Monday, November 15, 2010

"Long ago it must be;/I have a photograph./Preserve your memories/They're all that's left you."

The Song: "Bookends," Simon & Garfunkel. Words & music by Paul Simon. Track 7 of Bookends, 1968.
When/how acquired: Purchased cassette tape, c. 1987.
Listen/watch here.

Bookends is a wonderful example of how form dictates content, and why the disappearance of the LP really is a loss. This lovely song closes out the album's first side, a suite of songs about the phases of life and aging — written by a man who was 26 when the album was released. The second side, which isn't as good even though it includes at least two songs I'll probably quote here later, is a collection written for the soundtrack to The Graduate (a movie I've always considered overrated, but that's a post for a different day).

I got to see Simon & Garfunkel live on my last birthday in Los Angeles, as a gift from Gary, one of my oldest friends. It meant so much to me to see the two of them on stage, having managed to save their friendship after so many years, so many public squabbles and private injuries.

I don't take photographs. I don't even really keep photos that other people give me, and I rarely look at the pictures I have. Something about photographs feels like cheating, as if a photo somehow absolves me of having to do my own work of remembering.

As the next birthday approaches, though, I can imagine a time when I'll need the pictures. That scares me more than almost any other piece of aging, the idea of losing those memories. I think that's at least part of what this blog is for.

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