There is a review in The Age today about Bruce Springsteen’s new album, Wrecking Ball. I am not a Bruce Springsteen fan in the sense that I buy his music and listen to it over and over. But if I hear it played on the radio I give it my attention and I have a sense that I trust him as an artist to reflect the world authentically and to give me some insight.
I have sometimes been so disappointed when reading literary or music reviews that talk about the person’s art as though it has no context in the world except for within its genre.
My heart beats for art that means something, even if sometimes the art is difficult to access, or if I find out after some thought that I don’t agree with it. Even then, I feel as though my world has been made a little bit larger or my experiences have been validated in some way.
Being courageous and writing well (reflecting and illuminating what is real as well as what might be) is so important to me that it doesn’t really matter to me that it’s not my style of music – what matters is people being authentic, courageous and speaking up.
I used to think that respect was something that the respected person benefited from, but the feeling of respect colours me as well; it’s as though in some way the speaker passes on a bit of their courage, and out of that comes clarity and peace, like a present for me, a box of no-calory chocolates. It’s the same feeling I get when a politician stands up to his or her own party out of principle – for example, Malcolm Turnbull – or when I see or read a story about someone who could have taken the easy way out and not made a sound, like Adrian Salter in the report on Four Corners on Monday (and of course I respect Quentin McDermott and Morag Ramsay, the journalists who told the story). I respect Springsteen, I respect Malcolm Turnbull and I respect Adrian Salter in the full sense of the world, and it feels great.