Jackson Browne: The Pretender

I’m going to rent myself a house
In the shade of the freeway
Gonna pack my lunch in the morning
And go to work each day

And when the evening rolls around
I’ll go on home and lay my body down
And when the morning light comes streaming in
I’ll get up and do it again, Amen
Say it again, Amen


It all looks so relaxed and comfortable.

He plays the strings one at a time, tenderly. It’s personal, almost part of him, part of who he is. His arm looks like it belongs, and his fingers move with ease, as if the guitar’s a lover. Someone he’s known, for years. And so many years.

It’s that feeling you have when someone does something you wish you could do. Is there a word for it? It’s not jealousy. It’s just that you’d like to do that too, and you can’t, and you know you never will.

I love my guitar. We’re old friends, and it’s sort of part of me. But it deserves better than me. It rests in a soft chair in the bedroom. Sometimes I pick it up and work at it. Sometimes I pretend I don’t sound too bad. But these days, it mostly gathers dust. We face off, me and my guitar. Every day.

I’d love it if someone came along to visit, and they said, ‘hey, what’s this, your guitar?’ And they’d pick it up. Tune the strings. They’d strum, test it out with some chords. And then they’d break out in a song, and I’d hear the clear tones and smooth timbre.

Sweet. My old guitar.

Strange Magic

photo credit pitchfork

Jeff Lynne. He’s a bit of a mystery, isn’t he? The bearded face and smooth voice of ELO. Strange Magic, etc. He wrote and produced and performed with the best of the best…Dylan, The Beatles, Tom Petty, Orbison. But does anyone know what Jeff Lynne looks like? Under the hair and glasses?

I would seriously like to do that hair. I would most seriously like to do that hair. And the glasses too.


Sometimes, when art or writing is off, it’s just off. It could be lack of skill, or it could need more work. It could mean, well it could mean, it’s just lousy. But it seems the ones who do art best, the ones who get what the rest of us don’t, they don’t do it in neat rectangles. Something’s a bit off.

Like that bit of dis-rhythm in Jagger’s moves. You know.

Like the violin, or the stream of thought, that goes there, instead of here.

We want sharps, we want flats. And we want jazz. We want that flash of the unexpected that makes some artists sound off key, and others sound like they are going to take you somewhere special. They are barely holding on and willing to share it with you, wherever it goes. That’s what we want. We want good art, not dumbed down shit, thrown together at the last minute. But if it fits too perfectly, in squares, and rectangles, it’s boring, and we want more. We want someone to give us everything they can find, lying there down at the bottom of the soul, and they’re willing to get past the rules, and the squares, and the rectangles.

We want the offbeat.


Same four walls.
Day after day.
Sunday’s on the phone to Monday.
They’ve got nothin to say.
Look around me. What’s to see?
Shoes and coffee cups.
Your stuff, my stuff.
Dust and debris.
Laptops, cords.
Closed doors.
And slammed doors.
Words I think up.
Words stuck.
On the tip of my tongue.
You and me.
It’s getting to be.
Hardly friendly.

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