Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Reality versus Perfection

Hands up who else thinks the world is a little nuts sometimes.  Those of you waving from the back, don't worry I can see you.  Yep, there seems to be things that regularly make me scratch my head.  I do wonder what kind of world we are turning into.

A couple of weeks ago a friend on facebook commented that her son had woken up on the day of his kindergarten photo with a big scratch on his nose.  I commented that he had years ahead of him filled with awkward and awful school photos, and that she should celebrate his boyishness.  I'm sure he was gorgeous in his photo.  Other people responded saying you can tick a box on the form and it can be photoshopped out.  This blew my mind.

I have to say I find it a little sad that people want to photoshop their memories.  My kinder photo is a trainwreck.  In my individual shot I have a spot in the middle of my forehead and chin.  A mosquito bite perhaps or maybe I walked into something and cut my head.  Who knows?  I was a kid. The group photo is a classic.  I'm sat down with my knees apart and the only word that springs to mind is 'gusset'.  Insert *facepalm* here.  Thank goodness I was wearing thick tights.  I have a long history of crap school photos.  Primary school: awkward growth patterns, pre-braces buck teeth, hair cuts probably done by my Mum and puppy fat.  High school: socially awkward, braces, bad make up, pimples, disastrous perms (hey, it was the 80s ok) until it began to change around year 12. In year 12 I can see the beginnings of the person I am now.

As I grow older I can look back and see different things in these embarrassing photos.  And yes, I'm also quite glad that there is more distance between me and the hair atrocities of those few teenage years.  But those photos represent who I was at the time. The idea of life is to grow and evolve and change.  I can look back and see the road that has lead me to today.  I can look back and smile, because everyone is the same.

Another friend shared an article from the Herald-Scum...oops, I mean Sun, newspaper.  It talked about how more schools were opting for casual photos rather than the formal sitting/standing in rows.  When I see the example they discuss, I wonder where the chubby awkward kids are.  Where are the kids who are different?  It looked like a press photo for Young Talent Time.  There were no bookish dorks, just athletes and performers.  I have to say, that's not what we looked like in primary school.  Where is the crap haircuts, ill fitting clothes and wonky teeth?  Maybe things are different now?  Maybe the push to be beautiful and perfect begins in primary school.

I find it quite sad, as those kinds of issues have plagued women in particular for years.  Our value should be more than skin deep.  We should be teaching kids to be thoughtful, inclusive and kind rather than sparkly and perfect.  Life is hard enough without that kind of pressure before you've even hit puberty.  Beauty should be found in the type of person your child is growing up to be, not in how photogenic they are.

And here I sit, just a week away from turning 42, with a cold sore on my lip.  Perhaps I was just born to be imperfect.  I guess that's reality...and there's no photoshopping my mirror!  And maybe a lifetime of bad photos has taught me to be ok with that.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thank you for the music

On saturday I woke to the sad news of Adam Yauch's death.  Many fans of the Beastie Boys would have known that he'd had cancer, but I hadn't heard any updates on his health for quite some time.  As a new album came out last year, I guess I'd hoped he was doing ok.  Saturday's news arrived with a shock and I had a weird numb sense for most of the day.  I had a long drive planned and listened to the Hot Sauce Committee album on my journey.  Certain songs gave me goosebumps, which tells you what a cracking album it is.

I can't call myself a crazy fan of the Beastie Boys, but I had loved them and their music.  A number of their tunes graced my mix tape for my 30th Birthday party, and Peter gave me their last album for my 41st birthday.  This explains what a constant they were.  The world was a better place for having their good humoured, fun and thoughtful tunes to shake your rump to.  They bought rap to the masses and had more to say than talking about being a gangsta with bitches.  Check out their song 'Too many rappers', highlighting the point that there is too much talking and nobody saying anything.  Sadly.

The musician's death that really floored me was Kurt Cobain.  Not surprising to those who know me and my 90's music leanings.  I remember driving when the news came over the radio.  I can even picture the section of the road I was on when I heard.  He had recently overdosed on pills, so I assumed he'd died from heroin.  Later that day more news came through about a shotgun.  Horrific.  Such a goddam waste.  Nirvana were the biggest band at the time, and it just goes to show that fame and money can't buy you happiness or ensure that those who love you can save you.

I have mentioned many times in this blog how important music is in my life.  Times and places all have soundtracks.  I remember seeing news of John Lennon's death on the telly when I was 10.  I didn't know who he was, and thought the pictures of the hairy beardy John with Yoko in their Bed Peace phase was just, well...kooky.  The Beatles found me when I was about 16.  My first boyfriend owned the vinyl box set of their albums and they just blew my mind.  I read the 2 volume work by Ray Coleman - John Winston Lennon and John Ono Lennon sometime in my late teens.  That was the time I cried for the loss of John.  A complex and flawed man, but also a gifted musician and amazing peace activist.

The reality is that although I loved all the Beatles, the quiet one was my favourite.  George was unassuming and cheeky, how could you not adore him?  And although he only ever cracked a couple of songs per album, they were always killer.  I read I, Me, Mine sometime in early 20s, and collected his solo albums.  We have so much to thank him for, as he backed the Monty Python guys in making Life of Brian.  When I heard news of his stabbing in 1999 I was horrified.  How could anyone attack this quiet and lovely man?  Luckily he survived, but lung cancer got him in 2001.  It just seemed such a tragedy to loose another Beatle...and I cried for him too.

I have only known these (and many other) musicians through their words and tunes.  They have all been part of my life and help shape who I am.  They will never know how much their music has meant to me and what a gift their talent was.  Adam's death is a great loss, but his music will always be part of me.  R.I.P. MCA.

I want to thank them all for their influence on me, and the joy that is their music.