Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Powerful people . . .

Look at the powerful people
Stealing the sun from the day
Wish I could do something about it
When all I can do is pray

Gino Vanelli and his track Powerful people gives us an opportunity to reflect on the state of the world.  When you are being asked to look at the powerful people in your lives - are you being asked to look at them because you aren't paying close enough attention to the destruction and havoc they are wreaking?

Who are the powerful people that you know who are stealing the sun from the day?  Taking its warmth for themselves and not allowing others to also bask in its warmth and also know comfort?  People use the sun to make money now.  We are moving away from harnessing the power of the sun for the greater good of all and commodifying everything in our path - yet again.

There is so much political and global unrest at the moment.  You see it often (when does it ever stop?) when you turn on the television to see what the latest progress is (or not) in conflicts around the world.  Conflicts motivated by power, greed, stances on religion, entitlement, history, money - anything that can have an opposing view - good and evil (depending on which side you stand for of course, and who has the power to decide how these opposing sides are portrayed?).

It's a lonely afternoon
With nowhere to go but my room
And Sunday when there's time
I think of these things on my mind
And I don't know
Where I will go . . .

The uncertainty about not knowing what you can do to help solve these problems is challenging.  Whether you believe that you don't have a place in the equation, how to solve the equation.  Are you part of the problem because of your apathy?  Is it enough to sit in your room and think about it? That's the futility of it I guess.  The powerful people seem to be the ones making all the decisions (well, unless you voted them into power as your government and you're unhappy with what they're doing - you can always change that in the next election).

Come on world won't you give a damn
Turn on some lights and see this garbage can
Time is the essence if we plan to stay
Death is in stride when filth is the pride in our home. . . .

This bridge section is quite chaotic (no doubt due to the abrupt change of time signature) and you sense Gino's frustration with the world and its apathy.  Are we really this bad now?  I mean this song was released in 1975, but thinking about the state of the world today, have we evolved since then?  Sometimes I think we keep caught up in a vicious cycle of history repeating, like the characters in a TV series that's been on air for so long - that even though the characters may change through the ages, the character traits resurface in the replacement characters.

Wish I could just stand up and shout it
Why can't they let goodness be

The instrumental interlude provides a sense of calm before the drums signal the return to the last chorus of the song.  The band is brilliant.  I love the fact that the band members are introduced in this clip.  Too often band members can be ignored and the focus remains solely on the vocalist.  We hear about Sunday again before this final coda below kicks in:

Oh and Monday there's no time
So I close both my eyes and I'm blind
And I don't care where oh where is my prayer. . . 

What hopes do you have for the world?  That if you don't perceive yourself to be amongst the powerful people in your world - what can you do?  Is it a just a matter of changing your perception so that you too can become one of these powerful people?  What kinds of power do these powerful people have anyway?

The abrupt ending of the song suggests to me that resurfacing of uncertainty again - we will never know what end there is to what the powerful people will do. . . it is up to you to decide. . . I will not focus on powerful people, but I do choose to empower people . . .