Sax and Violins

I try very hard to live my life with no regrets.  I’m happy to say that I have largely succeeded.

However.

When I was 6, I started taking guitar lessons.  I still remember begging my parents to make that happen.  I went through several guitar instructors, entered some competitions (which I won) until the ripe old age of 10, at which point I told my parents I was done, for reasons I won’t go into right now.  I’ve never really regretted my decision, since I have worked hard to continue to have music play a large role in my life.

There was one teacher in particular who to this day, I will never forget.  He lived in a grand house with sweeping staircases, and we would have lessons in his library.  His library was an actual room with BOOKS in it.  He was very sweet and kind, and encouraged me to branch out into other musical pursuits, such as the violin and hawaiian style or slide guitar.  I thought he was the best thing ever.  My parents let me practice violin for a week, at which point my violin career ended.

So the other night, it suddenly occurred to me that I wish I had insisted to my parents that I wanted to continue branching out my musical training to other instruments like the violin.  And I also wish my guitar teacher who encouraged that hadn’t died of a stroke so soon after I began training with him.   I think my life would be very different now had he lived longer.

I think I’ll dust off my saxaphone.

Autumn heat.

Autumn sunshine and autumn leaves conspire to wrap my vision in blazing colors, filling the day with warmth like that of a roaring fire, a cozy wool scarf, a creamy mug of hot cocoa. As if to say yes, the heat of summer is leaving, but there is warmth in winter too. And oh by the way, here is summer’s Grand Finale! I pronounce my requisite oohs and aahs, and shop for pretty big mugs, and contemplate knitting with alpaca.

Welcome, autumn.

The Politics of Silence

Shall I speak of silence?
It flows from me like an invisible tidal wave
Perfectly formed in its silent conflagration

Shall I speak of caution?
It is a paroxysmal pursuit
Couched in silence, draped in regret.

Shall I speak, then, of regret?
It flows through me with no ripple or trace
Dealing damage only realized with time

Let me speak of desire unknown
It consumes me and is consumed
Until nothing is left but glowing, ashen remembrances

Silence, caution and regret.
A stalemated, paralyzing trinity
Enemies of desire.

Old friends, reunited.

There are a handful of musical artists who epitomize my childhood.  The singers and albums that defined my teenage years.  The ones whose voice can instantly transport you to that time, like it was just yesterday.

For me, that short list includes names like the police, the cure, husker du, sinead o’connor, berlin, til tuesday.  The songs, the voices, they are like old friends who always know just the right thing to say to make you smile, who remember what you were like when you were younger, more idealistic.

Imagine my delight when I was reintroduced to one of these old friends with whom I’d lost touch.  The moment her voice drifted from the speakers to my waiting ears was like running into one of those old friends who you’d lost touch with, and finding that friendship, that connection is still going strong even after all this time.  It’s comforting, yet unsettling a little bit.  Much like going home and finding your parents have kept your room exactly like you left it after years have passed…

It’s good to see you again, Aimee.

The Fair Returns.

I have very important news to tell you, interwebs.  You best sit down.

Sitting?

Ok.

So, I tend to scoff at screaming squealy fangirl/fanboi displays.  And when I say tend to, I mean seriously people, have some dignity, would you?  Just because someone has achieved success in music or film, doesn’t mean they are any better a person that you or I.  Assuming you and I aren’t serial killers or pedophiles or psychotic lunatics, of course.

(Damn.  Now I’m gonna get google hits for pedophiles and serial killers.  One can never win this google war, fer fuck’s sake.)

Now, mind you, I have my favorite public figures.  And as you may or may not know, one of the people on top of that list is Sarah McLachlan.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned her?  Once or twice?  No?  Lies!  You OBVIOUSLY never read my blog, EVER.

Yes, so I’m a big Sarah fangirl.  I think she’s not only talented, and driven, but she gives of herself and goes out of her way to help women and children and puppies and kittens.  You’ve seen the ASPCA/BCSPCA spot she did?  Yeah, I get teary EVERY TIME, dammit.  Hello, manipulation….  But I don’t get swoony-all-over-shit-and-be-generally-pathetic when she comes to town.  Oh no sirree.  I buy my ticket, and bask in her awesomeness, frame my ticket stubs, travel to Vancouver BC just to visit the Nettwerk Records offices, and nearly get kicked out of places for taking a bajillion pictures of her.

No, because I’m an amateur PHOTOGRAPHER.  Get your mind outta the gutter, interwebs.  Just cause I mentioned …oh never mind.  And hey, there’s lots of great bands on the Nettwerk label.  Like…um…hmm…like….huh.

No no really, I kid.  Like Ladytron, Guster, BNL, Jars of Clay, Manufacture, Delerium, Severed Heads, Skinny Puppy, etc  to name a few that I like off the top of my head.

So of course I’m on Sarah lists, and I get Sarah notifications. And because of this, I have news, interwebs.  NEWS OF THE GREATEST IMPORT.  If any of these apply to you:

1. You like Sarah Mchlachlan

2. Enjoy indie women’s music

3. Think girl rockers kick ass

Then hold on to your hats, interwebs.  Sit down.  Take a deep breath.

LILITH FAIR IS BACK ONCE AGAIN.

Yes, Lilith Fair, the paragon of women’s music festivals, will be hitting the tour maps in 2010.  Last time, I followed it for three days, from Portland to the Gorge and back.  Three days of Erica Badu, and Natalie Merchant, and Tara McLean (who gave me a free ticket to the portland date!), and K’s Choice and Suzanne Vega and The Pretenders and Dar Williams and Bonnie Raitt  and and andand!  It was three days of pure hedonistic drunken women’s music bliss.  I can’t even imagine who will be on the bill this time.  Let the speculation begin!  Plus, we all know that Portland has traditionally been one of , if not THE first stops, because Sarah loves Portland.  I know, she told me.  There was this dream, and…

*cough*

Never mind.

Now I’m not saying I’m gonna get all squealy and screamy and stuff…But when I heard this news of awesomeness I did let out a huge SQUEEEE!!  of happiness.  In the privacy of my own home.  Where no one can see me.

Don’t tell anyone, ok?

Can I buy tickets yet?

No more buttered scones for me Mater

I have this friend.  We’ll call him…Jim.

He and I, we went through stuff together.  Lots n lots of stuff.  Some cool.  Some weird.  Some awesome.  Some of which I should most likely blog about someday.  All memorable.  And out of all that stuff, we have this huge, massive, totally-something-I-treasure-even-tho-I-only-see-him-every-couple-years cache of inside jokes.

I mean it’s kinda freaky sometimes.  I don’t see him for years, and the moment we get together, it’s like the time apart never happened.  It’s awesome.

So just for the heck of it, in honour of this friendship that I should totally cultivate way more than I have been, I offer this selection of THE BEST AND MOST FAVORITEST MONTY PYTHON VIDS EVAR.  Oh how I’ve missed these!

And if…uh…Jim sees this….

JIM.  No more butter scones for me Mater, I’m off to play the grand piano! Pardon me while I fly my aeroplane!








And you didn’t even realize you were being infiltrated, did you.

I’ve been fooling you, interwebs.  Oh yes, I’m afraid so.  I’ve been weaving a sordid little web, and you didn’t even realize you were slowly being wrapped up like neat little packages.  While you’ve been innocently reading my lovely blog, I’ve been planting subtle, subconscious suggestions into your unsuspecting little cerebella.  You had absolutely no idea that I was capable of such duplicity, did you?  But I am, I’m afraid.  An offhand comment here, a casual reference there, and now you’re hooked.  Now you’re MINE.

Don’t panic though.  It’ll be ok.  Really, it will.  I think, once you get accustomed to the idea, you might even like it.  At first, you’ll scoff and say you haven’t been affected, that my insidious scheme has not planted a seed in your mind, but as the days and weeks progress you’ll think of it more and more, and become more and more curious, until finally you’ll google it.  You’ll IMDB it.  You’ll Netflix it.  And then you’ll realize I was right, it is too late; you have to watch it.  First, the original 1963 movie adaptation.  Then the 1981 miniseries.  Perhaps you’ll even listen to the numerous old radio recordings. Perhaps you’ll read the John Wyndham book that this is all based upon, which has been called one of the best science fiction horror novels of all time, and ‘an immortal story’ by none other than Arthur C. Clarke.  And then, you’ll anxiously await the 2009 version, with Vanessa Redgrave (who I do dearly love) and Jason Priestley and Eddie Izzard.  All of this glorious cinematic wonderfulness, brought to us by our friends across the pond at the BBC.

Resistance is futile, interwebs.  The Day of the Triffids is coming.

Triffid Illustration by John Wyndham

My Loss is My Gain

Everyone loses stuff.  For starters, you probably lost a good handful of hair today.

No?  Your wallet perhaps?  Gosh I hope not.  Losing your wallet is probably one of the worst things to lose, right?

Well I’m sure you lost something today.  Maybe just a couple hairs.  Your keys.  Some time.  Your way.

Sometimes though, you lose big things.  Big, by virtue of the size or amount of stuff lost.  Or big because the stuff lost was hard, or perhaps impossible, to replace.  Stuff that makes losing your wallet kind of …well, not quite as bad.

Don’t get me wrong, losing your wallet gives you days of headaches while you replace things.  I know, I’ve done it several times.  It’s not fun.  It sucks ass, in fact.  But really, the most important thing you lose is your time.

I’ve lost a lot of stuff along the way.  Lots.  Stuff that’s hard to replace.  And frankly, I’m glad about it.  By losing all that stuff, all those times, I’ve learned acceptance, to live in the moment, to find peace.  I’ve learned not to get attached to stuff.  Because it’s just that, stuff.  In the grand scheme of things, stuff is not what we’re here to collect.  We’re here to learn, grow, and connect with each other. Losing those connections is a far bigger tragedy.  Sadly, I’ve lost many of those too.

But there is one bit of stuff that I’ve never managed to come to terms with losing.  Something I cannot ever replace.  Something that has meaning only for me.  In memory of that bit of stuff, I give you this, something I wrote long ago.

And love is light
And light is warm
And warmth is safe
And safety is knowing
And knowing is good
And goodness is laughter
And laughter is belonging
And belonging is love.

A challenge.

I try to be a good blogger.  As such, I take time out to review my blog.  You know, read it.   For my dear interwebs’ sake.  Making sure my stuff it still as funny as when I wrote it (it usually is), that I’m staying on message based on my About page (I mostly am) and that it’s all true (uh, sure.  Mostly).  Not because I think I’m hilarious and crack myself up, oh no.  Not that!   Not because I enjoy the heck out of my stuff!  I do it for YOU.  For my lovely, kind, intelligent readers, who evince such good taste as to have my blog in their blog feeds and aggregator-type gadgetry and such.  Thank you readers!

So I was checking out my About page, and I noticed that I said how much music was important to me, and that I’d most likely be blogging about it a bunch.

Except…well…I haven’t.  Have I?  Not really, no.  I checked. Out of 140-odd blog posts, I have a total of 4 posts under my music category.  FOUR.  WTF, me? Seriously?  That’s like…6%!  Music oughta be way higher than that, right?!

DAMN FRAKIN STRAIGHT, IT OUGHTA!

You can tell I’m perplexed. Music is so important to me. It has always been there, sometimes in the background, but most of the time a central part of my memories. It was a constant in my life, from the Turkish songs and operatic stuff my dad would sing to me as a little tot, to the 60’s and 70’s music that I would groove to with my mom as a kid. My mom and I would bond over music a lot, until I hit my teens and veered off into the punk, industrial and alternative stuff I preferred as I moved into adulthood. My mom, on the other hand, remained solidly in her top 40 R&B stuff. Pshaw. (ok not totally pshaw, some of it is ok I guess. Meh.)

Anyway! I intend to redress this EGREGIOUS oversight. Tout de suite. Witness:

I think about music a lot.  No really, a LOT.  I like talking about it, and thinking about it, and listening to it, and playing it, and sometimes even creating it.  I find it nearly impossible to drive without music playing.  If I don’t have some sort of musical pursuit in my life, there is something missing, a large gaping hole in my existence.  In case you’re wondering, the current venture is DJ school, which is progressing quite nicely, thank you very much.

One topic I think about often is this:  if I had to pick a song as my ‘theme’ song, my go-to song, the one that in some way encompasses my life or my outlook in some way, what would it be?

My answer:  I can’t pick just one.  I’ve thought and I’ve thought, and tried and tried, and I Just.  Can’t.  Pick.  One.  Sorry, annoying FaceBook questionnaire application writers.  Sorry.  Two reasons why:

  1. I am far too multi-faceted a person for just one song to truly address all the different aspects of my life or outlook, and
  2. I identify with too many songs; if I pick this one, that means I leave out all the stuff I identify with from that one, and on and on it goes.

So I think I’ve narrowed it down to THREE.  I think.  Well maybe four.  But for now, let’s just say three, ok?  I reserve the right to add a couple more down the line.  (YouTube-y goodness linking ahead!  You’re welcome.)

  1. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy | Sarah McLachlan: Anyone who knows me knows I have to have a Sarah Mclachlan song in here.  It just goes without saying.  I can’t tell you how clearly this woman writes to my soul.  Or what a fangirl I am.  But to pick one…this is it.  No question.
  2. Orpheus | David Sylvian: I remember the first time I heard this song.  Forever thanks to my friend Ariana, who lives in Eugene now, for introducing me to the album this is on, Secrets of the Beehive.  This song lets me breathe when I can’t.  It taps into my emotions at a basic level, where words alone cannot reach.  The whole album is phenomenal, but something about this one…this is the one that came closest to being The One.  Note: David Sylvian was the lead singer of the band Japan, in case you’ve never heard of him.  Not that you necessarily heard of the band either.
  3. Solsbury Hill | Peter Gabriel (Sorry, couldn’t find a decent youtube vid of this one): If Sarah is my female singer/songwriter idol, Peter is my guy.   All of his stuff (with the possible exception of Sledgehammer and Big Time) is just beautiful*.  And he picks the best people to duet/collaborate with!  Every time my life has got me down, listening to this song reminds me that I’ve always come out better in the end.

There it is.  I’ve poured my musical soul out to you, my dear interwebs.  But herein lies a challenge:  Can you pick just one?  Well can ya…punk?

*Note: If you click on just one link in this list, click this one.  Trust me.  Do it.  Amazing video.