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Reflections of a working writer and reader

 

 

Busted flat in Baton Rouge

Under the headline, Who needs monuments to freedom when you can listen to Me and Bobby McGee instead? Germaine Greer deconstructs a word which shimmers in the imagination, but dies in embodiment.

The art of the 60s counterculture was almost all bad. All the flower children and peaceniks were capable of was a stream of doodlings, recycled William Morris, a little dada, co-opted Kollwitz, and so forth. The dreariness of today’s graffiti continues the tradition of visual illiteracy.

The music was a different matter. Sixties musical culture was as deep as the visual culture was shallow. All the artists you heard of were only the visible parts of an iceberg of submerged musical activity that was going on in every small town across America. Integral to the tradition, whether blues, rhythm’n’blues, bluegrass, country or folk, was protest – and protest is an essential element of freedom. Every dictator will abuse the name of freedom, will erect hideous lumps of masonry and call them Freedom This and Freedom That, or simply rename old monuments, as the King Memorial Tower in Tehran was renamed Freedom Tower. States are authoritarian structures; to call them free is oxymoronic. Freedom cannot be built, but it can be sung.

4 Responses to “Busted flat in Baton Rouge”

  1. TrevorLee says:

    nicely put 🙂

  2. Ole Blue says:

    “States are authoritarian structures; to call them free is oxymoronic. Freedom cannot be built, but it can be sung.”

    That is so true.

    jb says: Thought you might like it, Blue.

  3. tony martin says:

    You are an up-yourself wanker.

    jb says: Hey, Tony, thanks for that. It’s good to be reminded from time to time. If I was rich as well as an u-y-w I’d send you a prize for raising the level of commenting on this blog. (Though I’m sure this isn’t the only forum to which you contribute.)

  4. shoreacres says:

    “All the artists you heard of were only the visible parts of an iceberg of submerged musical activity that was going on in every small town across America…”

    And still is. Having found you through bloglily today, I was rather astonished to discover your photograph of The Crossroads, and your references to Robert and Tommy Johnson. I’ve just returned from a trip to Clarksdale and still am writing about it on my blog. That a five day trip could result in a dozen posts says very little about me but a good bit about the people of the Delta, the richness of their music and the spirit of their lives.

    Apart from all that, you might be one of the few people in the world who’d get a kick out of the song I wrote for the Juke Joint Festival – “Mississippi Writin’ Blues”. One verse….

    Gonna tear up my edits,
    turn off my hard drive, too,
    Walk out that door
    no matter what’s left to do,
    Gonna find me a way to cure
    these Mississippi writin’ blues.

    I look forward to more exploration of your site and your writing.

    jb says: Hi Linda, thanks for the verse of the song, but especially thanks for the link to your site. I had to wrench myself free from it this morning as I need to get my teeth fixed, but I’ll be back real soon.