Cape Town Night Two – 28 January 2014

Met Pete Seeger 1Last night I felt like an experienced fan. Gone were the anxiousness, the jitters and the fear of the unknown of Sunday night. In was the heady feeling of something great drawing near. I knew the venue, how the process of entering is handled (although they made some changes), where I like to stand, what to expect of the audience.

Of course I knew what to expect of Bruce. Has he ever had a bad show Continue reading

Be my Valentine …

Top ten Springsteen love songs … some interesting choices. 

Skets kyk oor skouer jonkAnd so few of them are really ordinary love songs … there’s always a different perspective … from Reno to Candy to If I should fall behind …

Only Bruce can do this. 

http://ultimateclassicrock.com/bruce-springsteen-love-songs/

Great thanks to the unknown artist! I just love this pic  and the way Clarence and Stevie are just behind him.     It says such a lot.

 

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

Looking back: Where it all started for me …

This post was written about two years ago. Nothing has changed since then. Except my growing respect for the man.  And my continuous gratitude for what he is doing for me.

I have alwyas had a pretty nice life, full of good things and fun. I have a beautiful family, I live in one of the safest places in my troubled country. But for the last twenty of more years I have struggled with depression. There were many good times, but the darkness was always hovering on the edge of town. And often it invaded the town, it ruined its buildings, it hurt its citizens.
Recently a few things came together in my head. I did a course in life coaching, which gave me wonderful Continue reading

Fight depression – and win (4): Understanding depression

This link can change your life forever. It can be the start to discovering there are certain, definitive things you can DO to conquer depression. Yes, we are not hopeless victims anymore – we can take charge and fight this beast! In Springsteen language: You can take the first steps out of the badlands of depression into the Continue reading

Bruce on creativity

Here is a wonderful post with excerpts from The Promise and an interview I have not seen before. As a writer, Bruce’s insights are invaluable to me. As an example of how to express yourself, he is an inspiration.
http://www.scottberkun.com/blog/2011/bruce-springsteen-on-creativity/
I can totally associate with some of the things he mentions: Firstly, the idea that he does not consider himself Continue reading

Why I admire Bruce Springsteen (9) – Doing what has to be done

I recently had the opportunity to be part of a discussion about women’s fiction in front of a small audience. It is not the kind of thing which comes naturally for me. A writer’s work a rather lonesome job – just you and your computer and the ideas in your head. To throw it open in front of an audience is not an easy thing for many writers, depending on your personality, of course. So I had to fight the nerves and the feelings of I might not be good enough and just do it. And I did it. Rather well, I think.
As always, I could find a parallel in Bruce’s life and work. And I could Continue reading

Better days are getting better and better

I have just had a letter from my publisher about the manuscript for my third romantic novel. A rapturous letter. And she is not a lady who hands out praise easily. A compliment from her is really a compliment. And this letter is one huge compliment.
After reading the letter, I talk to my son on Skype. He is my biggest critic, but also one of my most loyal supporters. This is a big day for me. The third manuscript being accepted means that I am not to be a one day wonder.
And of course I think about that young man in the late 70’s, coping with Continue reading

Diary of a depression fighter … Disclaimer

Disclaimer:
To everybody who reads this diary: These posts are my effort to document my own painfull path with the purpose of maybe helping somebody else to gain more insight/acception/knowledge about himself. This is NOT the alpha and the omega about handling depression. I do NOT claim that anybody who follows my path will be completely cured of depression. (I am still too scared to claim that I might be completely healed.) I believe no two people will walk this path in exactly the same way. These posts are Continue reading

Where it all started for me …

On an ordinary winter’s day in 2009 my life started to change. A small shift of destiny took place.
No, nothing spectacular like a man with a diamond or a huge writing contract or instant beauty or eternal slimness (is there such a word?). Just a beautiful, unassuming little song on local radio. It caught my attention, I did not catch the title, nor the name of the artist. And promptly forgot about it.
A day or two later I heard it again. This time I made sure to catch the title and the artist’s name. Tomorrow never knows by Bruce Springsteen. And the rest, as they say, is history. Nothing has been the same again for me since then.
Surely it is a strange choice. But I did not choose it. The song chose me. Yes, I agree it is not one of his great, epic songs. Nor his greatest love song. It is just … well, beautiful. Wistful, pure, simple. Beautiful.
I don’t know what really caught me about the song. Maybe the title – even my computer changed it to Tomorrow never comes.
Where the cold wind blows
Tomorrow never knows
Where your sweet smile goes
Tomorrow never knows
Maybe just the feeling of not knowing what tomorrow will bring, but trying to make the most of the moment, trying to catch the essence of the now. Maybe the knowledge that the sweetness of a smile can Continue reading

Two hours of Bruce on an empty stomach

It is 03:55 on a hot and sticky summer night in SA, a world away from New Jersey where Julian Garcia has driven himself to work through everything wet and cold nature has to offer. I drag myself out of bed to switch on the computer. I am tired, did not get to bed early at all. On the bedside table my book and pencil are waiting, because experience has taught me if I dosed off somewhere during Groove it all night on Homegrown Radio NJ, I do not remember anything that was played before the snooze. But this morning I briefly consider Continue reading

Out of the badlands into the promised land

Until recently I have concentrated on the positive side of one of the songs of Bruce Springsteen I love best, namely The Promised Land.
If I could take one moment into my hands

Mister I ain’t a boy, no I’m a man
And I believe in a promised land
And then one day I just saw the explanation of years of my own struggle in the rest of the song. I spent years of unhappiness in the wrong career, feeling exactly as Bruce describes here:
I’ve done my best to live the right way

I get up every morning and go to work each day
But your eyes go blind and your blood runs cold
Sometimes I feel so weak I just want to explode
Explode and tear this whole town apart
Take a knife and cut this pain from my heart
Find somebody itching for something to start
And all the time I kept Continue reading

Why I admire Bruce Springsteen (7): The power of friendship

The amazing long-term relationship of Bruce Springsteen with the members of the E-Street Band is one of the things I really admire. I have not read anything nasty, degrading or plain negative that one of them has said about Bruce or any of the other E-streeters. On the wonderful recreation of Darkness on the edge of town in the old theatre it struck me again: The solid wall of support they form behind him, with Clarence and Stevie like two pillars of strength by his sides. And that makes me think of his moving eulogy for Danny Federici: every night at 8p.m. we walk out on stage together and that, my friends, is a place where miracles occur … old and new miracles. And those you are Continue reading

Why I admire Bruce Springsteen (6): A song for every emotion

In a previous post I wondered if Bruce has an idea how much his work means emotionally to so many people. Yes, I know there have been numerous programs and books about it, but still, does he understand? CAN he understand, not being a fan, but being the man himself? His work just resonates with so many emotions.
It ranges from the youthful playfullness of Out in the Street, through the anguish of the Darkness album, the beautiful love songs on the new The Promise, the hope and determination to make a better life in Badlands and The promised land, the celebration of Continue reading

Bruce on writing for Darkness

Towards the end of his essay on writing for Darkness Bruce wrote these words: “To make “Racing” and those other big titles personal, I had to infuse the music with my own hopes and fears. If you don’t do that, you characters ring hollow, and you’re left with rhetoric, words without meaning.
Most of my writing is emotionally autobiographical. You’ve got to pull op the things that mean something to you in order for them to mean anything to your audience. That’s how they know you’re not kidding.”

As a writer this makes perfect sense to me. If you writing does not really come from inside yourself, it can easily be Continue reading

Local review of The Promise

I was pleasantly surprised to find a review of The Promise (only the 21 songs, not the complete box set) in my local (Afrikaans) newspaper. As I have mentioned before, Bruce is not very well known here. So I was quite apprehensive about this review.
But I was not disappointed. The reviewer was clearly impressed, although he did not seem to be aware of the fact that the two CD’s are only part of something much bigger.
Firstly he mentioned that few young rockers would today worry about becoming too much of a commercial singer and staying true to their roots as Springsteen has done. He lifted Come on, Breakaway and of course The promise out as cuts which should have been on Darkness. (Clearly he does not know that nobody tells The Boss what to do! 🙂 ).Freely translated he says that The Promise investigates the utter necessity, destructive potential and futility of romanticism in classic pop and rock. And that this album  comfirms Springsteen’s scope as singer/songwriter.

The promise – an impression

For our fortnight on the road Disc 1 of the Lost Sessions kept me constant company on my MP3 player. Most of the songs are among those that had been released on the internet previously, so they were not really new to me and had already grown on me. Maybe this is the key word – grown on me. Yes, Bruce’s music has become part of my life. As people lucky enough to grow up with his music often say: His music is the sounctrack of my life. Well, I am years and years behind – but I am doing my best!
Conclusion? These songs did not make an impression on me. They became part of me. And I feel richer because of that.

My box set has arrived!

Finally – it’s here! We are about to leave on a family road trip, so there is no time for indulging. But I grab every opportunity to watch/listen a little bit at a time.  A real treasure – that is all I can say at this point. What a generous man Bruce is. As usual hy gave us more than we expected.

I will be absent for some time – back soon!

Springsteen and Bellow

A very interesting comparison between these two great artists:

… this Thanksgiving, I will be giving my thanks to writer Saul Bellow (1915-2005) and musician Bruce Springsteen (born 1949), two poets who beautifully sing the song of America.
Putting Bellow and Springsteen together may baffle some of you. Their works obviously occupy very different Americas at very different times.
Bellow is the Jewish intellectual chronicling the anxieties and comedy of the cosmopolitan city-dweller in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.
Springsteen is the Jersey guitarist channeling the lost dreams of the working class Everyman in post-Vietnam America.
Read on at:
http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2010/11/24/mean-street-thankgsiving-thanks-to-bellow-and-springsteen/

The Big Day is here!

And here I am sitting in darkest Africa, missing all the fun! But I am thankful for the feeds that we could receive beforehand. Loving every bit of it. Now I am waiting for the arrival of my son with the box set from Norway on 1 Dec. Which one I am more eager to see? Well, I do love my son very much, buuuut …. 😉

The big day is drawing near …

Tuesday is the long awaited day of release of the box set The Promise.
A lovely idea on facebook is for all Bruce lovers to find a 1978 picture of themselves and use it as their profile picture on 16 November. I am afraid all the fans may not have matured so well as the man himself … Maybe because we did not have to do all those three hour concerts since then!

Fifteen songs from The Promise!

After doing so much to help me build my career (through his music as well as the way he conducts his working life) Bruce is apparantly now trying to ruin it single handedly! How can I work when this is available???
If you can afford to spend time on this, here is the link:http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130858856
And of course I’m taking a (prolongued) break now …

Much later: Yes, I have listened. And I am moved. Deeply moved.

Next day: I am still listening. And becoming seriously attached.


Darkness on the edge of town: The promised land

I got to know this song from the Barcelona video and after that from YouTube (where I learned to love most songs long before I could acquire the cd’s).  I just loved it from the start. The way he just goes wild on the harmonica adds a lot to the power of the song. Of course also the way he still sings it with so much passion after so many years.
And as always there are the images of somebody moving on, out of a situation into a better one …
Working all day in my daddy’s garage
Driving all night chasing some mirage …
If  I could take one moment into my hands
Mister, I ain’t a boy, no I’m a man
And I believe in the promised land …
Full lyrics at http://brucespringsteen.net/songs/ThePromisedLand.html
Video from 1978:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lPzWPXhbVI All of them so young and thin and passionate. Now nobody is young and everybody is not so thin anymore, but the passion is still there. And I think that is essentially what they are about.

Paris 1985: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsT2oA4xPiQ Does not seem to have the same power. And the muscles and sweatband don’t really do it for me. But still a beautiful song. Also love the backing vocals. And of course the harmonica. And I wonder how they managed all those cables. Wonderful speech at the end of the video before the next song (My hometown).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsRNqF0CbC8&feature=related Barcelona 2003 – my absolute favourite!

Darkness on the edge of town: Factory

I recently was lucky enough to visit a Springsteen-loving country and acquire an armfull of treasures, of which Darkness was one. And yes – just in time for the release of The Promise!
Previously I have only known Badlands, The Promised Land and Darkness on the edge of town (yes, I am a novice, but I am studying hard!). The first two I learned to love from the Barcelona DVD and the second was one of the first songs I got to know through YouTube.
But the little jewel that took me by surprise is Factory. So poignant, so deceptively simple. A brilliant example of only af few words used to paint a picture so clear, you just cannot forget it. Early in the morning factory whistle blows, man rises from bed and puts on his clothes … Can you see him? Can you sense the troubled mind of the boy who is watching him? Through the mansions of fear, through the mansions of pain, I see my daddy walking through the factory gates in the rain …
But you do not only see Mr Springsteen Snr walking through the rain, you see millions of workers all over the world walking through all types of weather to all types of unfulfilling, dead end jobs which makes our lives better and more comfortable.

Thank you, Bruce!