I was only six when John Lennon died so I had to be retroactively sad by myself when I became a proper fan, but I was pretty crushed when George went in 2001. And Elliott Smith in 2003. This is a lot worse. Sigh.
My husband and I are fucking sad as shit. I realised this morning this has catapulted right to the top of my personal Musician Death Sadness Rankings. I'm not sure how to create a proper post about this quite yet.
Let me just say that I am so moved by what a friend of mine called the "ultimate mic drop" of creating a beautiful work of art of his own death. What a totally inspiring badass he was, right to the end.
PS That Mariah song has always reminded me of some sort of Darlene-Love-Phil-Spector-type thing and I’ve had a soft spot for it for some time as a result. I’d like to hear it done in a different style. (In my mind it’s lumped in with Beyonce’s “Love on Top” as a song I was surprised to learn was a cover because I liked the retro vibe of it so much.)
Unlike the rest of you grinchy bastards, I really like (good) holiday music and my current Christmassy Spotify playlist is at about 500 songs, none of which will make you want to stab anyone and are all on the gently groovy, kitschy, soulful or twangy tip. I promise. Here is a beautifully tender James Brown, from Funky Christmas:
The incomparable Nancy Wilson is asking you for a date. You can't possibly refuse.
For the Jewish, Jewish-adjacent and general fans of what Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings can be relied upon to provide (get well soon, Sharon):
Peggy Lee, an early adopter of the war on Christmas (but not as early as Irving Berlin, who wrote this song in the 40s):
Julie London wants to keep you warm in December. I haven't got the heart to tell her about the whole southern hemisphere thing, because it's JULIE LONDON and if she wants to snuggle up to you you don't say no.
I could go on. I mean, seriously, I could go on for hours. Days. But the pav needs baking. Merry Chrimble!
The bird I missed most when I lived overseas was, unusually, the riroriro (grey warbler). To be honest I don't think I could point one out if I saw it in a tree, but that distinctive, long-winded song says "home" to me like no other bird. I have been back now for over 13 years and I still feel a sense of belonging when I hear it.
Because one of my parents is from somewhere else and I have always had two passports, I have this internal sense that I've made a choice that this is my home - I've chosen this place over another place and I'm happy with that. If I left I would miss the light, the startling clarity of things in the distance. The big sky. Always being within cooee of the sea. The human understatedness. Barefoot summers. Being able to say I'm a bit Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Māmoe, knowing what that means to this country. Sometimes there are things that make me miss Louisiana - the smell of motor oil, of all things, takes me back to a very small town by a levée, my grandmother's big wooden TV (with the smaller, working TV on top), the piles of crawfish being peeled on sheets of newspaper, my beloved aunt and uncle and cousins, their French-peppered English. Everyone is getting older and I feel an urgency to go there more often, let my little children bond with those people too. Luckily we are in a position to do that.
My more prosaic home is west Auckland, in a house I still can't believe we own (sheer dumb luck, I assure you), on a dead-end street, surrounded by giant verandahs and plum trees. An interior design aesthetic we describe as "exploding clown". Kids. Dogs. Music. Laughter. TV. It's all very loud. :)
Funky 16 Corners has a downloadable Toussaint mix here , which I declare to be All Killer, No Filler.
As I was going through Toussaint internet song lists after he died I realised that most of them are heinously incomplete. The albums he did with Betty Harris are filled with songs he arranged, produced and played on and none of them make any appearances, and they all seem to be stone cold classics to me.
(the wacky feedback on this one during the drum breaks! AAAGGGGGHGHHHH so awesome)
I also discovered he wrote THIS, which is such a fave of mine:
Also, LaBelle's "Lady Marmalade"? He produced it. The Meters' "Cissy Strut"? That too. You name anything vaguely close to New Orleans since the 60s and he probably had a hand in it. He was the best. I haven't been so sad at a musician's death in forever.
This can also be seen in supposedly gender-neutral preschool TV shows, in which you get carefully curated mixed-gender groups of boys and not-too-many-girls-to-make-sexist-parents-nervous. Say, five boys and one token girl (I'm looking at you, Paw Patrol).
Isn't it depressing that we end up debating whether the strategies of either party will fly with the public, instead of talking about actual human rights issues?
Well, I think we have a new contender for the title of Best at Not Helping.
Please do. I think I've had as many important life lessons from this thread as I can comfortably bear.