Saturday, 12 June 2010

Bruce Springsteen: Cheers on his daughter

In Calgary this week cheering on their daugther are Bruce Springsteen and his wife Patti Scialfa . Says Springsteen, "My daughter's about to ride, I'm just here as a parent".

Jessica Springsteen, 18, is competing at the Spruce Meadows National Tournament.
To compete this year she's not the only famous child.
The daughter of the mayor of New York City is also riding. Georgina Bloomberg has returned for another summer of competition at the show jumping facility.
Springsteen and Scialfa have been trying to keep a low profile during their stay in Calgary although the two were spotted dining at Rouge restaurant in celebration of their 19th wedding anniversary.

Monday, 7 June 2010

The Progressive Political Vision of Bruce Springsteen

Reading this book instantly put me in mind of a college tutor who often tried to enthuse me about the music of The Boss. Caught up in anarcho-punk as I was, it wasn't an attractive proposition.
Working On A Dream however made me wish that I'd been a little less arrogant and at least given his polemics the time of day.
Make no mistake about it, Masciotra is a complete Bruce Springsteen devotee, but even if you are not a fan there is still much of interest in this finely detailed and intensely written volume.
Generally adopting a thematic rather than a strictly chronological or biographical approach, Masciotra anchors his politics firmly to the left and finds the love, anger, despair and hope so often present in Springsteen's work an invaluable guide to both understanding and changing the lot of those presently either despised or rendered invisible in the heart of the American dream.
Hundreds of songs are mentioned, and it's refreshing that the author isn't afraid of bringing a passion for politics and sociology to his work.
Masciotra has a gushing enthusiasm for his subject that is generally well placed and infectious but it can also become wordy, overbearing and a little too uncritical.
Springsteen has never claimed to have all the answers, loves music like any good rocker should and has a surprisingly sophisticated understanding of what impact he can make through his tunes.
Growing up in a white working-class area, he wanted to become a musician more than anything else, the lack of interest and sometimes complete hostility of his depressed and tyrannical father being more than matched by the support he received from a doting mother.
Despite being a long standing supporter of social welfare causes, Springsteen had a tendency in the early years to shy aware from an overtly political stance, particularly on stage.
However, a growing confidence in musical ability and a willingness to write about every aspect of rapidly changing US society made his work increasingly political. Springsteen eventually came around to giving support to Kerry's candidature and, more recently, to the newly elected President Obama.
Whether this was wise only time will tell, but one thing that does emerge from this text is his ability to write from the position of the underdog, whoever and wherever he or she might be.
The anthemic Born In The USA, for example, far from being some xenophobic battle cry is in fact the true story of a disillusioned Vietnam vet who on returning home recognises that his war is by no means over.
Streets Of Philadelphia was used in one of the most moving films ever made about the plight of those living with Aids, while American Skin 41 Shots saw Springsteen being labelled anti-cop when he had the temerity to speak out against the NYPD after they had brutally shot dead a totally innocent young black man.
References to the Steinbeck character Tom Joad and an ongoing interest in the work of fellow musician Pete Seeger have also helped place Springsteen at the centre of US progressive culture.
Unlike the all too clever, intentionally shallow and gossip-obsessed rubbish that we generally get, this is musical journalism definitely worth reading.