The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Relevant Quote #41


"Sometimes I think nothing is simple but the feeling of pain"
-- Lester Bangs

5 comments :

swac said...

Weird, I was singing Mona Lisa as I was turning on the computer. And if that's not pain, I don't know what is.

Tom Sutpen said...

What, you no dig Nat?

swac said...

No, I love NCK. I meant the pain in the song. "Are you warm, are you real, Mona Lisa? Or just a cold and lonely, lovely work of art." I've met girls like that.

Tom Sutpen said...

Ah, but haven't we all.

There's an enormous amount of pain in Nat Cole's singing if you listen closely. He didn't wear it on both sleeves as Sinatra did by recording LPs like "Only For the Lonely", but when Cole sang of love, it was never with wide-eyed romanticism. His voice always anticipated a regret which he knew would one day follow.

swac said...

Last night at bedtime, I shut out the clanging noise of Oscar with a healthy dose of Nat. His songs have been rattling around in my head all week, due in part to this post, to a recent viewing of In the Mood for Love, and the fact that local singer Al Tuck (you'd love him Tom...Orpheus reborn) has included a warbly voice-and-guitar version of Mona Lisa on his latest record. I've been singing along to it in the car and the apartment. My neighbours must love me.