“Cum On Feel The Noize.” -Slade (I’ve struggled with their spelling for a month, but there it is)
A few weeks ago I went to see Rock of Ages. The friend who took me described the show like this: “There’s not really a plot. Well, there’s a plot, there’s a music bar and a love story, but all that’s an excuse to sing some 80s music.” I wasn’t sure what I would think of that. I wasn’t sure what it would be Saying, what ideas it would be exploring, and art Says stuff, doesn’t it?
Two minutes in I was smiling. The next day I wanted to write. I wanted to see it again. I wanted to call the people I love, and start loving new people. I wanted to learn to dance, to play the guitar, to climb trees again. I wanted, dare I say it, to rock.
The show didn’t have a whole lot to say, and whatever comments it did have–about love, instead of fame, maybe–were washed over by the electric guitar and undercut by the show’s happy awareness that it is, in fact, a show. I don’t know what we would discuss, if we were supposed to discuss it in class. But it was fun. It was playful. It was alive.
I can get too caught up in thinking. Thinking, of course, is pretty wonderful: it helps us build water locks to take our boats upstream (which is so cool), and irrigation canals to water our crops, and sprinklers to dance through. In thinking we shape the world around us. In being we’re part of the world. We’re pushed as much as pushing, created as much as creating. Too often I try to be the musician: I try to play the strings. There’s nothing wrong with that, but Rock of Ages told me to be a string for a little while. Come on, feel the noise. Shake with it. Be sung by it.
There’s an old joke: sometimes you’re the dog, and sometimes you’re the fire hydrant. I feel that way sometimes. Still, I think the pattern could do more than it’s doing. Sometimes you’re the harbor, and sometimes you’re the wave. Sometimes you’re the singer, sometimes you’re the song. Sometimes you’re the sailmaker, and sometimes you’re the storm. It’s tempting to say that thinking is how I work, and that the world–loving, being, ringing; the noise–is why. I don’t think that’s quite true: it’s limiting. Thinking can be my why, and and being can be my work. Then again, there are so many ways to be, to stand, and to sing. Thinking doesn’t get you to all of them. Sometimes you’ve gotta feel the noize.