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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33 No. 4. 7 April 1970

Transatlantic Trauma 1970

Transatlantic Trauma 1970

"The nature of pop is temporary, fleeting, and arising out of sentiment to excite the senses. And senses are bound up with passion; and passion must accept suffering."

Shyamsundar of the Radha Krishna Temple gave out with this profound utterance a couple of months back. The operative word, is 'temporary'—change, in other words. Why? Simply because people, especially young people, like change. But communication is necessary—it's essential to reach out to people. If it's a hang up being homo sapiens then it's more of a hang up being an introspective individual. So it's all down to what pop music docs—it reaches to young people and communicates to the individual. Giorgio Gomelsky, boss of Marmalade Records, has this to say; "Music is the most uncensorable of all the arts. You can't censor Dylan, Floyd. Zappa—anyone. This is why it's the most important means of communication today. More so than TV or newspapers."

David Bowie, a gifted English songwriter/singer adds: "Communication has taken away so much from our lives that now it's almost totally involved in machines rather than ordinary human beings."

All in all, the point is not whether you regard rock'n'roll as good or bad, musically, but whether or not you regard it at all. It's necessary; not as a sort of musical soup kitchen, where cheap music is dispensed to all and sundry, but as an expression by young people of what they groove to, and how they feel about love and life. When you're young that's all there is—when you're older you mightn't give a damn about either, so it's better to hold on tight while you've got the chance.

Rock is not only necessary—it's not only right that young people for the first time should have their own music. There's plenty of crap, plenty of pretentious progressivism, and what's bad in pop is usually pretty dire. But what's good—and there's plenty of it today is excellent. Young people (I hate the phrase too) are making their own kind of music, even if nobody else sings along. And why bother? Lee Jackson of England's Nice puts it:

"Ars Longa Vita Brevis
Life is too short to paint a kiss
So sing a picture, paint a song
Take it home and bang your gong
Life is an ill cast comedy for foots.

Ars Longa Vita Brevis
A caption to a life of bliss.
A rose too beautiful to see
Jumped off the bush to speak to me
Of life that's an ill cast comedy for fools."

The Nice are part of it—Keith Emerson, Lee Jackson and Brian Davison produce some of the most mind-blowing music around today. Listen to their version of Dylan's She Belongs to Me—if it doesn't move you, you're made of stone.

Okay, so you're made of stone. I mean, what's it all got to offer? To outsiders, rock'n'roll is offensive, distorted, valueless—invariably too loud. Rock'n'roll has been defended a thousand times—it's all been said before, of course. But nobody listens, so keep on pushing—take a listen to Chad Stuart and Jeremy Clyde's brilliant Progress Suite—scored, arranged, written and sung by the two of them. There's softness in the poetry of Bob Lind, Leonard Cohen, Dylan and Donovan. Try to imagine this extract from Tandyn Aimer's Along Comes Mary being sung twenty years ago:

"And when the morning of the warning's
passed, The gassed and flaccid kids
Are flung across the stars.
The psych[unclear: ad]ramas and the traumas gone
The songs are left unsung
And hung upon the scars.

And then along comes Mary
And does she want to see the stains,
The dead remains of all the pains
She left the night before?
Or will their waking eyes reflect the lies
And make them realise
Their urgent cry for sight no more?"

Photo of band performing

Photo of Mick Jagger