Friday Noir: The Price You Pay
The bones have stopped rattling against each other in your fist,
You’re ready to shoot those dice.
You’ve gassed and oiled up your heap.
Those big fat bootlegger tires are ready to squeal and smoke.
You’ve kissed that pretty little baby of yours one last time.
She’ll be alright.
You’re just to end up caught in a dream where everything goes wrong.
Where the dark of night holds back the light of day.
It is what it is.
Que sera, sera, and all that jazz, right?
You’ve made up your mind, you chose the chances you take.
All that’s left to do is stand and fight for the price you pay.
The song comes from the band’s 1980 album The River, a LP that represents the dualities of Springsteen music: The all-out hard rockin’ stadium number (like Ramrod, The Ties That Bind, I Wanna Marry You) to the darker, introspective songs that examine everyday life of those struggling to get out from under, to understand, to figure it all out (like The River, Stolen Car, Drive All Night, The Price You Pay).
A few weeks ago, I was out for a Sunday morning run. Since March, I’ve been running more and more, and I usually use it as a time go just put one foot in front of the other, doing my roadwork and think. No iPod, no music. But this day, I was listening to music. I was thinking about the Bruce Noir presentation and it was starting to take shape. This song came on as I making my final kick to my end and it just struck me that The Price You Pay is the title for my presentation.
It works, because it sums up much of what classic film noir is to me, be it The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, even the neo-noir film Payback (which, is based on a Donald Westlake novel called The Hunter, and made into a 1967 movie called Point Blank starring Lee Marvin. Point Blank is the title of another song on The River. See that circle I made?): Each of the characters is dealing with an outcome brought on by their own doing. It’s about characters seduced by living on the outside margins of everyday life. People struggling against a world closing in.
It’s the price they pay for being in their racket, whatever that may be.
So, I wanted to create a picture to illustrate this song. It’s more contemplative than aggressive. No well-oiled .45’s in the frame, nothing like that. Just The Man In The Fedora, in some beautiful window light, considering what was, what is, what will be. My caption above is a mixture of my storytelling and the lyrics from the song.
Me and Bruce, collaborating. Heh.
Here’s a live version of the band doing The Price You Pay in Philly, 2009.
© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2013