Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Chet: Gentile Moods

Like all good portraits, his gaze appears to change the more you look at it. You think he must have had it all, sandwiched between a woman - any woman, every woman - and his horn, those piercing Hollywood looks added just for good measure: I'm Chet and you're not.

But look further, look longer, and he seems to age at a shocking rate. The eyes appear to be sinking further and further into their sockets. Wrinkles sprout from his forehead, betraying less than thirty years of life with a century of living packed within them. The photograph is tinted with a yellowish haze, probably in order to mask a once-beautiful face slowly morphing into a catcher's mit. Only half done with this life but you can see every moment of the remaining twenty-nine years that await him: I'm Chet and get down on your hands and knees and thank the Lord that you're not.

Running out of last-chances with a whole life ahead of him, Chet Baker played every song as though it were his last. Everything going for him yet fully aware that it was slowly beginning to slip away, resigning himself to this ghastly fate. The women never ceased to be seduced but look at what was seducing them: every song, every note amounted to an epitaph. A life of loneliness and seclusion and abuse is upon us: I'm Chet and so are you.

1 comment:

Kat's Scratch said...

Paul, I think that this is some of the best writing I've ever read by you! I love the way you describe the portrait of Chet and compare his expressions to his music. I should probably think more about my response before I begin to write it. I just had such a strong WOW reaction that I had to tell you right away. Awesome work!