I’d published these posts without Soundtracks while I was reading the calendars. But I decided to add Tiny Desk Concerts to them when I realized that I’d love to post about all of the remaining 100 or shows and this was a good way to knock out 25 of them.
I have been a fan of Loudon Wainwright III for many years. He has a very musical family and Martha Wainwright is his daughter. Kate McGarrigle is also her mom, so that’s some lineage.
I’ve enjoyed some of Martha’s earlier songs. I especially enjoyed her song “Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole” which “was inspired by her father. She wrote the track as a response to her father’s way of writing songs about his family, rather than tending to them.” Ouch.
But that was almost ten years earlier than this show. Nevertheless, as the blurb says: “Martha Wainwright’s songs examine uncomfortable moments and life experiences gone wrong, but as she acknowledges in between songs at this Tiny Desk Concert, she often has to fudge her own life story to make the details more unsettling.”
I’ve always wanted to like Martha more, but I find her music to be simply … okay.
She begins with “Some People.” From what I recall of her earlier songs, she seems more singer-ish and tuneful on this song, as if her voice has gotten more powerful. She holds some really long notes, too. As I listened to this song I kept imagining Patti Smith—in voice and attitude.
About the second song, “Can You Believe It?” she says “we are referring to it as the single which is always very funny.” As an introduction, she says her husband is the punching bag for this album. Anybody else would have left me by now. But he has an “understanding of the power and importance of freedom of expression in art and also exaggeration.” This song has her frank lyrics: “I really like the make up sex it’s the only kind I ever get.” I can see why this would be marketed as a single–even if there’s a line about “a storm of shit,” it is one of the catchier things she’s written.
She explains that right as her mother, the great Kate McGarrigle, died her son was born. This is her first song about motherhood–she assumes her son will want it to be her last as well. What’s strange about “Everything Wrong” is that between the chord structure and her “ay ay ays”at the end of the lines, this song sounds lot like Rod Stewart’s “Young Turks.”
So I find that I feel the same about Martha as I did before.
[READ: December 19, 2016] “Baby’s On Fire”
Near the end of November, I found out about The Short Story Advent Calendar. Which is what exactly? Well…
The Short Story Advent Calendar returns, not a moment too soon, to spice up your holidays with another collection of 24 stories that readers open one by one on the mornings leading up to Christmas. This year’s stories once again come from some of your favourite writers across the continent—plus a couple of new crushes you haven’t met yet. Most of the stories have never appeared in a book before. Some have never been published, period.
I already had plans for what to post about in December, but since this arrived I’ve decided to post about every story on each day.
This may have been my favorite story of the book so far.
Marston’s protagonist is a forty-nine year old woman, Margaret. When we first see her, she is climbing to her seat with two glasses of wine in her hands. She’s trying to take off her coat–but she can’t put down her wine. Her husband, Amos, is next to her but is not really helping. I love that he “is shifting from buttock to buttock…as if by going through the motions of helping her in his mind he might actually help her.”
The two are at a concert. She plans to rock out with her husband and then after the show go to a hotel and have wild sex–something they haven’t done in a long time. I loved also that she imagined them falling right onto the bed when they got to the hotel. “(OK maybe they would just fall asleep–it had been a long day–and do it in the morning).”
All of the section headings (and even the title) are classic rock songs, and I love how Marston uses them to get the sections going.
We flash back to what inspired this evening. She had been inspired by something she found from her childhood to start buying similar things on Etsy. But when the “recommendations” suggested a shirt that read “I’m still hot, it just comes in flashes!” that she freaked out and took stock of her life.
The next section addresses menopause and how it is never spoken about. Not even in sitcoms. And how white-haired women are more or less forgotten in the media. And how “hot flash” is utterly misleading. She thinks of the best way to describe menopause if anyone asked her what it was like. “Which of course, nobody has.”
At the concert Margaret is hot–in her coat and because of the “flashes.” But she is super excited when the band comes on and everyone stands and rocks and she can drink her wine and free her hands and get her coat off. I also love that she is later dancing to a song that nobody else is standing for–familiar with that!
And then she has an embarrassing moment with the other glass of wine.
The band plays two encores and even comes back for a third. But Margaret is ready to go. Amos is horrified at the thought of leaving “the best live band in the world.”
The story culminates in the venue lobby.
I enjoyed everything about this story. The setting, the topic, the communicate. It was fantastic. I must look for more stories from Marston.