Friday, April 07, 2006


There's this scene in Almost Famous. You know the one. Young William has helped rescue and return Billy Crudup to the boys in the band on the tour bus, after the singer went AWOL and dropped acid at a neighbourhood party. They're all pissed off at each other, the band is. They're sulking. Everyone, silent, as the landscape blurs by the bus. From that magical place that exists only in the movies, music suddenly emerges, the subdued, confectious, contagious joy of Elton John's Tiny Dancer. As the song builds, the band beings to sing, united in their love for music, until ultimately Billy Crudup joins in, too, the animosity forgotten, the music binding their bond even tighter.

It's a scene that could have been sappy and trite, but the writer-director, Cameron Crowe, undercuts the good-natured togetherness by having William tell Penny Lane, the groupie, that he has to go home. "You are home," she answers, the look on his face indicating that he doesn't quite believe her. Or disbelieve her, for that matter. His confused, adolescent ambiguity is what transforms a feel-good scene into something deeper, darker, richer.

Even so. Watching that scene, I can believe, if only for a moment, that some things can last. I know, I know -- disease and age will eventually overtake us all, bring us all down for the count. Even so. Watching this scene, I can hear the music, and watch the world go by through the windows of a bus, and imagine, if only fleetingly, a togetherness and resonance that will endure, even ascend.

1 comment:

Tim O'Dea said...

I think I identify with what you’re saying here. Just last night I was with family at a brother in-laws where had just completed a great meal prepared by his wife (bbq rotisserie pork roast with plum butter and roasted potatoes accompanied by sautéed vegetables in olive oil) along with a great dessert followed by cinnamon lattes. We then jumped in to the hot tub along with my wife’s parents and a few of our toddler children. For a moment there as everyone engaged in various conversation I looked in to the unusually warm Calgary spring night sky and thought “all is well in the world (my world at least)”. And then I remembered I had to go to work in the morning and the moment was shattered. I have these thoughts of utter bliss and hopefulness at times and I’m happy for it. It’s often a windy summer day with the window down a walk on a Florida beach, a great meal or just some quiet time with my family that brings these thoughts on. I’ve tried to conjure up these feelings but it just doesn’t work, they’re totally spontaneous and come on unexpectedly. It’s so overwhelming that I can remember each one of the last 5 or 6 years. They last for just a moment and sometimes even a day or two (the long ones always happen of course on vacation) and I relish them.