This morning,I awoke to music in my head:actually,that’s not odd as every morning there is some tune going around,but today the tune made me think quite a bit.You see,it was “The Prelude to the angry young man”,by Billy Joel.It starts with a rippling rock Piano introduction that Billy often plays as the intro to all his live concerts.Having tried to play it myself,I can vouch for the difficulty of executing it well.Its sheer excitement ,and the way he communicates to me says much about the beginnings of a future event.
To me,that is what Preludes do musically and they often propell us forward to action and purposeful activity.As I write this,I can hear Billy play this,and I can see him coming up unto the stage with his trademark grand piano and I ,probably along with so many others ,consider him an American,but an Italian immigrant descent.
Like all countries,American had its beginnings with struggles and turmoil and although their history is no where near as expansive as ours,they are still looked to by the rest of the world as guardians of freedoms that others can only dream of.Its no accident that artists have gravitated to the United States to live,and to express themselves through their art in this great country.For example,two of our rock music sons chose to make New York their spiritual home they were John Lennon and David Bowie ,and it is to these conditions that I feel all people should,no matter what their race,religion or politics should avail themselves too.
American by its definition is a continent.Why the state of Colorado could easily fit in to it the whole land mass of Britain,so that gives us an idea of the sheer size of the country.We in Britain often get our information about America from the two compass extremes.We either read,or hear about the Eastern seaboard of the United States,with New York,and Washing ngton D.C. or we are drawn in by the West coast with San Francisco and Los Angeles.We might know that there are over 50 states that go to make up the population,but we don’t always get the complex geo-political structures that are contained within their boundaries.However,we do get that when America closes its borders that usually the world becomes less safe,not more.When America appears to be veering down its own isolationist track,then that isn’t a good thing for the rest of the world.
As I write this,American musicians and artists have figured largely in my life as such.Their songs permeated my life as a child,and their intentions were the pursuit of freedoms,humanity and decency.All these are what artists do and sometimes at the expense of their leaders and would be moral guardians.
When artists create ,they do so ,not to get agreement,but to start a conversation,and in the case of America,they might well do so to start a conversation with itself.As the whole country was built on immigration,it’s not surprising that the melting pot that makes up the big Apple are on the streets.Its not surprising that women are demonstrating on the streets when they see their freedoms being eroded at the least,and threatened at the worse.
It is sad in many ways when leaders don’t appear to understand how and why freedom is so important ,and it is equally sad when fractures appear and opposing groups rise up.We in Britain,with our long history have observed the goings on in the United States ,with over a million people signing a petition regarding their fears about a state visit from the president of the United States.Now,I was a very Young boy when JFK was assassinated,yet I still remember those times and events.Moving forward to watergate and the bugging of the democrats campaign building,I remembered the impeachment of Richard Nixon,or “tricky dicky”,as he was then called.In Britain,where I soaked up all my life experience,the only time I had ever heard or had knowledge of the word “bugging”,was from James Bond films,and so my naive understanding of Politics across the pond had their green shots from the turmoil of capital hill at that time.
Now the new President talks constantly about “draining the swamp”,and I wonder and maybe too much.You see,change on one hand can happen seemingly quickly in America,but on the other ,those deep seated freedoms of movement that the states have enshrined in their constitution won’t be destroyed by an executive power.
My faith in my artistic betters is still in evidence.You see,the American people are not,in my humble opinion,anymore taken in by “fake news” than we are in Britain.Good people in the rust belt states have lost jobs and dignity .Now wether that is due in the main to globalisation isn’t entirely known,but the hope is that America won’t turn in on itself.
In fact ,because America is,and remains so,a deeply religious land,a biblical quote comes to mind :Its from the book of Proverbs Chapter 18:1 and it says that the one isolating himself seeks his own selfish longing,or words to that affect.It is never really positive or bemificial for anyone to just seek the self interest,of self indulgent path in life,as it foments discords,mistrust and leads to hatred.
Nothing that is really positive will ever be achieved by adopting a judgemental attitude where people feel marginalised ,segregated and mistrusted because of their race or religion.
This blog post is in gratitude to those American musicians and Artists who have truly made life better for all of us.As America struggles publicity with who she is,with binary polarised opinion,with fake news,let’s just remember what the land has given our ancestors,our country and our way of life too.