Pop group, The Stone Roses, are set to reform amid rumours (yes, this is gossip) that the singer Ian Brown needs 'Fools Gold' (the title of one of their songs) to, rumour (yes, that'll be gossip) has it, help him settle up for a divorce from his lady wife.
Everyone knows that divorce is a terrible, tragic thing for individuals, families and society. Everyone knows it is terrible and damaging. Nobody really wins. This is why some firms of solicitors advertise nowadays, quite brazenly, the fact that they can offer the public 'great deals' on divorce settlements, advice and the rest with big banners above their offices entrance saying 'Get divorced here'. Even the breakdown of human relationships is a source of revenue and money nowadays.
With such a high percentage of marriages ending in divorce nowadays (is it one in two or three now?), it isn't surprising that some, even within the Church, rather resent Christ's teaching on it and would rather He hadn't said what He said about the matter and the subsequent teaching that the Church continued to proclaim after He had ascended and sent the Holy Spirit to guide Her into all truth. Such a teaching didn't always win the Apostles friends then and it doesn't win those of their Successors who are brave enough to repeat it today.
Like many teachings of Holy Church there is no doubt that the Church's teaching on divorce, remarriage and the rest is 'difficult'. I'm just now trying to think of an area of Church teaching which isn't 'difficult'. Ah...no, I can't. What a surprise. Divorce ruins peoples lives and there is plenty of evidence on the net in terms of studies to suggest that it is especially damaging to children, yes even rich children. Anyway, regardless of why Ian Brown and The Stone Roses are reforming (which will interest some and leave other readers mystified), I thought I'd just compile a small list of rockstars and popstars who have divorced. Could the problem be that too many of them just 'wanna be adored' or are rockstar/popstar divorces and their incredible frequency just reflective of a society that can't handle marriage, children and the vows they made when they were 'in love'.
Rock is, as the Holy Father has noticed, the Devil's playground. Here's that list. I don't understand quite why so many of these people are pin ups, modern heroes, people that people want to emulate, people that people near worship...
Noel Gallagher (Oasis)
Liam Gallagher (Oasis)
Amy Winehouse (now deceased)
Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi)
Roger Waters (Pink Floyd)
The Edge (U2)
Slash (Guns 'n' Roses)
Paul McCartney (The Beatles)
...the list goes on...and on and in fact, unless you only like classical music, I expect that at least 70% of your record or CD collection was recorded by a divorced rock/pop star. Now. I am a poor sinner and I am in no position to 'cast the first stone' and indeed nobody ever pretended that the rock hall of fame was a Litany of the Saints. Each of the above and their rock and pop counterparts will have their own personal, possibly quite harrowing reasons and stories behind marital breakdowns. I know it isn't something we should be voyeuristic about and we are not to judge. We know that Our Lord doesn't snuff out waning candles or crush broken reeds and Our Lord loves the broken-hearted ('What becomes of the broken hearted?').
There just seems to be a trend in rock and pop to enter into this realm of fantasy, ego-centrism so that people become divorced from reality and end up in divorce settlements. Who am I, indeed, such a wretched sinner to judge? Still, I do find the trend among the modern musicians to divorce intriguing. How on earth could that small, and it must be small, minority of pop and rock stars who do settle down and have a family cope with the vast array of temptation that must come their way? Do rockstars, the men at least, always remain 'children' and never accept responsibility and the reality of family life which is, to many, myself included, rather daunting or even frightening.
It is also telling in another sense, in as much as it is incredibly difficult nowadays, to find a 'rock/pop' star who is able to say anything, and I mean, anything, positive about the Pope or the Catholic Church and yet some are Catholics. Many musicians are 'tortured' souls dealing with inner 'demons'. Music is for many cathartic. Many songs, even modern ones, express a yearning for redemption, unconditional love, meaning and ache that we all have within us for God. Consciously or unconsciously, many pen songs that can touch upon our deepest spiritual yearnings for comfort and consolation or understanding.
Yet, if you can find a modern musical artist who can be questioned about the Pope or the Church without slagging both off about Aids, HIV, condoms, teaching on contraception, abortion, homosexuality, and the usual areas of 'difficulty' then I will give you, as Cardinal Arinze once said, a 'turkey', maybe even for Christmas, though I expect the Christmas number one will take care of that. Some of the modern musicians are even Catholic, as I say, albeit lapsed. Maybe there is a bit of a trade off, I don't know, as if someone were to speak out for the Church then their record sales would hit the floor or something.
Like I say, I'm not judging these people listed above or the many others who divorce. It is their heartbreak we are discussing. I just don't know how healthy it is for a society to put these people on pedestals like it does and to near worship them even though, really, in terms of wives, husbands, mothers and fathers, they are simply not good role models. I don't believe that 30 somethings out there are going around thinking, "That Ian Brown is cool. He's the singer of the Stone Roses. He's getting divorced. Right, that's it, I'm getting divorced too!" I just think that perhaps 30 somethings shouldn't be thinking, "Great, the Stone Roses are reforming! Wow! I'm getting a ticket no matter how much it costs." Why? Because he's got a child with his wife and his marriage is falling apart. Meanwhile, the guy, no matter what his reasons, is off to tour with the band of his youth and I think that that is ultimately terribly, terribly sad. Secondly, I saw them live the last time they toured and they were absolutely atrocious then. I can't think of any reason why they should have improved this time. The man can't sing for Heaven's sake.
The really irritating thing is that Ian Brown and a lot of the modern musicians are also so terribly self-righteous. So many of the above are always lauded for their commitment to social causes, or for slagging off the Government, or condemning corruption, or for wanting to end poverty, or feed the World, or something perfectly noble like that. Meanwhile, when it actually comes to true charity, which, as we know, begins at home and the self-sacrificing love that it takes for marriage and family life...well, it just becomes the 'creative spark' needed for that 'difficult' second or third album. As Ian Brown once said on Newsnight before a confused BBC presenter, Tracey MacLeod on The Late Show..."Amateurs!"
Is he still going to wear that dollar bill-decorated t-shirt?