Monday, March 1, 2010

Coincidence? I think not...

A little non-cricket-related post.

One of my favourite books (and films) happens to be The Outsiders. For those who haven't heard about it, it is a story about a bunch of young disadvantaged kids in a town in Oklahoma, the "greasers", and their battle against the priveledged "soc's" (pronounced "soshes") as they struggle to accept the place they hold in society. That's a really rotten summary so I suggest you Google a better one.

Anyway, one of the key elements of the book is a Robert Frost poem that is quoted by one of the characters, Nothing Gold Can Stay. It goes:

Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
As the plot of the book moves along, the poem gains meaning for the characters as they see it representing the humanity that they have to hold onto. The main character, Ponyboy, is told to "stay gold" in a posthumous letter from a friend. Anyway, the whole green/gold thing is rather symbolic of the story.

A few weeks ago, just after re-reading The Outsiders, I decided to hunt up some more songs from one of my favourite bands, an Irish-American folk/country group called Solas. While they've somewhat moved away from their Irish roots in their latest album, The Edge of Silence, they did feature a great cover of a song called Georgia Lee. Now, I must admit that I'd never heard of the song before and didn't know who it was by or what it was about. After a little bit of research, I found out it was written by Tom Waits and featured on his album Mule Variations. It's based on the true story about a twelve-year-old runaway African-America girl, Georgia Lee Moses, who was kidnapped and murdered in Petaluma, California in 1997. The case has never been solved. The final verse before the chorus runs:
There's a toad in the witch grass, there's a crow in the corn
Wild flowers on a cross by the road
And somewhere a baby is crying for her mom
As the hills turn from green back to gold
Anyway, that green and gold bit made me connect it to The Outsiders - innocence, disadvantaged kids, dead disadvantaged kids and all that - so I grabbed the Outsiders movie (made in 1983) and rewatched it. And what name should I see in the credits, playing a very minor character? Tom Waits.

Not only that, two days later I rewatch Shrek 2, to discover that the song A Little Drop Of Poison (that one sung by Captain Hook in the dodgy inn) is sung by Tom Waits. So, if my head seems a little bit weird it's because some alien force is trying to manipulate my mind to see connections everywhere.

Doing research on Georgia Moses was hard - there's barely any information on the murder outside the song and she doesn't even have a stub article on Wikipedia - and it's rather appalling to see the difference in the quantity of coverage of her murder in comparison to the murder of a twelve-year-old white girl in Petaluma, in 1993, of which Richard Allen Davis was convicted. Even more press was given to the unsolved murder of six-year-old beauty pageant JonBenet Ramsey, who was found strangled in her parents' basement just after the Christmas of 1996. They reopened the case last year. It's interesting reading. Do a bit of research on the foundation her parents set up as well - it might raise a few eyebrows.

So, I know you've probably not bothered reading this because it's not cricket and it probably doesn't make any sense at all, but I've enjoyed writing it. All this does is confirm that great Orwellian quote that "some are more equal than others". Which reminds me of a story hanging round the press recently, the arrest (finally) of Roman Polanski. But that's for another day, I've run out of rant.

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