Monday, December 31, 2012
When it comes to New Years I'm torn between two musical traditions. One is British and patriotic, the other has to do with American party music. It's an odd mixture, I admit, but there it is. I'll put up both types of songs and hope the incongruity won't cause pain.
That's "Rule Britannia" above. I love the line, "Britons never ever ever shall be slaves!"
Clara Butt (yes, that's her real name) recorded this version of "Land of Hope and Glory" in 1911. She had a matronly voice, a bit like Margaret Dumont's, but her version of this song is outstanding.
Lots of people prefer Vera Lynn's version of the same song (above). She's brilliant here.
Now for the dance music! Above, Toni Basil's version of the classic dance song, "Mickey."
Here's the ultra-danceable, ultra-bubble gum "Barbie Girl." YouTube is full of parodies of this.
Remember this (above)? Whatever happened to these girls?
Ah, "The Percolator." I sing this to myself sometimes when I'm raking the back yard.
Oh man, I wish I could do this!
Saturday, December 29, 2012
I'm writing this while half asleep so forgive me if it doesn't all make sense.
With my entire family away for the holiday the tasks I set for myself this Christmas were 1) to get story ideas by experiencing loneliness, and 2) to hang out with bachelors and report on the sucky way that I imagined they spend Christmas.
None of that panned out. Friends saw to it that I was never lonely and I discovered that there's a lively bachelor network that takes good care of its own, even on a family-biased holiday like Christmas. Well, live and learn.
Ah, but I do miss my family. None of them will let me talk about them here, which is a shame. I feel priviledged to know each one of them. You'd like them if you could meet them.
Geez, that kid in the picture above cleaned up! What a stash!
And Santa Clause and gift giving....those are genius ideas! The argument that Christmas is too commercial seems unconvincing to me. It certainly can become too commercial, but taken in the right proportion it fits right in to the traditional mood. It makes a sentimental and thought provoking holiday fun and magical as well as satisfying. I love the excruciating suspense that builds up to December 25th.
Posted by Eddie Fitzgerald at 3:03 AM
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Posted by Eddie Fitzgerald at 12:50 AM
Monday, December 24, 2012
I've always wondered what bachelors did on Christmas. If you don't have a family of your own, and your parents live far away, what do you do on...that night...Christmas Eve?
I guess you hang out with other bachelors, but what if there are no other bachelors? There's bound to be Christmas Eves where your bachelor friends are all inaccessible.
I'm about to find out because at the last minute my kids were prevented from visiting, and my wife is out of town. I've never, not even once, had to deal with something like this. In a whole lifetime it'll be my first Christmas alone. I'll have to be here by myself....just me...tossing playing cards into a hat.
The problem is that good friends heard about my problem and called to invite me to share their family Christmases. That's wonderful...I'm lucky to have friends like that...but they don't realize that this is my time to be exiled in the desert, my time to suffer. They say you'll never be a first-rate artist until you've suffered. How do I explain to my friends that I can't agonize over the sting of rejection while they're being nice to me?
UPDATE: I just returned home from a night of partying. There goes my resolve to suffer. Thanks to friends I'm doomed to be a shallow man, someone who's never been purified by the chastening fires of rejection.
Posted by Eddie Fitzgerald at 12:50 PM
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Saturday, December 22, 2012
'More great Christmas music and a few photos at the end.
That's Jo Jo and Auralynn above.
Posted by Eddie Fitzgerald at 12:09 PM
Friday, December 21, 2012
This (above) isn't a traditional Christmas song, but maybe it should be. Earlier peppy versions recorded when Dietrich was younger can be found, but this slow and throaty one from 1954 is full of experience and wisdom and conveys the meaning best in my opinion.
O'Connor's is the best modern version that I've heard. See if you agree.
This version (above) of Drummer Boy got so much radio play when it came out, that some people from that era can't bear to hear it any more. I think it still holds up.
Jonathan Antoine (above)...I never heard of him before I discovered him accidentally this morning. He's so awkward-looking that I thought the video must be a joke before I played it. Now I have played it and, believe me, this guy is no joke. He's rough around the edges, but he'll be a household name in a few years, wait and see.
I post this every year at Christmas, and will probably do the same thing next year. It's great, isn't it?
Posted by Eddie Fitzgerald at 1:02 AM
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Here's (above) a terrific version of "O Holy Night" but you may have to push a "Watch on YouTube" link to see it.
This song reminds me that Christmas is the ultimate philosopher's holiday. This is a day and a season that means something, that condenses two thousand years of thought and experience into a celebration that transmits some of the best ideas of Western Civilization.
This video (above) contains two songs, but the first is the one that interests me. It's amazing that a delicate song like "Silent Night" would work so well on a tin mechanical device that could fit into a jewelry box.
"Ave Maria" is an interesting song. It's full of opportunities for virtuoso singers to show what they can do, yet it's only satisfying when it's entirely devoid of egotism.
This version of "Jingle Bells" (above) is great, but it'll probably vanish in a few days. Sony won't allow it to stay up very long.
In my opinion Jingle Bells is the best of all secular Christmas songs. Who'd have thought that a song about the thrill of a sleigh ride, something that few living people have ever experienced, would make a good subject for a song?
From Phil Spectre's Christmas album, the Ronettes (above). Poor Spectre. He had a lot of talent before he snapped.
Posted by Eddie Fitzgerald at 11:05 AM
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
EXT. SCROOGE'S OFFICE: ORPHANS SING CHRISTMAS CAROLS ON THE CORNER.
CHARITY COLLECTOR: "Mr. Scrooge, how are you?"
SCROOGE: "I'll be better after I soak my hand. What do you want?"
SCROOGE: Ten pounds!? Are you nuts!!? Are there no workhouses? No treadmills? Get out! GET OUT!"
NO SOONER DO THE TWO COLLECTORS EXIT, THAN TWO MORE STEP INSIDE....
NEPHEW: "Uncle Scrooge! I came to wish you a Merry Christmas!!!"
NEPHEW: "How the heck are ya, Uncle? How the heck are ya'?"
NEPHEW: "Um...er...I don't suppose you could lend me a couple of pounds? I want to get a present for my...."
SCROOGE: "Go away. Just go away!"
THE NEPHEW EXITS.
SCROOGE (TO HIS CAT): "How are you, Bootsie? You don't want anything, do you?"
SCROOGE'S CAT BEGS WORDLESSLY FOR MORE FISH HEADS.
HIS DOG BEGS FOR A BIGGER BONE.
THE GOLDFISH BEGS FOR MORE TURTLE FOOD.
SCROOGE: "Humbug! I can't get any work done here!"
SCROOGE: "Cratchet, you should count yourself lucky. You live in a miserable hovel, you eat rats just to get a little protein, but at least your little crippled boy, Tiny Tim, has a level head. He's not interested in baubles and toys like the rest of these ninnies."
HE IS DEFINITELY INTERESTED IN BAUBLES AND TOYS!
CRATCHET: "UM, Mr. Scrooge....er, could you see your way to lending me a pound or two so the family can buy presents for...."
ON THE STREET: SCROOGE WALKS HOME:
CROWD OF PANHANDLERS: "Spare change?" "Brother, can you spare a pence?" "C'mon...just a ha'penny!" "Spread a little lovin.' "
SCROOGE: "No! No! Nada! Zip! Nein!"
CROWD OF PANHANDLERS (CONT): " 'Spare a farthing?" Two pence is all I ask!" Spare change?" "Don't be a tightwad!" "Let's have it, ya old miser!
SCROOGE: "NO! Nope! Not a chance! Naah! Uh-uh! No!"
MARLEY (WAILS LIKE A GHOST): "S C R O O O O O G E!!!!!"
Aaaaargh! I goofed up the whole story! It could have been a lot funnier. I just didn't have time to do it right. There's so much to do in the week before Christmas! *Sigh!*
Posted by Eddie Fitzgerald at 1:28 AM