Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Picture Postcard

I spent almost the entirety of my work day on Tuesday in offices other than my own.  My morning was spent in Cranford at the depositions of two plaintiffs in one case that I am defending and my afternoon was spent in Rahway conducting the deposition in another case that I am defending.  As you might suspect, if you have ever darkened this particular door before today, I am not a fellow whose absence from a particular locale is a cause for sadness for the rest of that locale's inhabitants. My workplace is no exception.  Happiness for many of my office mates is seeing my empty parking space.  I take no offense since often times happiness for me is seeing the office in my rear-view mirror. 

When I finally made my way back to Parsippany after the completion of my afternoon deposition, I traveled accompanied by Dennis Elsas on WFUV.  I was a mere pup when I first encountered Elsas as a DJ on WNEW 102.7 in New York City, which was at that time my favorite rock-and-roll radio station.  WFUV's signal is not always easy to pick up out in the bucolic environs of Morris County but on Tuesday afternoon I picked it up easily and it remained steady and strong throughout my trip.  

Among the songs that Dennis Elsas played while I was listening was a song that Ray Davies wrote and recorded several years ago on which his daughter, Natalie, persuaded her mother - Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders - to sing with her father.  In the 1980's, when Ray Davies was still fronting the Kinks, he and Hynde had a relationship that apparently produced a considerable amount of enmity as well as the aforementioned Natalie.  The enmity, much like Natalie, is alive and well today and - according to the information that Elsas shared with his audience - Hynde's vocal work on this particular song did not lead to any type of substantive reconciliation.  It turns out that the two were not even in the studio at the same time while the song was being recorded.  

Much to my own detriment, I have never become as familiar with Ray Davies' work as I should be.  He is a musician and a songwriter whose work - to the extent I know it - I not only enjoy but also admire a great deal.  My oldest brother Bill is a very learned fan of his work, which surprises me not in the least.  For the thing I have always enjoyed and admired most of all about Davies' songs is that he says what he believes needs to be said, irrespective of whether it is something that he is necessarily comfortable saying or whether it is something that the listener is necessarily comfortable hearing said.  The skill to engage someone in a necessary conversation, and not merely a safe or an easy conversation is not a skill that is universally possessed.  It is a skill that I wish I possessed in a quantity considerably greater than I do.   It is a skill that requires a considerable amount of courage, a trait of which I am apparently in short supply.  Davies possesses it.  Bill does also. 

Prior to hearing it on Tuesday afternoon, I had never before heard "Postcard From London".  Whether it shall prove to be an ear worm for you I know not but I thought it was quite an extraordinary song. Not because of its arrangement or its melody or even its use of a choral group to sing its refrain but, rather, because of the story it told and the bravely unapologetic and unsentimental manner in which it told it...  

...and its memory jog that we may get old but courage never does.    



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