We Just Weren’t Made For These Times

Once again I was listening to the local high school radio station. A student whose show I enjoy was signing off for good. He’s headed to William and Mary in the fall. I will miss his astute music knowledge. His last show was comparing the Beatles’s Rubber Soul to Pet Sounds to Revolver, a sort of battle of the bands for the pinnacle of musicality. He played a Beach Boy song with the Phil Spector-esque Wall of Sound, and then he played it without – just the harmonies of five beautiful voices. Marvelous both ways.

He also played the song “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times.” Watching the Showtime documentary on Brian Wilson reveals his emotional troubles, which are well-documented, and this song is emblematic of his discontent. And all our discontent?

I often have this thought myself and I know I am not alone. I think of my friend Will and a friend’s daughter who yearn for something….else. We’re fairly certain it’s not this. My friend’s daughter, Emily, is a beautiful tall blonde athletic Amazon. She’d been perfect for the surf culture decades back in San Onofre and Point Dume. She’s trying to find her way in this nutty world, and is not feeling the manic pull of over-achieving-I-have-to-get-into-Harvard nonsense. 

Will, who is her senior by ten years, is a sweet guy who wants everyone to be happy and love one another. He hangs out at a local vintage shop full of 50s and 60s memorabilia. He has not taken the usual route of “success” and chooses work where he can connect with people. He’s good at it – everyone loves him.

What we have in common is an attraction to a simpler, freer time, which through the rose colored glass is the 1960s. A time of division in the country and an vibrant youth culture – not unlike now. There’s a growing feeling inside of me to light out of where I am and drop out. Hunker down either for “the end” or for the backlash to lash back. I was always like this, even as a kid. A friend’s older brother would laugh and say, “Clare, how far back do you want to go? Do you want the right to vote?!”

Back to the student DJ and his open-mindedness and insight. As a counterpoint, I was talking to my friend Sebastian who is in his twenties. We were discussing a song from the 60s, and he said, “I know I’m supposed to hate it, but I don’t.” That was the saddest thing I heard and it also pissed me off.  What is this “supposed to” stuff? What happens if you download a song “not of your time” on Spotify? Does a red rotating alarm light go off and you’re taken to an underground bunker for reprogramming? To Sebastian’s credit he remains open, but I was discouraged nonetheless.

What is the remedy, I wonder, as we watch everyone exercise their right to act crazy – publicly and privately. While we are lamenting the death of the 99 cent avocado, some maniac who has just been on a high speed chase with police runs into Trader Joe’s wielding a gun and holds the store hostage. Or as we hand over our democracy to Russia with a big bow on it, will we rue the decision of learning Mandarin instead of Russian? 

My answer: not sure. Find a patch of peace, make it your sanctuary, watch, wait, and hope for the best. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Yes, some of us just weren’t made for these times.

Clare Irwin

 

Son of a Preacher Man

Uma Thurman - Pulp Fiction

Uma Thurman – Pulp Fiction

On the seemingly endless loop of mundane errands we all must do – I drive to mine – city folks walk or take buses, trains, or taxis — but I drive. While I drive sometimes I listen to a local high school radio station which is both excellent and charming. The kids are bright and goofy. I have learned about genres of music from all over the world, new covers of old songs, how the students think their teams are doing, and who has to leave for class because it’s F period or something. The station also plays classics — some going way way back: girl groups from the 50’s, rockabilly, The British Invasion, American pop, rock, R&B, —  all of it. While I was on my trek today on came a song I like a lot and hadn’t heard in a long time. It was Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man.” Great song Great singer.

Dusty Springfield

Dusty Springfield

I remember this song was used by Quentin Tarantino in Pulp Fiction as Uma Thurman makes her spectacular entrance. I also read a while back that they were going to make a movie about Dusty Springfield’s life starring Nicole Kidman, which I think would be amazing but I never saw or heard anything more about that. Come on guys make the movie!

Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman

Back to the song. I think it has definite sex appeal and I think it touches the romantic ideas of  young woman, or just women….the idea of falling in love with a “holy” man and that love is an awakening in all the obvious ways. Of course in the fantasy he looks something like this:

 

 

 

But he has the soul of this:

Lord Byron

Lord Byron

Now you see how it’s a total fantasy? But a fun one. We all need to indulge in flights of fancy and imagination. Come on in, the water’s just fine.

Clare Irwin