Wednesday, August 18, 2010


This post has nothing to do with kink, She, dommes, rope, or sex. Half this blog is about how music drives my feelings, hopes, and dreams - as half of all my posts are music videos. This is a post about music.

On the way to work this week I've been reading a story from the August 9th issue of The New Yorker about Gil Scott-Heron entitled "New York Is Killing Me". It was such a raw, painful article for me to read as I was just a huge admirer and fan of Scott-Heron's in the '70's and early '80's when he was at the peak of his extraordinary musical talent. I saw him perform once in 1977 when I lived in San Francisco. He was produced by Clive Davis and Arista records and wrote "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised", "The Bottle", "Winter In America", "We Almost Lost Detroit", and "Home is Where The Hatred Is" along with just a host of other incredible songs that meant the world to me in my twenties. Some call him the grandfather of hip-hop and both Kanye West and Jay-Z have sampled him. He has a new album entitled "I'm New Here" and there is apparently a resurgence of interest in his work.

Gil Scott-Heron is also a crack addict and the New Yorker piece chronicles how this horrible disease has devastated his life. The interviewer and author, Alec Wilkinson, met with Gil on a number of occasions in his apartment in Harlem and the prose captures the essence of a soul trapped by addiction. His description of Scott-Heron clutching his propane torch will haunt me for sometime. My brother became addicted to crack in his early-forties and committed suicide.

His girlfriend, Monique de Latour, does a poigniant and melancholy voice-over to her photos of Gil, now 61 years old, on the New Yorker website. It all made me very grateful that somehow I got sober and have managed to stay that way. Here's Gil Scott-Heron who the article says is one month clean from crack.


Her Majesty's Plaything said...

Hi Advo:

Surprisingly I am not that well acquainted with Gil's music, though I have certainly heard of him. Addiction, on the other hand, is something I am all too well acquainted with. I will definitely check out his new stuff...

advochasty said...

If you click on the YouTube link for "The Bottle" and listen it is just such cruel irony. It's a song about the dangers of alcohol abuse and addiction. Here's a verse:

See that gent in the wrinkled suit he done damn near blown his cool to the bottle.

He wuz a doctor helpin' young girls along if they wuzn't too far gone to have problems.

But defenders of the dollar eagle
Said "What you doin', Doc, it ain't legal," and now he's in the bottle.

Now we watch him everyday tryin' to chase the pigeons away from the bottle.

And don't you think it's a crime
when time after time, people in the bottle.

Now Gil's in the bottle...or the crack pipe. But maybe he'll stay clean.

Aarkey said...

Addiction sure is one ugly disease. I'm grateful you found it too, and I am sorry to read about your brother. :(

advochasty said...

Aarkey -

Thanks. I did a post a little over a year ago about the lingering effects of the deaths of my mother and brother, but guess I've never written that his suicide, in my judgment, was largely due to his addiction to crack.

Following my mom's death my brother and I had become estranged. Toward the end, I understood he was in and out of recovery. His funeral was held in a chapel in a mall. It was big time weird.

Mistress Veronica NYC said...

Wow, Advo-

Thanks so much for posting this. I am happy to know that you are recovered, alive, and invigorated by your new freedom.

I am shocked SHOCKED that I had not known who Gil Scot Heron is. SHOCKED, I tell you. Thank you so much for introducing me. He will become a beloved addition to my music collection.

Let's hang some time!


Mistress Veronica NYC said...

There is a clarity in the simplicity and honesty of his lyrics. Wow, this is so great!

advochasty said...


I'm so sorry I missed your comments!!

I knew you'd love Gil if you didn't know him!!!

Ya, let's hang!

So what's the word??


advochasty said...

Ms V -

We could hang on 17th Street.



Miss Margo said...

I am sorry to hear about your brother. That is scary. That song you posted is scary too. Why does everything have to be scary in my life right now? I have been waiting for the pink cloud everyone talks about and it just ain't happening.

Anyway, it is good that you are talking about this. Just speaking for myself, it helps me feel less alone. I'm kinda glad I came out of the closet about being a junkie. All these people, such as yourself, have offered me words of encouragement.