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secrets and lies.

July 8, 2009

Last Saturday I was sat in Starbucks reading my book, and a woman (maybe 5-10 years older than me?) asked if she could sit in the seat opposite me (because I had claimed the comfy chairs hehe).  I said “yes” and she sat herself down, with 2 piles of books.  There must have been 8 altogether, and between pages of my own book, I surreptitiously looked at what she was reading.  I don’t know if she was a book reviewer for some newspaper or magazine (I was tempted to ask, but I already sparked up a conversation in the very same cafe the previous week, with a guy who was reading Ayn Rand and piqued my curiosity) but she would take one book, leaf through the first few pages, jot something down on a pink piece of paper, then put the book down and repeat the process with the next one.  Anyways, I noticed that the titles of these books (from the pink, floral covers and bouncy fonts, I’m guessing chick-lit) had a running theme: they involved the word “secret”, or otherwise “private diary of someone-or-other”.  And it got me thinking about something that I have noticed for a while now…

In the music world, a couple of years ago there was a running theme of the idea of confessions.  Madonna had Confessions On A Dance Floor and her Confessions Tour.  Usher had his mega-successful Confessions album and accompanying single.  Lindsay Lohan had a stellar but underappreciated album called A Little More Personal (Raw), which is the most mature and heartbreaking (and thus depressing – you have been warned! but I thoroughly recommend picking up the album) exploration of disillusionment with love, fame and her father in particular. The lead-off single from that collection was “Confessions Of A Broken Heart (Daughter To Father)”, and had an uncomfortable video which all too closely reflects the parental rows of my childhood.  Anyways, the theme of confessions and having secrets and wanting to reveal all of that through your music or your art or whatever form of self-expression is your forte was kinda slapping me around the face during that period, and I even wrote my own album called Secrets, which was the first one that I completed (Quiet Storm is due to be my third).  Ironic that for somebody interested in the idea of secrets, I’d like nothing more than to be a legitimately famous person…

I was, and still am, intrigued by the facet of human nature not to keep secrets (that seems pretty natural to me; privacy is a luxury and being able to keep something for yourself makes that extremely special, whatever it may be), but to want to reveal them and confess.  I think that the Catholic idea of confessing your sins in the booth to the priest is a good one in practice, and has some sense because a sin is something that can weigh heavily on your conscience, though I doubt whether anonymity was really preserved because the priest would blatantly know 99% of the voices in his booth.  What makes less sense to me is the culture of the self-exposé, where you reveal more about yourself to get people to be more interested in you and feel closer to you.  Obviously that is the logic behind the idea, but how much of yourself are you willing to give away before you draw the line?  In programmes such as Big Brother, the contestants willingly surrender all privacy in pursuit of 15 minutes of fame, except in its 9th series, barely anyone watches because we’ve seen it all before.  And because we’ve seen it all before, the tasks that the housemates have to do now are beyond ridiculous, e.g. two of them changing their names by deed poll to Dogface and Halfwit.  It lacks class, and this may be the root of my issue with revealing too much of yourself – it just looks desperate.

There is a need the majority of human beings have, I believe, to draw others closer to them.  But I don’t know, in the media-obsessed climate of today (which is a climate I have been brought up in and totally subscribe to, because that is natural to me), where the line is drawn because I don’t need to see pictures of Britney Spears’ vagina to believe that she has one; I don’t need to know absolutely everything about Michael Jackson’s funeral and what may or may not have been the cause of his death to make me a fan or a supporter of him (I always preferred Janet and that hasn’t changed).  Our curiosity has becoming something crass and invasive, and the media and paparazzi feed it to us so that every time we become a little less shocked and a little more blasé, thus causing them to try and go one step further to keep us interested.  Before the Michael Jackson memorial (which I didn’t watch) started yesterday evening, a newsreader said more than once “The show is about to start”.  To me (and my mother), this was pretty sick – it’s not a show, it’s a funeral.  Mariah Carey was in the trending topics on Twitter not because of her new single, but because she sang at the memorial and her voice may or may not have cracked (I thought she sounded fine) and her dress was not fitting for a funeral (it was black, it was floor-length, her breasts were covered and her hair covered her shoulders – she looked totally appropriate).  For an industry I have always wanted to be a part of, I am now finally wondering whether I really want to subject myself to that much scrutiny and take part in such tasteless events in order to “make it” – maybe I am really happier just making my music and sharing it with friends who care to listen.  Maybe not… there will always be that dream.  We’ll see…

But back to the sentiment of “It’s not a show, it’s a funeral.” …Or is it?  Is everything for show these days?  I don’t know what is real and what is fake, and we blur the lines in the realm of the rich and famous, but increasingly more so in our own personal lives.  Who are we, what do we have to keep to ourselves that keeps us human, and how much do we give away to the public domain?  And once we give it away, can we ever reclaim it for ourselves and get it back?

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2 comments

  1. I enjoyed reading your thoughts 🙂



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