mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (new year)
(Dreamwidth note: I fixed this where the links work, at least, but if you want the version with the nice embedded links you have to go back to the original Livejournal entry.)


To go back to the last MA post, the video that I posted on the 20th was "Black Sun" and the day before that, "Hard Sun" - there was sort of a method to my madness there, because the 21st was solstice and I wanted to go from the sun to the stars, for solstice. It just seemed appropriate.

And it also seemed appropriate that it be Bowie.
David Bowie Starman (1972) official video

Next is a video that Bowie was not in, I believe that was because he had some kind of scheduling issues. He did record a taped message for the B-side, though.
Do they Know it's Christmas ~ Band Aid 1984

Bowie wasn't in it, but George Michael was, so next I went to a George Michael song. I always liked Michael and I liked Wham! back in the day but they were definitely not taken seriously, back when they were first popular. And I have to admit this was not my favorite of Michael's solo songs or of the Wham! songs, but it fit in with my connections so this is what I used. (I may do another post about him and Wham! if I get a chance.)
George Michael - Careless Whisper (Official Video)

The reason that fit into my connections was that I was thinking about Rick Astley. When I was poking around on the internet trying to work this out, I found a mention of how people think "Never Gonna Dance Again" is the name of that song, and so that made it a good lead-in. Last year when we were doing the alphabet for Music Advent, I had this idea that it would be funny to rickroll Music Advent - except of course most of Music Advent goes on on Twitter, and if you put a link to a video there it's generally going to give you a preview, so it's not really possible to do a rickroll in the old sense of the word. But anyway, I remembered that this year and so I wanted to work in this song.
Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up

I actually have two different connections for the next one. For some reason I completely didn't even think about the "Never" connection at the time. The connection I originally used was that Rick Astley and the Bunnymen are both from Merseyside, from the area around Liverpool.
NEVER STOP Echo and the Bunnymen

I got excited when I figured out that this video is apparently from the same tour (or anyway, the same year) that I saw Echo and the Bunnymen, which was in Austin in 1984. I knew the minute I saw it that it looked kind of the same - although Austin was a much smaller venue - I think it was the Opry House, which is quite small, relatively speaking - and so we didn't get all the strings and stuff. I'm not even 100% sure they did this song. (It seems like I remember being unhappy because they didn't, actually. But I'm not sure I'm remembering that correctly. That was a long, long time ago.)

Anyway, I actually used this song for Music Advent last year, and I usually try not to repeat myself (because y'know, it's not like there's a shortage of songs to use) but I made an exception for this one because it swung back around to day 1: it was on the tape that we played at our wedding reception. "Chapel of Love" was the first song on that tape and "Never Stop" was much further down the list but it was definitely there, because I insisted on it. The main criteria was that the song be a love song (about "real love" rather than just about hooking up) and we figured "this love we found should never stop" qualified. (Even further down the list we actually included Georgia Satellite's "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" - which was a new song that spring - because of its jokey take on sex before marriage. I'm not sure many people got that joke, but Rob and I thought it was really funny.)

mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (retro-style holiday lights)
Day 15 in Music Advent was The Police's King of Pain - so my next set of connections involved Alison Krauss, because she has worked with a lot of different people, including Sting (formerly lead singer of The Police). This song is from the soundtrack to the movie "Cold Mountain" and was nominated for an Oscar, I believe. (A lot of bad music gets nominated for Oscars, but I really like this one.)
Alison Krauss & Sting You Will Be My Ain True Love
https://youtu.be/IHbmJb3aXE0

And then Alison Krauss also worked with Robert Plant (formerly lead singer of Led Zeppelin). (I'm trying not to make assumptions that people know these names. Both The Police and Led Zeppelin go back a long way!)
Led Zeppelin - Kashmir (Live Video)
https://youtu.be/hW_WLxseq0o

I talked in the last Music Advent installment about how I had stopped planning ahead with the videos but then I decided for the last week to go back to planning ahead again. So the next video below is where the planning started again - but I kind of screwed up getting there. I knew where I wanted to end up the weekend, which was at this Eddie Vedder song, and I had vague ideas about how to connect from "King of Pain" which is where I was at the time, and get there by Monday. I had the basic steps figured out, which was Sting > Alison Krauss  > Plant/Led Zep > The Who > Pearl Jam/Eddie Vedder. I came up with two connections between Led Zep and The Who - one was that Who drummer Keith Moon is said to have come up with the phrase, something to the effect of "that went over like a lead zeppelin" and the other is that there were always rumors, at least, of a feud between these two bands, enough that even I had heard about it and I didn't really follow rock music that much back in the 70s. (By which I mean I listened to it, yes, but I didn't read magazines or join fan clubs or anything like that to hook up to the gossip pipeline!)  And then Pearl Jam's sound is heavily influenced by both of these bands, but I had seen quotes from Eddie Vedder where he talked specifically about Pete Townsend and The Who.

So that's my reasoning, but I screwed up the number of days somewhere in there and ended up skipping The Who and PJ and going straight to Vedder solo, just because it's another song I really like a lot.
Eddie Vedder - Hard Sun (Extended) - Into The Wild Soundtrack
https://youtu.be/tz927SK5gYM
(I actually wasn't aware that this was a cover, originally done by Indio.)

And then there was another song with "sun" in the title that I became aware of recently (it was released in 2015, so it's a fairly new song). That was a really really obvious connection. (In fact you'll see that just because I planned these out ahead of time doesn't mean they're particularly more inventive connections.)
Death Cab For Cutie - "Black Sun" (Official Video)
https://youtu.be/eTbVIfqeDq0
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (fireworks)
(Added: ugh, I wrote this at like 5am so while that proves what I say below about going to bed at dawn, it also was very haphazardly written and even more haphazardly proof-read. So it've done some editing and hopefully it reads a bit better now.)

I started feeling like I'd gotten a bit off-track about Music Advent - which is to say, it's not that I was doing anything wrong, but I think it was more fun when I planned it a little more. I've kind of gotten myself into a time-crunch, though - I work in the evenings, we don't get home several days until after midnight, and while I do stay up literally until dawn a lot of the time (as in, it's often getting light outside by the time I go to sleep), I'm still dividing those night-time hours between a number of tasks. I partly stopped planning ahead on Holidailies because it saved some time, but eventually it started feeling like it was ultimately taking longer, and I was less happy with the results. But it's getting slower at work as it gets closer to the holidays, and so I sat at work with my planner calendar yesterday and started at the 25th - because I did have an idea where I wanted to end up, with Music Advent - and worked back to the date where I am now. I couldn't actually look at videos very well from there, but I think I got it figured out as far as songs and connections and it makes pretty reasonable sense. I hope it continues to.

Anyway, I'll elaborate when I get to the parts that involve that. The last song in part 3 was the Karla Bonoff song "Personally". The next connection was an easy one: I used a song that Karla had written, Wynonna Judd's "Tell Me Why":

I'm not generally a fan of mainstream country, but this is a good song, so go Karla & Wynonna.

For the next day I was looking at some of Wynonna's discography and especially some albums she had done with lots of covers on them. I found that she had done "Ain't No Sunshine" and I figured, "well a lot of people are bound to have covered that" and I listened to a couple and arrived at this one, just mostly because I really like it. It's Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Des'ree:

Some beautiful singing there.

The next few days are where the part I'd already done intersects with the newly-planned part where I was working backwards. I have some more connections to firm up over the weekend, but I think I have a basic plan for that that seems to be working for far. But that'll be in the next entry. Here, I just went with songs having a portion of their name that's similar: "Ain't No..." you could say. For the above song that's "Sunshine", for the next one it's "for the Wicked". This is a pretty well-known song so it's not the most interesting choice in the world, probably, but I like it, and it works for where I wanted to go.


Then the link with the next one is that they were both used in the soundtrack to the tv series "Lucifer" - in fact in the first two episodes. If you've watched that show, Cage the Elephant was in episode 1 and The Police are in Episode 2.

I'm happier now that I have a definite plan. But I'll tell you more about it the actual plan four days or so from now. (Or watch the #musicadvent tag and see what pops up there.)

Holidailies - blue
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (fireworks)
I made a decision when I decided to do this "connections" Music Advent theme that I was going to let myself wander a little out of my comfort zone, if that's where the connections took me. So far I've sort of wandered back and forth, into my usual kinds of things (like 80s New Wave) and back out of it again. You'll see that happen again here.

So I ended up the last entry with Joe Jackson - late 70s but wandering into a New Wave sort of vibe. I was in college in the late 70s, and while there was nothing especially avant-garde about my tastes then, I do think this isn't the only place in my album collection where those sort of influences were creeping in. This song is also from 1979 but to be fair I don't think I knew it until later.

(The connection here is that Joe Jackson later did a song for an XTC tribute album.)

Did anybody know that the three surviving members of The Monkees released a new album this year? I have to admit that I did not. I do actually like their old stuff, though - I'm old enough to remember when their show was originally on, but I was a kid and I didn't understand what the heck was going on with it then. (I looked at it much later and thought, "It's a take-off on A Hard Days' Night" but did I know that when they were huge and I was 7? Heck no.) I learned a better appreciation for them later by watching reruns, seriously. (Nick at Night, maybe? I'm not sure.) Don't mock me, Last Train to Clarksville is a good song.

This is also a surprisingly not-bad song. It was written by Andy Partridge of XTC, which is how I got to this in the first place. I didn't try to listen to more of the album but there were some other well-known songwriters involved so there may be some more "hey, not bad!" moments in there. Also Micky Dolenz' voice sounds quite good for a 70-year-old man.

While I was looking up The Monkees, I saw something about how Don Kirshner was their producer early on - he was the one who wouldn't let them play their own instruments. If you know anything about the history there, that's a pretty well-known argument that went on. Kirshner was eventually fired so The Monkees won that one. But the main reason I know Don Kirshner's name at all was (like a lot of people Of A Certain Age, I think) from Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, which was on all through the 70s. (Also because Paul Shaffer used to mock him roundly on early SNL.) So I went looking for clips, and there are a lot of them on YouTube; they all have these same annoying white titles across them regarding the licensing. (But it could be worse, at least they let them put them up on YouTube at all, I suppose!) Anyway, I ended up with very early Jackson Browne:

This is "Looking Into You" off of his first self-titled album (the one everybody used to call "Saturate Before Using" because it says that on the cover).

I had all of Jackson Browne's early albums, back in the late 70s, and I also had and loved Karla Bonoff's albums. So, fortunately just in time to keep this from being an all-white-men entry, we have a later (80s) Bonoff song, her only big commercial hit. (She is better known as a songwriter, now, really; she wrote several of Linda Ronstadt's songs and some for Bonnie Raitt and others.)

Honestly I had forgotten that this song was hers at all. I actually meant to post a different song, but this is not a terrible song, just sort of middle-of-the-road. And Jackson Browne and Karla Bonoff were moving in the same circles at around the same time, so I imagine that you could connect them up in a number of different ways, but the way I followed was through the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: Jackson Browne was a member, very early on (which I didn't know at all) and Bonoff recorded a song with them much later. (I flirted around with using a song of NGDB's and couldn't come up with anything I was too crazy about!)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (fireworks)
I have another four Music Advent videos to show you, so yay, I don't have to stop and consider what to write about next. (See here for the explanation of this year's "connections" theme.)

So where I stopped in the entry linked above was with "Wicked Game." And it wasn't a stretch from there to think "Wicked Witch" but using Wicked the Musical seemed like an uninteresting choice, and the Wicked Witch in the old movie doesn't sing. So the other thing that occurred to me was "The Wiz" which I'm not really familiar with at all. I looked it up and the Wicked Witch there is named Evillene and she does indeed have a song - apparently only the one, near as I could figure out. I knew (or well, I was prodded by the internet to remember, anyway) that Mary J. Blige did this role in the recent "Live" TV version, but again, that seemed like an obvious/less interesting choice. I hunted around and found this rather amazing version from the old Wiz movie. This is Mabel King, who apparently also did this same role in the original Broadway production. I love that costume, for one thing - how many crowns is she wearing? about five? - but also, going from the lead-in to the number, this full-on gospel-style number is just not what I expected. It's pretty awesome, and now I may have to (finally, after all this time) go back and watch the whole movie and find out if there are more gems like this there.


As I said, I planned out the first few days and after that I realized that this is not really all that hard, coming up with connections, and I could just wing it. The next day, I started poking around in the Wikipedia article about The Wiz, and what I found that I eventually used was that Mabel King was the Wicked Witch and Lena Horne was the Good Witch. So I decided to do a Lena Horne song, and pretty much the first thing I found was "Stormy Weather" (which I think may be from a 40s movie of the same name) which seemed thematically appropriate as well. Heck, the way the wind is blowing in the background for most of that song, it looks like there's gonna be another twister any time. Also, if you're interested in such things, be sure to stick around for the ballet number (!) that follows the song.


So then, the next night, I came home and read the Wikipedia article on Lena Horne for inspiration. I found connections to both Harry Belafonte and Tony Bennett, among others I could have used, but I also found that Janet Jackson was once cast as Lena in a biopic before Nipplegate put a stop to that. And I wasn't really wanting to stay with these really old songs that badly, so I went with Janet. I picked this one, just because I like it:


And then we come to this last night. I was driving home in the car thinking about this, and I went, well, if we're avoiding the obvious, the really obvious thing here would be to jump to Michael or the Jackson Five or something like that. And from there I thought, well, how about a different Jackson? Like Joe! And then "Steppin' Out" immediately started playing in my head, but I really never liked that song that much. I did really like Joe Jackson at some point, I remembered, though, and I knew there had to be some more songs to choose from even if I couldn't remember exactly what they were, at that exact moment. And luckily I was almost home by that point and didn't forget my new inspiration before I got there. So instead of that song I don't like (which I wouldn't have used, anyway - I would have gone to Janet's Wikipedia entry for more inspiration, rather than that), we have this, which is a live version from the Jools Holland show in 2003:

(From his reaction, this must be a much more enthusiastic response of "WHERE?" than he was accustomed to - he nearly cracks up both times.)

And I have no idea what I'm doing next. you'll have to check my Tweets (or the tag) or wait another four days to find out!

Holidailies - blue
mellicious: pink manicure (nails)
I said last night that I didn't have any nail polish icons, and so after I posted, I went and poked around in the icon communities, and to my amazement, among all the fandom icons I actually found a nail polish one. So don't think this is my nails or anything (my nails haven't been as long as the ones in that icon for some time now!) but hey, I have a nail icon! (And this is my 200th icon, for the record. I've been on LJ for a long time and I was a paid member and then a permanent one, so because of all that I have a lot of space for icons. I think it said I can have up to 235, now.)

That said, I'm not planning to write a whole entry about nail polish again, I'm not saying that might not happen before the end of Holidailies, if I can't think of anything else to write about, but definitely not today, anyway. Instead - as I usually have regularly for the past several years - I'm going to write about Music Advent. (Although there is a nail polish connection down here somewhere.)

I think this is the fourth year they've had Music Advent, where you pick out a music video daily from Dec.1-25. (This mostly takes place on Twitter using the hashtag #musicadvent, but has also expanded to other social media platforms to some extent, I think.) They've had other themes in other years, but this year it's modeled on something called The Chain, which is a BBC Radio thing. You just have to come up with a connection between one song and the next - any connection. I sat in the car one night on the commute home and came up with most of the ones I've used so far, but now (after the four in this entry) I'm just winging it. I figure if I get stuck I can just google the song and figure out some sort of connection to some other song - same producer, maybe, or same year - the possibilities are pretty endless.

So I started out with a connection in mind that I didn't actually use, but I figure if I get organized enough to be clever, I can work back around to it at the end and make it a circle. The one I didn't use was that this first song was on the mixtape that we used at our wedding reception. So if I end with another song from that tape, then I'll have a circle. (I don't think I remember what all the songs were on the tape, but we spent quite a lot of time on that tape and I remember quite a few of them, even after nearly 30 years.)

This song, was, in fact, the first song played at our wedding reception - "Chapel of Love" by the Dixie Cups:

Rob came up with some stuff that I wouldn't have thought of, and some of my friends from Austin helped, too. I was never a really huge fan of all the 60s girl-group stuff, so on my own I would never have thought of this song. (If you followed all my many Music Advent posts from past years, you may already know that I'm a much bigger fan of the oldies of the 80s - although we got married in 1987, so they weren't even oldies at the time - than the 60s.)

For Day 2, my connection was "from the chapel to the wedding" - which maybe wasn't the most glib phrasing I could have come up with, but anyway, it works as a connection.

This is definitely one of my 80s songs. I remember watching this one on MTV, back when MTV was relatively new and people actually sat and watched it.

So this second song was actually the first connection I thought of, because I had some Pandora 80s channel on in the car that night. It's not highly original but oh well. It's Billy Idol/American Idol. Rob and I watched American Idol for years so it was a pretty obvious one to me. And then I picked this particular song because it fit into the next connection, but I'll get to that in a minute.

Once I got to American Idol, I figured I could use anybody who was ever on Idol, really, but the most obvious people to use were Kelly and Carrie, because they were the biggest stars to come out of Idol in the US. Then once my brain got to that point, I thought, "Ooh, nail polish." Because Deborah Lippmann nail polishes all have names that are song titles, and I knew for sure that there was at least one that was a Kelly Clarkson song. I actually got on the website and made a list of songs I might want to use. The song I originally thought of which I knew was a polish was Stronger, but in fact I found at least four songs that I could have used: Miss Independent, Stronger, Before He Cheats, and Superstar. (I don't know which "Superstar" Ms Lippmann actually had in mind, but I knew that Clay Aiken sang it on Idol at some point.) I did get as far as looking for a video of Clay singing "Superstar" but I wasn't blown away by that video, so I went with Miss Independent instead. I do like the "Stronger" video but it's not my favorite of her songs. And I'm not a huge country fan (although I do like Carrie Underwood alright) so that's why I thought the older, more rock-inflected Kelly video reflected my taste the most, of those choices.

And then the other video I used the next day, which is also a Lippmann nail polish, is another 80s song, Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game":

This video feels familiar to me, but I doubt that this is the exact video MTV used back in the 80s because it's a bit risque for back then. (I mean, it's really not, because you can't actually see anything much, but just the fact that the girl in this video doesn't seem to have a top on for a good portion of the video probably was too much, in the 80s, even if it was cable.)

(and four videos is plenty for one entry so I'll continue this later)


Holidailies - blue
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Dr Who - Wilfred)
(Look, this actually makes four icons with Star Wars references that I've found. I have close to 200 icons so it's possible there's something else in there that has escaped me.)

If you haven't been following this all along, by "alternative" I mean the stuff that I didn't actually pick for Music Advent. Part 1 is here.

(Here's what I actually picked for N-Q)
So picking up again with N, the only thing I wrote down was "Nothing Compares 2 U" - which I think was just in case I completely didn't find a video for "Never Stop," to tell you the truth. Because that's just one of those songs that I have strong and ancient emotional ties with, you know?
So here's Sinead's version of that, in case you only know it from "The Voice" or something):

(Lyrics are useful for this song, I think - I always had trouble understanding her, at least.) This song was written by Prince, incidentally.

O: I think I mentioned somewhere along the line that I had "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" written down for O - that's always been one of my favorite old carols. (I have a weakness for the minor-key ones, generally.) What I actually used was Dishwalla's "Opaline" and I did have a couple of things besides those two written down: The Eagles' "Ol' 55" and also "One Headlight" which I think is the Wallflowers.

P: I used Radiohead's "Pyramid Song" but I had several other things written down. One was "Pat-a-Pan" which is most generally famous in this Mannheim Steamroller version. (Gawd, I just listened to that, & I didn't remember it being as boringly repetitive as it sounds to me at the moment. I suppose that's because it's one 30-second melody which they then proceed to repeat about 10 times.) Then there was "Psallite" which is also something I know from choir - it's not generally something you hear around at Christmas because it's too obscure for that, but from what I remember of the (Latin) lyrics it does seem to be a Christmas song.

That's a nice version of it. Much better than my 7th-grade choir one was, I bet!

The two non-Christmas songs I had written down were "Purple Rain" (speaking of Prince) and Jackson Browne's "The Pretender."

For Q, I had "Queen of Hearts" written down (which I know somebody else did use in Music Advent, because I looked) and something called "Queen of the Air." - I don't have easy access to my iTunes list right now so I'm not entirely sure what that is. (Possibly Everclear, because it's a song on an album I know I had.)

(R-U picks here)
R songs other than "River" which I used: Talking Heads' "Road to Nowhere" - one of my old favorites. Here's David Byrne in a 2002 performance:


Other R's: Radioactive, by which I'm sure I meant the Imagine Dragons song, not any of several older ones. (One thing I've noticed about the Imagine Dragons song: it's one of those songs people sing along with. Pay attention the next time you're in the supermarket or somewhere and it comes on, I bet you'll notice it.) Also Real Fine Place To Start, which is one of those country-ish songs that I picked up somewhere along the line.

I better quit talking so much about every single song or I'll never finish this.

S: I used the cheesy 80s song "Stone Cold" but my alternatives were Fixx, "Saved by Zero"; "Superstar" by which I think I meant the old Carpenters song rather than the musical; and "Second Chance" - the Shinedown song from a few years back. (All I wrote down were titles, which is why I'm going through my list and trying to decide which version of a song I meant.)

T: I used the 80s song "True"; my alternatives were Dan Fogelberg's "There's a Place in the World for a Gambler," Pearl Jam's "Tremor Christ" (but I used Pearl Jam twice this year as it was) and that old cheeseball classic "Total Eclipse of the Heart"

U: I used Simple Minds' "Up on the Catwalk" because neither one of the other songs I had written down had a video I liked. In the case of "Under Your Spell" from the Buffy musical - and that seems sort of odd (that I didn't like the video, considering that it was the original video), but it didn't appeal at the time, that's all I know. The other one was "Unwritten" (Natasha Bedingfield).

(V-Z videos here)
V: I used "Veni, Veni, Emmanuel" (i.e., "O Come Emmanuel" in Latin) for my actual pick, but I also threw another V song into this entry, Ultravox's "Vienna." I also had "Valotte" (Julian Lennon) and Vasoline (Stone Temple Pilots) on the list.

Possibly my favorite thing that I skipped is "Wig in a Box" (movie version) (but again, I had already used a Hedwig song):



other W songs, besides the Wassail Song which I used: another musical song, the "Watch Dog Theme" from Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and also Amy Obenski's "Words on a Page"

(Best Little Whorehouse is another thing that I have a weird emotional reaction to - or maybe it's more accurate to call it a heavily nostalgic reaction. The Chicken Ranch story broke in the summer, one of the years that I was a teenager, and we used to watch Channel 13 all the time and saw all of Marvin Zindler's posturing about it. I think we thought it was all pretty stupid even at the time, but I also remember being oddly riveted by the whole thing too. - Ask anybody from Houston: there was just something about that man you couldn't turn away from, possibly like a trainwreck.)

(I'm running out of steam here, so I'll be brief.) The Y alternatives were Coldplay's "Yellow" which I have always been unaccountably fond of, and another 80s song, "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record.) For Z, the alternatives I had were "Zat You, Santa Claus?" (if anybody actually used that, I didn't see it) and U2's "Zoo Station." (Frankly, I was at my aunt's house late on Christmas Eve after everybody had gone to bed, and I think the one I used was the first one I looked at, "Zydeco Stomp." I think I used it mostly because I was tired and I didn't want to look at any more videos. "Eh, I like that song, what the heck.")

2015holibadge-blue.gif
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Xmas light gif)

I don't seem to be much into talking about our Christmas and stuff right now - maybe later, if I get in the mood - so I guess I'll do this instead. Then - again, assuming I get in the mood, which is pretty chancy these days - I'll do one more post like I did before about the stuff I didn't choose. That seems to be what I'm most reliable about wanting to talk about these days.

The first two are Christmas songs (which is another reason to get these up sooner rather than later) and then I gave up on Christmas for the year (although I did listen to a Pandoria "holiday music" channel in the car on Christmas Eve). Both of the Christmas songs are old favorites of mine.

I had the first one on the list twice: I skipped it at O (in English: "O Come, O Come Emmanuel") since I had more options there, and saved it for V, where there were fewer. I knew there was an Enya version (which I think is in both Latin and English, on successive verses), but I went with a full-Latin version by Hayley Westenra. So this is "Veni, Veni, Emmanuel" instead. (Note that the translation in the video is a more literal English one, but there's a link under the video that has the traditional one.



This is the one I was talking about in this entry, the Wassail Song (specifically, Ralph Vaughn Williams' arrangement of it. c.1910):

And then we skip X (#musicadvent's official decision, to fit into the advent-approved 25 days) (plus, y'know, how many X songs are there?) and go on to Y.

So now we're out of holiday mode, and while I would like to be able to say I'd been a bit more creative about this, I went with classic Pearl Jam, "Yellow Ledbetter" - just because I love this:


And for Z, a little Zydeco Stomp for Christmas:

mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Xmas lights pink)
For R I went with a Christmassy song (although it's not really a Christmas song, just because it mentions Christmas - although actually I think "sad Christmas songs" could be their own genre, almost) - and not incidentally, this is one of my favorite songs of all time: Joni Mitchell, "River"


After that I got in an 80s groove, although none of these songs are much alike. The first one is a rock song: Rainbow, "Stone Cold"

This is one of those very silly songs (or well, the video is very silly, anyway, and I think MTV must have been where I first heard the song because the two are inextricably merged in my mind) that you can't help sort of liking anyway. Also, at 22 or so, I thought Joe Lynn Turner was really cute.

Then we have this sort of smooth, slick thing that is "True" - I think Spandau Ballet was lumped generally under the "new wave" banner at the time, but I also think for this song, at least, that's pretty debatable:


This is a song that never caught on in the US, as far as I know. Simple Minds had a Moment in America (mostly because of Breakfast Club) but they were a much bigger thing in Europe. Anyway, this is my favorite Simple Minds song. I think I posted this video during Holidailies last year but I didn't actually use it for a Music Advent pick at the time.

(As I said when I posted it before, I don't remember seeing this video at all back then. I just knew the song.)

And as a bonus (because I'm pretty sure I'm not actually going to use it for Music Advent tomorrow), another one of my fave 80s songs, Ultravox's "Vienna"


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mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Xmas - pink aluminum)
I used this icon because I drove down the beach this afternoon. The water is so pretty in the winter. (I was distracted a bit from that, though, because the powers that be have built new beach where there used to be no beach - it was just rocks - in the 7 years or so since we lived in Galveston, and it startles me every time I see it.)

I said I was going to do four more installments of three Music Advent songs, but actually four days have done by since then so I think maybe I'll do three installments of four instead. Next week's likely to get crazy anyway, so that's probably better. So this post will have N, O, P, & Q. (and this post has all the links to the first half of the alphabet)

N: Never Stop, Echo & the Bunnymen
This was my very favorite song in 1984, as I recall.


O: Opaline, Dishwalla
Dishwalla was never very famous for any song besides "Counting Blue Cars," but I really like this one.


P: Pyramid Song, Radiohead
Because I love the song and this video goes so well with that sort of eerie vibe.

I'm fairly certain that I first head this song and saw the video at the same time, on the computer, when it first came out. In 2001, that was pretty radical. (YouTube didn't come along until 2005, remember.) I noticed watching this - on YouTube, of course - just now that it looks pretty pixellated in full-screen mode. I'm pretty sure that's because it wasn't really meant to be watched that way. Almost 15 years is a long, long time in internet time, and back then, you could usually barely get a small-sized video to download in a couple of hours, and usually when you did it was really stuttery. (I remember watching this at work, where the connection was much faster.) I believe it was a big deal at the time that Radiohead released it this way, too. Now that I think of it, the song has a sort of stuttery sound anyway - maybe it's meant to match!

Q: "Quelle est cette odeur agreable?" Clare College Choir
(I like this, but mostly I was trying to pick something that hadn't been picked already. "Queen of Hearts" which was also on my list was long-gone.) The official translation of that - presumably because it has the right number of syllables - is "Whence is that goodly fragrance flowing?" but I think a more modern, syllables-be-damned translation would be more like, "What smells so good?"

Here's a translation, and I have to say it doesn't make much sense to me. It starts off talking about fragrance and shepherds and then in the second verse it starts talking about light - the light of Christ. Which I guess smells good? I don't quite understand. (I don't think it's just a bad translation, either, because my French is good enough to get the gist of things, usually, and the French version seems to be along the same lines.)

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mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Xmas lights pink)
We're basically halfway through Music Advent, and I thought it might be a good time to talk about the songs I didn't use in the first half (A-L, so 12 of the 25 days. Actually I've posted the 13th one on Twitter but haven't talked about it here yet, so it occurs to me that if I throw it in here that will make me come out "even" on the LJ posts (with four more sets of three songs left to do), so I'll do that.

For M, I picked Midnight Radio from "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and I picked this version largely because others I found were missing one part of this song that I really love, and that's the descant part at the end where Lena Hall's voice (in this version) comes in. (I'm not completely sure whether what I have on iTunes is the Broadway version or the movie version, and I didn't go re-check to see.)

The Hedwig here is Andrew Rannells; he's very good.
(And I'll get to the other M songs at the bottom.)


What I did, when I finally decided to do Music Advent a little belatedly, was go through my iTunes library and pick a few songs for each letter of the alphabet; the least was two and the most was maybe five. Down toward the bottom of the list it got to be more songs for each letter, but M is the only one here with more than three. But in any case, each day I've been going to YouTube to see what I could find for each song. (The more songs, though, the more likely I am to just pick a couple and not look at the others. So there was a sort of longer version of the shortlist for some things and then an extra-short one, effectively.) Anyway, so I've been picking partly by the song and partly by what I could find a video of, and in a lot of cases here, I'm picking from several versions of the song.

(For reference, here's the link to the 1st three videos).
A - picked Across the Universe (Michael Johns, from Idol) - of course I could also have picked the Beatles version, or I think there's possibly some solo George versions around too, but Michael Johns has died (in 2014, I think that was) and that's mostly what made me think of this version. He had a beautiful voice and he hovered around on the verge of breaking through for a long time, it seemed like, but except for his moments of glory on American Idol it never really happened. (Not that that's an unusual story, at all.)
The only other song on the shortlist was
After the Gold Rush (Neil Young) - and I didn't pick it partly because it didn't have an interesting video that I could find. A lot of 70s songs seem not to (pre-MTV, see). Some days I'm in the mood to pick a video that's really just audio and a picture of the album cover, and other days I'm not. There's at least one of those that did get picked here.

B - I picked Bad (U2 bad lyrics version) - it was late and I might have chosen more carefully between the available videos, but I love the song. The other song I had was Beds Are Burning - another of my favorite 80s songs - and here's a version of that:
C - I used Chrome Plated Heart (Melissa Etheridge, 90s live version)
alternatives: "Cold Ground" which is a sort of country-rock song that I only know because it's on the "True Blood" soundtrack, but I really love it. I couldn't find a video that suited me though. And I also had Counting Crows, "Colorblind" which is a semi-obscure song of theirs that I'm particularly fond of.

(Here's the D-F set of videos)
D - Down To the River To Pray (movie version); I looked at the video for Dance Hall Days, another old 80s song, and it was boring. So that's why it didn't get picked, mostly.
E - Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen (King's Singers), because it's a song I love, and this is a really good version of it. I had Edge of Seventeen written down but I didn't go look at the video.
F - Fortress Around Your Heart; I also looked at Taylor Swift's "Fifteen" because I like the song, but the video didn't grab me.

(G-I videos here)
G - Given To Fly (2000 live version); I think I mostly picked this one because it was the least-known of the three unless you're a Pearl Jam fan, and because I did like this performance video a lot. I don't think I looked at Pink's "Glitter in the Air" because it seemed like a more boring choice. I love Bush's "Glycerine" but rejected it for similar reasons: it felt more like sort of an alt-rock standard to me. It's too famous. - Come to think of it, though, I love that version of "Glitter in the Air" where's she's twirling around in the air (which apparently was something she did on tour, as well as at the Grammys) so here is that from the Grammys five years ago:
It's great showmanship, and actually I remember hearing her say that it's not as hard to sing like that as you might think!

H - My pick was Handle With Care (the Traveling Wilburys) but there's also a version of Heart Like a Wheel at the link above. The other thing I wrote down was "Hodie Christus Natus Est" which is an advent sort of song so it would have been appropriate, but I didn't get around to looking at that. (I think the Trinity College choir version is the one I have - see here.)
I - Interstate Love Song; I Alone (Live); I Believe in Father Christmas (Emerson Lake & Palmer, what I call an anti-Christmas song); I Drove All Night (Cyndi Lauper) - I had Scott Weiland's death in my head and didn't look at any of these others.

(J-L videos)
J - Jolie Blon (actually the version I used is called Sweet Jole Blon'); John Barleycorn (the old Traffic song); Jar of Hearts (Christina Perri) - the main thing I have to say here is that the version of Jolie Blon' that I first remember is Jo-el Sonnier - here's a two-minute clip with both Sonnier and Doug Kershaw, who is the one that I actually used:

K - King Tut; the others I had on the list were Kashmir (Led Zeppelin, of course), and Culture Club's Karma Chameleon, but much as I love both of those songs, I had for some reason committed in my head to "King Tut" (it just makes me laugh, I guess that's why).
L - Genesis' Land of Confusion is what I used, mostly because I remembered I liked the video, from years ago. I knew there'd be numerous versions of "Lady Marmalade" out there if that didn't work out. (I also assumed somebody else would use "Lady Marmalade" although nobody did that I saw.)

...and back around to M - Material Girl" was the only alternative to "Midnight Radio" where I got as far as looking at the video. This was kind of a big thing at the time, because it was the point where Madonna first sort of gave public notice that she was somebody to be taken seriously. She had been around before this, and had some pretty big hits, but this was where she started to stand out from the crowd of girl singers. I also had "May It Be" from the Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack on the list, and it was something I really used to love. (I went to see Fellowship of the Ring a whole bunch of times in the theater; I really had a thing for it for a while, so that probably figures into it.) The others I had were another movie song, "My Declaration" (which is from the movie Inkheart, and I only thought of this because I happened to listen to it the other day); and "Mr Golden Deal" which is another one of those somewhat obscure songs that I just like, from the 90s band Tonic.

Here's Material Girl (with a youngish Keith Carradine, and Robert Wuhl in a little cameo at the beginning):

mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Xmas bow)
First, a dose of old-school holidays, if you haven't seen this one already:

It's supposedly actual K-Mart in-store music from 1974. (I say "supposedly" but I can't imagine why anybody would fake such a thing, and it certainly sounds right. I don't remember that particular K-Mart jingle but that doesn't mean it's not real.) I've been listening to this off & on in about 5-minute chunks because that's about all I can stand at one time. It's nostalgic and horrible, all at once.

Okay, so for Music Advent, we are at J, and for that I wanted Jolie Blon' - although I actually ended up using a version called "Sweet Jole Blon'" so I cheated a little. It may be a standard, but not even the spelling is standardized.

I don't know how generally famous Doug Kershaw is (the link is to Wikipedia, and I suspect the answer is "not very"), but I have a longstanding interest in cajun & zydeco music so I've known who he was for years. He's such a genuine Cajun he didn't even grow up speaking English. (He's 79 now; I doubt that that's very common today.) He's from Cameron Parish, which is the far southwest corner of Louisiana, right across the Sabine River from Texas. That's major swampland.

For K, I had a couple of possibilities (in fact I may do an entry later about the things I didn't pick) but I had - for some reason - Steve Martin's "King Tut" in my iTunes collection, and I eventually went with that. I'm just going to link to the original version, because it wouldn't display in Twitter and I bet it doesn't display here - that's on NBC's website. It's from season 3 of SNL, which is when I was in college so I probably saw it when it first aired, live. We used to always watch SNL unless we were out somewhere, I know. From YouTube, though, here's a live version that's only slightly later. (Although it lacks Martin's funkier costume of the SNL version, not to mention the dancers and the SNL band in full regalia.) (As I recall, Martin did a comedy tour in his heyday where he wore the white suit through the whole thing, so that's probably where this came from.)

(I was initially confused about why he suddenly says "Henry Winkler!" in the middle because I wasn't paying attention to the guy holding the piece of scenery, but he is indeed back there.)

For L, I did Genesis' "Land of Confusion" - which is a song I've always liked, but I mostly picked it because it has an entertaining (if somewhat creepy) video full of puppets:


(And I just posted my M video but I'll get to that next time.)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (fireworks)
I posted H & I for Music Advent just now, so that means I have another three to post here - which is good because I haven't particularly got anything else to say. I'll start right off with I, because I think what I posted is a pretty glaringly obvious choice what with the death of Scott Weiland recently - STP's "Interstate Love Song"


And then I'll keep going backwards: H was The Traveling Wilburys, "Handle With Care" - this seemed pretty obvious to me, too, but I guess it's been a while and it's probably not quite so obvious as I think.

Couple of these guys are dead too, of course, but then they were a good bit older than Weiland. (Added: Huh. actually Orbison was only 52 when he died. Not much older than Weiland - who I think was 48 - at all, and younger than I am now, for that matter. I'd forgotten that.)

I was on a rock-song tear with this bunch; G is Pearl Jam's "Given To Fly"

I wasn't going for a "dead people" theme, believe me, but I gathered from the comments on this (2000, live) video that the lady who is signing onstage in this video has recently passed away. Apparently she was a teacher who was in the audience with some students and Eddie, so the story says, noticed her signing and put her on the stage.

Here's my alternate H video, in a much different style: Linda Ronstadt and the McGarrigle Sisters, "Heart Like a Wheel":

And, since I was talking about who's still with us, I had to check on the McGarrigle sisters - apparently Kate died in 2010 (I might've known that at the time, now that I think about it) but the other two are still kicking (Anna McG. & Linda Ronstadt, I mean). Linda Ronstadt has Parkinson's and can't sing any more. I knew I hadn't seen her in a while. (I was not a huge fan of hers, in particular, but around the time I was in college, she was the only big female star going, certainly the only rock singer who achieved that level of fame. She was a trailblazer, in retrospect.)

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mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (winter trees)
Well, since I declared in the last installment that three videos are enough for one entry, and it's already the 6th, here are another three, D-F. (It's almost the 7th already, but I'll worry about that later.)

For D, I picked "Down in the River to Pray," which is from the movie O Brother Where Art Thou? and sung by Alison Krauss (& a chorus). I thought I remembered seeing a video for this song which featured Krauss herself, but I couldn't find that one, if it actually exists.

I have a choir background and a definite fondness for old hymns, which may also account for the next one.

"Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen" (or, in English, "Lo how a rose e'er blooming") - The King's Singers

This is the first holiday song this year but probably not the last.

And I know it doesn't particularly go well with the other two, but for F, I remembered how much I used to love "Fortress Around My Heart" from Sting. This video has a weird little wrap-around that I don't remember seeing before. (Maybe by 1985 I had mostly stopped watching MTV, though.)


(Expect the next three along about Wednesday, I guess!)

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mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Mel - snow)
I think I mentioned before that #musicadvent - which has always been a Twitter thing - was doing A-Z this year (skipping X). I said I might not do it, and then in the middle of the night one night this week I posted a version of Bad with lyrics. Unfortunately it was very late at night and I failed to notice that the lyrics are apparently from a non-English speaker who got some of it wrong - "find away" instead of "fade away" - but anyway, still a great song. (I think I posted the LiveAid version of this last year, and that's here.)

But that aside, I wasn't really intending to do this daily, partly because I couldn't think how I would choose songs. Then it occurred to me, kind of belatedly, that I've had iTunes since it first started - what's that, over 10 years now? - and that after all this time that contains a pretty exhaustive list of what I've listened to in the last decade, and it's easily sorted by title. So that's what I'm doing. I'm not going to try to post it over here daily like I did last year, but I'll try to post them here periodically.

I just picked stuff that seemed interesting to me. Everything here is music I like, and I'm going to try to keep from second-guessing my own taste. (People are so judgmental about other people's taste in music, and it's easy to get defensive. My taste is pretty much all over the place, quite frankly, but leaning toward rock & alternative.)

So I've been posting catch-up choices on the #musicadvent tag, and here's what I've posted so far:

A - Across the Universe, Michael Johns' cover. I always thought he had a beautiful voice. If you listen to the Idol judges afterwards, 2 of the 3 said this performance was too low-key, but I've found that I listened to this one pretty frequently over the years.


B - Bad, U2 (bad lyrics and all)


C - Chrome Plated Heart, Melissa Etheridge, a live version from Germany in 1993


(And I think three videos is enough for one day. I'll do some more tomorrow.)
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Music advent for 1986 (although it's a later performance, as Eddie Vedder's presence might tip you off to):
R.E.M. w/ Eddie Vedder - Begin the Begin
(Dreamwidth note: I can't get embeds to work so far so here's the link.)

So, the parade of reminiscences about concerts and such stops abruptly at the end of 1985, because at the beginning of 1986, I left Austin. I gave you the hints in the last entry - I hated my job, I hated my roommate. I loved my friends but I was 25 and I felt like my life needed to go on and I didn't feel like that was going to happen in Austin, mostly because there was so much competition for every decent job in Austin. And I had a teaching certificate that I hadn't done anything with, and a library degree I hadn't really done anything with either. To be a school librarian, you have to have teaching experience, so I decided I should get some. So I moved home "temporarily" with my parents. The idea was that I would get a job and be gone again.

(Aside: the main reason I didn't go to concerts after this is because in Houston at that time, all the big concerts were on the wrong side of town. The main concert venue is The Woodlands, which is on the north side of Houston, and I lived - still live - on the south side. It's about 75 miles from Galveston, a little less from where we live now, but anyway, it's out of easy distance. You have to be more motivated than I was to go to concerts. These days many of the concerts are downtown, so those are more accessible, but concerts are so expensive and I'm far too unmotivated to even consider it, most of the time.)

Unfortunately I waited rather late to apply for the jobs for the semester, and the jobs were pretty limited at that point. (I was and am way too impulsive about these things. I think it would have been more logical to wait - to stay in Austin a few more months, maybe, and start looking for jobs in the summer. But I didn't do that, obviously.) I came really close to getting a job in my hometown, but I didn't get it. So I spent the spring substituting - mostly in elementary school. Mostly I enjoyed it. But then school was out and I got a summer job - in Galveston, at Gaido's, which is a fancy seafood restaurant.

Those of you who know me may have seen this coming by now. I met a boy. I thought he was my age, but it turned out he was a couple of years younger than me. He was a bartender, not college educated. But I was in love, I didn't care. In October we got engaged. I spent the winter working at Gaido's part-time, substitute teaching, still, and planning a wedding. (I made my own dress, and did a lot of other things myself - in many ways I was a forerunner of the "handmade" kind of weddings that are popular today.) I picked the 1987 song because it was on the mix-tape we played at the wedding reception:
Crowded House - Don't Dream It's Over
(again, if I the hang of embeds I'll try to fix this later but here's the link)

Yeah, we had a mix-tape. (See below for a bit more about that.) We got married at my parents' house, which was not the house where I grew up, but out in the country, and we had the wedding in the back yard, on a tiny budget. I loved how it turned out.

My parents never said a word to me about the wisdom of marrying somebody who wasn't college-educated. I suspect they knew it wouldn't do any good - I was always stubborn. My dad hadn't paid for my sister's wedding the year before, though, and he wouldn't pay for mine, either. (He said he paid for college for both of us, and that was enough. Which I guess is fair.) (And my mom still found ways to pay for items here and there.)

And well, it hasn't been a bed of roses, but that'll be 28 years ago this spring, and we're still married. So I guess it all turned out pretty well, right?

wedding cake


We had a lot of fun with that mix-tape. We went around and collected oldies singles to put on it. It started with "Going to the Chapel." We also had that Aretha Franklin and George Michael song which turned out to be the number one song the week of our wedding:
Aretha Franklin & George Michael - I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) [Official Video]
(here's the link)


mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (m15m - polarbear)
Well, before I get around to talking about concerts, let me tell you what happened to me in 1985, in a nutshell. I got one full-time job, replacing the two part-time ones. It still didn't pay very well, but better than I was making before. It was back in the Serials department, where I had worked before, and... I hated it. Once the new wore off, I could barely stand to go to work. I also bought a car, a used Datsun - I forget what year model it was - 82 or 83, I think. I had been in Austin all these years with no car, and having that freedom of movement was weird. And then I moved out of the co-op. I found a girl who wanted a roommate, and I moved into an apartment for the first time. (That didn't really work out so well, either. The roommate and I didn't particularly get along.)

The part of my life that did go well was my social life. I wasn't dating anybody, but I hung out with a couple of my old co-op friends, and a couple of their friends, and as you may have deduced if you've been paying attention, we did a lot of concert-going. We also went to clubs - especially we went to one gay bar on 4th Street. It was sort of fashionable for straight people to go there, at the time, but really the reason we kept going was that one of my friends was in the process of deciding to come out of the closet - which he finally did at the end of the year, to nobody's surprise. I suppose that was also related to why we went to see Frankie Goes to Hollywood (which was an education all by itself. I thought I was all grown-up and sophisticated, but... oh my). But we did plenty of other stuff, too. We went to Esther's Follies - which is apparently still going strong. We went to see small acts - we were very partial to a guy named Dino Lee, and saw him several times at different places. (Oh, look, here he is on MTV in '86, and it looks like he's still around, too.) We went to see Timbuk 3 - that's the "Future's So Bright We Gotta Wear Shades" guys - on campus, I think it was at the Cactus Cafe, which was a really small venue. I think that was just before they had the one big hit song, which is this one:

(We also saw Katrina and the Waves - another one-hit wonder act, at least in the States. I gather they were around for longer in the UK.)

We also went to bigger acts - the big ones and the medium-sized ones, too, like Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Howard Jones. We went to U2, which I found rather a disappointment, because I loved U2 but it was exactly like the Live at Red Rocks concert, I thought, which I had seen on MTV. There wasn't anything wrong with the concert, it just... didn't grab me like I thought it would. My Music Advent choice was U2, probably their most famous live moment, from LiveAid, which was in the summer of '85:

(I watched parts of LiveAid live, when it was originally on, but I don't think I actually saw that bit.)

I've been poking around trying to figure out when these various concerts were, and for U2 I came up with February 85. I mostly remember Bono waving a damn flag around, 30 years later, but I'm pretty sure they did sing "Bad" along with the other stuff that you'd expect. I had the EP - I think it's "Wide Awake in America" - that had the live version of "Bad" on it.

My other favorite band was R.E.M., and we saw them, too - I came up with August for a date on that one. I can't say I remember exactly what they played - I always have trouble with that part - but I remember that I loved it. I mostly have an impression of it in my head - standing on the floor of the Austin Coliseum and bouncing up and down because there wasn't enough room to really dance. (The song my brain wants to set it to didn't come out til the next year. That song will be in the next entry, because I picked it for '86. However, somewhere online I found a reference to "Fall On Me" having been played that night for the first time in public - here - and it's on the same album, so who knows? It's doubtful they played it, but possible.)

I also loved Tom Petty, and yes, we saw him too, with Lone Justice opening - I think that one was probably in July. I mention seeing Katrina and the Waves, and Frankie Goes to Hollywood (my research there says June). I mentioned a few days ago seeing New Order and thinking it was boring, and I think that one was in the fall, although I haven't attempted to check my memory there. My impressions of the time of year things were often seem to have been more accurate than my memories of what year was which, though. (I remembered Fleetwood Mac being at Halloween and Echo and the Bunnymen being around the time school started, for example. But I don't always have anything like that to tie things to.)

If you're wondering how I afforded all of this on a Library Assistant's pay, well, I really couldn't. By the end of the year I was pretty badly in debt, between credit cards and the car payment. I actually sold most of my vinyl albums that fall, among other cost-saving measures. (It wasn't as much of a wrench as you'd think - CDs were starting to come along by then, and I figured vinyl albums were going to go the way of the cassette and the 8-track tape. I sold them at Half-Price books and got quite a bit of money.)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (UT tower)
Aside: I threatened on Twitter to "rickroll" the last day of Music Advent, since I was on 1987 on Christmas Day and that turns out to be when "Never Gonna Give You Up" was released. (1987, I mean, not Christmas. And I do remember Rick Astley from back in the 80s, but he was never one of my particular favorites, as I remember it.) I don't think you can really do a rickroll in the old sense, now that most places you post videos give you a preview of the video, can you? Of course I still could have picked "Never Gonna Give You Up" as my 1987 song, anyway, but I didn't do that either. You'll have to wait and see - or go over to #musicadvent on Twitter, if you're really dying to know what I did pick. (Apparently rickrolling as a meme interests me more than the song does. But I'm very interested to see that the VEVO version of "Never Gonna Give You Up" has nearly 100 million views. I can't think of anything else I've ever looked at that had near that many. -- I don't guess there's any way to know how many views that song has gotten altogether since it was all over the place back in the heyday of the rickroll. It'd be an interesting thing to know!) (added: Wikipedia does say, though, that 18 million people are estimated to have been rickrolled, and that the original video has been taken down. For what that's worth.)

OK, so, 1984. Well, here's my official Music Advent song, first of all:

As I said when I posted it on Twitter, this is not by any means my favorite song of the year - although it's a good song! better than I remembered, actually - but those outfits and that hair are so evocative of that time, to me. (Love the pink lighting, too!)

A band all my friends seemed to have simultaneously discovered in 1984 was Simple Minds. This is probably my favorite song of theirs, and I'm not sure if I ever saw this video back then. (You didn't get any choice in what was on MTV, after all, and Simple Minds didn't get a lot of MTV play until "The Breakfast Club" which didn't come out until early '85.)



I talked a couple of entries back about going to see Echo and the Bunnymen, and that's the only concert I have been able to confirm that I went to in 1984. Apparently I went to even more concerts in 1985 than I realized, because everything I've thought was in 84, other than that one, turned out to be 85. (So, next entry!)

1984 was the year I worked at the main circulation desk of the main library at UT (the PCL, that is) for a good part of the year. That was an interesting job. I can't remember which part of this came first, but for most of the second half of the year, I worked at the PCL in the mornings, went home for lunch, and went to the PMA library in the afternoons. (PMA is Physics-Math-Astronomy, and I have read lately this was the same timeframe when Neil deGrasse Tyson was at in grad school at UT. It's entirely possible that I came into contact with him there but if so I have no memory of it. Darn.) The circ-desk job was considered so stressful that you were only supposed to stay at the desk for two hours at a time, although this was pretty regularly broken.  There was always a line of people checking out books. They had the titles mostly computerized by that time, and what the clerks did was scan them. But there were lots of glitches. The gigantic physical card catalog also still existed in 1984 - it filled a whole large area of the lobby - and I remember short stints of filing cards in that. (Very boring, as you might imagine.) The PMA job was working with the serials - meaning the scientific magazines - and that was also pretty boring, a lot of the time. I checked in new ones, and I tried to find whole runs of different publications for a given time-period so I could send them off to be bound, which I remember as being tremendously frustrating because there was almost always something missing. You either had to wait for it to show up, or you could declare it lost and try to order another copy, which meant waiting around for ages - months, usually - to get it. Serials was really very frustrating generally in those days, and that was what I mostly worked on in my short library career. (Maybe that's largely why it was so short!)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Xmas excess)
I started talking about 1983 in the last entry, let's see if I have anything else I feel the need to say about it...

I have notes about the music portion of this, and my notes remind me that I saw David Bowie in 1983. I sat behind the stage, I remember that, and because of that I was quite close. It was a good concert. (The only professional-level concert I ever saw that I have really bad things to say about was New Order, which I thought was boring. I think that was in '85 but I'll get that complaint over with here, because I went to a number of concerts in '85 so I'll have plenty of other things to say for that year, music-wise.) (It just occured to me that I remember the name of the Bowie tour - "Serious Moonlight." "Let's Dance" was a huge hit at the time.)

Oh my god, I forgot about this picture - this was, I believe, a "Bizarre Party" in fall 1983 - terrible scan but still, I love this.
1983-paul-dana

My first video choice for 1983 was in the last entry also, but I had a second choice, so here's "Twilight Zone" - which I also loved:


That's the only concert that I'm sure was in 1983. I think I was too busy to do much concert-going. But as I said before, I spent a fair amount of time watching MTV, and I hung around with a friend who introduced me to NME and Melody Maker (British music magazines) and also to the world of import singles. I was already interested in this music before I met this particular friend, but that was what really pushed me into the edge into fairly serious fandom - as serious as I ever get, anyway. I made a mix tape that I had for years (and this was actual tape, remember, a cassette) with a bunch of songs recorded off of Rick's records - it had Echo & the Bunnymen, of course, but also Berlin & Big Country & Cyndi Lauper & The Alarm - that's all I can remember. (That thing might still be around somewhere!) There were probably a couple more. The Eurythmics were a new thing (at least to me) that year, so was Culture Club. It was also the year that Thriller was a huge thing, but that was too middle-of-the-road to be fashionable in my circles. (I suspect some of my friends owned that album, just the same, although I didn't.)

This was my favorite Culture Club song:


One more thing:
When I think about 1983, I wonder sometimes if I did the right thing. Both 1981 and 1983 were big crossroads in my life - and actually I'd have another one in a couple more years, but I'll get to that later, hopefully. In 1981, I wonder what would have happened if I had, say, gone to law school. I was not at all interested in it at the time, but in retrospect... well, like I said, I wonder. And in 1983, what if I'd gotten a job - god knows where it would have been. It's certainly highly likely that I'd never have met Rob, for example. At the time, what I thought was that I'd only ever have one chance to help start a co-op. I figured that if I didn't do it I'd always wonder what would have happened if I had. (And conversely, obviously, because I did, I sometimes wonder what if I didn't.)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Austin)
I was saying "if I thought of anything else that happened in 1982" last night - I said that because I was half-asleep at the time! - but I did actually think of something that might have been '82 or maybe even '81 - again, I'm saying that because of who I remember being with me at the time... We went to this thing, I think it was a political fundraiser, actually, but we hadn't given any money (as I keep saying, I was always quite broke during these years, I didn't really have any money to give) - somebody got hold of these tickets somewhere, though, and we went to this concert at the Austin Opry House. It was several different acts and I don't really even remember who all it was, but at the end Jerry Jeff Walker came out - he lived in Austin at that time, and may still for all I know - and Gary P. Nunn was with him and they did "London Homesick Blues" which I was absolutely thrilled by because I've always had this sort of inexplicable love for that song - inexplicable, I mean, given that I am not generally much of a country-music fan. (If the name of the song doesn't mean anything to you, you may know the chorus at least - "I wanna go home with the armadillo...")

It occurs to me that I also went to see Willie Nelson, maybe in '82 (actually on reflection I think it was a couple of years earlier), with my sister in Houston. It was at quite a small venue, somewhere on Richmond near the Galleria, so it was really cool. I say I don't like country music but actually there have always been certain acts that I like, including Willie and Jerry Jeff and others of those so-called "Texas Outlaw" guys. (I forgot to mention it, but I also know I went to see Michael Murphy on campus, in maybe 78 - I think it was at the old gym across from Jester, which is long-gone - Gregory Gym, I think? He wasn't considered a country act that time but like a bunch of those 70s acts, he was heavily country-influenced, anyway, even before he crossed over to officially being country.)


So in 1983, I graduated again. But instead of going out and getting a job, I elected to stay and do co-op things. Taos Co-op was opening that fall, and I went and was part of the group that went over in the summer and remodeled and did the paperwork involved in getting going. I got a part-time library job - it wasn't anything befitting a professional librarian at all, but I didn't care at the time (money is money), and I also got almost-free room and board from the new co-op. So that was enough to go on with. When the rest of the new co-op's residents arrived in late August (with Hurricane Alicia hot on their heels, as it happened) there were certain people that I bonded with immediately. A whole new set of friends (besides the old ones, some of whom had come over with us.) Several of these friends were male - I always do get along well with guys. A guy named Paul was my buddy for many afternoons of sitting in the hall drinking wine coolers, and a guy named Rick introduced me to a lot of new bands I hadn't heard before. One of these was Echo and the Bunnymen, who he adored, and soon I did too.
Here's "The Cutter"

I will go ahead and skip to the next year, when we would see Echo & the Bunnymen live at the Austin Opry House - it was general admission and a pretty small floor and we were packed in and in danger of getting squashed to jelly because we were right up against the stage. (There were a couple of bands opening for them - one had their own cult following which basically came for their performance and left. - I can't exactly remember who this was. I remember that the people who came and then left before the other performers seemed much more "punk" than the rest of the crowd, generally.) The middle act was Billy Bragg, who was pretty unknown in the US at the time, but he was awesome.) And then Ian and the boys. I don't remember specifically what they played. I just remember dancing my head off. (I also remember that we stopped on the way home and bought bottles and bottles of Gatorade and chugged them down. (It was August, I believe. It was damn hot.)

(I'll come back and fill in & around this later. Right now I'm going to try to get some sleep.)

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