Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Rest In Peace

(on the right with her sister Charlie in younger days). Amber sighed her last breath with a droning purr and soft squinting eyes. Her sister's still kicking, my oldest living feline relation.

This existential Swede was not always the easiest to understand, but his emotional directness is undeniable. I still have fond memories of watching "The Seventh Seal" for the first time alone in a dusty Austin apartment sometime near midnight well over a decade ago.

Antonioni lived a long time. Supposedly John Fahey decked him one night while they were eating dinner together. I'm not entirely sure if that's true, but it's one of my favorite stories of New America meets Old Europe antagonism. The scene in "Blow Up" when the photographer keeps blowing up the same photo over and over--that still gives me the shivers. The Yardbirds--seen rocking hard in the same film with the Jeff Beck/Jimmy Page twin-guitar-god-front--weren't too shabby either. And hey, "Zabriskie Point" may have sucked big ones, but WOW! Best slow-mo explosion finale EVER.

The Prince of Debonair. The Maestro of Spoken Intro Cool. The Sultan of Dusted Lounge Boogie. Lee was one of the easiest oddball songwriters to fall for the very first time you heard him. His voice could've come from the Deep South, the Midwest, the West Coast... He seemed to embody America at its most relaxed and casually sedated, but he was never above anything. His response to the complexities of life was always just a few martini swigs away from bitter dejection, while still benefitting from the wisdom of hindsight. I have no idea if he was a swinger or or a socialist or a beat--probably a li'l of all of the above--but he was definitely a singer/songwriter cut from the rarest of cloths. Thanks for the mammories, Mr. Hazlewood.

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