Sunday, April 23, 2006

"They gave me a sneer and a guitar pick, and a yellow dandelion."

"I love songs about horses, railroads, land, Judgment Day, family, hard times, whiskey, courtship, marriage, adultery, separation, murder, war, prison, rambling, damnation, home, salvation, death, pride, humor, piety, rebellion, patriotism, larceny, determination, tragedy, rowdiness, heartbreak and love. And Mother. And God."
--John Cash.

Look here. About a month ago, I left for Dublin on the southbound train from the Portadown station hours before some strike or another that would hit on Tuesday 28 March, and checked into an airport-side hotel in Dublin in happy anticipation of a flight home via Paris on that same day.

And that very Tuesday morning found me at the Dublin Airport staring at the word "Cancelled" next to my Air France flight.

"What I can do is book you for the same flight tomorrow." said the sweet young thing at the Air France counter after handing me a government-funded mimeograph that explained how there wasn't a whole lot I could do about any of this.
"But what if the strike is still going on tomorrow!" wailed I, good-nature falling apart like a set of EuroDisney mouse-ears left in the rain.
"At this, we would say 'C'est la Vie.'" she replied. "Do you wish the ticket or not?"

So it was WEDNESDAY, March 29 that found me racing through the Parisienne Airport with a scant twenty minutes to catch the plane that would take me home to beloved San Francisco. O it was horrible! Every ugly American impulse to complain, to speak loudly, to demand to see management pounded in my veins. One of the security men actually made a bit of fun of my whimpering. But then...they held the flight for us! And they booked all of us in first class.

When the flight attendent came by for the first meal, he asked my wine preference. "Oh, red wine please" I said. Can't do white. "Very good," he replied. "2003 Merlot or 2002 Pinot Noir?" And then two bottles were flourished for my perusal. A choice of wines on a flight! I wanted to stand up and kiss him. I wanted to say "Condoleezza Rice is so f*ckin' outta line, man. France rocks!" Instead I said "Let's start with the Merlot and see where the flight takes us."

And with a meal of fresh salmon and a glass of a pleasantly brash Merlot, I turned to the inflight entertainment. And that's where I finally saw Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon going to Jackson -- and Nashville and Vegas and San Quentin -- in Walk the Line.

I should have written this film up long before. But fortunately, Duke De Mondo has taken care of all that for me:

The line Walk The Line walks most perilously is the one atween Selective Portrayal an Fuckin Slander. The flaws it presents; took a buncha pills an did some shaggin around; are sparks in the furthest flung corners a the gargantuan fires Cash scorched himself within. The virtues; he was a good lad wrote a good song; are further still from the pulsatin brilliance of his true beauty.

The flick, y’unnerstann, is shallow an predictable where Johnny Cash had the depth a the Mariana’s Trench an the unpredictability o’ an erection in a convent. It’s enjoyable an emotional an touchin, most certainly, but when the credits roll an the real Johnny an June are rippin the speakers apart every which way, a fella can’t help but reflect on the disservice it does to the man.

The True Story Of Johny Cash. Here it is;

Johnny Cash Live At Folsom Prison.

Johnny Cash Live At San Quentin.

Bitter Tears.

America – A 200 Year Salute In Story And Song.

Johnny Cash Sings The Ballads Of The True West.

Songs Of Our Soil.

American Recordings III – Solitary Man.

When those records’ve eaten into your every wakin moment till hardly a note passes your ear ‘thout facin comparison wi those incendiary, astounding, achingly beautiful pieces a work, then most likely you can assume you know as much as there is to know.

Records like shots a blazin fuck to the back a the brains, records about life an about justice an about redemption doesn’t come as easy as the cold turkey montage would have a fella believe. Records that sound like the rumble a the Earth’s gut one minute, an like the opium sanctity a sleep the next.

Records serve as teachers an pupils, records to feed the hunger in the dream-space, y’unnerstann.

Whoever he was, this man Johnny Cash wi the feet all scorched an blistered on account a the heat o’ those dunes, whoever he was, ain't much sight of him in Walk The Line.

Just found myself in the Duke's link list this weekend. So I'll have to repay that courtesy with lots and lots of visits to Mondo Irelando.

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