Tag Archives: Music

Friday Find – Time Machine

Yes, that’s right – my Friday Find this week is a time machine. A time machine named Frado’s Dining Lounge. I have passed Frado’s on many of my bike rides along the Welland Canal and always thought that I have to go there some time. Italian food right by the water – what more could you ask for, right?

It was not until this past Tuesday that I put the “should some time” into action, packed up my husband and made my way to Frado’s. It was the third Tuesday of the month and that means that you get live entertainment along with your Italian food, the Jimmy Marando Swing Band, an excellent group of Niagara musicians. I did not realize just how strange it is for somebody who is U30 or as it turns out anybody U60 to get excited for a night of live swing music. The big, charming room with windows overlooking the canal was packed with senior groups and couples – so much so that part of me wanted to back out of the room right then and there.

I did not realize just how strange it is for somebody who is U30 or as it turns out anybody U60 to get excited for a night of live swing music.

What happened next was worth the momentary awkwardness: As soon as the band started playing the first beats of “Straighten Up and Fly Right”, the dance floor was packed with couples dancing swing steps that could only possibly be so smooth and synchronized after years of dancing through life together. I am talking actual dance moves here – no shaking or wiggling, but instead gracious, light-footed dancing, following the sound of the music.

My grandparents always talked about going to “dances” and here I was – back in the 60s? 70s? at a real dance. I ended up having an unexpected, wonderful night of being brought back to a time when all you needed for a fun night out was some good live music and a dance partner.

It will be unlike anything you have ever experienced (unless you are… well, old) but you should definitely check it out! Third Tuesday of the month – I’ll see you in the time machine on August 18th!

Love Songs Deconstructed: Take 1

Not So Lovely Love Songs – “Hello” Lionel Richie

I recently had a hilarious, and slightly uncomfortable, conversation with a good friend of mine about the fact that most of the catchy songs on the radio are actually pretty inappropriate when you take an honest look at the lyrics.  Even now when I hear a song from the 90s (my childhood….), I can’t believe some of the things I was allowed to listen to and sing out loud!  Yeah, Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle” . . . it ain’t about a Genie . . . or a bottle . . .

This got me to thinking.  What other songs have I obnoxiously sang, around others, without consciously thinking of the innuendo?  Now, I’m a sucker for a good love song.  Even better if it’s catchy . . . and from the 80s.  There’s a popular little ditty by a lesser known singer named Lionel Richie called “Hello” – a sweet song about a man asking a woman to see him and his heart, right?  Yeeeaaaah, no.  It wasn’t until I watched the music video, for this blog post, that I realized there is a much deeper, creepier meaning behind the lyrics of this song.  Take a look for yourself:

If by chance you missed the creepiness unfolding, here is the premiss:  Lionel Ritchie – let’s call him Mr. Richie for fun – becomes infatuated with his female student.  Early on in the video, we find out that she is blind which makes his following her around campus all the more weird and uncomfortable.  Sure, sure – we could argue that there is some symbolism behind her blindness implying “her blindness to his love for her” (I blame my university film courses for making me even notice that symbolism). . . but for the sake of this post, let’s just call a spade a spade.

I’ve been alone with you (creepy)
Inside my mind
And in my dreams I’ve kissed your lips
A thousand times 
I sometimes see you
Pass outside my door (like.. to hand in a class assignment or something..?)

Hello! (Hi Mr. Richie)
Is it me you’re looking for? (Well yeah… class starts in 5 minutes)
I can see it in your eyes
I can see it in your smile (What smile? Its 8 o’clock in the morning – that’s what I would say, anyways…) 
You’re all I’ve ever wanted (Whoa…)
And my arms are open wide
’cause you know just what to say
And you know just what to do
And I want to tell you so much
I love you (Ok…. that escalated quickly)

I long to see the sunlight in your hair
And tell you time and time again
How much I care
Sometimes I feel my heart will overflow
Hello!
I’ve just got to let you know
’cause I wonder where you are (I’m heading to make a complaint about you following me around campus)
And I wonder what you do
Are you somewhere feeling lonely?
Or is someone loving you?
Tell me how to win your heart (………….)
For I haven’t got a clue (Uh… not being my teacher for starters)
But let me start by saying I love you (Nope…. that won’t do it)

Now that I’ve ruined the loveliness of this love song for all of you, I would like to wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day!

When Happy-Go-Lucky Tries to be Sad

I’m what one might call the Happy-Go-Lucky type. On the majority of my days, I wake up happy and I go to bed happy. Mostly because I lack any real reason not to be happy. A bad day at work still means I have a job. An argument with a friend still means I have a friend I can argue with. A mother driving me crazy still means that at least I have a mother. I am fortunate. So when I do get sad, which happens much to my dismay, I am not happy about that. I went through a phase as a teenager when I tried to forbid myself to be sad. I forced myself to put everything in perspective. “In other places, people are starving right now”, I’d tell myself. Bad math test? At least I’m not starving. Broken heart? At least I’m not starving. Lonely? At least I’m not starving.

It didn’t work.

I tried so hard but when things suck, they suck. The entire rest of the world could have it worse but that will never change the fact that sometimes things will make me upset. If all it took for me to put things in perspective, I would probably never be sad again. But that didn’t work. So what does?

Life is very short and there’s no time for fussing and fighting or: The Beatles Approach

The Beatles - We Can Work It Out (single)When my sister was 12 years old, her classmate died. His dad had fallen asleep while he was driving. He and his daughter survived. His son didn’t. Neither did his marriage.  My friend was 25 when they found the brain tumour in his head. He died a year later. A friend’s mother had a brain aneurysm at the age of 40 and just dropped dead one day. No warning. Ron, my mother’s godchild, died at the age of 16 in a motorcycle crash. A girl who used to play in my brass band died on the school skiing trip when she was 18.

I could continue this list. But I won’t. Not a cheery list. But you get my point. Life is short indeed. It’s more than a phrase to me. I have seen it, again and again. Life can change and end in the blink of an eye. It’s terrifying.

And I truly do try to remember this when things make me sad. I don’t think that being sad is a waste of time, I think it is part of this beautiful, confusing, incredible life. However, there is only so much room I want to give sadness in my life. Because when all is said and done, I want to look back at a life lived happily.

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.” ~ Mary Oliver

 45 Life Lessons

When my friend sent me the link to these life lessons a couple of years ago, my natural instinct was to roll my eyes. Those wannabe inspirational things are not my cup of tea. These lessons, however, did change my life. Not all of them stuck, I don’t even agree with all of them. But the one that I, to this day, still think of when something is threatening to make me sad is this one:

Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”

You would not believe the healing power of that question. Because a lot of it won’t. Really just won’t and does not matter in the big scheme of things. Sometimes, that thought is all it takes for me to take a deep breath and pull myself back together.

Last but not least: Music

Music is part of my entire emotional life, not just the sad parts. But when I do get sad, boy! does music ever do the trick for me.

Girl with Guitar

If I am still at the stage of sadness that can be turned around, then try to stay sad when you hear those first chords of “Here comes the sun”. When I went through some big guy drama a few years back, I swear, “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World saved my life. I cha cha the sadness away in my living room to “Sway”, I will rock the blues away, playing “Run” by Amy McDonald on my guitar or I just lie on my bed and let “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” performed by Sarah Bareilles wash over me until I feel better.

But then there is the point of no return…

Sometimes, it is too late, it can’t be turned around, you just have to be sad. Then I do what Morrie in Tuesdays with Morrie recommends and wash myself in the emotion. Coldplay is always good accompaniment for a decent cry fest or the odd Sarah McLachlan tune, although I can only handle her in small dosages. The ultimate music though, if you really just want to let yourself be depressed for a little while, is probably anything Damien Rice has ever sung.

But handle with caution, that stuff can drag you down on even the best of days! His music is so heartbreakingly beautiful, just grab that tissue box, a lot of cookies and hide under the blankets until the morning comes. You will feel so deeply sad that you can only possibly feel better after!

And now keep smiling 🙂