SHAME WEEK! Salubrious Saturday: “Je t’aimais, je t’aime, et je t’aimerai,” Francis Cabrel

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High school.  High school, high school, high school.  Wow.

Okay.  Before we jump into the backstory here, let me just say that I am forced to post this song today because I am going to a very good friend’s wedding and therefore it has to be a love song.  This week being Shame Week, I had no choice.  And all men are Socrates.  Okay.  Moving on.

I really do love this song.  It’s beautiful.  But it’s like eating Frosted Flakes with maple syrup.  It’s way, way, way too cloying and sweet and over the top.  You know what time in your life is made for things that are over the top?  Say it with me now: high school!  Hooray!  Sometimes in French class our teacher would play us French pop songs and we would have to transcribe the lyrics.  It was a genius way of teaching French and it also gave high schoolers the greatest gift of all: ways to look effete and worldly at 15 years old.  I thought I was soooo sophisticated for loving – and being able to sing along to – Francis Cabrel.  Until I went to France on an orchestra exchange and my host family asked me what music I liked and I said, “oh, moi j’adore Francis Cabrel,” and they were like, “…vraiment?”  And I was all like, “…merde.”

But I was undeterred!  The angelic boy chorus that comes in around 1:30 gave me visions of eternal, perfect, heartbreaking love, because when you’re a teenager, love and pain are obvious synonyms.  (Spoiler alert for any teenagers reading this: wrong!  They’re antonyms.  Trust me.)  I put it on a mix I’m horrified to admit I called “Romance Mix” that I brought with me to college.  I played it during my first relationship, and the breakup of my first relationship.  It slowly fell out of rotation through my early and mid-20s as relationships became less of an item of necessity, like a purse, and more of an item of choice.  Now, a decade on from university, I kind of like its treacly intensity.  The older you get, irony becomes lame and earnestness is more appealing.  Even if whatever is earnest is also just a tad cloying

 

Salubrious Saturday: “Shattered,” The Rolling Stones

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Look at me!  I’m in tatters!  So I’m going to go play kickball in the park today.  And then?  I might take a nap.  And after that?  I might go dancing.  Success success success!  Does it matter?  Pride and joy and dirty dreams – that’s what makes our town the best.  Also: kickball in the park.  That’s my reasoned opinion.

Salubrious Saturday: “Live It Up,” 11 Acorn Lane

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Some Saturdays, you want to relax in a hammock, or take a long walk around town, or go for a hike, or file, or spy on your neighbors, or read the complete works of Kierkegaard.  Then there are other, special Saturdays when you want to gather all your best friends, get a suite at the Ritz, make a number of cocktails, play MarioKart on the TV, and have an adult slumber party.  This is one of those Saturdays.

Salubrious Saturday: “Staring at the Sun,” Simple Kid

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I do love a good 90s pop throwback sound.  I also love a three day weekend after a long period of suck.  And I especially love being able to wander around D.C. with my man, watch movies, hang out with friends, and do absolutely nothing of any value.  So, Saturday.  Man am I big fan of Saturday.

Salubrious Saturday: “Gemini Dub/Jibal Al Nuba,” DJ Rupture

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I like using my brain.  It is my favorite thing to do.  I love to spend hours thinking, turning things over in my mind, then talking about these things with people.  I remember great conversations like they were trips I went on.  I get the same high from intellectual stimulation as I do from my favorite physical activity, running.  The rhythm of this song reminds me of both, and therefore makes me happy.

Salubrious Saturday: “Takin’ Pills,” Pistol Annies

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So, I have this friend.  I’m going to call her Alice.  Alice is a pediatrician.  Alice is a respectable, honorable, upright citizen of her community.  She helps little kids stay healthy.  Alice was my partner in crime in college.  Alice was my go-to trouble buddy.  One time I interrupted her studying for some “important” medical thing (like clinical exam or whatever, psh) because some disgusting sea slug had been dropped on the sidewalk by an over-zealous bird outside our dorm.  Did she get shirty with me for interrupting her study time?  Calumny!  She ran down four flights of stairs, without her shoes on, to go outside and see said disgusting sea slug.  And then she said we should put it in a certain person’s bed.  And then she went back to studying.  This other time?  She helped steal all the traffic cones in town (it was a really small town), and the next day, the town council pasted a letter on almost every telephone pole issuing an amnesty for said missing traffic cones.  I should have kept the letter.

My friend Lily?  She biked through a blizzard to meet at a bar during finals in grad school.  We had many rounds.  Then she biked home.  …In a blizzard.  Charlotte?  She and I had Manhattans on the roof of our graduate program’s central building the day before we graduated.  Were we supposed to be up there?  Are you kidding?  Grace picked me up from work at 10:30pm at night, drove me to her house, set me up on her sofa in front of a roaring fire, woke me up the next morning at 7am, and drove me back to work.  All so I wouldn’t have to spend the night at the office.

The older you get, the more the list of “Friends who will bail me out of jail,” and “Friends who will be in jail with me” blurs.  I’m a (more) responsible adult now, and, for a whole variety of reasons, the likelihood of serious hijinks has seriously diminished.  But knowing I have a group of women who I can call and say, “hey, you remember that time…” is the thing that will keep me young and happy forever.

 

Salubrious Saturday: “My Old Kentucky Home,” The Kings of Dixieland

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It’s Derby Day, Tune-Up fans, “the most exciting two minutes in sport.”  For my international readers who don’t follow or care about horse racing – unforgivable! – the Kentucky Derby is arguably the most important race of the year, and has been held on the first Saturday in May every year since 1875.  It is the first in what’s called the Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness (held in Baltimore, Maryland), and the Belmont (in Elmont, New York, and no, that’s not a typo).  Whoever wins the Derby continues on to compete in the other two.  Kentucky being the seat of American horse country, it makes sense for the race that begins the Triple Crown to begin here.

The Derby has a number of traditions.  Official drink: the mint julep (which was invented in Washington, D.C., at the Round Robin bar, in case you had a trivia night planned later today).  Official flower: the red rose.  And, official song: My Old Kentucky Home.  Some call it the most moving moment in sports when the horses take the field and this song is played.  I think that’s a bit rich, and I love the Dixieland version much more.  So raise your julep and have yourself a grand day.  My money is on Wicked Strong (7-1 odds), by the way.  Obviously.

Salubrious Saturday: “Conquering Lion,” Souljazz Orchestra

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Someone once asked me what my motto was.  And by “someone once asked me,” I mean I wish someone would have asked me once.  Except then I wouldn’t have been able to come with one on the spot, so thanks, everyone, for holding off until I could think of one.

Actually, ok, I lied.  I have a few.

  1. “Don’t be mean, don’t be stupid.”  – High school art teacher
  2. “Keep Calm and Don’t Suck.”  – A sign I saw once
  3. “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”  – R.W. Emerson
  4. “If there’s a can of whoopass in the room, I open it.”  – Brian Williams (yes, the NBC News Brian Williams.  Yes, he really said that.)

I like to think this song encapsulates all four.

Salubrious Saturday: “The Final Countdown,” Europe

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This seemed to be an appropriate (if a bit delightfully sacrilegious) song for the day before Easter.  Holy Week itself has always had a bit of a “final countdown” feel to it, but it wasn’t until last year while I was getting vested to sing the Palm Sunday service that a friend of mine commented that the run up to Easter always put her in the mind of “that Europe song – you know the one?”  And I, being a total goober who can recall obscure Monteverdi motets on command but not, like, I don’t know, anything more recent and normal, was like, “the what song?”  Upon hearing her sing the synth riff, the lyrics of the song came back to me, and I have to admit that I laughed so hard I started crying.  This, mind you, comes from a baptized, confirmed, tithing, choir-singing Episcopalian.  Never mind that the words really don’t make any sense in any sort of context, nor, for that matter, does the video (marshland?  a church spire?  trains?  what?)

So, while you’re decorating the Easter eggs, glazing the ham, breaking out all of your festive pastels, and relishing the thought of diving back into whatever it was you gave up for Lent*, I encourage you to share the day with the bouffant boys of Europe.

*I gave up cursing.  It has been excruciatingly difficult.  And, yes, while it was meaningful and now I am more aware of cursing, which is great, oh man – I’m going to be cursing like a happy little sailor while I cook Easter dinner Sunday afternoon.

Salubrious Saturday: “Flowers In Your Hair,” The Lumineers

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You probably know the Lumineers from their “Ho-Hey” song used in a commercial a few years ago.  That’s a great song.  This one is better.  The lyrics are excellent (“It’s a long road to wisdom, but it’s a short one to being ignored”).  The energy is so happy.  And it’s short!  Incredible!  The shortest things always take the longest to perfect and a lot of modern music is appallingly self-indulgent.  (Actually I might extend that critique to movies but I’d rather not start a comment war.)  This is just a little amuse-bouche of a song, and I just love it.  I highly recommend going out and grabbing everything else they’ve ever done.