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Archive for the ‘Autographs’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: THE TALLEST MAN ON EARTH-“I’m a Stranger Now” (2019).

I’ve enjoyed The Tallest Man on Earth and I’ve been looking forward to seeing him live for a while.  I’ve actually had really back luck with his tours.  One time something came up on the night I was supposed to see him.  Another time he had to cancel his tour.  But, with luck, I will get to see Kristian Matsson live.

The Tallest Man on Earth sings simple folk songs.  The greatness of his songs comes from his voice and delivery.  There’s something about his voice and his style that is steeped in American folk, but the fact that he’s from Sweden changes his outlook and his accent.

This song from his album I Love You, It’s a Fever Dream follows in the style he is known for–spare, simple melodies and his often wordy lyrics.

Starting with fast acoustic chords (played high on the neck), Kristian begins singing in his familiar but unique style.  The bridge ends with a fast vocal melody that is a pure hook that leads to the singalong titular chorus.

After three minutes, the song slows down to a quiet guitar melody and near-whispered vocals.

[READ: May 1, 2019] The Man on Platform 5

I know Robert Llewellyn from the show Red Dwarf, of which I am a huge fan.

In fact, I didn’t know anything about this story, but I figured if Kryten wrote it, it must be good.  I had read his memoir, the wonderfully titled Thin He Was and Filthy Haired, and I was sure I had read this at the time as well.  But evidently not, because when I started flipping through it I realized I didn’t know a thing about this story.  I also see that he has written quite a lot more in the last two decades.

It seems fairly obvious from the get go that this story is a gender reversing story of Pygmalion or My Fair Lady.  Instead of a man trying to improve a woman, in this story, a woman is trying to “improve” a man.  In some ways it’s very modern and progressive and in other ways it’s pretty stuck in gender stereotypes.  But hey it was the 90’s, before writers were enlightened.

The man who needs bettering is Ian Ringfold.  He is a trainspotter!  (I love that Llewellyn made that his hobby as I have heard of it but never knew exactly what it entailed).  He loves obscure facts, dry goods (he works in a supermarket) and being incredibly dorky.  He is deeply into what he likes and genuinely can’t understand why other people wouldn’t like those things.

Enter Gresham and Eupheme.  They are half-sisters and have spent pretty much their entire lives squabbling.  Their train breaks down on the same platform that Ian is currently trainspotting.  Eupheme, the more humane one of the two, bets Gresham that she can turn this sad “anorak” into a “useful member of society.”  Gresham says it cannot be done.  Eupheme (who is short on funds) says that if she can turn this loser into someone that Gresham would fancy that Gresham would pay her a tidy sum.  (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 18, 2018] Geddy Lee book signing

When I heard that Geddy Lee would be publishing the Big Beautiful Book of Bass, I thought it was kind of neat.  But I didn’t really need a 7 pound coffee table book of bass guitars.  And, no matter how cool it was, I definitely didn’t need the $900 Ultra Limited Edition.

I thought it might be fun to look through, but I even told S. not to get it for me for Christmas.

And then Geddy announced he would be doing book signings.  And one of them would be at Bookends bookstore in Ridgewood, NJ, just ten minutes from where I grew up (but an hour away from where I live now), I jokingly said that my teenaged self would have been there in a heartbeat.  But I knew I’d have to take a day off of work and, really, was it that big of a deal?

Then my sister-in-law, a huge Rush fan herself, said, I should go just for her and I got to thinking that it would be pretty cool to sort of meet Geddy Lee.  I couldn’t imagine how else that would happen.

So I took the day off and drove up to Ridgewood.  I had it planned that I would get to the bookstore fairly early (the signing was at 5), get my wristband, go to the IKEA that’s near by and then come back and wait on line.  I got to the store later than I meant to and they told me the line was already forming.  So I wound up, completely underdressed, standing in the cold for an hour an a half (I thought there were only 100 tickets sold, but there were actually 1000).

Geddy was still in NYC when we got online, and they gave us occasional updates as he was driven here.  When he parked the car behind the store, we all got the briefly glimpse of him.  And then he quickly hustled inside.

We were all abuzz by then, even if it still took 45 minutes for us to get inside. (more…)

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