les mémoires de GIL SCOTT HERON a paraître dans la langue de Shakespeare

12 Déc

Je ne suis pas surpris par son décès, tant Gil Scott Heron aura fumé la vie par les deux bouts. Il suffit d’écouter sa voix éraillée, borderline sur le fil du rasoir sur son dernier album, pour se dire que la fin était bien proche, inévitable, rongé par les drogues et le HIV, il était en bout de course. Il aura été un guide pour moi, une porte d’entrée vers la great black musique, à l’époque (au début des 90′s) j’étais encore sous perfusion des inrocks, et donc pas très ouvert musicalement.


Different dates on the tour were memorable for different reasons.
Some days I took notes, though most of those notes seem to have
been done as a joke, some kind of acrobatic way of pulling my own
leg. There were either a few lines written before the show along
with whatever expenses I needed to note, or, after the concert, in
the early a.m., there was a separate page or two that described
something that happened or that I felt during the day or evening.
There was rarely both, rarely an occasion when I wrote something
before and after a show. December 8, 1980 in Oakland was a
before-and-after day. I still remember the after feelings now.
I rarely missed things Stevie said to me. But when I saw
him at the bottom of the backstage stairs at the arena in Oakland,
I thought I must have misheard him. Maybe it was the shock at
what he had said. Maybe I hadn’t missed what he said and just
thought I did. It was something I didn’t want to hear.
But no, I must have mistaken Stevie for sure.
“What did you say?” I asked him, trying to get above the
“I said some psycho, some crazy person, shot John Lennon!”
Stevie said. “And I’m wondering how to handle it.”

the last holiday

I am not so silly or naive as to suspect that there is an ultimate
evil. But the death of a good man, so rare as to be nearly
extinct, is a thorough tragedy. And what do you say about it to
seventeen thousand people who have come out to see you and
enjoy themselves?
I got that same feeling I’d felt when I heard that Dr. King or
someone else was killed; that sense of a certain part of you being
drained away, a loss of self. There were certain events in your
life that had such historical significance that you were supposed
to remember the circumstances under which you received the
news for the rest of your life. That was probably what some section
of humanity used to illustrate man’s superiority over other
animals: “memories of miseries that memorialize.”
Having those memories was like turning down the corner
of a page in your life’s book. But maybe animals turned down
corners of pages, too. They might not choose the date of the
death of John Lennon to see as a date of loss and mourning,
they would be more likely to remember the date the Ringling
Brothers died or the day the woman from Born Free was born.
I was sure they talked about important things. I didn’t have
the dialogue down pat, but I could picture a conversation between
two lions on a late-night walk across the savannah.
“Yeah, that’s where it was, man,” one of them says. “Right
over there by the watering hole. A big mean-looking thing with
sharp teeth and the strongest grip you ever heard of. The gorilla
called it an animal trap. Man, that thing grabbed Freddy
Leopard and held him for hours. The gorilla got Freddy loose
but his leg was all fucked up and he’s still walking with a limp.”

gil scott-heron
Just exactly what did those recollections, those dog-eared
pages, prove? That you were connected to the human race? It
couldn’t be. Because if so, people born since then, who weren’t
around then, couldn’t be connected. That’s why there were history
books and parents and other folks to tell you what happened
before you got here.
And why did you need to remember those things? Most
of them were about someone being killed or assassinated. You
could almost feel as though you needed an alibi: “Where were
you the day that such-and-such a person was murdered?” They
were pages in history books, however. I didn’t know why. I didn’t
know what it proved. That you were connected to the human
race? They were usually the least human things you could imagine.
Unnatural disasters.
I always knew where I’d been. I was in last period history
class at DeWitt Clinton High School when the principal announced
from the bottom of an empty barrel: “Ladies and gentlemen, I
regret to inform you that your president is dead.” He was talking
about John Kennedy, shot to death by someone in Dallas.
I was in the little theatre at Lincoln when a guy everyone
called “the Beast” had thrown open a rear door and shouted,
“The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King has been shot and killed
in Memphis, Tennessee.”
I was in my bedroom on West 17th Street when man first
reached the moon and I had written a poem called “Whitey on
the Moon” that very night (for which my mother had come up
with the punch line: “We’re gonnna send these doctor bills air
mail special to Whitey on the moon”).

une chanson écrite pour sa fille

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