shine on crazy diamond

They say that these are not the best of times, but they’re the only times I’ve ever known.
And I believe there is a time for meditation, and cathedrals of our own.
Now I have seen that sad surrender in my lover’s eyes.
And I can only stand apart unsympathized.
But we are always what our situation hands us.
It’s either sadness or euphoria.

I don’t know why I wrote that down, but that snippet of the great Billy Joel song has been running through my head all day.

But it does lead to a point. Why is it that many artists get really wack as they get older – Billy Joel case in point. His early albums are beautiful. Storm Front, River of Dreams – not so much. He did recently quit pop, so maybe he realized how much Blonde Over Blue sucks when compared to Roberta or Summer Highland Falls. It happens a lot with musicians, it seems. Well, rock musicians anyway. And this is the first time that rock musicians are getting old, because rock is such a new art form. Interesting to watch. I hate it when I see bands like Squeeze limp on stage on some TV show and then just play their one or two hits. God bless the Stones for at least still putting out new albums, of whatever dubious quality they may be. It’s not only music, though. Playwrights like Arthur Miller and Edward Albee (well, until 3 Tall Women came along) never seem to ignite the same fire they once did. Movie directors, sure. Frankenheimer and Altman are still rocking, but many more flounder (Bogdonovich anyone?). Actors, sure.

I heard a report about how older screenwriters have such a hard time, how it’s such a young person’s game, but then some old TV writer who’s been around for decades and is still rocking said, "I hear these old guys bitching about how the job market for them has dried up, and if you look at their work, so has the quality."

Stand up comedians have a similar problem. Some of them are still just as funny as they ever were – just as sharp with the same great timing – but their schtick has simply gotten tired. Some of these guys, like Bob Newhart for example, don’t change with the times. Unfortunately for them, the comic rhythms and tastes of the nation does. I’m afraid Letterman is beginning to suffer that fate a wee bit. Cosby is a good example. But he, like Steve Allen (who was never that funny to begin with) has ruined any leg on which he might have had to stand by taking up this ridiculous mantle about the raunchy nature of comedy today, and how that is bad. Excuse me Cos, I saw you doing fart jokes in the god-awful Coppola (he’s another one) movie Jack, and to me that’s much more offensive than anything Dave Chapelle has ever said.

I would think that the more life one has lived, the more fuel one would have for the art. The more life experience. But perhaps a guy just gets tired. Or maybe being successful, not having that overwhelming need to succeed driving you anymore, makes the act of creation seem a lot harder than watching movies on your 100 inch TV. God bless those who continue to work, and work well. Ingmar Bergman, 80 years old and plagued by poor health his whole life, is still churning out movies and directing theatre. I won’t touch Stephen King, because I’m convinced that dude is a robot, or has a sweatshop of horror writers locked in his basement in Maine, churning out pages. But Elvis Costello, in my opinion, has gotten much better as he’s gotten older. His lyrics have always been layered and witty and wonderful, but he’s been really exploring different forms and crafting (thank god) melodies. Beautiful melodies. Even without the help of Burt Bacharach. And James Taylor. His last album was phenomenal. His voice has never sounded better. Debbie Harry. Fine. Good for her.

It is tantalizing to wonder what Janis, Jim, and Jimi would be doing vis a vis rock if they were still alive. Or John Belushi. Or James Dean. Or Andy Kaufman. Would they have turned out like Jack Lemmon, Willie Nelson, Sean Connery, Jessica Tandy, Dennis Hopper? Or would they be more like Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor?

Then should I worry that at 27 I’m already tired?

This is where I let Larry King take over my body for a few minutes.

Why do men feel the need to groan when they pee? I hate urinals cuz I really don’t like being that close to a man, groaning, with his dick out…speaking of stand-ups, why doesn't Eddie Murphy do it anymore? Delirious and Raw were some of the funniest shit. Stop sniffing feet and write some jokes girlfriend's cat is running at full speed back and forth through apartment. Is this normal...