Thursday, October 22, 2009

I can't tell you how happy this makes me

Ricky Gervais posted a new pic on his blog recently. It is a work of art. I'd like to share it with you now.

My bride didn't share my viewpoint on it's artistic merits ("It's too early in the morning for that"), but she didn't stick around to hear my justification. Lucky you.

Lately, Ricky has been posting a link to a song or video on YouTube at the end of every blog post. I've been following most of them and while the versions he has chosen seem to have a similar theme, one that struck me particularly was Bruce Springsteen's live performance of "Thunder Road" from 1975. It's Bruce before the SuperBowl halftime show, pre "Born In The USA", before he was "THE BOSS", and it was a great reminder of Bruce Springsteen the artist. Someone I haven't seen in a while. It's been Bruce Springsteen the brand for too long. In the live version Ricky linked to, it seemed that Springsteen's only concern was putting the song across as best as possible and not about the light show, or confetti cannons, or playing the role of BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN.

I recognize that in the case of Bruce Springsteen in particular, I may have the minority position (but I offer this contrasting performance from 2002 as my evidence). Regardless, it (and many of Ricky's other music links) got me to thinking about the great artists who begin to take themselves too seriously and become more focused on maintaining their legend. For example, I remember when U2 was a rock band that didn't use bar chords instead of an international brand affiliation to help mega-corporations sell their latest electronic gadget.

We have a few like that even in the little niche of a niche I currently work in - the Texas Music scene. I have been privately critical of Robert Earl Keen for a few years now, thinking he has been too busy playing the role of TEXAS LEGEND ROBERT EARL KEEN to bother with writing songs. In the last six years he has put out two different greatest hits records, two different live records and DVDs, and released two different books, both with titles of songs that appear on both greatest hits records. However, he just put out a record of all new songs (some good ones at that) for the first time in almost five years so I'm encouraged that he's back to writing again.

All of this naturally led to me wondering about Ricky and whether or not the day would come when he would make a television appearance and feel compelled to do his "greatest hits" (here's where I do the dance, here's where I talk about popping off into the sink, etc.). The picture was a good reminder that of all of the great artists working today, no one takes themselves less seriously than Ricky Gervais.

All of this in explanation of why I think the picture above makes for great art. I look forward to each new self-portrait with great anticipation. Thanks, Ricky.

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