Springingtiger's Blog


A Highwayman Again.

In my personal record collection I think I’ve got more CDs by Johnny Cash than any other artist. Okay my wife’s got more Elvis CDs, but I could listen to Johnny Cash all day and night without playing the same CD twice. Now instead of blogging I’m watching ‘The Highwayman: Friends To The End’.

Kris Kristofferson was expressing his awe at being on stage with his heroes and I thought, as I often do, of how one generation provides the foundation for the next, and the program kept reminding me of that. Johnny Cash gave Kristofferson his start, Willie Nelson’s guitar playing was inspired by Django Reinhardt. There’s a lovely scene of The Highwaymen meeting Gene Autry the singing cowboy who’s films inspired then as kids.

We can’t all be music stars, but in any walk of life the story is the same older more experienced people passing on what they’ve learned and encouraging the next generation. Actors do it. It happened in the studios of renaissance artists.  In the shipyards of the Clyde, the coal mines of Ayrshire, the engineering works of Springburn, on farms and in gardens across the land older workers have taught and mentored apprentices who grew into experienced workers and in turn passed on their skills to the next generation. The yards, the pits, the yards closed in the name of economics, it made financial sense. The older men ceased to bring on the next generation. Not only skills were lost, the working structure of society was lost. If there are problems in today’s we shouldn’t lay the blame on migrants or trades unionists, but on the men who put profit before people, cash before communities, who sold lives and principles for a quick buck.

At least while our society crumbles around us we still have our legends and as long as we have them we have hope. My personal legends include The Highwayman, but I’m in the latter half of my life, I hope I can leave some of my hope to fuel the dreams of my grandchildren.

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