Some writers were discussing how hard published novelists can labor, how so many of them can win countless awards, and yet they still cannot rise above mid-list status. Or they fail to be able to get another contract from traditional publishers because of numbers. Discouragement is a common condition. The feeling that so many are laboring in obscurity. Is God thwarting success?
That’s when I heard about the documentary, Searching for Sugar Man. Here’s the blurb: “Decades after Detroit singer-songwriter Rodriguez disappeared following the commercial failure of his two critically praised records in the 1970s, two fans from South Africa, where Rodriguez was a huge hit, try to track down their idol.”
First of all, I did love this guy’s sound, and I think, if I’d heard of him back in the late sixties and early seventies, I would have bought his albums. Very fitting for the time. Hippies. Anti-establishment protesters.
But what made me love this documentary was the story of the man who lived in obscurity, never knowing he was a major rock star in South Africa, certainly never knowing that he’d written and sung the soundtrack for those wanting to end apartheid, and definitely never getting the royalties from the half a million records sold in that country. And even when he discovered this strange fame in his late fifties, he still remained this very humble man living in very humble circumstances but without a shred of visible resentment for what didn’t happen in his life.
I give it a solid 4 stars.