Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Trollied Tuesday: Tom Waits

Am I allowed to choose someone who's given up drink for good for Trollied Tuesday? Since I set the rules, I would say very much so. especially when it's Tom Waits.

Drink is the life blood of his work besides, the spirit that moves through his tales of barflies, bawds, the broken and battered. The savour of alcohol is what gives his songs the compassion and soul that finds the beauty and the battered melodies in what others might dismiss as deadbeats and losers.

It's possible that one day there will be a song writer who will be able to create a comparable body of work out of the lives of hard-working, wealthy, successful people: their power lunches, their trips to the gym, their designer clothes and share portfolios.

But until such time, I'll stick with Tom Waits. Success seems rather banal and uniform in comparison with the barflies, drop outs and drifters who populate his songs. One should really have some fellow feeling with such types, after all, perhaps because life is essentially a series of disappointments and failures punctuated, at best, with the odd fleeting triumph.

To see the world through these songs, though, is to be forever watching the world with tired eyes through the bottom of a glass at 3am in a smokey bar.

It may be jaundiced, but it gives you quite a view. And really, it's nothing to be frightened of at all.

PS: Incidentally, you will notice the reference in the song to Bushmills. An especially fine choice for this sort of picaresque adventure. I have no doubt that you could act out this song in the town of Bushmills itself, should be so minded. The grandeur of the nearby coast and the Giants Causeway would undoubtedly add something the experience. As for this, we can only speculate what Tom Waits would make of it.



Blogger Glamourpuss said...

Love Tom Waits, love Bushmills, but am hoping you're wrong about life.


5:00 pm  
Blogger dominic said...

What with that and this - surely the campest statue in all Ulster, truly is Bushmills the Hoxton of NI, where all ones conventional understandings are turned on one's head.

At least if one has drunk enough of the fine stuff they make there.

8:37 pm  
Anonymous A C said...

Right or wrong about life, how many of these "characters" do you see around you? Go into a local pub at three PM for a burger, and you'll see a Tom Waits "character" sitting at the end of the bar, three empty beer glasses in front of him, the suds drying.

Tom Waits has a unique sensibility and captures "characters" from those he sees.

3:10 pm  

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