We were on the road today and listening to Naomi Klein’s new book on disaster capitalism’s grip on Puerto Rico (we finished it, you should read it), then hanging with the parents. I almost wound up with nothing to write about, but on the way back from dinner, courtesy of that old medium the car radio, came ringing “the mystic chords of memory.”
When “Night Moves” first hit the airwaves in 1976, I was 14. I recognized it was being sung by someone lookin’ back; his description of his younger self’s exploits was what I thought I should be doing, but all that seemed a galaxy away. Weird, but the nostalgia caused me to think that if I wanted to do high school right, I had better master space travel. I never did. I couldn’t not look for a pie-in-the-sky summit–my curse (maybe it was a blessing). The awkward teenage blues stuck to me without relief.
Listening to it today at 56, it suddenly occurred to me how lonely the song sounds. Why’s the persona reminiscing so intently, and so intensely? Those times were tough, messy, reckless, careless–surely he can’t be nostalgic for that. Maybe for the freedom to use and be used? Maybe for that one gal? And with autumn closing in, and the observance of time’s passage, an acknowledgment of mortality. The song’s quite a bit more interesting than I remembered, and it was interesting then.
Who is this guy?
When we returned home to play Five Crown, Dad hollered at Alexa to play “piano jazz.” Predictably, something painfully sterile tinkled out of the speakers. I had another idea: