120 FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER 2014
Mounting Monty – Orchestra
I had an instant connection with this piece of music. Time stood still the first time I heard it, I was transported to 1974 and I relived the moment when I saw colour TV for the first time. It was a baseball game, the Atlanta Braves playing against Los Angeles Dodgers. The same game where Hank Aaron hit the 715th home run of his career, which broke the record set by Babe Ruth in the 1930s.
At the time, I didn’t realise the historic significance of the event, and although I was watching colour on a TV for the first time, I couldn’t see colour. Hank Aaron had just done an amazing feat, and that was all I saw, I never noticed his skin colour.
Not too long ago I wrote about it for a writing workshop, it is done in the third person. I considered changing it to the first person, but I decided to leave it as it was originally written. Please check it out: Bottom Of The Fourth
Song Title: Mounting Monty – 2011 Artist: Orchestra Genre: Soundtrack Composer: Carter Burwell Album: Mildred Pierce (Music from the HBO Miniseries)
Runners Up: Easy to Love • How About You • In Our United States • You I Like • Who Are You Now? • The Summer Knows • I’m Always Chasing Rainbows
121 SATURDAY 25 OCTOBER 2014
My Heart Belongs To Daddy (The Trolley Song Reprise) – Liza Minnelli
On a bright and breezy late afternoon of Sunday 29 February 2004, as I stood on my flat’s balcony above the Wellington Working Men’s Club, overlooking Cuba Mall, I saw a naked man running down from upper Cuba Street. Depending on who tells the story he may have stopped in front of the ethnic shop, or the kebab place, I am sure he stopped across from a men’s clothing store. The naked man grabbed a fellow by his arm and kissed him on the lips. Some people were stunned, few cheered, others applauded, somebody handed the naked guy a coat from an Op Shop, although some people claimed that the man he kissed, took off his jacket and put it on the naked man’s shoulders. They held hands and walked north on Cuba Street. People kept going about their day.
That is the opening paragraph of my self-published novel “The Return Of The Army Of Light”. I’ve talked about it a few times; some of the songs that inspired passages of the story have already been featured on the list. (see Week 10 – The Varsity Drag, Week 14 – Tom, Dick, Or Harry, Week 15 – Girl Of The Moment)
This piece of music, in reality, Liza’s reprise of The Trolley Song, inspired me to come up with the idea of a naked man running down the street and kissing an unsuspected man on the lips.
Summer of 2004 was the first full Summer I spent in New Zealand. It wasn’t as bad as a few American ex-pats had told us. Sure, It wasn’t East Coast hot (thank God), but there were a few weeks, particularly in late January and February, when the weather was spectacular.
At the end of February, Ronald went back to the USA to work for a few months in Arizona. I stayed here to enjoy the last few weeks of summer on my own. I had plenty to keep me entertained in Wellington; I had a new job and had a small circle of friends.
Late one Saturday night as I listened to this Trolley Song reprise on my Discman, while walking back from Dorothy’s, a chocolatier on Cuba Street, I saw in my mind flashes of a naked man running down the street. By the time I got to my building on Cuba Mall, I knew why he was running. He was trying to reach the man he loved to kiss him on the lips.
I thought it would make a wonderful mystery. Who was the naked man? Who did he kiss? Why did he kiss him? Why was he naked? In a week or so I had written a few paragraphs of the story. Since 2004 was a leap year, I decided to set the story on Sunday 29 February, during the Cuba St. Carnival. I thought that could add a nice touch, an event that happened on a day that only exists every four years. I believe during that initial creative rush, I came up with the title, “Gay Urban Myths”, and I wrote the entire First Chapter, but after that, I ran out of steam. For the next 10 years, I kept revisiting the story and the characters I had created and during moments of inspiration I would write scenes, and develop story lines. Often, I would see it as a movie, a play or a musical.
By 2011, I had decided to finish it. I needed to prove to myself that I could complete a project, that I could write an entire manuscript and develop a story. For the next two years, I dedicated all my free time to immerse myself in the story, get re-acquainted with the characters I had created, and the situations I had put them in. In a way it was a therapeutic experience, I found answers to questions I didn’t even know I had, and I realised things I had never quite understood. As a result, I believe I became more pragmatic and started to spend more time in the present so I could plan for the future I kept escaping to.
“Gay Urban Myths” became “The Return Of The Army Of Light And Other Gay Urban Myths.” I finished it in October 2013 and decided to self-publish it in the Amazon Kindle Store, not because I thought it was good or an important work of literature. I just did it because I could. So, there it is, living in Amazon.com. Every now and then I get a few royalty dollars.
I was very pleased and proud to finish it, and it motivated me to keep writing; hence, the creation of this blog.
I have included an excerpt from that first chapter in case you want to read it: The Return Of The Army Of Light – Chapter One – Excerpt
Song Title: My Heart Belongs To Daddy (The Trolley Song Reprise) – 1944 Artist: Liza Minnelli Genre: Soundtrack Composers: Hugh Martin, Ralph Blane Lyricists: Hugh Martin, Ralph Blane Album: Minnelli On Minnelli
Favourite Lyrics: As he started to leave / I took hold of his sleeve / With my hand / And as if it were planned / He stayed on with me / And it was grand just to stand / With his hand holding mine / Till the end of the line.
Runners Up: I’m Always Chasing Rainbows • Race of the Initiates • An Ecology of Mind • Taking A Chance On Love • Triplets • Shine On Your Shoes • The Night They Invented Champagne • I’m Glad I’m Not Young Anymore • The Trolley Song • Amor, Amor, Amor • Amorcito Corazón • Volver • If I Had You • Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love) • Smile • Life Savers Girl • Hong Kong Cha Cha Cha / Colazione Al Colony • L’ultimo Volo • Ti Guardero’ Nel Cuore • Repabhan Strasse
122 SUNDAY 26 OCTOBER 2014
Make Way for Tomorrow – Gene Kelly, Phil Silvers, Martha Mears
This song comes from one of my favourite musicals of all time, “Cover Girl” with Gene Kelly, Rita Hayworth, and Phil Silvers. I briefly talked about this movie during my first week, when I included “Long Ago And Far Away”.
This was one of Gene Kelly’s first movies in Hollywood, and it was the first movie he choreographed, the famous sequence of him dancing with his reflection comes from this movie.
Make Way For Tomorrow is such an optimistic and contagious ditty. It is a treat to see the hopeful trio (Kelly, Hayworth and Silvers) start the number in a bar and then tap-dance their way home. During this number, you can see traces of the “Good Morning” number from “Singin’ In The Rain” that Kelly would choreograph a few years later.
I first heard this song the year I graduated university and made it my musical theme during the months I searched for a job. It was kind of a mantra. In my head, I was tap dancing from a job interview to another job interview. However, it didn’t matter how optimistic or eager I was, I never got a full-time job. I don’t think I ever felt discouraged, I knew that eventually, something would pan out. I kept tap dancing from options to possibilities until I shuffled my way into the United States. I wish I still had at least one-third of that optimism and resilience.
Song Title: Make Way for Tomorrow – 1944 Artist: Gene Kelly, Phil Silvers, Martha Mears (dubbing Rita Hayworth) Genre: Soundtrack Composer: Jerome Kern Lyricists: Ira Gershwin, E.Y. Harburg Album: Movie Classics: Cover Girl – Good News
Favourite Lyrics: Let’s keep on singing, / “Make way for tomorrow!” / The sun is bringing a new day tomorrow / Don’t let the clouds get you down /Show me a smile, not a frown / Stand up and win! Turn about! / Don’t give in! Let’s give out! / To the blues just refuse to surrender / One smile and you are a true solid sender / What if it rains and it pours? / It only rains out of doors! / Let every frown disappear / And you’ll find that tomorrow’s here!
Runners Up: Amapola • Candy • Because We Can • Sparkling Diamonds • Rhythm Of The Night • El Tango De Roxanne • Good News • The Best Things In Life Are Free • The Varsity Drag • Overture the Show Must Go On • Who’s Complaining • Put Me to the Test • Long Ago and Far Away • Alter Ego Dance
123 MONDAY 27 OCTOBER 2014
Danny Boy – Rubén Blades, Luba Mason – Top 10 Contender
I’ve always liked Danny Boy; it is one of those songs which tune becomes engrained in your mind. I’d like to think of it as a parent’s love letter to their child as they set off to war, be it literally or figuratively. It is kind of the blessing we have all received from our parents when we have left home.
I chose this Rubén Blades version, featuring his wife Luba Mason, because of the richness of its arrangement. The combination of pipes, drums, and Latin beat brings this song to a new level. I get goosebumps every time I hear it.
Song Title: Danny Boy – 1913 (Lyrics) Artist: Rubén Blades, Luba Mason Genre: Classic Composer: Unknown Lyricist: Frederic Weatherly (set to Londonderry Air tune) Album: Mundo
Favourite Lyrics: But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow / Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow / ‘Tis I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow / Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.
Runners Up: Frances • Mr. Selfridge Main Theme • Boom Ditty Boom • Loving You • Tonight You Belong to Me • I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face • Shall We Dance? • If You Were the Only Boy In the World • Overture / I Can’t Be Bothered Now / Blah, Blah, Blah • He Loves and She Loves • Kickin’ the Clouds Away • Uno, Dos, Tres
124 TUESDAY 28 OCTOBER 2014
Happy Endings – Liza Minnelli, Larry Kert
I started university when I was 17, I didn’t drive then; actually, I didn’t drive until I was 20. As a result, I depended on others to catch a ride to the university’s campus, which was like 40 minutes away from the city.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, during my first semester, I had a class at 7:00 AM; which meant that I had to be on my way at around 6:15 AM, at the very latest. On those days, I would wake up at 5:30, take a shower and have a little bit of breakfast. I would open the house’s front door, and sit in the family room to wait for Marisol, a classmate who had agreed to drive me to and fro the university campus for a small fee. While waiting for her, I would listen to some records, I’m guessing you’re seeing where I’m going this. Right! “New York, New York”, where this song comes from, was among the records I heard. Although Happy Endings, had been dropped from the final cut of the film, it had been included in the double album soundtrack.
I’m not sure why of all the records, I’m sure I heard while waiting for my ride, Happy Endings is the only one I remember. Naturally, I used to listen to it and choreograph it from start to end, often just for the stage; other times I would see it on film. It was a fun habit I had developed a few years before, I’d choreograph and edit songs in my head.
Not a time goes by that I don’t listen to this song without having a flashback to 1982. I can smell and feel the heavy humid tropic air coming into the house after opening the front door. I can hear my father waking up. I can hear my mother in the kitchen; I can smell the coffee brewing. I can hear the street where I lived coming alive for a new day, and I can hear the engine of Marisol’s Fiat approaching my house. I just don’t know what the connection between the song and waiting for Marisol may be. Most likely it is just one of those associations that happen and I just have to let it be.
At times, I have thought that if I ever win the lotto, I would use some of the money to finance a short film using this song as a basis; it’d be so campy. It has the same structure that many of those big ballet sequences from the MGM musicals used to have. “The Broadway Ballet” from “Singin’ In The Rain” comes to mind.
Song Title: Happy Endings – 1977 Artist: Liza Minnelli, Larry Kert Genre: Soundtrack Composer: John Kander Lyricist: Fred Ebb Album: New York, New York (OST)
Favourite Lyrics: The life I lead is less dramatic / Not remotely cinematic / Happy endings far as I can see / Are only for the stars / Not in the stars for me
Runners Up: You Stepped Out of a Dream • It’s a Wrap, I Found a Dream • Such Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of • Remembering Marilyn • This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) • Main Title Includes: Theme From New York, New York; You Are My Lucky Star; Just You, Just Me; The Man I Love • Opus Number One • You Are My Lucky Star • The Man I Love • Just You, Just Me • There Goes The Ball Game • Blue Moon • Theme From New York, New York • Theme From New York, New York • Start of Each Day With a Song / A Wonderful Day Like Today
125 WEDNESDAY 29 OCTOBER 2014
I Am The One – Jennifer Damiano, Adam Chanler-Berat, Alice Ripley
There’s always that moment when every host at a party wonders how someone got in. It is not like they’re crashing the party; somehow they got on the list inadvertently. Well, the same can be said about I Am The One, I just have no idea how it got on the list. I mean, it is a good song and I like it, but come on, this is an exclusive list of only 365 songs, I have turned away many good songs already. I have to be more careful. In any case, as any good host would do, I won’t say a thing, I wouldn’t kick it out of the party. I’ll leave it where it is, and be my usual gracious. At least the lovely Alice Ripley is part of the ensemble.
Song Title: I Am The One – 2009 Artist: Jennifer Damiano, Adam Chanler-Berat, Alice Ripley Genre: Musical Composer: Tom Kitt Lyricist: Brian Yorkey Album: Next To Normal
Favourite Lyrics: I am the one who knows you / I am the one who cares / I am the one who’s always been there / I am the one who’s helped you / And if you think that I just don’t give a damn / Then you just don’t know who I am.
126 THURSDAY 30 OCTOBER 2014
I’ve Got to Be There – Matthew Broderick, Robyn Hurder & Chorus Girls
I had no idea of the existence of this song, and I have to tell you I adored it instantly when I first heard it. I’ve Got to Be There comes from the unsuccessful George & Ira Gershwin’s 1933 musical “Pardon My English”.
What a fun song it is. It is one of those pieces that the first time I heard it I looped it on my iPod, I couldn’t get enough of it. It is a song I would love to do on a stage, do you know what I mean? Like in those TV shows where they come up with a storyline where the lead ends up doing a musical number for a PTA benefit or something. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?
This song helped me set up the festive mood for one of the locations of “The Return Of The Army Of Light”, Prester Joe’s, where three pivotal scenes take place. (see Week 10 – The Varsity Drag, Week 14 – Tom, Dick, Or Harry)
Song Title: I’ve Got to Be There – 1933 Artist: Matthew Broderick, Robyn Hurder & Chorus Girls Genre: Musical Composer: George Gershwin Lyricist: Ira Gershwin Album: Nice Work If You Can Get It (Original Broadway Soundtrack)
Favourite Lyrics: When joy is the making / and ceilings are shaking / and there’s never a care / I’ve got to be there.
Runners Up: Delishious • Fascinating Rhythm