pacific ocean blues

"If I could live my life again I'd never do you wrong" - Dennis croaking his guilt and pain in one of his final recordings 'All alone'

i've been spending the last couple of nights
working on a wee article about dennis wilson
the drumming beach boy who drowned in 1983
since acheiving cult status as a great composing talent
sort of like his big brother bri
i whipped up the article quick smart on sunday night
last night went to edit it
i didn't like it
i thought it was shit
journalistic and rushed and stroppy and covered
with too much brittle, saccharin phrasing
i've just performed another re-edit
still not too excited
not my best work
it'll be good enough for my friend's mag
though i'm pleased the distribution is relatively small!

the article coincides with the re-release of dennis's magnum opus
Pacific Ocean Blue
first released in September 1977
i was 7 then
i remember the period
my sister then had platform shoes with cork heels (who didn't?)
i'm 38 now
where have the years gone??
i suppose
just like pacific ocean blue
i've been reissued and remastered and repackaged too
in 24-bit stereo, hopefully
i'd have to be
y'see, there's a very personal element of sadness for me
in listening to dennis and writin' about him
i'm a fan
i love his music
i love his style
his demeanour, his rawness, his pure unfettered creative passion for life
but some of the negative things are a bit close to the generational bone for me
dennis was a broken man
my dad was a broken man, too
dennis went from a hyperactive muscular human dynamo
to an alcoholic bum
and my dad
though not nearly as apparent or extreme as dennis
went the same way
so it all sort of twists me a bit
my mum has a great photo of my dad
taken back in 1951 when dad was 21
he'd been in oz for 2 years
the photo was him standing in the cane fields of northern queensland
what a tall, handsome, strong and fine-looking man!
noble of character of expression
and he was a noble man, inherently
he had a tyrannical father
who bullied and beat him
dad ran away from home at 15 years
a town in the toe of italy
immediately after WW2
he had many natural gifts
natural intelligence, a wonderful baritone voice
he loved opera
he was naturally social and loved people
and everyone loved him
my bro and sis
much older than i
copped much anger and yelling as they were growing
by the time i came along
dad was up the pub for much of the time
unfortunately he began to spend more and more time there
he smoked a pack a day of strong stuff
and took to amber fluid like the goat to grass
at 62 his body gave up on him in the form of a harrowing illness
it was not a pretty moment

there's a part of me that almost feels guilty
...almost....meaning not quite...
that i didn't love him enough
but in truth
life is always now
everyone and everything that has been
the energy of it
is in me now
we are all connected
i have no qualms to say i love dad dearly
he did a lot of good things for me
there was a house
there was food
there were clothes
and a room to sleep
i went to school and got educated
i read jane austen
...wouldn't have happened if i hadn't gone through school
these are the main things aren't they
he may not have talked much to me
he may have been gruff and hard
but so what?
it's been character building that's for sure
i've had to learn lessons
learn about life
learn about gratitude
learn about love
love is now
always now
the fact is
that everyone who has ever lived
does their best
according to their constitution
their conditionings
and their intrinsic capacity to grow and evolve as human beings
during their lifetime

no doubt i am a sensitive man
but under the surface i am tough
raw in feeling and expression
i'm just a bit too extreme for most people
i can't live on the surface of modern lifestyle
tvs and shitty music and sport
i don't do much small talk
i've heard people say about me
"he's hard to get to know"
i need to feel the totality of the moment
the depths of things
the sunny day
the storm clouds in and around my head
the person i'm with
the words i read
the music i hear
yes i have a vast well within me
of generational human suffering and pain
i've been there
i've tapped it
because i lived and breathed it
an auric pillow of generational unhappiness
bestowed to me as a welcoming gift at birth
but that's ok
over the years the positives have emerged
shone through
i love life and people
i like to laugh
i'm grateful for joy and happinesses and love
i no longer suffer mood-swings or depressions
and i love being alive
love is stronger than pain
focus on love and light
and the pain will vanish
...not before kicking up a fight though...
i read kilbey's blog yesterday
the phrase that hit me
...i am sensitive and tough at the same time...
totally hit the spot for me
i'm the same
but really
i'm just sensitive and sweet
and that is all i really
eva want to be


Polydora said…
no doubt i am a sensitive man
but under the surface i am tough
raw in feeling and expression
i'm just a bit too extreme for most people... i need to feel the totality of the moment
the depths of things

Wow - right with ya there.

Great post!
ross b said…
Thanks Anne-Marie, when I posted this I felt perhaps I was putting out 'downer' energy into the universe hence my immediate posting of the photo family blog thereafter.

But life is total isn't it? The sadness and darkness, and thankfully, the joy and happiness.
Anonymous said…
All I can say Ross is that I know how you feel in a dad was pretty distant and could sometimes even get rough with me. Thankfully, he didn't take to the drink too much but he did take to the women which meant that mum and I were always second best. I absolutely adored him and still have an inferiority complex because I feel that he never loved me 'enough' (whatever that is!!!). I'll never forget the time when I had my Second Grade piano exam at the conservatorium. See, dad was always the one who drove me to piano lessons and to my first exam. Well, it was 1983 and it was his first bout of many in hospital. So, he asks me gruffly how it went, and I said good, I just made one mistake. Guess what he says? You coulda done better. I got so upset about it that I had an epileptic attack that night! That's the effect he had on me. All I wanted was his approval and love and felt that I was never really good enough. He loved music just like your dad and had a lovely voice and was even a self taught accordian player. So I'm grateful for the 'musical genes' and for everything else, 'cause I loved him and still love him to bits despite everything!

Man, I've talked the leg off a chair here. I better get going!

Take care and don't you go changing dear friend - we all love you just the way you are, blues and sunshine and all,

The Knitting Songbird
ross b said…
Thank you for your comment Mary, I'd love to hear more stories about your dad sometime. Lovely to know he loved music and played a bit. I never knew you had epilepsy. I don't recall you discussing much about your dad, but then, I don't think I've talked much to you about my dad either.

Take care Mary and all the best to you,
love Ross.

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