Monday, July 21, 2008

I Can Read!

Oddly enough, I've been reading lately. Not just on the internet, either. Like actual books. And not just books with pictures. But CHAPTER books. I know, it all seems too strange. But it's the truth. And the one book I read inspired me to read another. And yesterday I went to Barnes & Noble and bought another one.


Let's dive right in to one of the most amazing books I've ever read. I was home in Waterford a few weeks ago and noticed my mom had picked up Eric Clapton: The Autobiography. I've always been a Clapton fan, and that's pretty much where it ended. After reading about his take on his own life though, I can say I'm almost a die-hard fan. For the last week now, I've listened to as much Cream, Yardbirds, Derek & the Dominoes and John Mayall than my ears can fully withstand. I've breathed the blues for the past 7 days as if it were my first true musical love.

Obviously, Clapton pens his life in chronological order. From the very beginning, Eric Clapton led a troubled life, which was just a sign of things to come for him. Before he was even 10, he was told that his mother & father were actually his grandmother & grandfather who raised him. His mother was never a real vital part of his life, and for this, he blames a bevvy of emotional problems on. Fast forward to his teen & early twenties years, where he was labeled as GOD to some. Quite the status to live up to, you know? The best part of the book though, is that Clapton puts everything (most, I suppose) on the table. He is so descriptive and poignant throughout the piece that you feel as if you're a family member receiving highly priveledged material. I realize that's the point of autobiographies, but I was literally glued to the pages for 3 straight days, letting Clapton tell his life story. I'm sure plenty of things may have been left out, but that didn't matter to me. The drug use, the women, the music, the money, the heartbreak - it is ALL in there. In one passage, Clapton describes his drug use that went something along the lines of, "there was a time I spent 1000pounds on heroin a week". I'm not sure what that exchange rate is nowadays, but someone told me that it's about $8000 a week. Don't quote me on that, I could be completely wrong. What I do know is that whatever the final tally is - ITS A LOT OF MONEY. After he got clean for heroin, his drug of choice became alcohol. At some points of his life, he was drinking TWO BOTTLES OF RUM and/or VODKA A DAY. Imagine. Although much of his pain was self-inflicted, I strangely found myself feeling sorry for him at some points. At other times though, I wanted to yell through the book and tell E.C. was a stupid, selfish prick he was.
I almost teared up reading about the death of his 2 year old son Connor, who fell out of Clapton's New York apartment window. After the funeral, Clapton vowed to stay sober in honor of his son, and has not had one drink to this very day. If you weren't aware, "Tears in Heaven" is about Connor, and in part, Clapton's father. An interesting fact about the song is that Clapton never wanted it to be released, as obviously, it's a very personal song. But he played it for a few close friends and members of his band, who loved it, and eventually released it. It's by far his top-selling single ever.

My main point is that even if you're not a big reader, you must read this book. Pick it up. You will love it. He's one of the most important musical figures in the world, so do yourself a favor and prepare to get schooled by 'Slowhand'.

A few days later, I read another book. The name of it was "SLAM"; I had picked it up a few months earlier because it was $5. It's by Nick Hornby - the guy who wrote High Fidelity and About a Boy. The main premise of the story revolves around a skateboarding kid, who happens to talk to a Tony Hawk poster, knocks up some hot teen girl. The rest of the story involves the 2 sets of families arguing, fighting, get the idea. If it seems like I'm writing a half-assed review - I am. For some reason, I didn't really like the book. Yet, I read all 300 & some odd pages in one day (I was in a car for 5 hours of this one day though, so that's how it was able to happen). I think I would have enjoyed it more had I read it 6 or 7 years ago.

Once a month, I usually go to B&N to browse the Arts & Communication periodicals. I'm a fan of Communication Arts & Luerzer's Archive, if you wanted to know. On a recommendation from an old teacher of mine at the portfolio school, this is the book I grabbed yesterday:

It's weird to say this, but I'm really looking forward to reading it.

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