Simple Minds, by Pedro Cem

They were always the same. They didn't take longer than a second of a second in a small Universe, among Universes. They were just a dream of a minute. They did it all, all from California, first the snappy and clumsy gestures from the sixties, then the unbalanced walking on the high-heeled shoes from the seventies and the worried beards of the eighties, then again the disparaged looks of people payed to decay in slow motion. Dennis Wilson, the drummer of the Beach Poys, over successive desintoxications of booze and chemicals, said good-bye in Atlantic City, with his beautiful performance of "You are so beautiful (to me)", when nobody loved him any more. He took a bow, livid as death, and drowned a few days later in the Ocean. He used to say: what I'm really addicted to, is to see people in front of me, being happy, having a good moment. This meant nothing, neither in Politics, nor in Philosophy, but it meant something for this human being. Brian Wilson, the Poet who created " I heard a word/ wonderful thing/a children song", stood four years in a room, managing to avoid the world, until the others thought it was too subversive to wake up one morning and decide never to walk out again from bed.
But they left something. They were even polite to jazzers, saying in a sweet rock'n'roll song that they just missed the melody in modern Jazz. They resisted Vietnam with their frail lives, they missed the opportunity of Woodstock, they performed for Ronald Reagan in a humble way, just grateful for being received on the 4'th of July of 1986, with their beards and their different statures of american pilgrims, eroded by the wind which often whistles frozen cold through the walls of US hearts. They were genuinely happy for being invited after many difficulties and hesitations, due to their "leftist inclinations", as a kind of charity guests for the 200 hundred years of America. They didn't boast, they didn't choose the correct songs either and they shook hands with an eternal-youth Reagan, as southern soldiers surrendering to the North, still enormously strong in their humility and courage.
In the Beach Boys there is this innocence and purity of the pilgrims of the Earth. They got forever hypnotized by the sun in the waves which unfold as a fabulous animal, they could never close their eyes again in a never-ending daydream, they couldn't be violent, nor clever, nor strong. Simple peasants in front of the big, big ocean. Simple minds forever...doesn't this sound wonderful? And they were clever enough just not to wake up again, ever. The rest was just struggle to keep in front of the Sea, till the sweet primeval Wave took them home.
What I like in this kind of american pilgrims is they never, never managed to lose their humility...


Anonymous said...

I was a young man during the eigthies, doing it all, late LSD, ayahuasca, ecstasy, freelove, leftwing politics, ecological life, fresh cheese, trips to Birmania and tomato sandwiches, all Bob Dylan's records on my room, and a beard. It was not a sad beard, my girl friend painted it with henna, parfumed it with cinammon an sesame oil. So my eighty beard was all you want but never a worried beard.

Anyway thanx for making me remember these times,

John Peterson

Anonymous said...

Gee John: I think you would never figure it but this post is written by a Portuguese diplomat, someone called him "the most Pirandelloian of our Portuguese Diplomats". Take a look in our sober 2000's about Portuguese navigators since the XVth century. It may help you why a Portuguese - of all people - should share some of your deep memories about Beach Boys and California. Come back always!