Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch
cbertsch

Prosthetic Reverie

I've been listening to Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow. Although I have put the record in every Top Ten Albums list I've ever made, I went many years without hearing it as an album. I had the vinyl, you see. But because my two Jefferson Airplane greatest hits compilations on CD contain almost all of the songs on the record between them, it seemed wasteful to buy what I more or less already had just so I could listen to the original track sequence without having to program it first. Last week, though, I found a copy of the CD at Zia that, with the help of a half-off discount, I only had to pay $3.50 for.

Given the timing, it seemed appropriate somehow to return to an album I had played to death in high school, when my dreams of a fresh start were becoming more frequent and intense. Of course, I was also playing the two No Age albums over and over in between, so my packing and sorting wasn't all sun-dappled nostalgia. Or maybe it was, in a way, because I have been thinking and writing with great fervor about local scenes in popular music culture. Maybe thinking of The Smell in relation to 2400 Fillmore makes more sense than initially appears to be the case. Lavender Diamond even has a Summer of Love vibe at times.

But I digress. What I really wanted to say is A) that I am taking a new kind of inhaled steroids, at my doctor's prodding, that are making me feel strange; B) that I am wearing a pair of sunglasses that I found the other day after having lost track of them for several years; and C) that the combination of these two factors is imparting a Monterey Pop effect to my world view. Everything looks simultaneously bright and diffuse. Come to think of it, it's sort of like the smog in the better parts of L.A. on a nice day.

Or San Francisco back in 1967. One of the remarkable things about watching Bullitt or The Graduate is realizing how much the air quality improved after the imposition of strict emission controls in the Golden State. Even Vertigo, from 1958, shows a view of the Bay that only materializes now on spare-the-air days. Who said progress isn't possible?

That said, the sense of being born too late, which is always with me to some extent, is coursing through my steroid-addled brain with extra vigor today. I was listening to "Triad" this evening and remembered what a profound impact David Crosby's version of the song had on my teenage consciousness. I wasn't sure I wanted the scenario his lyrics describe. Hell, I'm not even sure I fully understood that scenario back then. But that didn't stop me from devoting myself to the prospect of a future centered on the phrase, "in time maybe others."

Have I mentioned that I had a huge crush on the 1967 incarnation of Grace Slick? I know, for a Boomer that's the equivalent of saying that I love to eat pizza. For a late-born soul like myself, though, the look she sported had a different valence. It still does, for that matter. I spent a good deal of time today studying photos of her from that era to see whether I could make retroactive sense of my attraction. I didn't come to a definitive conclusion, but I have reconfirmed my devotion to boots and hair of a certain length.
Tags: autobiography, health, history, music, nostalgia
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