Sunday, June 03, 2012


I admit it — the Saturday night walk kicked my ass. In hindsight I should have brought along the cane for literal and figurative support, but I've always been a guy who'd rather push the envelope than play it safe. Today I'm paying for it, but meh, a little physical pain trumps the disgust I would have felt had I sloughed off and taken the easy way out.

Of course, using the phrase "back on my feet again" makes me think of The Babys, the '70s pop/rock group fronted by John Waite's bad-ass vocals. Which, in turn, makes me think of the fact that Queen guitarist Brian May thought so highly of The Babys, he chose "Back on my Feet Again" as one of his Desert Island Discs. Which, in turn, made me go to the iTunes Store to subscribe to the DID podcasts. Damn you, interwebs, for feeding into my sudden-right-turn way of thinking.

In all, it's probably better than having Jason Mraz stuck in my head, a stubborn earworm courtesy of director Melissa Weatherford (though there is something about Mraz's "I Won't Give Up" that won't quit ringing in my head):
"And when you're needing your space
To do some navigating
I'll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find ... "
Sigh. Anyway. Where was I? Ah, yes. Desert Island Discs. The show has been on the BBC since 1942, and its simplicity is the key to its popularity. A guest comes on and chooses eight pieces of music, a book and a luxury item for their imaginary stay on an island. At show's end the guest picks the most enduring piece of music ("Ode to Joy" is the piece most cited by guests, by the way).

Last March on Facebook I posted the RED 50, the songs I want played at what will be my famously drunken and scandalous wake (only a couple people are not invited, and the Amazons will be on hand to enforce the blacklist). It was tough enough to narrow my life to 50 songs. Eight seems like an impossible task. But here goes:
In Dreams — Roy Orbison
Etude #3 in E Major, Opus 10 — Frédéric Chopin
About A Girl — Nirvana
Hey Jealousy — Gin Blossoms
Until We Bleed — Lykke Li
Runaway — Kanye West & Pusha T
Layla — Derek & The Dominos
There She Goes — The La's
Yeah, The Babys wouldn't make it. Neither would Jason Mraz nor "Ode to Joy."

But the second half of "Layla" is just as enduring as anything by Beethoven. "There She Goes" and "Hey Jealousy" are perfect pieces of pop music. And "Runaway" — every time I hear those first piano notes I am transported to a transcendent place where life is as sublime as I've ever dreamed possible. It's not my favorite song or the best song. It's not even the best Kanye song. But it's the one that makes me feel the most, and isn't that the purpose of life — to feel?

Today I am on a desert island. Favorite book: Homeboy by Seth Morgan. Luxury item: guitar. And eight songs that are the soundtrack to my life. No walking today. This is a Sunday for omphaloskepsis.

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