Monday, March 29, 2010

Ray Davies “Working Man’s Café”

I heard Whoopi Goldberg talking about her movie career, and how, the more famous she got, the harder it was for her to get cast in interesting roles---especially movies that were set in the past.

Essentially, she had gone from actor to celebrity, and in that transition, producers felt that her real personality trumped her acting talent. In her words, her presence “took viewers out of the movie.” You couldn’t be transported to the 1920’s, because as soon as she walked into the Speakeasy on screen, the viewer would think, “Hey, there’s Whoopi Goldberg.”

I kind of have that same problem with Ray Davies.

He’s always been a vignette-ist, sketching scenes and characters. But at some point, for me, he is Ray Davies. Ray Davies of The Kinks. And when he sings about meeting an old friend at a café, it’s not Everyman, or me, that I picture. It’s Ray Davies. Ray Davies of The Kinks. And it kind of takes me out of the story.

Which is too bad, because a writer shouldn’t be limited to writing from a solely personal perspective. He should be able to assume a character, to transform and become, like an actor.

But unfortunately, despite what the artist wants, it’s the audience that interprets the art, and for that matter, the artist.

Ray talks about his character sketches, in his tour diary

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