Bruce Springsteen has been stalking me this week. Yes, he has. Ever since last Thursday’s Venus Carmichael/Norman Lamont gig, when the possibility of my organising a tribute night to the Boss along the lines of Dylan Uncovered, Cry of the Cave People etc came up again, in conversation with Messrs Mackay and Allan of Isaac Brutal fame, and Ralph MacGillivray, doyenne of Edinburgh musical radio.
I can only conclude Springsteen’s operatives must have been in attendance somewhere amongst the vast audience, because since then I’ve been bombarded by Bruce – love-bombed, even, from a lengthy spread about his ‘new’ album in Uncut (of which more later) to not one, but two programmes about him on BBC4.
His contacts even managed to get a play of his version of ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ at the very moment I was getting changed after a swim at the Michael Woods Sports and Leisure Centre, Glenrothes, the only point at which I would have heard it on Forth FM: a piece of psychological manipulation only slightly spoiled by the pool’s advertising cutting in before the rousing final chorus to tell me about the benefits of getting a personal trainer, no matter what age I might be and physical ability I might have.
Couple that with the strange Facebook messages I’ve been getting from someone calling himself ‘Miami Steve’ offering guitar tuition if I’ll only put the gig on…
I’m kidding, of course. Only a complete mentalist would imagine an global rock superstar had a network of agents using fair means and foul to ensure a tribute night in his honour was put on somewhere in Edinburgh at some point next year. That’s crazy talk. The reason for the sudden upsurge in Boss-related media interest is, almost certainly, more to do with the recent release of The Ties That Bind: The River Collection, a 4-CD, 3-DVD package of Bruce’s 1980 masterpiece The River, with all the bits he left out at the time, down to the last cough into the microphone, I shouldn’t wonder.
Now, as I previously said in relation to a similar bumper Bob Dylan reissue recently, I’m not a particular fan of these endeavours, which have, to me, the feel of recycling instead of renewing. However, it did take me back to 1980, and my first year at University, when Bruce was, well, if not God, exactly, certainly placed pretty high up in the Pantheon, particularly as certain other New York singer-songwriters were off bothering gods of their own at the time. I don’t think I can ever quite forgive my Uni chums Scott Barrie and Andrew Dalgliesh going off and queueing for tickets for the Playhouse gig on the tour that promoted ‘The River,’ without telling me. It was the Best Gig Ever, apparently.
I can’t really hold that grudge against Springsteen himself, of course, and it’s good to see his stock rising again after it was tarnished for us true musos by the Born in the USA years of commercial megastardom. All the same, Bruce, if your Black Ops Division really are out there, tell them to call it off. I really don’t think I’ll have the time to organise something next year, what with continuing contributions to Isaac Brutal, a Venus Carmichael album (I hope), and a solo project of my own (of which more soon) to juggle, not to mention a little something at the Free Fringe I’m cooking up. And a novel to promote at some point.
Of course, IF SOMEONE ELSE WANTS TO ORGANISE IT, I’d be happy to turn up and play. Just saying.
But it’s Christmas, so let’s not be churlish. Instead, here’s Bruce in all his festive glory, with no interruptions to update you on the full range of leisure services available at the Michael Woods Centre and elsewhere throughout Fife.
In the most irreligious way possible, the compliments of the season to you and yours, and speak to you again after the whole turkey shoot is over.
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