Tuesday, October 29, 2013
There is nothing I could say which would be adequate. My god, it feels like such a loss. I can't even listen to the records yet. When I do, it will be the first time I hear them sung in the voice of a man who is gone. I'm not totally ready for that.
For a lot of smart, alienated, angry young people, Lou Reed's art and art of persona offered invaluable coping mechanisms, apparatus by which to survive the necessity of having to expose our devastating sensitivity to an utterly uncaring, monstrously traumatic world. His music sliced and tore through the pain of having to be alive with visceral, clarifying sounds and eviscerating lyrics, offering a sense of purpose and presenting a persona from which we could borrow in order to steel ourselves, transforming those weaknesses into an armory of detachment, a way to survive and thrive without dumbing ourselves down (even if it did make us assholes sometimes, or more than sometimes). A talisman (real or imagined) of our own potential for subversive power, and a body of incredible work which could be endlessly examined and appreciated not only for its towering genius and impeccable construction of the cool, but for its infinite flaws-- naked, human imperfections.
I'm a long way from all that now, I think. I am who I am mostly on my own, having transformed the various syntheses of youth into self. But in all honesty I have no idea how I would have gotten there or who I'd be without Lou Reed. I know he doesn't need another obituary, and certainly not one from me. But I can't be the only one who feels like an actual part of my self died on Sunday morning, and I hope you'll forgive the regrettable drama of my maudlin selfishness if I eulogize him on that personal basis.
I never stopped listening to the music, and I never will; his being gone doesn't and couldn't change that. The music is there forever, a living document that has no need for a tombstone. But I was one of many who counted him-- the man and myth, constructed to be conflated-- as a formative mentor, a spirit guide, a weird father, and now he is gone. I know I'm not the only one feeling this way, this loss. God damn it, the absence is palpable.
I love you and
I could never thank you enough
How we ever gonna get through this awful old world without you?