Friday, September 5, 2014

Beyonce's birthday, Joan Rivers' deathday

Two things. Beyonce turned 33 yesterday. Joan Rivers died yesterday.

Both of these affected me a great deal. I woke up in the morning yesterday, vaguely hungover from going to some Fashion Week party the night before with an open bar and where Kiesza had performed. Lying in bed, I read on form of some media, probably all of them actually, that it was Beyonce's birthday. What struck me was not so much that it was her birthday, but the age which she turned yesterday, my age, 33. Now, anyone that tries to compare their own life to Beyonce's is probably setting themselves up for disappointment, but still that didn't stop me from thinking about the differences in our life and how I am not anywhere near where I had hoped to be at this age, that I have not produced any of the work that I have often thought about doing. Beyonce has such a strong body of work at this point in her life, at the age of 33, my age, and I couldn't help think of little I have done. Thoughts of doing something and then not doing them serve no good. There's nothing to show for that. I felt a little shitty, but also inspired.

And that is because sometimes you need to feel like shit, sometimes you need a kick in the pants, someone to laugh at you, someone to say your work is shit, that you are lazy, that you are unproductive, and, yes, sometimes that person will be yourself. I am not saying I am going to put out amazing albums that are going to sell a gazillion copies worldwide - that's not what I want to do. There are things that I want to do though and I need to work just as hard to achieve them. I need to quit being so fucking lazy about the things that I claim to care about. And yes, I am pretty sure I have written the same thing to myself numerous times over the years in this diary, that I am going to work harder, commit to things. And I am going to keep on saying those things to myself as many times as I need to until I finally do them, until I finally heed these mantras, buckle down, and produce great work.

Then later in the afternoon, the news that Joan Rivers had died flashed on CNN while I was working out at the gym. It wasn't entirely surprising, given her condition in recent days, but still it made me quite sad that this voice, this caustic, acerbic, and fiercely intelligent voice, would no longer be around. She was a fucking badass and her fearless style of comedy has in small ways informed my own way of thinking and my own way of communicating thoughts about the world, though usually that side comes out when I'm a bit drunk and a bit belligerent. Which is what she was, a voice that said those things you might joke about with close friends while drinking, which otherwise you might be too polite to say. She gave voice to those cruder, meaner thoughts and did so in such a brilliant way that often pointed out the absurdities of our lives and burned down the temples to false idols we have come to worship, skewering celebrities and the idea of celebrity with a particular ruthless glee.

Aside from the fact that she was a woman who started doing comedy at a time when comedy was even more a boys club than it is now and that she was a fucking trailblazer for just about everyone, there is the fact, irrespective of this in itself important work, that she was fucking hilarious. Male or female, she was one of the smartest and funniest comedians we had.

She was also a workhorse, absolutely tireless. That she was still out on the road doing comedy shows, doing various tv shows, making late night appearances, and hosting QVC at the age of 81 is amazing.

The lesson here from both events is that hard work matters. More than anything else perhaps. Without it, whatever talent you may have is never utilized, never seen, never shared. Work, work, work. Make it fucking happen. Eyes on the prize.

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