Fame and thinking big
[Diana and i met at Burning Man in 2001. In the magic of the desert playa dust we feel hard for each other, but in the toxic air of Babylon we unraveled painfully. We reconnected briefly recently in an extra-dimensional cavernous restaurant called Gilgamesh in London. Diana's gifts are myriad, but recognition has been elusive, the following email is part of our discussion on fame.]
In the late 1980s, before my brothers first platinum album, i told him i went to a Peter Gabriel concert and loved the part where during the song “lay your hands on me” Gabriel fell backwards into the audience and they carried him gentle over the tops of the crowd while he sang the mesmerizing song thru a wireless mounted mike facing upwards.
My brother cleverly replied that while this was nice, it was continuing to prop up the star system and it would have been cooler if half a dozen people from the audience were being moved around this way while the song was playing. i realized he was right and closer to the problems of pop stardom than i was and clearly thinking about it harder.
In the early 90s after his band took off, i saw one of their shows at the Melkweg (the Milkway Club) in Am*dam. The venue held about 500 people and it was sold out and packed, the crowd was responsive and it was (from my limited perspective) probably the best show i had seen of his. Afterwards i dragged a few east european activists back stage and we went out to his hotel restaurant for a drink (which he graciously picked up the tab for).
I asked him about the show and he was clearly disappointed. ”I cant really get inspired to play for crowds which are less than 500.”
So yes, fame corrupts. Yet like heroin or cocaine, it beacons us to come closer and feel its wonderful power and risk that we might be better than those who have fallen prey to it before us.
When you asked what i was doing, i was disappointed with my answers. Not because there is more that i could have said, but because there is so much more that i want to do. i am in this luxurious place of being comfortable, well loved, minimally stressed and able to jump on projects which dont take me far from home most of the time.
I thought Villages in the Sky would be this beast, but probably my own ego and imprudent use of funds (and poor ally choices) killed it. Now with no cash i am back at the drawing board. Which is how it should be.
One of the things about mama Europe is that it always makes me think big, crowded with possibilities and surrounded by social experiments (like Casa Robino where we are now going) it is where i have done my most politically important work and perhaps my best thinking. i need her now as my muse.
Paxus in the Chunnel
13 Spirits 2KX
i often poke around in google images for graphics appropriate to the topics i am writing about. When going thru “fame corruption” i found the following fascinating graphical map of the worlds perceptions of corruption by different country. Sadly, i could not get much more data about it – it is from a PR firms conference.