…a recurring image in my dreams is one of seeking, often a specific person whom I know is lost.
Listening to the radio coming to work this morning, I resisted sports talk and the I’m sure to be far too gloating coverage of the Browns (twelfth man my ass), I listened to music instead, and “Gimme Shelter” came on.
I always try to resist the subtle charms of that song (the subtlety of the instrumentation, not the lyrics), because it seems to be Bloated Rock Star 101 – oh please give me shelter, because the millions of dollars I have made from you couldn’t possibly do that for me already. The problem (and it’s not really a problem) is that Richards’s guitar is impossible to ignore. It’s so ridiculously understated, seeming in that best Keith Richards way to be tossed off (not like that!) haphazardly, with nary a plan in sight.
Maybe it is. Maybe Richards is so messed up on drugs when he did the recording that my ode to the magic I want to believe he created is as bad (Fanboi Wannabe 101?) as is his own pathology. Still, when I hear that guitar, I get an image in my head of walking down the steps of a seemingly endless garage straight from a 1950s sitcom-turned-horror-show. I hear water lapping at the bottom, and I emerge impossibly into a damp blueness – in this world there are no colors except for shades of muted blue – and I step into a boat that as I walk past grows out of the mist into a decrepit oil tanker.
I walk along the ship, and it continues to move, but soundlessly. On my right is a series of apartment-like structures that sit between the riverbank and a vaguely-defined land mass behind (the walls of the gorge?). As the ship reaches the ocean, I suddenly find myself on a high suspension bridge, very American, looking at tidal flats and crisp blue skies and wisps of clouds scudding along on the horizon, presaging beautiful weather ahead. Or a storm.
Richards’s guitar led me there. Again. And that landscape is one that in my dreams seems to be a place where I lose people, often those quite close to me.
I wonder what life was like before we had soundtracks of the mind…