([Nearly] Wordless Wednesday) Dancing With the Canadians

February 2, 2011

Bebop

 

Bow to your corner

 

La gigue

 

Charleston

 

Twist

 

Smile! You're on Canada Camera.


(Wordless Wednesday) How He Knows If You’ve Been Bad or Good

December 8, 2010

Hint: check rollover tags.

 


(Wordless Wednesday) Sartor Resartus, or The Photographer Photographed

November 17, 2010


No Legs Were Broken in the Making of This Concert

June 1, 2010

…although it was touch-and-go for a moment at the rehearsal on Sunday, when one of the First Sopranos missed her footing. E.g. sez that the role of a final rehearsal is to make all of the mistakes and get ’em over with instead of saving ’em for the concert.

I don’t know about you, but singing tends to take me over, to suck me through a vortex of reality dimensions until I can almost reach out and pluck those lost dryer socks from the air (which one of you is missing a blue argyle?).

I was afraid that I wouldn’t get to that point tonight. I was feeling out of sorts, and huddled in a chair with a blankie, books, and herbal tea for most of today while the rain soaked the garden and the dump trucks and back hoes rumbled through their work on the City’s water main. On Sunday, my recitation of “Abou Ben Adhem” had been stiff and inaccurate. What if I blew it tonight? What if I froze?

Then I remembered what had happened at the rehearsal when I did freeze, on no less than the very first line: One of the Basses, an octogenarian, started reciting:

Abou Ben Adhem (May his tribe increase!)

It would be all right; I would candidly ask him for the next line if I got stuck anywhere.

Tonight, the choir arrived an hour ahead of time. We practised around the grand piano, and then retreated to a small room with an upright. By that point, I felt warmed-up enough that I kept quiet and listened to the others. And, you know? They were good. They were getting the right notes, they were in time, they were blending. We were ready. My anxieties melted.

On with the show, then. My voice soared, my toes tapped, my face beamed. “Abou Ben Adhem” went without a hitch. The others succeeded at their solos, readings, and trios — all except the octogenarian Bass, who graciously bowed out from his solo when he found his voice wasn’t cooperating.

After the concert, the choir again retreated to a small room, this time to place all our sheet music in appropriate piles for the librarian to file away. I turned to my Bass friend.

“Thank you for your help tonight.”

“Eh? What help was that?”

“I knew that if I got stuck reciting ‘Abou Ben Adhem’, I would be able to look to you for help, so I didn’t get nervous.”

“Well you know, I could probably recite only the first two lines of it myself.”

But…whatever works, right?

(PS Guess who made the poster?)


GC-14 and Little Willy

February 12, 2009

geoffrey_chaucer_2817th_century29
Geoff (stage name GC-14) adjusts his lapel mike. Photo courtesy Wikicommons.

I’m pretty fussy when it comes to pop music. I like a nice hummable tune, interesting instrumentation, and lyrics that mean something. As a teen I claimed to dislike disco because its lyrics were often insipid; some big hits contained only half a dozen words. (Though truth to tell, it’s just as much because disco was such happy music that moody Turtle Teen didn’t care for it. )

I never really understood rap music, either. There’s plenty of meaning in its words, even if I don’t understand all of them; some expressions seem to be new to the English language. But tuneless lyrics? I didn’t get it.

Shame on me.

In the 14th Century, a rap artist named Geoffrey Chaucer was knocking ’em dead onstage. He protested the excesses of the Church and the inanities of the over-indulged; he joked about sexual infidelities; he took potshots at minor government officials. Most people in his audience didn’t own any books, and many were barely literate.

Two hundred years later, a radical named William Shakespeare thumbed his nose at the Puritan authorities and penned sexy, satirical, sensitive stageplays in a funky backbeat rhythm of ten beats per line. When the words didn’t fit quite right or didn’t express what he wanted to say, he invented new ones.

If the works of Chaucer and Shakespeare were taught properly in school — with emphasis on hearing those works rather than reading them — the commonalities between them and rap would be more apparent.

Stage entertainment. Rhythm and rhyme. Reflection and social critique. Ingenuity, passion — and spoken, not sung. Rap is POETRY, you silly Turtle! If you want tune, go listen to Silver Convention’s “Fly, Robin, Fly.”


Stream of Consciousness

January 29, 2009

Mired in thoughts

about this and that, here and there, now and then.

I muck around the ‘net

until time runs out,

and still my imagination is dry.

“Add New Post”?

But there’s nothing, nothing…

Then it laps downstairs

like crystal brook water:

Eleanor Plunkett.

She’s playing the harp.

Flow gently, sweet Afton.

Remember me to one who lives there.


Real-time Rock Music

November 7, 2008

Mick Jagger can finally retire.

Oh, I don’t mean anything about his fabulous wealth, or his knighthood. I mean he’s 65 this year. Paul McCartney is a year older still, and Keith Richards will hit the big 6-5 next month (December 18) .

So much for “Never trust anyone over 30”.

I’ve decided, then, as a tribute to all the musicians I grew up with (back when 680 CFTR had DJs) , to share some song titles and band names that might suit our well-over-30 lifestyles. Most of them might remind you of hits from 1975 or thereabouts.

Since not a single agent has called to sign me onto their country music label, I’m not going to waste my energies writing lyrics; best leave that in the hands of the pros. Here are my tribute pieces.

  1. You’re So Vane by Carly Simon and the Rheumarhythms
  2. Bad Blood by Neil Sedaka and the Cholesterettes
  3. When I Was 64 by Paul McCartney
  4. You’re in My Heart by Rod Stewart and the Pacemakers
  5. Low Rider by Scooter War
  6. It’s Hip to be Squaredancing by Huey Lewis and the Olds
  7. Sister Bluerinse Hair by America
  8. The Land Six Feet Under by Men Who Used to Work
  9. Splenda Brown Sugar by Trying to Lose a few Stones
  10. Get Up Today by KC and the Sunshine Band

Keep on truckin’, everybody!