Foto by tgw, "A Guitar Player," New York City 2009.
I am playing my guitar and singing odes into the airs.
I was thinking that line as I watched one moment of the Grammys tonight. First, I watched Beyonce accept, what, her 500th Grammy Award of the night?--for a song she calls "Halo," which I'm sure in the song is around Beyonce's head. Yes, she is a striking woman. And, yes, she followed the script and came out in a dress that looked like it was made out of beer can pop-top rings, her tits conveniently spilling out of it, an almost nipple-slip on her right breast. What do breasts almost popping out a woman's dress have to do with her ability to sing, write songs, play an instrument, whatever? Like her husband, Jay Z (a form of the word "Jazz") has to take his shirt off and show off his amazing body in order to remain at the top of the kiddie charts. They are singing children's songs--all these 20-ish-going-on-30-ish stars are singing and writing high-school-romance songs. For the high school crowd. Chuck Berry knew how to work that angle for all it was worth--and so did the Ramones, if you remember their bevy of high-school rock cheerleading songs.
I flipped off Beyonce but came back later to find a foppy looking white dude playing an acoustic guitar--I immediately noticed he had his fingertips taped on his left hand--poor baby, did his little fingertips hurt him? He was singing a song that was a few notches below James Taylor at his worst-best (I am not a James Taylor fan/he's the male Joan Baez to me--too much quavering in both their high-pitched childish voices). The folky fop singing something about "the end of the world" and how "we're gonna be together"--a superdrab folky Hollywood-staged number--with this Donny Osmond-look-alike (I truly have no idea who the dude was--I'm sure he's probably in the Songwriters Hall of Fame and perhaps could have been the son of Louden Wainwright III--and probably is a superstar--multibillionaire--living in BelAir--driving a Ferrari) singing away at his juvenile-sounding-lyrics song--like what does a 30-something-year-old folk singer know about the end of the world! I think that young Haitian girl rescued after being buried for 15 days--drinking the blood of the dead around her to keep from dehydrating to death--I think she could better sing her own song about the end of the world and whose gonna be together than this Hollywood fop playing his acoustic guitar with his taped-up fingers and lyrics worthy more of Barney than being featured as a billionaire folk singer on the awfully vulgarly staged Grammy Awards ("Grammy," which stands for Gramophone Awards--the Grammy Award a little gramophone. A gramophone! How many of these cheesy stars even know what the hell a gramophone is?).
As is the trend of White folk-rockers these days, soon this guy was surrounded by a host of FAB-O Black musicians--a guy who oozed of Royal Crown hair gel who played a violin; one huge-huge (Bigger than Biggie Munn) man playing a trumpet; another one playing a saxophone--all of these dudes seconding as back-up singers, too. Then as soon as this droopy-drawer song grew even more droopy-drawer, a whole rack of Whites-Asian-American-mixed string players came sliding up (a stage platform on a track activated by a remote-control device off stage--or a computer program which was also running the background graphics) behind Donny-Osmond-lookalike, all of the fiddlers with big dopey smiles on their overperky faces, sawing away at their fiddles, one, the string bass player, a big older gray-bearded white dude. I immediately focused my attention on an all-teeth-unfurled smiling bippity-boppity enthusiastic Asian-American fiddler right behind Donny smiling so pearly white, playing so energetically--obviously only for the stage effect since even with that platform choking with string players you couldn't hear them.
As Donny's song evolved into the realm of the truly asinine, suddenly out came a rolling rack of more back-up singers, a whole host of them, a chorus of them--all smiling as though cobs were thrust up their asses to make their smiling more chimp-like in the teeth-and-gum-exposure shtick department. Soon the stage was jammed with the chorus, the White-Asian-American string orchestra, a row of Black back-up singers--including the big fat Black woman who is in every back-up group there ever was along with also the inevitable rather sprightly dapper Gayish Black man who sings with stars in his eyes, his mouth crowing open fabulously wide, his digging his role in an overbearing manner--he, too, being in every back-up group there ever was. THEN here came more Black men combo horn players/back up singers to join the huge Black trumpet player and the rather nondescript saxophone player and the White folky-taped-fingered-acoustic-guitar player-singer who by now was singing one line over and over--trying to wrap it up--COMING SOON: the big finale! Everyone looks forward to those big Grammy finales! One of those Vegas-style-Busby-Berkeley-invented finales! Oh the enthusiasm! Oh the talent! Oh the sham of it all.
I flipped this creepy folky-rocky bastard off before that big finale happened. Only Grammy diehard dunces ("American Idol" contestants) could have found verve and progress in that droopiest-of-drawers crap. I ended up turning the television off and doing breathing exercises for 5 minutes or so to get the residue crap remaining from the experience out of my fetid skull.
I am playing my guitar and singing odes into the airs.
for The Daily Growler