Sunday, July 10, 2011

Astral Lives

The world is round, my peg is square. 

I can readily admit that in most situations I feel uneasy, like that one guy in the room who doesn't get the joke. It's a party of one where ever I go and I carefully observe the herd. I don't quite know why but for some reason the majority of my thoughts tend to focus on my idea of who i'm supposed to be and the crippling realization that I don't quite measure up. The spiritualist in me would say I am too attached to my ego. The artist, that I'm yearning. The 12 year old still thinks he's ugly and that no one really likes him. I'm proud to say that I've mastered the art of balancing out these and the many other characters that exist in my head. Listening to the voices that guide and taking the rest with a grain of salt. 

Part of the reason I love music so much is because of those small moments, when the right song hits at the right time. When solitude or a room full of interaction makes no difference. A calm level of focus and understanding washes over me and the very last thing on my mind is myself. The miracle is cast and the sea parts. Zen, at peace, calm, centered and focused on only the moment. Perfection in an imperfect world. More than any other record, Astral Weeks provides me this feeling. 

Lester Bangs once said "What Astral Weeks deals in are not facts but truths. Astral Weeks, insofar as it can be pinned down, is a record about people stunned by life, completely overwhelmed, stalled in their skins, their ages and selves, paralyzed by the enormity of what in one moment of vision they can comprehend." and to his credit this says more about the etherial beauty of this album than I ever could. 

Funny thing is, I can't remember anything about how the album came into my possession. I don't remember who gave it to me, or how I'd come to hear of it. Maybe the reason is that in the grand scheme of things that is trivial information. What I do remember is hearing Astral Weeks for the first time. Going in, my previous Van Morrison experience consisted of Moondance and Brown Eyed Girl, staples on Q104 New York's Classic Rock! I was not prepared. The first listen confused me. I didn't know what i was hearing. The music was tight, for sure and the voice was full of passion, but none of the lyrics made any sense to me and whats worse he seemed to be singing haphazardly, with little to no attention paid to forming verses or choruses. The songs just seemed to float in and out of each other, running for what seemed like forever or stopping just as things were getting interesting. 

I didn't get it.

So... Very... Embarrassing. 

I wanted more.

For years I'd listen alone, not knowing why, but knowing that I HAD to. The songs became a security blanket for me. Every time life got too hard and I didn't want to think... Astral Weeks. I'd spend hours focusing on every detail trying to find what it was that kept  drawing me back. I'd cry without being sad, laugh out loud for no reason at all. In time the experience became pure catharsis. It didn't matter that I had Cerebral Palsy, or that i was short, awkward and afraid. Something about the feel of the music gave me courage, sometimes even hope. It took everything that had ever happened to me, everything i'd seen or felt and put it in a picture frame for me to view from a distance.

I get it now.

Understanding in the form of a perfect moment.

Off to find more.

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