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Anniversary playlist

Wedding anniversary celebrations aren’t until later in the year, but since one has to plan ahead for those things, it’s consuming some mind-space now. One detail I’ve pondered is whether we can play our own music during dinner in the restaurant space we’ve rented. I’m guessing no, but if we could, I wouldn’t have to spend time creating the playlist.

Many years ago I made Jean a mixed CD sort of thing (back when one still did that sort of thing) of songs that reminded me of him / us. Since then I’ve continued to add to it when so inspired. (That being one of those things I do—maintain lists of stuff.)

Since it might not actually get played, I thought I would at least share it:

Anniversary playlist (Google music)

The list reflects different stages of our relationship.

In the beginning

Songs like Bob Geldof’s “Dazzled by You” and Alanis Morissette’s “Head over Feet” cover the wonder of new relationships. But I think the one that best captures our specific “I now see you in a different way” encounter at a dance bar is Madonna’s “Crazy for You”.

“We’re so close but still a world away / What I’m dying to say / Is that I’m crazy for you”

(Young love. It’s so wonderfully sappy.)

As for our first date, this is best summed up by a recent addition—“Satisfied” from Hamilton. It really captures that amazing rush when a conversation clicks so well.

“So so so— / So this is what it feels like to match wits / With someone at your level! … The feeling of freedom, of seein’ the light / It’s Ben Franklin with a key and a kite! You see it, right? … Ev’rything we said in total agreement, it’s / A dream and it’s a bit of a dance / A bit of a posture, it’s a bit of a stance. He’s a / Bit of a flirt, but I’m ‘a give it a chance”

(… Even though it didn’t actually work out for Alexander and Angelika. They’ll never be satisfied.)

Let’s not rush things

We were kind of young when we met. We dated for two years before moving in together, and another two before marrying. Carly Rae Jepsen’s “The One” definitely captures that “everything is fine, but don’t rush me” feeling of the earlier years.

“If you want to / You can stay the night / I don’t want to be the one, the one / It’s too much pressure”

We’re one, but we’re not the same

We are rather different personalities, and that required some adjustment, as expressed in, yes, U2’s “One” (though I think that might actually be about a relationship with God) as well Joe Jackson’s “Breaking Us in Two” and even Bruce Springsteen’s “Brilliant Disguise” (really a divorce song).

“You don’t do the things that I do / You want to do things I can’t do”

Secure in love

But there’s a lot more of these types of songs, among them “Automatic” by Prince, “Don’t Get Me Wrong” by The Pretenders, “You Make Loving Fun” by Fleetwood Mac, “As Sure as I Am” by Crowded House, “Je savoure ton amour” by Swing, and the beautiful “Lost Together” by Blue Rodeo.

“I want all the world to know / That your love’s all I need”

Which doesn’t mean it’s boring

Come to think of it, maybe “Automatic” by Prince belongs in this category, but Sade is truly the queen of the naughty but lovely love song.

Your Love Is King: “You’re making me dance… Inside

It’s been a long time but it’s still great

“Still the One” by Shania Twain should be the ultimate of these songs, but it’s kind of ruined by knowing how her marriage to “Mutt” Lange actually ended up. Similar issue with Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are”, written for the wife he left he left for Christie Brinkley (and which didn’t even make the list).

But those Beatles guys were really into their wives. (The second wives, anyway, in most cases.) Paul McCartney wrote “Maybe I’m Amazed” about Linda. John Lennon has a bunch of great Yoko-inspired songs: “Woman”, “Grow Old with Me”, and my favourite, “Out the Blue”. And Sting, though he’s a bit intellectual about it, also has the lovely (and presumably Trudie-inspired) “Straight to My Heart”.

The actual ultimate of these, I think, is “You’re My Best Friend”, by Queen’s John Deacon, who to this day still with wife #1.

“You’re the best friend / That I ever had / I been with you such a long time / You’re my sunshine … You make me live”

Unconditional love

The problem with this playlist is that a lot of the songs do make me uncomfortably emotional, none more so than “Everything” by Alanis Morissette.

“And you’re still here”. Jesus, it kills me every time.

Distinctly unsentimental

Still, it’s not just as an emotional breather that songs like Tim Minchin’s “Confessions (in three parts”, the “Bones Theme” by Crystal Method, and Spirit of the West’s “Home for a Rest” are included as well. But I’ll leave you to ponder just why they’re included.

“I’ve been gone for a week / I’ve been drunk since I left”

 


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Chocolately, literary, comforting joyful Christmas (with an Eighties tinge)

This might be a record number of Christmas posts in a row, but it is more than a one-day event for me (albeit not 12 days), starting with our Noël à deux in advanced of December 25. I’ve already mentioned the meal we had, but we also do a small gift exchange. Jean’s main gift from me was a new watch of a brand he admired, but he got some other little things, like a Chromecast and “life-changing” Saxx underwear (as the ads I now encounter everywhere I go on the web remind me).

My main gift was a record player, which many people thought was an interestingly retro choice of gifts. What I didn’t mention too loudly was that this is actually my second record player (we won’t even talk about how many DVD players I have). The main feature the new one has that the other didn’t is a USB connection to make it easy to digitize LPs. (Because some songs are rather difficult to find digital versions of.) But it also has a nice Start function, and is hooked into the better stereo system. I’ve already listened to more LPs in the last 2 days than I have in the last 2 years.

I received other little items, including a great deal of chocolate: Not one, not two, but three boxes of Purdy’s chocolates; a raspberry chocolate bar; and mini snowballs! I also happened to win a Godiva chocolate basket at a Christmas dance. So the chocolate stores are shored up for a while.

Then we headed to Timmins, where it was weirdly mild this year, but not so mild as to melt the snow:

Gillies Lake in Timmins

We took advantage of the nice winter weather to go walking and snowshoeing, once on our own, once with toute la gang (almost).

Snow shoers

Five of the fourteen of us who went snowshoeing one day

A day after a fresh snow fall, the kids couldn’t resist doing this:

GIF of tree snow clearing

Christmas Eve my side of the family had dinner and stockings at my brother’s house, then the two of us went out to the Réveillon with Jean’s side of the family. As usual, everyone was fasting:

Réveillon food

A tiny sampler of the available food

There was a very good turnout, with only a few nieces and nephews away this year. The gift exchange from Jean’s side is an anonymous one on a theme, which this year was royal purple. I am now the proud recipient of two purple travel mugs. My lucky giftee now owns Prince’s Purple Rain on CD and BluRay.

With my family it was the first time in quite a few Christmas’s that all the siblings were up. We had a terrible time. 🙂

Two siblings and an in-law

Two siblings and an in-law, as I don’t seem to have a photo of all siblings. Perhaps I’ll get one from Dad later.

We also attempted a theme this year, though it was only loosely adhered to: comfort and joy. Cozy scarves were a popular item.

jean with cashmere

Cashmere!

S-S and faux fur

S-S rockin’ the faux fur

As were books! I have, like, six new books now. Most everyone else got a least one, I think. I made my sister’s fit into the theme with the Pleasure in the title—pretty close to joy, right? (Plus, John Taylor—yummy! Joy!)

In the Pleasure Groove

To add to my haul and increase the utility of my earlier gift, I dug through the LPs from our teenage years that had been languishing at my parent’s house, and brought home a bag-ful. Duran Duran, Aha, Prefab Sprout, Adam Ant, Depeche Mode, Talking Heads, The Housemartins, Paul Young, Squeeze, Echo and the Bunnymen, … I have quite the makings for an Eighties party.

80’s Music Medley from YouTube


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His name is Prince. And he is funky.

Without intending this all to coincide, I’ve been plunged into a world of 1980s music nostalgia this week. I saw Rock of Ages Thursday, I began reading a book called Talking to Girls about Duran Duran (possibly more on that later), and I saw one of my favorite artists of the 1980s, Mr. Prince Rogers Nelson, in concert on Saturday, at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.

I’ll cut to the chase on that last one: This was quite possibly the best rock concert, category “Hockey Arena”— that I’ve seen. The only real competition is U2 back in Montreal during their Joshua Tree tour. As my memory is not quite good enough for a true comparison, let’s call it a tie.

Prince has continued to record quite prolifically, up to two years, but I have to say I stopped listening to the newer material after 1992. But this show obviously focused on that earlier material, because I knew almost every song.

It started about 45 (?) minutes late (no opening act), immediately got us up singing and clapping along to “Purple Rain”, and never really stopped. The seated moments were few, as the energy coming from the stage kept compelling us back to our feet to dance and attempt to sing along to Prince’s complex vocal gymnastics. It’s difficult to believe this guy is 53 or whatever, as he pretty much looks, sounds, and moves as he did in the 80s. He can still hit all the high notes, his dance moves don’t let up, and he remains a guitar virtuoso.

And despite the focus on older (and therefore better known) material, it never felt like a nostalgia fest. He often reinterpreted the numbers, bringing an added soulful-ness to “Little Red Corvette”, and even more funk (who knew it was possible?) to “Kiss”. He also often mashed songs together, segueing from one to the other in interesting ways, thus covering even more of his impressive canon of hits. He even included a version of “Nothing Compares to U”, written by him but made famous by Sinead O’Connor, which reminded me of the many other artists who had hits with Prince songs (Manic Monday, I Feel for You, The Glamorous Life, When You Were Mine, and on, and on…).

I’d heard that he wasn’t doing his “dirty”songs anymore, and I kind of wondered what would be left, but he seems to have a pretty loose definition of what’s “dirty”, since Controversy, Raspberry Beret, When Doves Cry, Take Me With U, and Cream were included. And he also simulated a great deal of, um, passion on the floor during Little Red Corvette. He even played the intro to Darlin’ Nikki during the encore—though did stop there with a “Nah-ah! You don’t get that!”

His band was wonderful, and I loved that now as always, most of them were women. (Prince seems to truly love women, not just sexually, but also spiritually and musically. Three spheres I don’t think he separates.) They also got to shine at times, including in a cover of Sarah MacLachlan’s “Angel”, one of a number of covers he included—such as Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough.”

The stage was in that male / female symbol shape that Prince once used as his name. We were sitting facing the round end, 22 rows up, which were pretty decent seats. Prince and band made their way around to all points throughout the evening, and we could always look up at the screen when they weren’t at our end. (I wish I could include a picture, but they made me check my camera, which seemed pretty peculiar, since nobody had to check their smart phones… But anyway.)

Friday night, from what I understand, he did six encores, resulting in a 3 hour, 15 minute show. We had to be content with just one encore (though an awesome and long one it was), and a show that was probably only, 2 and a half hours? There was an after-party at a bar, though. My sister and I decided not to attempt attending that, though, because a) We figured the crowds would be insane b) We don’t have the energy of Prince, so we were tired and c) We really couldn’t make out the name of the bar, which was announced on the loudspeaker at the end in a bid to get us to leave, already.

Other reviews:

Toronto Star
National Post
Scotchneat