Getting in the Groove

As some of you know, I haven’t posted regularly in quite a while. To get back into that, I want, no I need, to post about one of my favorite subjects — MUSIC.

Sometime ago I started a category on this site called “MusicILove.” It is always a pleasure to make posts that fall into this category, and since I want this experience of posting regularly again to be a joy, I’m coming with a music post near the beginning of my reboot, if you will.

For new readers who don’t know, I am a player. No, not that kind of player. I’m too old for that. I mean player in the best possible way. I love to play piano or keyboards (almost any kind). I do play classical music, but I also play just about everything else. Jazz is my favorite. I can get drunk playing that stuff. When I was in college, and was only minoring in music, I was way down on the priority list for using the practice rooms at school, which had wonderful grand pianos. Those rooms were sometimes impossible to get into. But when I did get in, I would stay for hours and literally be dizzy when I left. No weed for me. Just give me a nine foot concert grand in a room with fantastic acoustics. One of the best highs ever.

Playing became such an obsession that at one point in my life I managed to get paid for playing jazz. I have very fond memories of that, and some of it is going to work its way into a published story I hope.

And the reason I’m going down memory lane today is due to a Facebook memory popping up from eight years ago. It’s a YouTube video of a jazz player. I mostly listen to this guy in iTunes on my iPhone, because I downloaded his videos years ago and converted them to MP3 files. So I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t even know until this morning that he still had a YouTube channel. But I’m glad he does as his playing never gets old. He’s Nicholas Tam, programmer, gamer, jazz player with the aptly named YouTube channel, Play it again, Tam.

A few of his goodies:

By the way, I have never heard Richard Armitage mention any jazz music he likes. I certainly could have missed it if he did. If so, please school me. I would love to know what, if any, he likes. Thanks!

The Changing Taylor Swift Effect

Yep, I’m going to talk about Taylor Swift again. I like her. More about that here if you’re so inclined to find out why.

For years now, this thing called the Taylor Swift Effect, has had many of the rest of us who aren’t teen girls, running for cover when it happens. But with her latest mega hit, it’s changing. No more crying it seems, but empowerment for everyone even if they’re not a teen girl:

Okay, so yeah, maybe this guy would make some teen girls cry by watching this video. I just laughed and thought, “You go, guy!” And really, how many of you have done this? C’mon, I know there are a few out there.

Segue: you know Richard Armitage does this; lip sync that is. Wouldn’t you love to have that video!

Taylor Swift Finally Pulled Me In

Taylor Swift and her eyebrowsFor a few years now, I’ve groaned when I heard a Taylor Swift song. I have a 14 year old, and she and her friends like Taylor and have played her a lot. Since she isn’t my usual taste, I didn’t give her a fair shake. I had also read the Rolling Stone treatment of her a few years ago, and came away impressed with her business acumen but not inclined to listen to someone’s music who lived such a “white bread” existence.

But one of her latest hits became an anthem among teens and maybe some not so teen, and I started listening. Yep, it’s true teen angst has been her stock and trade, but not just to whine. She tries to encourage, and I’m learning to appreciate that about her. I tend to be a critic, but I would like to think I’m changing. I hope you watch this to the end. Love the end:

I’ve also thought about the fact she writes most of her songs and has been doing this for years, and with this change away from her country roots and given her youth, she will continue to experiment way beyond Shake It Off. The song seems like an announcement of just that. And I look forward to that, because eventually it’s going to be something like a fine wine.

This one features a favorite of many in this fandom:

A Momentous Date

November 14th is fast approaching, and it’s a date that holds a great deal of meaning for me. First and foremost and way more important than any other event on that day, at least as far as I’m concerned, is that I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl about 3:00 in the morning and became a mother for the first time. It was after 23 hours of labor, and no, I’m not going to tell the rest of my labor story. Yes, I have a labor story. Almost every woman who has given birth has a labor story, but again, I’m not going to say anymore about that except to say it was possibly the most momentous occasion of my life and of SO‘s life too. To watch a human being coming into the world? I can’t describe it. So I won’t. You had to be there. And this year I wish I could be with that beautiful girl on her birthday, but that won’t happen except via FaceTime.

Enough about that, since I realize this is two posts on my kids in a little more than a week, and I’m not here to talk about my kids although I’ve given into temptation to do just that on more than one occasion. I can’t help it. They’re great, and I don’t care how that sounds. Love them and can’t say enough good about them.

Okay, I think I got that out of my system although I now have tears in my eyes.

*wiping the tears away long enough to finish this post*

As some of you may know, November 14th is also Prince Charles’s birthday.

Here are a few other notable events that occurred on November 14th:

1666 – Samuel Pepys reports on 1st blood transfusion (between dogs)

1732 – The first US professional librarian, Louis Timothee, hired in Philadelphia

1840 – Claude Monet, the painter, is born in Paris

1900 – Aaron Copeland, the composer, is born in Brooklyn

1908 – Albert Einstein presents his quantum theory of light

1994 – 1st trains for public run in Channel Tunnel under English Channel

2004 – North and South is first broadcast by the BBC

All of these are somehow tied together in my mind.

More on this as the date gets closer. :D

A little something while we’re waiting:

Sometime I need to write a post about picking these tunes out on the piano. One of the greatest pleasures I’ve ever had in picking out pieces.

Oh heck, something from one of my favorite composers and a piece befitting John Thornton and how his character has made it to so many shores:

Now that I’ve gotten some corny thoughts out, maybe I can return to the snark.

I Don’t Care If You All Have Heard This

Having trouble wanting to move, listen to this:

If you don’t want to move after listening, then you just may be dead.

My daughter and her friend have been dancing all over the house to this for hours, and SO and I finally joined them. We have now been dancing and laughing for the last couple of hours.

A song like this ought to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Got some pissed off people? This song could diffuse their anger.

edit:

My daughter just reminded me of a video her older sister made a few years ago that still can make all of us laugh. My three older kids were always doing things like this, and I have to admit I got a little choked watching this:

Diary of an RA Fan — Part 808 The Wayward Lover

August 11, 2014

Hobbit-Premiere-Berlin-Gundi

Entry — Sunday, August 10, 2014:

_______ sent me another song. Every few days she sends one and wants my take on it. Most of them have been great, some good and some okay. But whatever the performance, the sum of her writing is fantastic. Yeah, I’m biased. I can’t help it, but I’m far from alone in that assessment.

She was always a writer and has been successful at it for quite sometime. At barely 20 she went to NYC and landed a good writing job of a few hours a week which more than paid her rent. But writing for someone else was never going to satisfy her. She’s always working on something else, and then she picked up her guitar again and started writing songs. Now SO and I have quite a few on our phones which we can’t stop listening to. They are all rough cuts with all kinds of extraneous noises like her roommate’s hair dryer in the background. I don’t care. They are well written, and some of them I believe could gain something significant.

For the last couple of weeks, part of one song has been on my mind waking up and going to sleep. I have literally gotten up singing it. This prompted me to listen to the whole thing again this evening. It’s about expectations, identity and the desire for acceptance. Despite this song being written for others reasons, I began to see it as something from Richard Armitage and concerning his relationship to us fans. I imagined him singing this song to us and using all sorts of pronouns and of course sincerely but with an occasional sarcastic tone. It made me laugh and think about what may or may not be real.

The lyrics and copyright info, and if you don’t listen to anything else, listen from 3:40 on.

Maybe these thoughts were also brought on by Lee Pace’s interview in May. Maybe it was reviewing Richard’s interview in the Telegraph and the Sunday Times. Or maybe it’s because SO and I live a public life and have for quite a few years. A lot of our moves are watched, and if either of us look at someone the wrong way or reveal something about ourselves the public isn’t ready to see, it can cause some consternation on the public’s part. I don’t worry about this most of the time when I go into public, because some people are going to think what they want to think no matter what SO or I do. But occasionally something comes back to us that we supposedly said or did, and I’m dumbfounded and feel bad that someone read into our expressions and was hurt by them. Obviously, I’ve read in all kinds of things about Richard Armitage during the life of my blog, and I still wonder what he really thinks, and if I should write what I think about that. I don’t wonder this as often as I did when I first started writing. But that song made me wonder, and that in itself makes it a really good song.

rachel

Candid shot of the musician in Central Park

Candid shot of Richard by Gundi (and I’m wondering if Gundi is a fan who has shared this photo with us via RichardArmitageNet.com or not and if I’m violating copyright. Someone raise your hand if you know the answer. Thanks!)

edit: I have riddled this post with typos, and now I see RichardArmiteneNet.com. ROFLOL!! It will be fixed by the time someone reads this comment. Sorry about that, Ali. I flat did not see that. Oy

Dreams and the Passing of Time

I’m not quite as up on Google Alerts about Richard Armitage as I used to be, and really there’s no need since so many fan sites keep up. I appreciate that! Plus, it gives me time to do something I really love which is watching videos like this one below from my oldest kid.

She wrote this in a few minutes, taped it and sent it to me. And she’s got about 20 more, since she can’t seem to stop. This one is not perfect, but I love it. Not just because I think it’s a great song and has tons of potential but also for what it represents.

She is pursuing her dreams, which very definitely include a highly artistic facet — writing, photography and music, and who knows what else. It seems when someone is letting their artist flow, it just doesn’t stop. This interview with Viggo Mortensen speaks to the mentality and reminded me of how I really did think as a child — that there were no limits on what I could do or express.

But the kind of focus required for these endeavors has “real life” envious and continually trying to intrude. The ability to ignore real life then becomes paramount to the creative if they are ever to do anything significant. They must learn to hang onto the precious dreams of childhood.

SO and I did not have a great ability with this. We were forever trying to please our parents. Sadly, our parents and others preached such a conservative approach to life that it almost squelched the creative in us. It’s been a fight to keep it alive! Even my father who was fairly unorthodox and highly creative was very conservative when it came to my future. Don’t get a degree in music, don’t play in a band for a living, don’t go off to parts unknown to do photo essays, don’t, don’t, don’t, because (gasp!) you might experience some hard times. This was said incessantly. Guess what? I’ve experienced hard times anyway. Don’t we all?

With our children, SO and I have tried to take a better approach, tried to inspire yet prepare them for what they were getting into without demoralizing them. Don’t be stupid and still pursue your dreams is what we’ve said. Certainly, that’s hard, but anything worth doing…

This was also talked about, and thankfully, they seem to have taken it to heart. Two have ended up in New York to pursue their passions and one is on the west coast doing the same.

And who knows what’s going to happen. At worst, they will always know they tried.

© 2014

In the meantime, this child keeps writing as well as bartending in the city with her sister (they are middle and far right) and going to school (the “don’t be stupid” part):

rlatwork

What does all of this have to do with Richard Armitage? I’m getting to it. It’s been slow, and I’ve dithered around for a couple of years about my diary in the process, because it’s been hard to figure out what I should publish and what I shouldn’t. But I’m determined to finish. I’ve also talked to a lot of people (including all of the people mentioned in the diary), and almost all have said go for it. Even before I started, I had permission from those put in the most unflattering light, but I have still struggled with publishing. I’m very loyal to my family and never want to cause them harm. But I think I’ve come to understand that what I reveal is not harmful but a common reality and perhaps how it resolved in my life will help someone else.