“They Come… They Come… To Build A Wall Between Us”

 

A little over three decades ago, Neil Finn, founder/frontman of the Australian band Crowded House and composer of their debut album’s track, Don’t Dream It’s Over, musically mesmerized his fans, worldwide, when he hooked us with his haunting, sadness tinged storyline, emotionally driven vocals and stripped down to the bare essentials instrumentation.

While creative sequencing of treble and bass clef notes, time and key signatures and instrumentation do play a significant role, a peerless singer/songwriter/musician, such as Finn, fully knows that a song’s even greater appeal stems from crafting cleverly worded, timely, timeless sentiments, which tap into universal human experiences.

Let’s let the music now speak for itself…

Originally I had planned to include my own interpretation of Finn’s lyrics1 but quickly nixed that notion. My rationale…

  1. You can read such essays elsewhere.
  2. Upon re-listening to this song with our present-day ears… WITHIN politically perilous and tempestuous times spanning our entire spinning out of control world… WITHOUT the benefit of functional, sane leadership to face down and correct these serious problems… a whole new meaning arises from this song, in particular, the chorus…

“They come, they come… To build a wall between us…”

I cannot speak for everyone, but each time these particular ten words play out, I can foresee “the end of the road”… the road, which humanity has been travelling upon for multiple millions of years. I cannot help but wonder, will our road, someday (soon) be blocked by WW-III’s billions of burnt beyond recognition, irradiated corpses and mega-tonnage of rubble?

I’ll now graciously yield my blogger’s podium to Pope Francis who I wish, with all my heart, would speak for everyone on this issue…

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be – and not building bridges – is not Christian.”

To build upon the pontiff’s strong foundation…

  1. Are not ill-mannered, ill-informed, ill-advised, soulless world leaders, who so pointlessly, persistently dehumanize benevolent folks based solely on ethnicity, infirmity, religious beliefs and sexual orientation needlessly building a wall between us?
  2. Is it not the intent of the world’s malevolent entities… those who mindlessly terrorize, maim and slaughter (on behalf of their alleged god)… to divide and conquer us… i.e., by also building a wall between us?

The problem with walls is how they actually fail to insulate us from harm and, indeed, do harm when they isolate us. When everyone gets trapped on each side of the architecture, each side of the argument is doomed to remain unresolved… preserved thru perpetuity.

When viewed in this manner, just how would we then interpret Don’t Dream It’s Over?

I suppose that’s where the power of punctuation enters the picture. In this case, it all boils down to whether or not we opt to bisect Finn’s four worded song title (and recurring lyric) with a comma.

An optimist would eschew such punctuation… in effect saying…

”Please don’t ever dream that our dream for a civil, wall-free world is over.”

A pessimist would commit to that comma… in effect drastically changing the meaning to…

“Don’t dream, IT’S ALL OVER! Who needs stinkin’ bridges when we can get nasty and piss away billions of bucks to build that utterly useless, sky-high wall!”

Getting back on the musical track, conventional wisdom suggests that songsmith Neil Finn’s masterpiece should remain inviolate… YET… I cannot help but wonder… had he written Don’t Dream It’s Over, today… six months after the grotesque regime change within Washington DC… what verses would he have built around his chorus…

“They come, they come… To build a wall between us…”?

And would he even be realistic were he to reach the same conclusion he did back in 1986… when he had so resolutely proclaimed…

“We know that they won’t win!”

 

Latanya Lockett & Pablo West ~ Don’t Dream It’s Over (acoustic cover)

 

1Complete Lyrics:

 

Don’t Dream It’s Over

Composed by Neil Finn

 

 

There is freedom within

There is freedom without

Try to catch a deluge in a paper cup

There’s a battle ahead

Many battles are lost

But you’ll never see the end of the road

While you’re traveling with me

 

[CHORUS] Hey now, hey now

Don’t dream it’s over

Hey now, hey now

When the world comes in

They come, they come

To build a wall between us

We know that they won’t win

 

Now I’m towing my car

There’s a hole in the roof

My possessions are causing me suspicion

but there’s no proof

In the paper today

Tales of war and of waste

But you turn right over to the T.V. page

 

[CHORUS]

 

Now I’m walking again

To the beat of a drum

And I’m counting the steps

To the door of your heart

Only shadows ahead

Barely clearing the roof

Get to know the feeling of

Liberation and release

 

[CHORUS] Hey now, hey now

Don’t dream it’s over

Hey now, hey now

When the world comes in

They come, they come

To build a wall between us

We know that they won’t win

 

My Once Upon A Time Storybook Life

 

An old haunt of mine still exists in the heart of my lifelong hometown… the house where I had played out the first seven years of my life.

This was “The Place” where I had “busted out” from my barred, “prison” crib… to first crawl… to next stand upright and take my hesitant, initial baby steps… to eventually venture forth from my four walled interior to explore my verdant home turf and environs beyond.

Within this magical sphere was where fun cycled with the four seasons… building wintertime’s snowmen, flying springtime’s kites, igniting summertime’s July 4th sparklers… taking the plunge into autumn’s piles of raked leaves.

My yard had been my happy hunting ground for Four Leaf Clovers… where plucked Dandelions and Queen Anne’s Lace became presentable bouquets… where healthy, natural snacks got picked right off of bountiful cherry trees and prolific wild raspberry canes. This was where Robins, Blue Jays, Lady Bugs, Dragonflies, Monarch and Yellow Swallowtail butterflies all shared the same airspace.

In the waning days of this past June, a touch of homesickness had set in… fueled, in part, by how 1961’s and 2017’s days/dates line up perfectly.

On that yesteryear’s Tuesday, June 27th, it had been my family’s Moving Day… the pivotal moment when I had waved good-bye to the epicenter of my young universe to close out a truly glorious chapter of my carefree, once upon a time, storybook life.

On this year’s Tuesday, June 27th, I certainly would’ve welcomed some Sci-Fi type time travel BUT since that’s, purportedly, an impossibility, about the best I could possibly hope for was to play out the past in the theater of my mind… while paying a visit to the present-day version of my childhood stomping grounds.

Knowing that no drive-by could ever suffice, I opted to travel the road home on foot. No sooner did my childhood hood appear in the distance than the rhythmic, muffled sounds of my athletic shoes hitting the concrete began fading out… and my distant memories came flooding in.

Suddenly, I was back in my crib… feeling an open windows’ refreshing breeze… smelling the rainwater and ozone’s fragrance… seeing the lightning flashed walls… hearing a downpour on the rooftop and the sporadic rumbles of thunder mixing in with my Dad’s steady snoring. Perhaps this is a universal experience? It’s sounds just like the celebrated in story and song nursery rhyme, “It’s raining, it’s pouring the old man is snoring.”

I next recalled the countless daybreaks where I’d gleefully scamper down the stairs to switch on our Zenith™ B&W TV (first image in link is the identical model)… to zone out on op-art-esque test patterns and high pitched tones while patiently waiting for the stations to wake up and roll out their weekday children’s programs.

Amongst the affable, laughable personalities setting up shop on these kiddie corners were Johnny Ginger (who presided over the onslaught of Three Stooges shorts) and Soupy Sales (renowned for his pie in the face slapstick, choreographed “Soupy Shuffle” and interactions with puppet pet doggies White Fang and Black Tooth). To chill out, kids could always depend on the far more cerebral, dignified Captain Kangaroo (a.k.a. Bob Keeshan). Courtesy of the Walt Disney and Hanna-Barbera animation studios, Saturday morns featured a constant stream of cartoons.

Primetime fare included Ed Sullivan, Lassie, Dennis the Menace and (mythical Mayfield’s) Leave It To Beaver.

TV Afternoons were where the “faster than a speeding bullet… more powerful than a locomotive… able to leap tall buildings in a single bound” Superman flew through the airwaves… where the wisecracking Johnny Carson presided over the quiz show, Who Do You Trust… where music maven Dick Clark emceed the rock ‘n’ roll teen dance show, American Bandstand.

Taking my cue from Mr. Clark, this is where I brought my make-believe, bedroom “radio station” to life… where courtesy of my Zenith™ record player, I began spinning vinyl to blast out an eclectic mix of orchestral waltzes, jazz, rock, pop, ballads and Christmas tunes1.

My musical selections crossfaded, effortlessly, to memories of Christmases past… how, courtesy of Santa Claus’ delivery of Golden Books™, flashcards, View Masters™, teddy bears, toy blocks and train sets, Christmas mornings had lasted all day. Further sweetening our holidays were my stay-at-home Mom’s made from scratch, still warm from the oven, mouthwatering baked goods… e.g., gingerbread men, German Spritzgebäck (spritz) cookies, Slovenian apple potica and sugar / cinnamon doughnuts.

Although childhood illnesses and my tonsillectomy’s post op recovery could hardly be called a fond memory, Mom cheering me up was. She loved to tell me her highly imaginative, original, extemporaneous bedside stories as well as read other authors’ published works aloud (e.g., Margery Williams’ The Velveteen Rabbit).

And once nursed back to good health, I was back in action. Like on the day the training wheels first came off my 20” bike. As my skill and confidence grew, I’d find myself furiously pedaling up a rather long, steeply sloped sidewalk and then, on my journey’s downward leg, I’d experienced feelings of liberation and exhilaration while coasting back home at breakneck speed… waiting for the very last possible moment before slamming on the brakes.

Here was where, one wintery dusk, in a childish huff, I had “run away” from home over some trifling matter… but never did make it past the lower driveway. And once the falling snow had cooled me off, my mom convinced me to return to her warm, welcome home embrace.

Here was where the setting summer sun cast my long shadow before me… granting me the illusion that I was as tall as a grown-up… where I first observed and grew to appreciate nighttime’s four lunar phases and timeless starlit skies.

And, on a more serious note, here is where I had first heard the figurative school bell ring… where, after Mom had first taken several snapshots of me, we took a pre noontime stroll from our home to my nearby kindergarten classroom.

But my fondest memory of all was how our home had acted as a playmate magnet. With frequent visits from Johnny, Bonnie, Jimmy, Davy, Kathy and my best friend Danny, my sister and I had plenty of company.

While our playground included swings hanging from elm tree limbs, a slide, sandbox, kiddie car, trikes and bikes… such playthings were sometimes unnecessary… e.g. the day we wound up gleefully laughing our asses off while taking turns rolling down a hillside inside an oversized cardboard box. All anyone needed to let the good times roll was allowing our sky is the limit, fertile imaginations to run wild.

But, alas, eventually, all good things did come to an end. As the days began winding down within this special locale, there was sufficient time for one last blast… I hosted a party… my invited guests helping me celebrate my seventh birthday. There had been plenty of fun, games and pigging out on our banquet of hotdogs, potato chips, Faygo™ rock and rye soda pop, birthday cake and ice cream.

No kid would ever need TV land’s idyllic “Mayfield”… not when each of us could so easily replicate transcend it.

But, alas, eventually, Tuesday afternoon’s time tripping, too, began winding down. But not before I recalled the very last time I’d ever see the inside of our old home. Dad and I had returned just to ensure the hired movers hadn’t forgotten anything. It was well past nightfall and my usual bedtime… but since school was out for the summer, it hadn’t really mattered.

Dad unlocked the back door and, for the next five minutes, we proceeded from one empty echo chambered room to another. How surreal it had felt when we switched off all the lights for the last time and stepped back out into the cool night air. With the sounds of two slamming car doors and an engine roaring back to life, Dad shifted his 1953 Ford Mainline into first gear and down the graveled driveway we rolled.

It was about this time when the rhythmic, muffled sounds of my athletic shoes hitting the concrete “returned” me to 2017… well ALMOST…

I sensed two distinct, June twenty-sevenths, separated by two score and sixteen years… my past as the passenger… my present as the pedestrian were now converging. Both my younger self and I were wending our way up the very same street and were about to leave the old neighborhood.

Mom had so matter-of-factly summed up our moving day in her 1961 journal…

“The move took from 7:15 – 10:30 p.m. 3 hrs. 15 minutes. $30.00. The kids are delighted. Everyone is relieved.”

While I’d agree that, initially, I had been delighted, this giddy state of mind had prevented me from fully appreciating the whole truth. Although there was no way to actually have seen it during Dad’s and my final inspection tour… I really had left something truly irreplaceable behind…

The very best years of my entire life.

 

1Tom’s Top Ten Hit Parade

  1. Johann Strauss ~ Blue Danube Waltz
  2. Billie Anthony ~ This Ole House
  3. Elvis Presley ~ All Shook Up
  4. Bill Haley and His Comets ~ Shake, Rattle and Roll
  5. The Platters ~ Twilight Time
  6. Jimmy Rodgers ~ Secretly
  7. Sheb Wooley ~ Purple People Eater
  8. David Seville ~ Witch Doctor
  9. The Chipmunks ~ The Chipmunk Song
  10. Jesse Crawford ~ Jingle Bells

Bad Clickable Poetry To Get Ur Good Weekend Clickin’

 

Whether planning to roam or just chillin’ at home,

If it’s good times you seek at the end of this week,

To make it all happen first get your toes tappin’

Let a rock legend, supreme, help you run down your dream,

It’s for sure you’ll feel cheer so be sure to click HERE!

 

Wishing all of you a great weekend!

July Musical BlogCast ~ Pleas For Freedom

Welcome to my July BlogCast. In a land called America (soon to celebrate its 241st birthday) there is supposed to be liberty and justice for all.

How shocking it is that such age and wisdom do not walk hand in hand. How appalling that still unresolved ethnic, religious and gender issues sow the seeds of deadly oppression and hate crimes.

Where all people are not allowed to be free there can be no true, free society.

Each of this month’s recording artists have so powerfully presented their appeals for freedom that there’s absolutely no need for any further DJ type set up.

Let’s let the music speak for itself…

 

Beyoncé ~ Freedom

Ardee ~ #BlackLivesMatter (Freedom)

Pharrell Williams ~ Freedom

Thank you for clicking by for a listen. If you like what you’ve heard today, be sure to stop back again on Tuesday, August 1, 2017 for my next regularly scheduled monthly BlogCast.

To access past programs, click unto my BlogCasts and Music categories.

 

June Solstice Musical BlogCast

 

On this June ‘17 Solstice day, I’ve been mindful of how this BlogCast will likely be playing out to a worldwide audience… on a planet where two distinctly divergent seasons are also playing out.

As a nod to Ma Nature’s orderliness, I’ll be playing two Beach Boys selections. I’m dedicating Summer In Paradise to all who dwell in the northern hemisphere and, naturally, California Dreamin’ (on such a winter’s day) to all, who reside in the southern hemisphere. Sounds fair enough, right?

Before we get to the actual playback of this music, there are several noteworthy, song fun facts I’d like to toss in.

Firstly, the subject matter of Summer In Paradise does juxtapose fun in the sun surfing along with some sobering imagery related to how humankind is polluting our environment. We should take our cue from the Beach Boys to always honor our “Mother” by keeping her world clean and green. As the linked vintage TV commercial’s catchphrase warns…

“It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!”

Lastly, re California Dreamin’, this is the Beach Boys’ superb, 1986 cover of the Mamas and the Papas’ instantly recognizable, 1966 mega hit. The Beach Boys’ already phenomenal sound gets masterfully enhanced by former Byrd, Roger McGuinn’s jangly, signature, electric 12-string guitar… and if their combined musical talents don’t provide an emotional boost to all below the equator dwellers now experiencing winter… i.e. if you don’t feel inspired to go tripping off to warm, sunny California (well… at least in your minds)… if this song doesn’t put you in a summery state of mind… I don’t know what will.

Well, we’re now at the point in my blog, where I usually say, “It’s time to let the music speak for itself… Enjoy!”

 

Beach Boys ~ Summer In Paradise

Beach Boys ~ California Dreamin’

 

If you like what you heard on this day, don’t forget to click back on Saturday, July 1, 2017 for my regularly scheduled top of the month BlogCast.

 

Our Cues Are Found Where and When Least Expected

 

Writer’s / Blogger’s Block… UGH! Most of us, inclusive of yours truly, have experienced this frustration. And while WordPress does offer up Daily Prompts to help cure this problem, I’ve found that such cues can and do exist in many other settings… oft where and when least expected.

Key here is staying attuned to our surroundings… keeping all of our sensory pathways unblocked. For example…

A major heat wave (a week in advance of the summer solstice) has rendered many of us Michiganders sweltering.

Being ever mindful of methods to downsize my carbon footprint and tame my monthly electricity bills, to boot, I haven’t been running my “eons old”, energy pig AC unit. Instead, I’ve been throwing open my windows to allow the (so far) significantly lower, overnight temperatures to cool off my home.

It was those very, open windows, which prompted me to open my mind… thusly…

I awoke at daybreak to the chorus of hundreds of chirping, tweeting birds. While preparing breakfast, I watched a flock of robins hopping all over my backyard ISO their own morning meal, which prompted me to free-associate Bobby Day’s 1958 hit song, Rockin’ Robin. The robin being Michigan’s state bird, this prompted me to think about state government and then the federal government… prompting me to think about Pennsylvania Avenue’s resident, Tweeting birdbrain.

In short, that’s the lenghty creative process… the backstory to my Tweet-sized post from earlier this day… as reblogged below…

 

Tweet! Tweet!! Tweet Tweet!!!

It’d not be going out on a limb to say…

Far more pleasant and smarter sounding tweets emanate from densely leaved shade trees than from out of the dense, shady White House.

 

So, let’s recap…

A good way to overcome and avoid writer’s block is to keep all five of our sensory paths unblocked.

It works for me… hopefully you’ll be able to echo a similar sentiment.

 

 

Tweet! Tweet!! Tweet Tweet!!!

It’d not be going out on a limb to say…

Far more pleasant and smarter sounding tweets emanate from densely leaved shade trees than from out of the dense White House.

 

Original 1958 Recording

 

ADDENDUM 06/17/2017 09:09 a.m.

To add one more word to the above…

Far more pleasant and smarter sounding tweets emanate from densely leaved shade trees than from out of the dense, shady White House.