Every Year About This Time

…  I come back here.

Arnold Bocklin's Isle of the Dead, 1883

Arnold Bocklin’s Isle of the Dead, 1883

I didn’t realize it, actually, until a nagging half-memory made me search some past posts. Every year the rest of the vaguely Christian world — largely made up of people who couldn’t even quote you one verse out of the King James Version correctly, or name one figure in Church history, but believe Christianity means you try to be nice and decorate a good stout stand-in for the World Tree and celebrate a Mithraic parturition — drown themselves in the auditory equivalent of Jell-O and itching powder.

In my hemisphere, at least, the tired and battered earth is supposed to rest about now.

I slam all the doors, shove chairs under the knobs and listen to this.


14 thoughts on “Every Year About This Time

  1. Or as the comment read, “Ein großartiger Wotan und ein grandioses Bühnenbild, das von Arnold Böcklins Gemälde “Die Toteninsel” inspiriert ist.”

    I wonder if someone had noticed how similar the Fire music is in timbre and tempo to some of the crescendos in the Rachmaninoff. I hadn’t, until I played that. But then I always live in that deep rocking 5/4 introduction. Screw your Brahms Lullaby, you know?

  2. Here we are again 😉
    But I confess your music choice is always excellent. And Rach is Rach, one of my favourite musicians. Long story too boring to tell here.
    One question only: do people in the US start listening to Christmas carols from now ?

        • Here, Roma, we have been hearing cheap transcriptions of “White Christmas” for string quartet on the classical radio station since the day after Thanksgiving, as Thomas said. Think about that for a while and you will realize why I go crazy. There were even some Santas and elves to be seen in stores in October.

        • BTW, your new chapters from the Calcagni memoirs have been languishing on my to do list — I want to give it the leisure it deserves and I’m going around punch-drunk from the schedule I’ve been keeping. But I am oh so glad to see you posting again.

          • Ah, but I liked the earlier chapters (especially the children in the Pope’s garden, strangely enough for me) and I like the idea of ancestral archives. My own family has left so few records, all of them banal.

          • Once in a while I take a walk together with a man, 10 years older than me, who lives in the same building where I too live. He is a nice guy to walk with and talk to, a quiet mild good person, showing me sides of our city that I would seldom explore since our leisure-time inclinations are often different. He often walks alone and writes about the first part of his life on a little notebook.

  3. sounds like the classic holiday vs holy day conundrum. as immigrants my parents never took to several american holidays, like the 4th of july or thanksgiving.

    i love turkey and fireworks (literally), but can’t stand the feeling i get on certain holidays that “everyone is doing something more fun than i am”.

    the two major jewish holy days are rather depressing so they don’t really engender that feeling. i get how christmas as a holy day has been really removed from it’s simple holy origins.

    good music is a great antidote for a lot of things, but if you want company you’ll find that chinese restaurants and movie theaters do a pretty good business on christmas (for those of us who don’t count christ’s birth amoungst our holy days).

    “a fine and quite place” is good also 😉

    • It’s not even so much a holiday vs. holy day issue for me — unless you extend the concept of holiness to cover that dormant tranquility that prevails at the bottom of the year when the sun stands still at the solstice. I would fit into the nature religions, if they weren’t so self-consciously poncey. Mostly, it’s just the way that everything has to be a frenzy in modern culture, and this one engulfs over a twelfth of the year in a toxic stew of mangers and sleighs and flash sales and trees and lead-lined party food and absurd urgency. The Tin Pan Alley “Christmas songs.” The crammed parking lots with people ready to ram your bumper.

      You used to be able to go to a kick-ass guaranteed treyf-free Chinese place called the Kosher Dragon up the road a ways, but the year I joined a party headed up there, the kitchen staff, all Hispanics and Catholic, staged some sort of last minute mutiny on Christmas eve and they had to shut down on the holiday. Used to go to Stephen King movies if one was running. What kills me is NO GYM. When I had a real gym — a third-hand, mildew refuge that only muscleheads could love — there was always someone willing to keep the place open Christmas. I need my workout.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s