Saturday, 25 July 2009

Pledging My Love

There was a bit of a literary bent to the ninth issue of Your Heart Out (which is available free for all to download in our legendary library on your left. Always on the left ...). Naturally for folks who, in the immortal words of John Miles, have music as their first love there was a bit of an inclination towards books related to pop culture.

One of the delights of life for those of us without many brass farthings to rub together is chancing upon inexpensive books and falling totally in love with them perhaps unexpectedly. I found a copy of Tove Jannson's A Winter Book for £1.50 yesterday. And The Holiday by Stevie Smith last week for the same price in the same charity shop. Bet they came in together!

And one recent discovery was Suze Rotolo's A Freewheelin' Time. Now at a higher price I might suggest the last thing the world needs is another Dylan book. I would have been wrong. It's a lovely book. Perfectly complements Chronicles. And while I'm not the world's most manic Bob fan, I do believe the world would have been a far worse place without him. All that stuff about Donovan over Dylan. Do me a favour!

What I particularly like about Suze's book (apart from the gorgeously atmospheric photos) was the sense of searching. The hunger to discover. Music, books, films, theatre, politics, whatever. To absorb everything. To tap into the knowledge that's around them. And as the quest Bobby and Suze seemed to be on was so special and far reaching and necessary people seem prepared to share what they knew.

So, okay, that story is about the New York of the early '60s. But it's one that's easy to identify with, regardless of where we grew up, or when. And to me the essence of life is about continuing that quest. I don't give two hoots about religion, but this is as close as I'll come to spirituality. The searching. It's why we keep scouring the junk shops, searching the internet, adding arcane nonsense which just might change our world to our store of knowledge.

And the image to take away from Suze's writing is that of her and Bob privately dancing to all sorts of music in the privacy of their apartment. Then it's easy to make the leap to Bob's Theme Time Radio Hour series which kept us entranced with its charm and wisdom, and such a wonderful mixture of sounds of every possible variety. It certainly set me off down some strange roads I'd not previously explored, like western swing and the blues. Now I worry that with these shows disappeared from our airwaves, the powers-that-be are resting more comfortably, being able to go back to their cosy pigeon holing, and keeping everything neat and tidy within their schedules. But the archives of Theme Time Radio Hour are out there still to entertain and educate us. And I'm grateful to the wonderful Dusty Sevens for pointing us in the right direction.

One of the songs Suze makes particular reference to in her book is Johnny Ace's Pledging My Love, and as it's such a beautiful song I'll dedicate it to anyone who supports Your Heart Out's continued resistance ...

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