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

Looking back!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 15,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

A great thank you to everybody who shared my ups and down during this great Bruce year!

See you up the road!

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

Countdown Kid # 96: Livin’ in the future

The E Street Band reunited for The Rising in 2002, but I would argue that the classic E Street Band sound didn’t return until 5 years later with this track off Magic. The groove is lifted straight from “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out,” with Clarence’s burly sax still blowing Bruce down the street just as it did 30 years earlier. 

The lyrics are a study in denial. Even with all of the walls of his life crumbling down upon him, the narrator tricks himself into believing everything is fine in the chorus with his own little imaginary time machine: “We’re livin’ in the future and none of this has happened yet.”

Even the band is in on the ruse, negating the dire lyrics with a good-time assault that even features some happy-go-lucky “sha-na-nas” at the end. Only Danny Federici’s organ solo lets some anguish Continue reading

Always the man!

No, I am not American and the election does not affect me directly.

Indirectly it will probably affect everybody.

I was also very far removed from the impact of Hurricane Sandy.

But my love and admiration for Mr Springsteen has grown via these two issues.

I just love his connection to his roots, his loyalty to where he comes from, the way he has a positive impact wherever he goes.

He may not be the 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

Countdown Kid # 97: Mary Lou

After three years of rather intense study I am now at the point where it is still a surprise to discover new songs that I do not know yet. Still loving the long road of discovery!

This is what Countdown Kids says about Mary Lou:

Bruce never found a home for this song, though the fact that some lyrics show up in different incarnations elsewhere leads me to believe he gave it a good try. Eventually released on Tracks, “Mary Lou” might have been a tough fit for any album because of its very specific subject matter: A girl who’s mesmerized by movie stars and transfers that fascination to her real life by dating guys who are only out for good times that last about as long as your 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!

Countdown Kid # 98: Two Hearts

I absolutely love this song. This is what Countdown Kid has to say about it:

It rips by at such a hyperspeed pace, goosed by Max Weinberg’s rapid beat and the fast-fingered keyboard work of Roy Bittan and Danny Federici, that it’s easy to miss the depth of this peppy number off The River. Springsteen was taking a page from the Lennon/McCartney playbook by couching some of his deeply personal lyrics in a high-tempo number. In fact, if this song has a drawback, it’s that it takes that strategy too far to the extreme. If your ears pop, you could miss the message.

The second verse ranks with any of Springsteen’s all-time best, as he was beginning at that time to explore what it meant to be a man and what was really important in life. He sings: “Once I spent my time Continue reading

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

Weaving together the political and the personal

“Others have written about the complicated ways that Bruce Springsteen weaves together the personal and the political and how this interweaving has developed over time.  I’ll mention some of these themes but won’t spend a lot of time exploring or illustrating them:

1)  First and foremost, the healing and transcendent power of love and community.  This is, perhaps, one of the most central concerns of his life.  His songs are full of it.  The ecstatic sense of abandon, fusion and joy at his concerts feature it.  Wrecking Ball is a good example of this.

2)  Mutual recognition and embrace of the Other: Springsteen’s songs are full of images of people making the choice to—in the end—see their commonality rather than their difference.  The Ghost of Tom Joad Continue reading

Countdown Kid # 99: Lucky Town

The title track off the more effective album of Bruce’s double-release in 1992,Lucky Townis a solid grinder that benefits from an excellent driving chorus and an overall tight performance. Not a lot of wasted energy here, and it’s also one of Springsteen’s strongest vocals of that time period. He really sounds like a man who has followed the hard road the lyrics depict, even as a grizzled optimism still shines through.

Springsteen also pulls off the neat trick of making what is essentially a one-man performance (with the exception of Gary Mallabar on drums) sound like the work of a cohesive combo. His guitar work is fine, restrained but still clearly expressing powerful emotions.

The lyrics actually travel a similar path as “Better Days” off the same album, but the Continue reading

Countdown Kid’s Top 100 Springsteen songs: #100 – Devil’s Arcade

This song, the closing track off Magic (not counting the “hidden” track “Terry’s Song,”) shows some signs of strain as it attempts to be the all-encompassing anthem to sum up the disparate themes of that standout album. Still, it swings for the fences with such gusto that it’s still quite powerful, a damn impressive track that hits far more than it misses.

Where it does miss is in the fact that the hugeness of it can be a bit overbearing. From the atmospheric opening to the slow build-up to the thunderous climax, it groans with the weight of all of the effort that was clearly put into it to create a memorable album closer.

Compare it to the simple but unsettling “Wreck On The Highway” off The River, or the desperately romantic “Valentine’s Day” off 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

A knee-jerk reaction

The dictionary describes the term a knee-jerk reaction as a very predictable reaction, without thinking.

In some way this was true for my reaction when I stumbled upon the tracker for the Springsteen show in Oslo a few days ago. Except that my reaction was not predictable in any way. But without thinking it certainly was.

Or maybe it was predictable. Maybe it was just me who did not Continue reading

When the dream turns around and bites you in the back (or maybe the butt)

Yes, I am very much for dreaming.

I have been doing it my whole life long.

But only much later in life I started dreaming with a purpose.

Yes, I can publish a short story in a magazine. And many more.

Yes, I can publish a romance novel. And many more.

Yes, I can publish a romantic novel. And a few more.

Yes, I can decide to see Bruce Springsteen if he tours again.

And I can do it. And experience a level of 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

Manchester – 22 June 2012

  1. To my surprise I found Manchester a lovely city. If we only had more time …
  2. It often rains in Manchester. As in all the places I have been on this tour.
  3. The special buses to the stadium were wonderful – once we had found them.
  4. Rain driven by wind is even wetter than rain falling straight down.
  5. Ethiad Stadium is large and imposing and quite beautiful. Even if you are no football fan.
  6. What was called the box office in Sunderland, was here called something else. (Can’t remember – but we found it in the end.)
  7. You only feel it’s real when you have that ticket in your hand.
  8. No, I don’t know what I will do with 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

Seeing the Boss

Unfortunately I cannot post while I am still travelling.

Will be back home next week.

I have so much to say!

What I can say in the minute I have now, is that Bruce has delivered.

As he always seems to do.

Also that I was in the pit and I coped very well.

Also that he is very beautiful up close.

I saw a gentle spirit and a big heart.

And it made me very happy.

PS. Photo proudly taken by myself (Sunderland).