In April, Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull will be releasing a sequel to their classic prog-rock album, Thick as a Brick, called somewhat less imaginatively, Thick as a Brick 2. Based on this preview trailer, it may be very good, even if almost by definition, it cannot possible match the impact of the original.
Thick as a Brick remains one of my favorite listening experiences. To some extent this is simple nostalgia, leavened with the imprint it made on my young and still plastic mind. Still, I think it is a remarkable bit of rock history, and one which stands the test of time far better than many of its contemporaries.
It also provided me with this amusing story.
In 1978 I took a course called “Oral Interpretation,” basically a guide to dramatic public reading. As part of the class we had to adapt excerpts from various works of memoir, fiction, and poetry for performance. Being a Tull fan, and not wanting to bother trying to find a real poet to use, I selected a chunk of lyrics from Thick as a Brick. After three minutes of solemnly intoning such classic lines as “I may make you feel but I can’t make you think. Your sperm’s in the gutter, your love’s in the sink,” my instructor heartily applauded and asked the name of the poet. Without missing a beat I replied, ”Gerald Bostock. He’s new.” The instructor dutifully noted the name as the class snickered.
You know, this just occurred to me. “I may make you feel, but I can’t make you think” is a surprisingly good summation of Hidden City, and of my life in general.