Thursday, 21 June 2012

Bruce Springsteen

When the aliens –assuming (probably stupidly) they are friendly and evolved - are ready to make their presence known and perhaps even mingle among us (note the ‘when’, not ‘if’) I think they should be given the collected works of Bruce Springsteen to listen to. This will be the best way for them to get a hold on things here, I feel. An aural overview.
As it happens, there is no reason to wait until they are ready. We humans are ready right now.
Deliberate transmissions into space are taking place right now. A team has already beamed forth a series of interstellar messages, including pictorial and musical transmissions, from a radio telescope in Ukraine.
Also, commercial companies that are equal parts alarming and absurd are springing up, including the Cosmic Connexion. The Cosmic Connexion website invites you to email your messages to them and they will then beam them, free of charge, into space and “introduce you to extraterrestrials”.
Many scientists, frightened by the danger that might lurk out there, are stridently opposed to seeking contact with extraterrestrials. Fair play. We are the newest beings in a strange, ancient and uncertain cosmos. We would be foolish to assume anything, least of all that different galactic civilisations would interact at the same idiotic level as us.
But what the hell. We are humans and we are innately foolish. The instinct to blurt out the details of our existence is as old as civilization itself (see cave paintings, Plinys Elder and Younger, Twitter, this blog..), who cares if we’re jeopardising that very existence in the process?
Anyway, Bruce Springsteen songs could potentially ease all sorts of intergalactic tensions and unease. Maybe. Or maybe not. Whatever.

My Favourite Bruce Springsteen Song:
Downbound Train.
“I had a job I had a girl I had something going in this world / I got laid off down at the lumber yard our love went bad times got hard” It’s heartbreaking. It hot-tongs my calcified heart. It’s a terribly sad song of lost love and lonesomeness. All the best songs are. And Bruce Springsteen sings about shit luck and The Struggle like no one else.
Also, as if this song doesn’t have enough going for it already, it’s followed up by I’m on Fire, which starts with the most simultaneously sinister and sexy words ever ; “Hey little girl is your daddy home did he go and leave you all alone -  Mmm-hmmm I got a bad desire….”  And then – I know, I can scarcely contain myself –  “ sometimes it’s like someone took a knife baby edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley through the middle of my skull / At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet and a freight train runnin’ through the middle of my head”. Oh, my god. It burns. They burn, his songs. Bruce Springsteen’s songs burn me.

My favourite thing about Bruce Springsteen is Bruce Springsteen’s sense of place. Place is always front and centre in Bruce Springsteen’s songs. Especially origins. Bruce Springsteen is especially interested in origins.
Where you were born, where you come from, where you’re stuck, and where you dream of running to.  
They’re epic poems; Bruce Springsteen songs, populated by the lost and the longing and the downtrodden and their dreams of escape and salvation. 
And who among us – extraterrestrials included - doesn’t dream of escape and a little salvation?

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