Continue reading

The first time!

OK, OK, I know it was only on video. And it froze every few seconds. But in between he was there. Alive, attractive, passionate, natural, genius. Loud and clear and articulate on the audio stream.
What an amazing experience to really SEE him, really hear him.
I am just a total goner. This man is such an inspiration to anybody trying to do anything creative.
Better days for me, indeed!
Thank you, Boss!