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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Two Stories

I am in Barcelona directing a study abroad program. One day here during the siesta I watched on tv a documentary about Rodríguez, a Mexican-American singer who, unbeknownst to him, had become very big in South Africa. He recorded a few albums in the US but mostly worked construction when his career fizzled out. When the South Africans discovered he was still alive they brought him over for a tour. He got to be a rock star for a few weeks in the late 90s then went back to detroit to live his normal, modest life. Of course he never got the royalties from his S.A. fame. The movie left that very obscure. Footage from his South African tours shows an almost exclusively white audience.

Then on face book yesterday, on a page devoted to my home town, a story about a bully from my junior high, whom I barely knew. I had a few run-ins with him but I was not one of his main targets. I learnt that he had been killed in his mid-twenties in Marin County, a homicide never solved but possibly drug related. I hadn't thought of this kid in many years, but I immediately recognized the name. The guy posting this on face book said that many of his former victims thought of his fate as karma. I just felt kind of sad.

Both stories are stories. There is a kernel of essential narrative-ness there. Both are kind of nagging at me. I dont' often feel this way about fictional narratives, only about real ones.


Vance Maverick said...

I find Rodriguez's songs just OK -- spooky and distinctive in sound but without much shape. Did the documentary draw a connection with Solomon Linda?

Jonathan said...

It's not music I would listen to a lot. That's fine; it wasn't about me. I was drawn in by the disjunction: famous in SA (and in Australia too) but not in his native land. He seems like a nice, unassuming guy.

I don't remember a mention of Solomon Linda. Documentary was called "Looking for Sugarman."