Tuesday, 22 December 2009

71. 10 Christmas Songs

Damn, I was hoping to get in a fair few more this month, but I really have hit a bit of a wall, not in ideas, but in expression of ideas, so I may as well do Christmas now.
The perfect Christmas album is a live idea - I've made many Christmas albums and am still trying to create the perfect one, which is all at once classic, cool, christmassy and unexclusive. I guess a few more great Christmas songs need to be written first

Just Like Christmas - Low
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Judy Garland
Donna & Blitzen - Badly Drawn Boy
Sleigh Ride - The Ronettes
Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Bruce Springsteen
Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas - Eels
The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole
Corpus Christi Carol - Jeff Buckley
Fairytale of New York - The Pogues ft Kirsty MacColl
That Was the Worst Christmas Ever - Sufjan Stevens

Christmas is fine with me. Always has been, always will be. I could even say that I love it. But why do I still love Christmas? What did I love about it? And do those reasons still exist? Down the years, the following have been reasons to love Christmas, and so I shall address whether they exist as reasons
- Father Christmas giving me gifts ... no, sir
- My Family giving me ace gifts I couldn't otherwise afford ... i still get some nice gifts, but you know ...
- Family Get-together and putting aside differences ... unusually, my family get together pretty often and don't have many differences, so this happens less at christmas than other times of the year
- School Holiday ... sadly no longer, and tho one does enjoy the break christmas affords, it's not in essence different from other time off
- celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus ... not a going concern for me for some time
-vicariously celebrating the birth of their lord Jesus - i've often been a sucker for midnight mass, but not so much anymore, so not going this year
- seeing old school buddies around on Christmas Eve ... not many around any more, and to be honest, you often find yourself being greeted affectionately by folk you've not that much affection for
- the distant possibilty of snow ... well, it's happened this year, and everyone hates it
- great TV specials ... the Dr Who Christmas special is always the worst Dr Who, and everything else is cack, and we don't watch TV at Christmas anyway
- people being nice to people ... I'm nice to people all the time, frankly, so if people are nicer to me at Christmas, it just bugs me
- Carol singing ... haven't done for years
-Mulled wine ... guaranteed hangover
- the smell of a Christmas tree ... don't have a tree
- my mother cooking a massive roast ... doesn't only happen at Christmas
- but what about red cabbage and that particular stuffing? ... yes, yes, that's it!! That's it! I still love Christmas because of red cabbage!
And that's enough for me ... it really is

Anyway, poems about Christmas, there's loads of them, and what could be more ghastly than something po-faced about "the true meaning of Christmas" or how there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas.
The Night Before Christmas is from the early 19th century and gives the lie to the notion that Coca-Cola created Christmas as we know it - most of the traditions of Christmas are there in the poem.
So, this isn't about Christmas really, it's from way back, but the first line has always been one of my favourites, which i've used in conversation as much as possible - aprt from that, this is pretty weak ...

Tired like it's Christmas morning
I can feel it in my throat.
I can see it in my bones.
Winter slammed, slammed like a fist
but I'm hungover, happy, barely afloat.

... actually, there's way more verses, but they're naff as hell, so I'll leave it there

Thursday, 17 December 2009

70. 10 Songs about Floating in Space

Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space - Spiritualized
Do You Realize?? - Flaming Lips
Space Oddity - David Bowie
Rocket Man - Elton John
He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's the Pilot - Grandaddy
We Are All Made of Stars - Moby
Float On - Modest Mouse
Country Disappeared - Wilco
Another Girl, Another Planet - The Only Ones
Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Is In) - First Edition

It's all a bit scientific for me to write anything interesting. I'm a bit lost when it comes to anything that requires actual understanding.
Floating in space has many meanings. I've tried to avoid space as an explicit drug reference, tho failed, i suppose with the last two, and I guess, the first one. This post was created in honour of the reissue of that classic album, including the originally intended "I Can't Help Falling In Love" sample on the title track. All too beautiful.
Most of these songs have something ineffably sad about them, which i suppose you get from looking down on the Earth and the idea of just floating. The Flaming Lips and Modest Mouse have made the floating a positive thing - i think it's the best song by far for both of them. I rather like the idea in 'Do You Realize??' that in a sense you gain grounding from spacey realisations. I suppose it's just the idea that contemplation of the universe enables you to realise your own insignificance. Blah-de-blah.
i think once you've done it once you shouldn't continue to, though. Don't get lost in heaven, keep your nose to the ground etc

When the wind almost caught me
with the rope frayed and fragile
I saw you might have let me go
in kindness and impatience

You're not the first to realise
we're floating in space, my friend
I'm not the last to wonder when
it all became so precarious

We're not the first to shut our eyes
and disappear completely
Wiser men than us have tried
never to be seen again

And now I can see everything -
the hard rain and the soft clouds
and you make me fall up and down
when i think i've found my balance.