Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Evanston: ‘Vincent’ and other songs

Last week while corresponding with Bill who lives in the UK and is a professional musician among many other things, I mentioned that the three favorite songs of my long ago young adulthood are Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘The Boxer’, Bette Midler’s ‘The Rose’, and Don McClean’s ‘Vincent’.

I don’t know how old Bill is.  From his photos he looks about 40 to me, but I have always been a bad judge of age and have become worse.  Now that I am really old, people 60 seem young to me.  Whatever his age, Bill is a lot younger than I.  He is naturally very active.  In addition to running a business during the day, he plays in a band that is usually booked forty weekends a year, performing mostly in the southwest UK; he races dinghies on a nearby lake and sails CALSTAR, a Westerly 26, with his father out of Plymouth; additionally he is married, has a family, and walks his dogs.  Almost all of which has come to a screeching halt due to the pandemic. 

Bill wrote back that ‘Vincent’ stuck in his mind and so, largely restricted to his home, he made a video which he has posted on his website, scapegoats anonymous, and has given me permission to share.  To the minor extent I had anything to do with this, I am pleased.  Maybe my life hasn’t been a complete waste.


Thinking about songs from my past, my mind moved forward a few decades to 1995.

Carol and I met in June 1994 and were married in Key West two months later.  She was on a six month leave of absence from her architectural firm and we had wonderful first months feasting on one another on THE HAWKE OF TUONELA in the Florida Keys.  In December I had HAWKE hauled from the water and we drove to the frozen north, where for a year and a half we lived in the rented downstairs of a house in Belmont, a Boston suburb, before we moved back on board HAWKE at Constitution Marina in Boston Harbor.

When I did my workouts in Belmont I turned on VH1.  Now I turn on one of the sports channels which at present when there are no live sports usually means watching classic soccer games.  

Back then I liked some of the music on VH1.  Two songs stayed with me.  One the sensual video of Melissa Etheridge singing ‘I’m The Only One’


The other the almost operatic duet of Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony singing “No Me Ames’ in which a man dying from AIDS tells a woman not to love him.


That may be open to interpretation.  Here is a link to an English translation of the lyrics.


One last song.

I try to use words carefully.  I am more a man of words than anything else.  Some give me pause.  ‘Soul’, ‘spirit’, ‘great’, ‘genius’.  Some such as ‘hero’ and ‘adventure’ are among the most debased in our times.  ‘Friend’ both gives me pause and is debased.

My experience is that people come and go.  Carol is the first person I have been reasonably confident I can count on for the distance.  There were a few other women before her who might have done so, but they came along too soon.

Of men, I was disappointed decades ago to learn that those I thought were friends proved merely to be acquaintances.

I may be wrong but I believe that I have more true friends now than I ever have had.  If I am wrong, leave me my delusion.  A few of you I know personally.  Some of you I will never meet.  But I have given this thought and I consider you friends in the true sense of the word.  So ‘Amigo De Veridad’.


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