Thursday, December 25, 2008

And so this is Christmas.....

Hi Folks,

Merry Christmas to everyone. Personally mine started on a bit of a rocky note. After an unexpected dinner invitation to a Chinese restaurant that I hadn't been to before, I ended up in my bedroom with no heat. The main source of heat in the room is a 'split-unit' air-conditioner/heater with a compressor outside the room and a blower inside the room. If you have never visited the developing world, you probably would never have seen one of these machines.

In any case, when the blower works, but the compressor doesn't, all you get is the outside air blown across your bed.

Luckily, I have a space of the types with liquid inside that radiates a gentle warmth, but doesn't really heat a room. It's fine for sitting on the couch watching TV just to keep the legs and feet warm, but not for heating an entire room. Unfortunately, I don't sit on the couch watching TV anymore, and I want to have a warm bedroom in which to I need the other machine to work.

There were options.....and I chose the worst. I totally forgot that our sitting-room downstairs is open all the time and has a big couch on which I could have rather comfortably gone to sleep. The other bedrooms in the house are always locked when unoccupied, and I didn't want to disturb a sick Caveman (there is a virus going around within the security community) with a petty request for a key to a warm room.

So I took my book and went to the bathroom, where the electric space heater was working quite well, and it was warm.

But......there is always a 'but' in my stories, there was pouring rain outside, and it just happened to leak through the roof of the bathroom. So I sat, with my feet in a puddle of water, a conduction heater frying my face, and a sci-fi book on my lap, for most of the night.

I couldn't help but think of Eliot's poem, The Journey of the Magi, and John Lennon's song Happy Christmas, (they are down below), while I was feeling sorry for myself.

I got 'Christmas with Johnny Cash' from I-tunes. That made me happier. He was an amazing songwriter and singer...even if his voice was not Pavarotti or Bono. To me, he's something like a 'more-accessible' Bob Dylan. Whereas Dylan has a rough voice and a raw style, similar to Cash, Cash just sings simple songs that you can understand at face value--and he can carry a tune.

Until his later work, Dylan always left you wondering what the heck he was talking about.

There are so many great songs out there, written by Bob Dylan, but performed by others, most notably, the Byrds. But.....always another 'but'....most of these were pop songs. His most serious work could not, or would not, be covered by anyone.

My most despised song in all my life of listening to and loving music (thanks Dad for that) is Joe Cocker's rendition of 'She Came in through the Bathroom Window', from the Beatles' Abbey Road. How could he dare wreck that song so badly? 'Didn't anybody tell him? Didn't anybody see? Sunday's on the phone to Monday. Monday's on the phone to me!'

As I have commented before, I believe Abbey Road could have been the greatest album ever made, had the Beatles not had to compromise among themselves and put Octopus's Garden and Maxwell's Silver Hammer on it. Those are the absolute most detestable songs they ever recorded. I have a hard time believing McCartney actually wrote and sang Maxwell.

So, they messed it up, and for now, I will give the honor to U2's 'Joshua Tree'. But that's just my opinion.

I wanted to get the White Album and Sgt. Peppers from I-Tunes for Christmas, but they are not available there. Will have to search other places.

Meantime, I will select the tracks from Abbey Road very carefully.

Enjoy the poems/songs below.

Peace and Love to all!

Happy Christmas
John Lennon

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong

And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun

Ans so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
War is over over
If you want it
War is over

The Journey of the Magi
TS Eliot

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The was deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter."
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires gong out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we lead all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

No comments: