JAIMIE VERNON – DEATH BECOMES US

Promo Shot_Twilight Zone_thumbIt’s been 48 hours since the legend that was Nelson Mandela passed. Or rather, the extraordinary human being that gave us a legend for the ages. The Earth is now orphaned by the loss of the freedomfather of freedom.

The three great milestones of “HOPE” (and I’m not talking about the Obamahope) in my lifetime have been the collapse of the Soviet Union, the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, and the release of Nelson Mandela from a South African jail after spending more than a 1/4 of his life behind bars.

Mandela EurythmicsLike many at the time, I was inspired to write a song about him. It was composed immediately after seeing the benefit concert following Mandela’s release from jail featuring such artists as Eurythmics singing a bastardized run through of ‘Bo Diddley’ using the chant ‘Hey, Mandela’ as an ad hoc mantra.

MandelaI thought that a man with such courage, pride and wisdom deserved a rallying cry with a little more dignity and one that was in tune with the people he fought to protect and win freedom for. It took me 14 years to get it from paper to CD. I recorded this track in 2002 with the amazing Brian Gagnon (Frank Soda/The Hunt).

Mandela would never get to hear it. But those that believe in his vision as a man reformed, a man rebuilt and a man of eternal forgiveness can. For you, dear reader, I offer a FREE download of my song. Please share this and remember Mandela’s personal mission of freedom.
http://bullseyecanada.bandcamp.com/album/the-ballad-of-nelson-mandela-deliver-us-from-evil

46664The public outpouring of love is heartfelt and not overwrought through a blender of media hype like an assassination (MLK, Malcolm X) or a freak accident (Princess Grace of Monacco, Princess Diana). This is a global celebration of life reserved for the likes of passing Popes or the Dalai Lama. when the furor subsides expect the other shoe to drop. The back-benchers and enemies of conscience who will politicize and polarize with the hatred reserved for people unable to defend themselves. To them, I say, your arguments are lost. Mandela’s activism to change not only the lives of his people, but the world itself has exceeded our own expectations. He walked on water and breathed rarified air. Metaphorically, of course, but it’s a rare occurrence to live in a time when change is occurring in real time. Mother Theresa did it. Ghandi did it. Mandela’s effects are only now being borne out. He walked a path and people followed. We might call it Messianic and we will believe that miracles still happen.

Mandela tributeWill Mandela’s legacy live on? I believe it will. He transcended the very thing that was trying to kill him by oppressing his spirit. And a funny thing happened on the way to that oppression. He forgave. He forgave is oppressors, his jailor, and himself. He became an instrument of a nation and, ultimately, the planet. Even his enemies became resolute to his reformation and a grand respect grew in place of assassination attempts. Mandela was disarming. That he was allowed to become president and live out his days as a scholarly muse is a testament to how he converted everyone’s perceptions in the face of global adversity. He remained positive and we drank from that power source. Never overbearing, never preachy, just a bright light in the darkness. It’s this light that will live on and hopefully the word apartheid will fade from our collective lexicon. It’s the light we can follow and as Bruce Cockburn once opined: “You’ve got to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight”.

To the less scholarly and media blinded remainder of the Western World, the death this week of B-list superhunk Paul Walker was nothing short of devastating. There is Paul-Walkerno diminishing the loss of life – especially to a rising movie star cut down in his prime and leaving behind a 15 year-old daughter – but the message we got from all was that he was a great guy who liked to live fast. And maybe that’s all we might hope to achieve. For Walker he got a little more…a means to make a living doing what he loved to do: acting and driving fast cars.

I confess that I’ve have been a fan of his franchise ‘Fast & Furious’ films….hell, I turned my 15 year old son into a fan. Admittedly the original eye candy combo of T & A Paul_Walker_in_The_Fast_and_the_Furious_4plus car porn tired quickly. But the producers of the series got smart and took a cue from capers like the Italian Job and rather than a bunch of testosterone fuelled drivers rolling on 90 minutes of exhaust trying to collect pink slips, they gave the 2 dimensional clichés played by Walker and Vin Diesel a third wall – a dramatic purpose. There was nearly a plot in the sequels. Ridiculous, physics defying, and Ludicris filled plots. Walker got to do more than flex and fume. He also got to stretch a bit of the acting he had been saving up for the movies that will now showcase him post-humously. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MmG_qOf6mU

And what of ‘Fast & Furious 7’ now in production? The producers have a tough job ahead of them. When Heath Ledger died in the midst of wrapping up ‘The Dark Knight’, director Christopher Nolan allowed Ledger’s manic Joker character sail off into the sunset – well, get whisked away in a police car – so hopefully Walker will get closer in FF7. I would hate to see him killed off just to punctuate the real-life tragedy of his death in a fast car. It would be a little too much ‘on the nose’.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMillions will go see FF7 just because of Walker’s final scenes in the franchise. I’m looking forward to seeing the cars. 5 Dodge Chargers specifically. In May of this year I had the pleasure of processing and driving the very stunt cars that will be used in the film. They were shipped for use by the film-makers to the Philippines. They’re fast, they’re sexy and just maybe Paul Walker drove one of them to his final glory.

GeorgeChristie1Closer to home I received word this week from our illustrious Blogging Leader, Bob Segarini, that a long-time radio associate of ours, George Christie, had passed unexpectedly. Bob worked with George during their tenure at Sirius Satellite’s Iceberg Radio. Together they crafted an exceptional CanCon block of must-hear radio. Following Bob’s departure from the show, George carried on – rallying the most unexpected fanbase on the US east coast. Old and new Canadian music was foreign to many American ears and George waved our flag without an ounce of jingoistic smugness. He was just happy that people were listening. http://georgechristie.com/archive.html

In that time I drafted both Bob and George to record and produce make-believe commercials for my third solo album: ‘Nightmare @ 20,000 Watts’ – which was a concept album about the death of Top40 radio. They embarked on the premise with gusto – co-writing scripts and performing various on-air characters. I am most grateful to Bob, Jade Dunlop and the surprise appearance of George who made it sound like a George_Trewsmillion bucks. It was truly a better project because of his tireless – and unpaid – work on the tracks.

George had an innate sense of musicality that helped in his abilities as a radio personality. He was a great keyboardist and spent his formative years behind Chris & JP Partland when they were known in the 1980s Toronto club scene as Oliver Heavyside (the highest paid unsigned act in Canada). He was a funny guy with a twisted sense of humour and I’ll miss his 140 character quips on social media. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3Ak6uLBh3k

Send your CDs for review to this NEW address: Jaimie Vernon, 4003 Ellesmere Road, Toronto, ON M1C 1J3 CANADA

=JV=

Jaimie’s column appears every Saturday.

Contact us at: dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS_ButtonJaimie “Captain CanCon” Vernon has been president of the on again/off-again Bullseye Records of Canada since 1985. He wrote and published Great White Noise magazine in the ‘90s, has been a musician for 35 years, and recently discovered he’s been happily married for 17 of those years. He is also the author of the Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia and a collection of his most popular ‘Don’t Believe A Word I Say’ columns called ‘Life’s A Canadian…BLOG’ both of which are available at Amazon.com or http://www.bullseyecanada.com

One Response to “JAIMIE VERNON – DEATH BECOMES US”

  1. Very well said Jaimie , who’d a thunk A man with that kind eloquisium honed his craft in the halls and cafeteria at LBP . I don’t always comment on BLOGS , but when I do it’s Jaimie Vernons

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