November 16, 2003

A Little Night Music

Partner Unit and I had to drive to his mother's to drop off the dog, Ed the Evil One, since he is going to China for a week the end of November, and at the same time I am bunking off for London and Amseterdam. We were supposed to go Friday night, but I was clinging to the ceiling in a fit of depression over possibly losing my job next week, so we put the kaibosh on that.

Now, I really like his mother, but I hate going there-it's a nearly three hour slog to get there via car, we have to stop a minimum three times so I can pee (yes, my bladder is just that small), and they live in the middle of Sweden, basically. There is no cell phone coverage and only two channels. They do not speak English so I battle through with my Swedish. And if you go there in the summer, it's tick and mosquito time, baby. Which is why I call the area they live in "The Armpit of Sweden." Much like I call Newbury "The Armpit of the UK" and Iowa "The Armpit of the U.S."

The drive is made even harder by the fact that you lose radio stations towards the end, and thus must rely on CDs. Which is not a problem, if only Partner Unit and I remotely listened to the same music. I listen to mostly alternative (although am on a "chick music" kick right now, and I think the estrogen from it all is going to cause me to grow a third ovary). I can't stand Christian music because, well, I'm not a Christian. Country music makes me want to rip my fingernails off with my teeth and turn the little scraps of nail into weapons which I can use on anyone within a three mile radius. And I hate my Partner Unit's music, which I call heavy-metal vomit music.

We tried to discuss music in the car on the way there. We ran through options again, since I had brought what we call "neutral music". I had none of my Evanescene, Matchbox 20, or Good Charlotte. He had boxed his Metallica, Twisted Sister, and Green Day in the glove box. The discussion about neutral music raged.

Him: What's the point of Canada?
Me (daydreaming about Mr. Y): Hmm? What? Thought we were talking neutral music, not neutral countries.
Him: I mean, everyone is always going off on how the Swedes are neutral, but so are the Canadians.
Me: Yes, well, perhaps they are more quiet about their neutrality. And they don't actually say they are neutral and then secretly help the Nazis, like in WWII.
Him: We're not going to talk about THIS again, are we?
Me: No no. It's no problem.
Him: I mean, what music do you even know of that comes from Canada?

I look at him and wonder if a Canadian has been mean to him recently, and that's what he's on about. But then I decide to indulge.

Me: Celine Dion.
Him: FUCK! See? If that's what comes out of Canada, then they can keep her.
Me: Alanis Morisette.
Him: Oh. She's ok.
Me: Why is Celine the devil and Alanis is ok?
Him: Alanis was naked in a video. Was Pepe Le Peu Canadian?
Me: He was a cartoon dear, not a group. I think he comes from France. Or perhaps he is Quebecois.


Me: Why are you picking on Canada? I mean, name a band that came from Norway.
Him: A-ha.
Me: See? You can't do it.
Him: No. I meant the band. A-ha. You know, "Take on Me".
Me: They were Norwegian?
Him: Yeah. You thought they were English?
Me: Yeah.

And so on. We tried to name musical representatives from more countries, but didn't use America, Germany, or England, since those were easy. But I was dubious about his stance, seeing as Sweden's best export for music is "Abba", and anyone that creates a song called "Mama Mia" has some work to do, in my book.

When we travel, we are limited to the following neutral music territory: The Clash (whom I can only take so much of without beginning to fight the urge to buy some bad ties), The Police, Queen, early Genesis (with Peter Gabriel or early Phil Collins), and Nat King Cole, who we both just think is cool. This time I also brought Billboard's Top Hits of 1970, mostly because I wanted to sing the Partridge Family's "I Think I Love You" at the top of my lungs repeatedly (or until he threatened to throw it out of the car) and also because I like to rub it in that I wasn't born yet then, and he was.

Music has a profound effect on me. Seriously. I know music can affect moods, but music wildly affects me. For instance:

- I have been known to walk out of shopping establishments if Destiny's Child comes on over the radio. That's not on, Governor. I fucking hate Destiny's Child so much that when they come on I want to club baby seals to death, which is really something since I am a vegetarian (one of those bleeding heart kinds no less).

- Opera, played at full blast on a beautiful day, makes me want to make love for hours. I'm talking candles, wine, full on love-making that makes your teeth tingle.

- Evanescence is a group I really like, and their song "Whisper" is something I cannot play while driving, or else I am full pedal to the metal and screaming down the motorway in my yellow VW Beetle at seriously unsuitable speeds. It's like the time I was driving while listening to the theme song from "Raiders of the Lost Ark". I'm surprised there were survivors.

- The sound of Scottish bagpipes (played well) makes me wetter than a Colin Firth and John Cusack sandwich. When I hear bagpipes, particularly playing slow songs, I go sex-crazy and want to fuck like a maniac. I'm talking the tie-him-to-the-bed-and-get-screaming-orgasms type of music.

Whew. Have worked myself up now. If you'll excuse me, since I am currently home alone I need to go get a battery operated toy and fuck myself rabid while listening to a rendition of some bagpipe music. Excuse me, please....


PS: 4 more days (I think) to Judgment Day. And for the record, it is killing me and almost all I can think about.

Posted by Everydaystranger at November 16, 2003 01:44 PM | TrackBack




A Thanksgiving day treat, then;

hie thee to

Go to the audio samples section,

and on that page, find "March of Cambreadth".

Especially if you're already in a bloodthirsty mood, and want to...divert your energies.


Posted by: De Doc at November 26, 2003 09:26 PM

Thanks Margi. My life is a constant train wreck, basically...

but how boring is life without it?

---envious of your bagpiper!---

Posted by: Helen at November 18, 2003 09:13 AM

Nyah nyah. I married a bagpiper. Who is, incidentally, My "Mr. Y." Oh, dear heart, I know the feeling of loss you experienced. I also know that you will heed none of our words.

What I most fervently hope is that he is truly worthy of your love for him.

With my husband, he had to go away to realize what he had. It about killed me, but in hindsight, it was the only way.

I'm thinking about you. . . take care.

Posted by: margi at November 18, 2003 06:37 AM

margot is quite lovely, and even her speaking voice is sultry, although she laughed a lot...almost giggled...when the CBC interviewed her for the Gordon Lightfood tribute CD.

Man, I am a total Can-music snob (add Can-lit snob to that too, although my reading has fallen behind lately).

H-you must have heard Leonard Cohen before. For a guy who's 60+ he's so hot! Buddhist monk. Jew from Montreal. Poet. yummy.

Stompin' Tom Connors. (if nothing else, you should hear "The Good Ol' Hockey Game" .... it's very hokey in its way, but as a fan of the game you'd enjoy it. Your appreciation would differ from that of a Canuck, since your experience with hockey is in a rink and not at fucking -35C with a wind on the pond.....but hey, the game is the game.) (but believe me, Stompin' Tom isn't your type of music...too close to that country sound I suspect.)

Posted by: hilary at November 17, 2003 08:52 PM

Margo Timmins and I kind of have a thing. She isn't aware of it, so in that sense it's a little one-sided. Still, it's very deep and meaningful.

Posted by: Brendan at November 17, 2003 06:36 PM

I'll speak up for the Junkies, too. I fell in love when they put out "Pale Sun, Crescent Moon" and haven't stopped since. Nummy, and something Scratcher and I can agree on in the car driving to San Francisco...

Posted by: Kaetchen at November 17, 2003 05:30 PM

Hilary has made me feel even more musically challenged...

Must expand my horizons more. I am intrigued by the name "Cowboy Junkies".

Posted by: Helen at November 17, 2003 05:12 PM

Oh, Avril Lavigne is major suckage, I grant you. And the product of more marketing management. And when she's done, we'll all be happier people.
Brendan:I didn't mention Rush because I didn't think they would fit in the car with H and PU, but I love them and we have all their stuff at home. Geddy Lee can take a little getting used to. And I don't know why I couldn't remember Margot's last name.
Eric: yes, the trinity sessions is a very good cd, recorded at Trinity United Church on Bloor St., ever been there? Fantastic acoustics. Obviously.
Curt: BTO? Man. I'm from Winnipeg originally, and BTO is just the result of Burton Cummings leaving The Guess Who and hightailing it to LA. Randy Bachman is a big fat pig. (also from Winnipeg: The Crash Test Dummies and The Watchmen)
zeno: I still like Diana Krall better than Joni Mitchell.

We all forgot Leonard Cohen. Now there, there is a man.....

Posted by: hilary at November 17, 2003 02:42 PM

I'm not sure if anyone has yet mentioned her, but I think it's only fair, if Celine Dion is being pointed out as a suck, that we all think of Avril Lavigne.

Really, Canada. Enough bad shit has come out of your country. Stop now. ;]

Posted by: Jamie at November 17, 2003 12:02 PM

You actually like bagpipes? They always make me feel sad. I hate techno too.

Posted by: Melodrama at November 17, 2003 10:19 AM

Wow. I feel severely chastised for not knowing more Canadian bands. I need to brush up, clearly!

And I need to go to Germany, where I can speed down the Autobahn like Gudy and Oda Mae and play my music as loud as I want.

And one word, folks: bagpipes. Like Ilyka, think back. You possibly have had sex to them. Important stuff.

And Hilary-nice to meet you:) I swear we weren't having a go at Canadians, in fact, Sarah McLachlan is my very favorite, and her new CD is the present I am buying myself this week if I don't lose my job!

Posted by: Helen at November 17, 2003 09:05 AM

Margo Timmins. Rush is from Canada.

Only Anglo-Saxons make good rock. This is why all good rock bands are from Canada, US, Australia, or UK. Continentals simply can't do rock. Some have tried to refute this proposition by mentioning the Scorpions. If that's the best you can do I consider my case closed.

Posted by: Brendan at November 17, 2003 05:25 AM

I can't believe it. All these people talking about Canadian music, and nobody has yet mentioned Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Whassup wid dat?!?

Posted by: Curt at November 17, 2003 05:15 AM

And you see? Variety makes the world go 'round, I swear. Evanescence makes me want to hack off my limbs and beat myself with them. To me, they're nothing but Linkin Park (who also suck smegma) with a whiney chick.

Posted by: Sassy McSmartpants at November 16, 2003 10:29 PM

Music... indeed. I like most things but recently I have been getting heavily into opera (ahem).

No one has mentioned canada's greatest musical export Joni mitchell... ther simply is no one else.

Bagpipes, eh... we really need to meet!!

Posted by: zeno at November 16, 2003 10:14 PM

So this week's blog theme is music while driving. ;-)

Your "Whisper" by Evanescence is my "Unchain my Heart" by Joe Cocker. And your Destiny's Child is my Celine Dion - I absolutely can't stand her whiny, awful voice and will leave a place where she can be heard coming out of the speakers. That woman truly makes my skin crawl. Sadly, I don't have something to match your Opera and Bag Pipes... :-(

I can sympathise with you. Anyone who tries to make any speaker I have control over squawk out heavy metal or techno will get thrown out on the spot. And it's his or her own damn fault if they try to pull off that stunt while I'm driving down the autobahn at 70 mph...

Posted by: Gudy at November 16, 2003 09:40 PM

I think people who don't respond, emotionally, to music have problems. Ever see High Fidelity? Of course you have, being a huge Cusack fan. Anyway, remember the monologue about how music affects people but no one thinks about it? I believe music does affect people, which is why I severely limit K's CD collection, much to her dismay. I don't care what genre she wants, just so long as it's upbeat.

Oh, and my favorite fucking music at the moment? Stand Up, with Ludacris - and I'm not even a big rap fan!

Posted by: Courtney at November 16, 2003 09:00 PM

Bagpipes are cool, but DANG!!...heh...I can understand what you mean, wife does the same thing when I fingerpick the "Loch Tay Boat Song" for her on my guitar.....good luck on the job, but even IF it doesn't work out, you'll do just fine...

Oh, I almost forgot...the best Canadian band, IMHO is by FAR, the Cowboy Junkies...most notably their "Trinity Sessions" album...if you don't have it, I'd be happy to send it to you as a Christmas present..that album would be perfect for you......hell, if they were any more laid back and relaxed, they'd be in a coma...

all the best,


Posted by: Eric at November 16, 2003 08:45 PM

I've been reading your blog for a while...but can't resist commenting when anybody goes on about Cda. Tell PU to try on some Tragically Hip (it would be neutral music for you I think) and for you, some Blue Rodeo (although no women in the band proper, Sarah McLaughlin sings with them sometimes, and so does Margot...I forget her name, from Cowboy Junkies)... oh, and Sarah McLaughlin just released a new album which is quite good. Diana Krall is Cdn, and she sings blues/jazz and gets trashed by the media because she's a pretty white girl from the west coast. Nickleback, but they sound like a smalltown bar band to me (which is what they are) ...they've been somewhat successful in the US but really, smalltown boys who drink and fight a lot. Big deal. Barenaked Ladies, again making themselves more popular in the US and therefore I'm finding them tres watered-down and dull lately. Okay, what's my point? Not sure any more. There's music here. And sadly, yes, we have Celine, but she's the victim of a huge marketing machine (her husband) just like Shania Twain is. Ick.
As for bagpipes, had to laugh about that. We moved to the east coast five years ago, and have been swamped with bagpipes ever since. There are pipers on the streets when there's a wedding, at the big hotels when there's a gathering of any importance, and without fail, downtown at the Public Gardens every Sunday morning for the tourists. And I don't care for it --isn't that always the way.

As for our neutrality, nobody is perfect. We're generally neutral, non-fighting, peacekeeping types, but this isn't without exception of course.

Posted by: hilary at November 16, 2003 05:01 PM

Man I love bagpipes... course being part scott... its only natural...

Posted by: pylorns at November 16, 2003 03:52 PM

I firmly believe that you need to create a soundtrack for your life. Just makes it that bit more interestinig, don't you think? I just ordered a Red Army choir CD in anticipation of driving to and from the airport in dark December and January in the snow. With my fur hat on, natch.

When I first got my beautiful baby, my 40th b-day present, I put the top down and screamed down the a-bahn in the far left lane with "Life in the Fast Lane" on repeat. With large sunglasses and hair blowing, of course.

Worst moment in a vehicle with music? Trapped in a Jeep Cherokee for five hours with a friend who only - make that ONLY in caps and !!!! - listens to Widespread Panic. He had 10 of their CDs over his visor and no working radio. (he had to ride with me to a conference the next month. I put him in the back seat, my hubby in the front, and we blasted Abba's Greatest Hits through the back speakers the whole way. Revenge is sweet.)

Good luck on the job front. If you need a European bolt hole, there are a lot of ex-pats out here to help you network.

Posted by: Oda Mae at November 16, 2003 03:23 PM

By the way, I do hope the job thing works out to your ultimate benefit. Keep in mind, whatever happens, that it's impossible to see every bend in the road in life, and even if things don't turn out as you wish, it may be that disappointment in the short term produces great happiness later on.

Well, that's what I always tell myself, anyhow. Then I kick myself for stealing philosophies from Hallmark cards.

Posted by: ilyka at November 16, 2003 02:22 PM

Can't stop laughing . . . I definitely don't think the bagpipes have the same effect on me, but I can sympathize nonetheless, because I would completely ban the inclusion of any Green Day, Twisted Sister, or Metallica. Any attempt to introduce that noise while I'm trying to drive is grounds for forcible ejection from the vehicle at 70 mph. Buh-bye!

And I know what you mean about music having strong effects. I've had to tell my boyfriend before, "you have to turn that stuff off because it is making me wish I were dead." He thinks I'm exaggerating to get my own way, but nope, not a bit of it.

Wait. I said I don't think I respond the same to bagpipes, but come to think of it, I have a CD of Scottish music done entirely in Gaelic that's been the setting for some pretty fine moments. Maybe I need to reconsider this.

Posted by: ilyka at November 16, 2003 02:19 PM
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