The Alchemist, The Modern Lover & Vermeer

Vermeer was eerie
Vermeer was strange
He had his own color range
As if born in a more modern age
They may be oh a hundred or so years ago

What’s this a ghost in the gallery
Great Scot the Martians are here
Why are his paintings so unlike the others
Unlike the other ones so near
No one was like Vermeer ( Jonathan Richman, No One Was Like Vermeer )

Vermeer, The Lacemaker

Vermeer, The Lacemaker



So unlike the others,Jonathan Richman, himself an eternal youth with an affecting nostalgia for a time that never existed. A timeless romanticism and vital  reinvention of time and space.Like his paen to Dutch baroque painter Vermeer or song Pable Picasso. The Alchemist, the book by Paul Coelho, could be an allegory for Richman on his journey to fulfill his personal legend. Alchemist, in turn was inspired by the short story Tale of Two Dreamers by Jorge Luis Borges. whose central  plot of two dreamers dreaming of treasure which in turn is inspired from folk tales and legend of dreamers who seek treasure abroad only to find it at home. A duality of looking within and looking without.Coelho writes in hauntingly spare prose, a narrative following  a young Andalusian shepherd into the desert on his quest for a dream and the fulfilment of his destiny. Jonathan Richman is a metaphor for the shepherd, both  cool and uncool, the cult status among the lonely, misunderstood, sentimental and sad romantics who want to voyage on a long and winding road and come home, unpack, and rest. 

”As soon as he starts to sing, he also starts to dance, and he dances so exquisitely that he immediately becomes tall. Sometimes he gets carried away and puts the guitar down on the floor so he can dance better. Then he whirls around and kicks up into the rafters, wagging his finger here and there, and doesn’t stop frowning until he’s picked up the guitar again.

As Jonathan Richman roams the desert, a shepherd without sheep… Coelho’s book is tucked under his arm, he dreams, his mind wanders and he awakes. Signs are everywhere….A wise man appears on the horizon ,an odd type, African origin, and wearing a tattered baseball uniform, on the back is inscribed ”Satchell Paige” , and announcing himself as the other,other wise man.  They walk and come to road signs’‘How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” ”Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt and dance like nobody ‘s watching……Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.” the goal will always be the same Richman says; to achieve vision of an acoustic sound which could offer a greater emotional range by combing quiet tenderness and romanticism alongside the raucous intensity of rock’s post-war rhythm and blues origins, without requiring electronics and loud volume levels to achieve its purpose.

What’s the world’s greatest lie? It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. …The boy didn’t know what a person’s “destiny” was. It’s what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their destiny is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their destiny. … And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. …Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.The boy and his heart had become friends, and neither was capable now of betraying the other. …

highslide" onclick="return vz.expand(this)" href="">The Alchemist, Coelho

The Alchemist, Coelho



This very strange wise man; he took Richman’s sheepskin water bottle, smelt the contents, and emptied it , declaring it to be full of despair and little hope; He walked with him several miles,steering away from the shore, towards the center, the heavy sirens and wails of sickness slowly becoming less audible.


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