The cosmic irony of Gil Scott-Heron’s passing isn’t lost on me. Gil Scott was one of America’s true geniuses. He was as soulful as Marvin Gaye but flirted with more radical edges. Gil Scott was an April Fool, born 4/1/49. He was a true April Fool, because he saw the world clearly, sometimes too clearly and while he sang about injustice and inequality, one never really got the sense that he was ever truly bitter or cynical. For a deeply penetrating social critic, Gil Scott sang a helluva lot about brotherhood and love. He also sang sweetly about women on tunes like “Precious Time” and children (his own) on, “Your Daddy Loves You.” He was a true romantic underneath the smoldering rage and informed indignity, which made his more polemic tracks even more potent. Make no mistake, Gil Scott-Heron sang from his heart.
This past year, I exerted some effort to get him on my radio show. An old friend in the music biz had helped put out his last record and I reached out to see if we could make it happen, but I never got a reply. Must have been the website.
Gil Scott had descended into drug use over the years and it wasn’t pretty, things like this can happen when an open heart and equally open mind isn’t sufficiently buttressed from the horrors of this world. But he had made a comeback, a serious comeback on my friends label with, “I’m New Here” his first real record in years. It would be his final words in sound. Critically acclaimed, he at least went out with honors.
I could get into how Uranus was conjunct his Moon and Saturn conjunct his natal Neptune, both getting pulled on by the planet of death, Pluto in Capricorn. The astro-equations might add up to his demise or what we like to call it in certain circles “a change of state,” but I’d rather focus on his natal Sun in Aries and the events of the day that seem ever more timely in the wake of his passing. Let’s look at them.
THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED (BUT YOU MIGHT FIND IT ON YOUTUBE)
The song that is and always will be associated with Gil Scott is of course, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” He was waaaay ahead of the temporal curve on this one, even if he was more ironically on point, versus tacitly correct. He was basically saying that television was such a commercial and corporate driven entity, that they would never dare to show true images of dissent, however, I think that Scott-Heron actually believed that the revolution would take place. It didn’t. Blame it on alternate timelines or the co-optation of the sixties generation; Jerry Rubin on Wall Street, The Clintons in the White House. . . .
Like most prophets, he was right before his time, even if he was slightly off in his prophecies. But it won’t be the radical pose that Scott-Heron occasionally struck which I reflect on this day, it’s his love of his fellow man, his terrific sense of humor, his social conscience, his keen song craft and his ability to sing the blues more intelligently than anyone else I’ve ever heard.
SOARING DEBT AND TEMPERS
As Uranus settles ever more deeply into Aries, a sense of palpable tension rises. All across Europe, from Italy, Spain and Greece, to Ireland and even England, people are reacting to what’s been politely termed “austerity measures” enforced by the IMF, who lay down the terms and conditions for debt repayment. We recently witnessed the seamy fall of Dominique Strauss-Khan, in some sort of weird honeytrap that might have been a manifestation of his distended desire and unclaimed guilt and/or it could have been a set up. In any case, the woman rumored to replace him, Christine Lagarde would be even harsher on countries like Greece in terms of austerity according to the EU Observer. Seems like Strauss-Khan was confused. Apparently he was supposed to be more of a prick instead of using more of his prick. Guess he didn’t get the memo about the hammer of Thor coming down on defaulting economies. Well, Spain sure as hell did.
Protests have erupted in Spain due to planned “austerity measures” and of course, people have done what they have done for time immemorial when these sorts of things have happened, they went outside and made some noise, and in Spain’s case, relatively quiet noise. These were peaceful demonstrations, but the police missed the morning briefing (or maybe they didn’t). Looking like dark stormtroopers in shock-proof-exoskeletons, they were not shy about using force. This wasn’t the conflicted Egyptian police and army that struggled to take up arms against their brethren, no, these automatons in Spain were the living incarnates of Robocop, stripped of their emotions, loyalty, sense of culture and connection. They were in short, heartless android thugs. What? You didn’t see this on the news? How could they not show it? Uh-huh. Remember what Gil Scott said? “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” But with Uranus in Aries and the intensity of the upcoming eclipse on July 1st, the protests will be too big and too loud to ignore. We are staring down a revolutionary Summer. I am not rooting for this, however I believe that the chance we will see even more widespread global unrest is about even money in Vegas right now. We have economies going full tilt and debtors going full metal jacket. Something has to give.
On a day when the sweetest poet of rage ascended to a brand new sense of freedom, a brand new sense of time, he leaves behind hoards of sleepers awakening to the greatest con of them all; The plunder of the Earth and the protection of that plunder at all costs, in the name of the select few who got there first or if they didn’t, managed to buy off or evict those that did.
Vintage Scott-Heron from the 1970s. “The Bottle.”