We Are the Champions
My share of sand kicked in my face
If I had written this post a few months ago it would have had a jubilant tone. I feel more somber now. A rise in hate crimes really has me and many others really worried. But maybe we all need to tap into our bravado for the next couple years. We need to have a thicker skin and be ready to fight for our beliefs because we are going to have to do a lot of cleanup and rebuilding of bridges when all is said and done.
Back in the early seventies I had no idea what my beliefs were. I thought the world was a magical place. I thought Portland was the world–that the Hollywood neighborhood was THE Hollywood everyone talked about, and that musicians like Queen wrote about our basketball team.
I remember my family driving in our red Chevrolet past the Memorial coliseum. Traffic was moving slowly. The drivers were honking their horns and hooting out their windows. My parents had the radio on and the deejay was yelling the Blazers have won! He was so excited! Then the opening notes of a song rolled out, with the lyrics following up:
I’ve paid my dues
Time after time.
I don’t know if that opening phrase is what charmed me. What charmed me was the absolutism of the phrase We are the champions of the world. I think I liked how melodramatic it was, and still is.
I became a big radio listener. I would put a transistor radio under my pillow at night. The big coup was getting a clock radio with a timer so I could fall asleep listening. Saturdays was the top forty countdown with Casey Kasem. Then I started buying 45s and winning record albums off the radio: Glass Houses and Do You Wanna Go Party. I loved the radio because it was a gamble that they’d play your favorite song.
When I lived on my own at eighteen I started buying record albums–goth record albums like the Cure and Bauhaus, Alien Sex Fiend, Gene loves Jezebel and Cocteau Twins. Friends made me tapes of This Mortal Coil and more Cocteau Twins. Fun times!
We could all go on about the soundtracks of our lives with eloquence and this is just a small part of mine. And I’m not that eloquent.
About two decades ago I decided I needed to own some Queen, Abba, Hall and Oates and Heart. I bought all of their greatest hits albums. Listened to them non stop on the boom box. And when I heard We Are the Champions again I just fell in love. I love the cockiness, or the jubilant tone of the song. I loved that the singer went through hard times but was still sassy. I could relate. The word choices or phrases are top notch: it’s been no bed of roses /no pleasure cruise. It’s just poetry to a poet-lovely. Takes schoolyard or athlete’s smack talk to a new level. Love it!
Recently the RNC used We Are the Champions at their convention, without permission of course. Seriously, an anti-LGBTQ GOP used a Queen song! Thoughtless! I think now we’ve got to fight to be champions because our country is coming off as idiot losers.
This song has kept calling my name. Recently I wrote a poem called Bravado Under the Skin. In it I state that I am a champion of the world. Question is are you? I believe we are all champions of the world. Meet me there.