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

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. 🙂


Busy Boss!

The two most important (in my opinion) articles about Bruce today:

Looking back: We take care of our own

As I played and replayed We take care of our own during the past week – and became thoroughly addicted – I realized with sadness just how applicable the song is to virtually any human situation. Yes, it is very much human nature to take care of our own, often to the disadvantage of others. Through the ages individuals in a position of power have been looking after themselves first, exploiting those under them. While Bruce surely thought of America while writing it, I cannot help but think about my own country when listening to the song. When you move around here you can also be fooled by appearances, as you can be fooled by the music to think of this as an upbeat and positive song. But below the exterior there is much more. Below the surface (and not always below the surface) in Continue reading

Another Born in the USA?!

An excellent article from
News Updated January 19, 2012

The ultra-anthemic “We Take Care of Our Own” marches in with one of Springsteen’s most martial rhythms — a kickdrum on every downbeat — since “Badlands.” And you better believe it has some of the same “trouble in the heartland” concerns, too. But then there’s that chorus: rousing, uplifting, and positioning “We Take Care of Our Own” to not only be Springsteen’s most misinterpreted song since “Born in the U.S.A.,” but misinterpreted in precisely 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.
I can totally associate with some of the things he mentions: Firstly, the idea that he does not consider himself Continue reading

The River: A selection of pure joy and utter heartbreak

I have recently acquired this album for the first time. I did not realize beforehand how many of the songs I already know from other sources (meaning various DVD’s and from YouTube, of course). I’ve not only known them, but got to love them already. Independence Day and Fade away I first saw on the album of early shows included in The Promise. And I think Fade away, too. I find Independence Day  an absolutely heartbreaking and hauntingly beautiful song. Stolen car and The price 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

A new solo album? Really??

I have the feeling we (Note: I include myself!) are taking things for facts which are just a little speculation from Stevie. Or is that maybe the way they operate? Bruce saying: “Ah, Stevie, seeing you are going to do this interview, won’t you whip things a little up for the album I am busy with?” And Stevie woud say: “Yeah, sure, Boss!” And there the rumour is started …

“You know Bruce,” says Van Zandt, “he’s always got an album in his pocket, he’s always writing something. I don’t know this for a fact, but I expect him to possibly put something out that’s more of a solo nature, before we get back together. Only because he’s just so prolific, still, after all these years.” He added, “He’s still just a terrific 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

A love song for Valentine’s day

Contrary to what you would expect from a person who makes a living writing romantic fiction, I don’t like the idea of Valentine’s day very much. Well, nothing wrong with the idea, but come on, whose smiles are even bigger than those of the girls being treated by their loved ones? The business people, of course.  Still, nothing wrong with that. What I have against Valentine’s Day is the expectations which are raised for ordinary people. The same 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

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

HGRNJ – Best of Bruce for the last decade – last ten

Here are Julian Garcia and his panel’s choices for the number 11-20 best Bruce songs for the last ten years. NB. In no specific order.
1.   Mary’s place – The Rising
2.   I’ll work for your love – Magic
3.   Radio Nowhere – Magic
4.   The Promise – The Promise
5.   Waitin’ on a sunny day – The Rising
6.   Kingdom of days – Working on a dream
7.   The wrestler – WOAD
8.   My lucky day – WOAD
9.   Pay me my money down – Seeger Sessions
10.  Save my love – The Promise

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:

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!