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Thursday, 29 January 2009

I love Edith Piaf. I love the angst in her voice. Imagine if Edith Piaf had sung Jacques Brel! What an over indulgence of angst that might have been! The interesting thing with these indulgences of angst is that the more deeply you go into them, the more you find that ultimately there is joy.
Sometimes it's joy in the indulgence; sometimes it's joy in the moment; mostly it's joy in the story. Piaf's rendition of 'Les Amants d'un Jour' is heart-rending and creates such an image of innocent love. But that is only a sham-veneer. The truth is, the 'love' described was not innocent at all but merely escapism. The young 'lovers for the day' had a suicide pact and that is surely a contradiction in terms. Love is never destructive. It is always creative and expressive. I used to love the story of Elvira Madigan - the lovers who killed themselves beneath a holm-oak tree. It's wonderfully moving and massively self-indulgent and to do with the spirit not being able to find its way in the material, or the material not being able to reconcile the spirit.
I think there is a middle-way. A balance. A way in which the spirit and the flesh aren't in conflict. The 'Our Father' states, "on earth as it is in heaven' and, I believe, that is at the root of so much conflict.We don't believe it is possible to create heaven on earth, or else we expect it to come to us from outside ourselves. Surely it must begin with seeing and experiencing our own inner discord and taken from there. It isn't an escape into utopia, but rather the need to live through our discord and change it and enjoy our angst, our esctasy, our moments of grandeur and our moments of despair...and just live through it all in wonder at what amazing people we all are.

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