Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The pleasure of love lasts only a moment, but the pain of love lasts a whole life long.

As sung by Taylor Mac in his concert of popular music from the 1780s, (with the original French sung by Nina Mankin.) There's pretty much no way to convey the context of this song, or the direction that Taylor took it, without writing for about an hour now, so let me say, without worrying if I might confuse you, because Taylor pointed out that worrying is boring and undramatic—in fact, by definition repetitive—let me say that it's the 1780s, and the country has just come through the Revolutionary War, and we are figuring out who we are in peacetime, but we're too hepped up from war to know what to do with peace, and so we create drama where there is none, because we think we need to replicate a certain level of drama, and then some people do some things and then some other people do some other things, and all this is, of course, illustrated in spectacular song, and then a woman has a secret, and it's too vulnerable to share, but then she feels like maybe it's OK to share it in French, and she does:

Plaisir d'amour ne dure qu'un moment;
Chagrin d'amour dure toute la vie.

And then Taylor says, "OK, you said it in French. Now let's say it in English." And so they sing it in English, 

The pleasure of love lasts only a moment;
The pain of love lasts a whole life long. 

and then Taylor thinks, "That's not much of a secret. There has to be something else." And then he decides (or maybe he realizes) that the real secret is that she likes it. She likes the pain. She likes the life-long pain of love. And I wonder how many other people in the audience thought to themselves, "Yes, girl. That's right." 

But oh, that moment of pleasure. Made even sweeter because I was there with my son, his first time seeing Taylor, in all his brilliance, complexity, humor, and voice.

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