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 didn’t realize that they launched a comeback of sorts back in 2012. And this Tiny Desk Concert was a stop on their tour. They play five songs–far more than most bands. They may have been one of the biggest st bands to play up until now.
For this set, they strip down to acoustic guitar, tambourine, electric bass and Dolores O’Riordan’s vocals.
One of the things I liked about their first album was her delicate voice. She found her more aggressive voice on later songs (where her accent really leaks through). And that brash style is present here. Which makes “Linger” sound a little odd and a little less pretty.
They play two then new songs which I rather like: “Tomorrow” and “Raining in My Heart.” Since I’ve no expectations about them, I find her voice works very well with them. They also seem much simpler than some of their earlier songs and she not doing anything unusual with her voice..
“Ode to My Family” (the doo-doodoo-doo song) sounds pretty good in this setting. Although I always laughed about the “does anyone care” refrain because well, sometimes I didn’t.
They take a request to play “Zombie” and I have to say I really like it in this acoustic format. She straps on an acoustic guitar and plays most of the “leads.” She definitely does some unusual things to her voice, but overall its sounds good. Somehow the electric bass really adds to all of the songs–I never noticed how much it added before,
Overall, the “lads” sound good and her voice has maintained its power. Although I can help but think she looks a lot like Billie Joe Armstrong with that haircut.
[READ: December 24, 2016] “Being Mary”
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 is theoretically the final book in the Short Story Advent Calendar (wow that went fast). But there is a bonus story for tomorrow (how cool!). Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
This short story is about a girl, Laura, who is supposed to be Mary in the school Christmas pageant. She has always wanted to be Mary (she is six now) and feels she was destined to play her. Last year she was an angel, which was disappointing. But at least she wasn’t Jezebel or Judas or “poor old Leah, the unwanted older sister.”
But tragedy has struck. Literally.
Laura’s mother has been diagnosed with cancer. Laura assumes her mother will die because every other relative who has died had cancer first–that’s just the way it proceeds. But the news is complicated because her family (all of her brothers and sisters) will be flying to Vancouver to be with their mother. They will be staying with different people because there are too many of them to stay with one family. Everything will be in chaos for them.
And worst of all, Laura won’t get to be Mary in the pageant.
What’s interesting about this story is that her mother’s saga is more or less dropped from that point as we follow Laura to school. She needs to tell her teacher that she won’t be able to be Mary. And she can’t seem to get her teacher alone.
As she walks to lunch with her friend, she notices an eraser on her classmates’ desk. It smells wonderfully fruity. She imagines biting into its deliciousness. So she does a very un-Mary-like thing and takes the eraser–almost without meaning to.
She feels guilty, But feels even worse once she bites into it.
The end of the story has her returning back to class and facing up to what’s going on. And then there’s a unexpected and symbolic ending.
I was surprised (and somewhat pleased) that we don’t learn anything more about Vancouver or how her mother did–just the focus on what’s important to the girl at that moment. And I loved all of the details in the story. Like about the eraser. And I especially I loved the game that she played with her brothers and sisters: “orphans-on-a-raft” in which one of the children was very ill, one was weak with hunger and one was strong and pulled everyone through–except maybe the sick one, who might turn into a ghost.
I think I wanted a little more of the story overall–reactions or outcomes or something. But I appreciated the way it focused entirely on Laura and what was important to her.