If you had asked me last week if I’d be moved by a closing performance by Queen at the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, I’d say, umm, probably not.
But then on Thursday, I watched Bohemian Rhapsody, and that changed everything.
Have you seen the movie? You kinda can’t take your eyes off Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury. He’s mysterious and sexy, and just by being, well, him, he challenges convention and elevates personality to a high art.
And so when I turned on the TV tonight (you crazy? I wasn’t going to shove my way into Central Park with 60,000 people in it), and saw Queen (with Adam Lambert as the Mercury stand-in), I was…enthralled. And moved.
Like most of the world, I already have Queen melodies and lyrics baked into my brain. But having seen the movie, I felt emotions I wouldn’t have felt—even a surprising wave of nostalgia.
One particularly moving moment was when they cut to actual video of Mercury doing that call-and-response thing he was famous for.
There he was, calling out in his bright yellow jacket at the London Olympic Games in the 80s…and 60,000 people in New York in 2019 called back.
THAT moment struck me, hard.
Mercury died in 1991. Would he have imagined, from that stage, that day, that three decades later, people would be shouting back at him across that void, even then? Maybe he did.
It doesn’t matter if you saw the concert, or if you have any feeling about Queen at all.
The point is that art that moves people lasts. And not nice, neat, polite art that you do to please someone else, or when you have time for it, but the kind of art you’re willing to risk things for. Maybe everything.
One of the best lines in the movie is delivered by Mercury to famed manager John Reed, who asks him what’s so different about Queen.
Mercury doesn’t say, “oh because we’re passionate about what we do, we love it, we love playing music.” Nope.
“We’re four misfits who don’t belong together, playing to the other misfits…who are pretty sure they don’t belong either. We belong to them.”
If you want someone to fall in love with what you do, with what you offer, they have to feel it belongs to them, too. They have to love it so much, they’d shout across decades, just to keep the song alive.
Art doesn’t last because of that one person’s passion, or because of its “owner.” If art (in whatever form yours takes) is to last, someone else must feel they own it, too.
Art lasts because you own a piece of it; it’s yours to keep. The question is, do you have something to share that someone else wants to keep?
HOW SERIOUS ARE YOU ABOUT THIS?
…If you want to spend more time creating things that matter, you need to make the time to do it. You can’t wait for inspiration to strike, or someone to ask you for it. You need to push aside a lot of things and people so you can have SPACE to do it in.
I can help, if you want.
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Seriously, check it out. The sense of accomplishment you get from spending time on the stuff that matters to you is like nothing else.
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