Monday, May 30, 2011

Yoko Ono and The Beginning of Wisdom

Open this in a separate window and play it while you read: John Lennon

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

You've probably heard that. You may have even heard it's by John Lennon. But do you know what song? Do you know the line that comes right before it?

It is from John's "Beautiful Boy", a song about his then five year old son. It's from John's final album, Double Fantasy. The line always seemed out of context to me. It is, alone, such a great line that I always assumed he shoehorned it in at the end of one of his latest songs at random because, you know, it's such a great line and it had to make the album even if he didn't have a complete song worthy of it. Turns out I was wrong.

Last year the Double Fantasy album was released in a "stripped down" mix supervised by Yoko Ono and original DF producer Jack Douglas. I finally got to the top of the queue for it at Hennepin County Library. It is really, really good. Way better. Way clearer. I always liked DF but the kinda '80s production was a barrier to totally loving the thing and really hearing the souls behind it.

So what is the little known line that sets up this better known line so beautifully?

"Before you cross the street take my hand."

When I listened to it in this new mix suddenly the connection was obvious. "Other plans" = crossing the street, going where you need to go. "Life" = holding hands. What you're going to do across the street - going to some office or something - matters not in the long run. Holding hands? Especially with your child? That's what it's all about. It's not about what you do. It's about how you do it and how you treat the people you're doing it with. This is a lesson I have to remind myself of over and over. I think it's part of what some people call wisdom.

I am now right about at the age John was when he wrote these two lines that so clearly belong together. Maybe I just had to get to where I am now to understand the song.

So check out the stripped down version of Double Fantasy. And pray with me that Yoko Ono somehow gets jurisdiction over Empire Burlesque!

Friday, May 27, 2011

From Memphis With Love

You know, I'm seeing some ads for "From Paris With Love" on DVD or Blue-Ray or something and I just want to tell everyone I can - don't see that movie. The woman turns out to be a terrorist and Jonathan Rhys Meyers shoots her while she's wearing a suicide vest. There, now I've ruined it for you.

That misogynist climax is the least of this movie's problems. Don't see it. If I can stop even one person from wasting their time with that movie then I've done something good today.

Yes, I like John Travolta and Johnathan Rhys Meyers. Yes, I like action movies, buddy movies, and spy movies. Still, that movie sucked. It wasted the movie portion of a date night. It was horrible without being so horrible it's good. Don't see it. Sincerely. You're welcome.