Friday, August 9, 2013

50 years ago I bought you some cufflinks...

It was nineteen ninety something and I was probably fifteen or sixteen. My family went to Byron Bay, in the car. It was hot and we ate sugar cane bought from the side of the road. We alternated between Triple J and 774. Our parents played their tapes: The Travelling Wilburys, Cat Stevens ... and Joan Baez's Diamonds and Rust album. It's the soundtrack to that holiday; I played it on repeat - kids, what I mean is I just kept turning the cassette around over and over again.

I fell for her voice (though sometimes giggle at its rawther dramatic vibrato) and her look, her activism, her passion ... and her proximity to his bobness ... And now I'm seeing her live in concert! This Friday - tonight, now! More a singer than a really beautiful lyricist, but I do still absolutely adore this song in particular:

Diamonds and Rust

Well I'll be damned
Here comes your ghost again
But that's not unusual
It's just that the moon is full
And you happened to call

And here I sit, hand on the telephone
Hearing a voice I'd known
A couple of light years ago
Heading straight for a fall

As I remember your eyes
Were bluer than robin's eggs
"My poetry was lousy", you said
Where are you calling from?
A booth in the Midwest

Ten years ago
I bought you some cuff links
You brought me something
And we both know what memories can bring
They bring diamonds and rust

You burst on the scene
Already a legend
The unwashed phenomenon
The original vagabond
You strayed into my arms

And there you stayed
Temporarily lost at sea
The Madonna was yours for free
Yes the girl on the half-shell
Would keep you unharmed

Now I see you standing
With brown leaves falling all around
And snow in your hair
Now you're smiling out the window
Of that crummy hotel over Washington Square

Our breath comes out white clouds
Mingles and hangs in the air
Speaking strictly for me
We both could have died then and there

Now you're telling me
You're not nostalgic
Then give me another word for it
You, who are so good with words
And at keeping things vague

'Cause I need some of that vagueness now
It's all come back too clearly
I once loved you dearly
And if you're offering me diamonds and rust
Well, I've already paid

O that unwashed phenomenon, so good with words & keeping things vague...


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