Expression Kills

Expression Kills

I am not unknown for my conformity issues. This might seem like a desperate attempt to find another ‘Road Less Travelled’ and a contrived challenge to the accepted norms, but do try to look beyond finding fault in the writer and focus on the subject matter howsoever hard it may seem. Maybe it will open an eye you have shut wide thus far.

The ‘accepted norm’ in this case is the unflattering, uninhibited and to a large extent unconcealed attraction of the crowds, audience rather, towards the lead singer in a band. I have always felt for the drummer who sat behind his assortment or the synth player lurking deep in shadows for the entire duration of the performance stepping out for a sip of water in between songs or to take a collective bow at the end of the end of the show. All this while the lead singer and the guitarists take their numerous bows, yelling their countless ‘Thank you-s’. Even the bass guitarist has his moments during the course of the night – what with the archetypal demeanor and hairstyle (what’s with these guys? They seem like a common breed these days… certainly un-human-like!)

I have often thought that it is possible that guitar is a more charismatic instrument compared to its bretheren, but I have also since long discarded the idea. It can’t be. Even if it is, it is certainly no deal clincher the way it is made out to be on nights like the ones in discussion.

I have also been, ever since I have found myself to be one, an ardent supporter of the underdog. I did check whether it was a manifestation of that same sentiment that was at play when I felt for the less acknowledged and less loved members of the band. I have no better explanation than – my gut tells me it’s not that. I needed then to figure out what was it.

I went to a concert last night and attempted once more to get to the root of the dynamics of the elements at play during a performance, and yes, to try and have a good time too. As the night progressed, and yes, as I got more and more inebriated, I had a sudden clarity. It was expression, as the expression I hope would go, that kills.

There are those of us who are used to being the centre of attention and they love being there. For lack of a better way to put it, I feel they are maxed out. They are too exposed and reveal so much about them as they go along it is conceivable that there will be little in them that is not known by everyone. They’ll make their every thought, every action and every emotion very public. They have nothing in them left to themselves and they can’t cherish anything without sharing. All the elements that make a human being, for these people, are out in the public domain, open for scrutiny and judgment. They are yelling their lungs out and jumping around the jacks, like jacks for attention. For love.

Ignore the condescending tone, I really appreciate that hunger. The joy of getting that much by just being your natural self and uninhibited expression might actually be something tangible. But you have to embrace the downside of exposing your soul.

The band I had went to see perform had a sax player, who doubled up as a violinist and tripled up as a recorder player. The serenity and peace on his face, the inability to perform any antics lent him a glow that shone him more brightly than the movers and shakers of the band. At least to me he seemed to be wielding an aura of mystery that worked like magic. The enigma of his persona filled the room.

His music was soulful and I found myself waiting in eager anticipation of his solos. The music from his multiple instruments were pregnant with a charm that was characteristic of him. At the end of one of his solos, he opened his eyes only to wink at one of the girls standing in the front row, tuned into his music with rapt attention. That was the most dramatic act he dared that evening. I wouldn’t be surprised if the girl was his girlfriend or wife.

To me, hence, simplicity and the quiet fashion in which people go about their work holds a charm irresistible.

As they say – Expression Kills.


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