We went out for sushi, and then browsed unpopular stores like a Pier One. I love unpopular stores at Christmas, all dressed up but no crowds to go to them. I think that part of the reason why my Xmas is always so peaceful is that I do so little shopping. My spouse gets a lot of credit for this, as she bears the lion's share of the "buying for relatives" part, but nonetheless, it's good to rarely hit busy stores head-on.
This evening, thanks to skygypsy's recommendation, I've been playing with the www.pandora.com "music genome" thing, in which one enters a band one likes, and the machine plays songs by bands one might like because they sound similar. I chose my favorite 70s band, Be Bop Deluxe, and soon was singing along to "Sister Seagull". Then the site suggested I might like a later Styx song, to which I gave a firm nolle prosequi, prompting the site to apologize. Next thing you know, they're playing the best Be Bop Deluxe song, the live version of "Adventures in a Yorkshire Landscape", whose ringing-glissandi guitar solo remains the best argument for the existence of a Heaven in creation. The next song it suggested was a solid Mountain song, which was a good song, but not quite art rock, and then two bands I did not know who played latter-day art prog came on, just right to the mood, and I was happy.
But I must say that I draw the line at Little River Band. No site can believe that the Little River Band sounds like Be Bop Deluxe.
I told the site so, and it apologized, but then it said its musical license meant I had to hear the whole song. I am in sympathy, suddenly, with the woman I dated in college who ran from the Little River Band concert covering her ears, in the throes of aspirin overdose and excessive doses of saccharine at high volume. So I ditched the site, forgetting to write down the names of the two new bands I learned about, although one was something like "Signal Field", or perhaps something else. It's not that I mind Little River Band, exactly--heck, I like Styx' "Lorelei" and most of Mountain's songs, for that matter. It's just that you don't go to a Lou Reed convocation expecting to hear Pure Prairie League.
I wanted us to go to the Polyphonic Spree Christmas annual event tonight, but by the time we hit the computer for tickets, they were down to "standing room only", and my view is that they also sit home who would rather not stand and wait. So now Danny Kaye is playing on a movie channel downstairs, which is very good by me, and I'm telling website robots not to play "Little River Band" when they should be playing David Sylvian. But as the song says, 'amy, what you gonna do?'. I like that so many great 70s songs are about ambivalent young narrators who keep falling in and out of love with women. One professes, reluctantly, that he could stay with the woman in question "for a while, maybe longer, if I do", while Todd Rundgren is big-hearted enough to tell her that "it's important to me that you know you are free", but that he's delighted to come around and spend the night at leisure. Still, a great saxophone solo covers all sins in matters of the heart. Perhaps this is why post-punk had to arise--I mean, "she told me all the secrets of her past and said 'I've lost control again'" seems better to me that break-up songs about ambivalent suitors. But my heart is rather with the Be Bop Deluxe song
which says "I'm fine, my love, but tell me, how are you? You know that in the end it all comes true; Heavenly homes are hard to find".
I was driving home tonight listening to Roberta Flack's version of "Feel Like Making Love", which is one of those real guilty pleasure songs, because its lyrics are so sappy, yet it always draws me in. I made a mental note to run a poll--"which "Feel Like Making Love"--Bad Company, or Roberta Flack?". It's not that bad a lyric, really, by Eugene McDaniel--not nearly as awful as another guilty pleasure, Maria Muldaur's soupy/wonderful "Midnight at the Oasis". Then tonight I luxuriated at World Market in the Indigo Girls' "Closer I am to Fine", and I thought to myself how I am not in full agreement with its sentiment, but I love the liberation in singing along to it.
I had a good chat with my friend G. from Texarkana, with whom I hope to take a frozen hike on Sunday. I had a productive day, and now it's the weekend.