Sunday, December 26, 2010

Quick Pick with the Plus, Hospital Vespers and Such

Snow in Atlanta, Winnipeg Music on my nightstand.

It's Sunday.  It's snowing in Atlanta.  Yes.  It is snowing in Atlanta.  Did I bring this home with me?  It's been snowing for 2 days.  It's interesting to watch from my window how the snow decides to land from hour to hour.  Right now it is dancing... bouncing around in no particular direction - down, then up, left and right.  It makes as much sense to me as having snow on the ground in Atlanta on Christmas.  It's kinda like a seeing a unicorn.

My bags are finally unpacked, dirty laundry cleaned, the apartment is "straightened" and I am importing a stack of CD's that were given to me by some beloved Winnipeggers.  Rare tracks, live tracks, Winnipeggers covering other Winnipeggers, some historic Winnipeg music.

Per Stu's recommendation, I picked up a "quick pick with the plus" before I left Winnipeg.  This of course is another Weakerthans reference from (Hospital Vespers) a lovely, lovely song that I saw performed for the first time ever last week at the West End Cultural Center.

This song is a surreal heartfelt look at some one's hospital stay.  The song is desperate, vulnerable and almost futile.  It's a treasure.  With being a nurse of course, all of the Weakerthans lyrics that refer to illness, death and hospitals are very near to my heart.  Seeing life-threatening illness and death are a daily part of my job.  And it's not a burden to me somehow.

This song has always been so special to me.  I am not sure who or what inspired all of the illness-related songs that ended up on Left and Leaving and Reconstruction site, but cherish them.  Illness and death is such a difficult subject to write about.  It so easily goes entirely wrong and you end up writing a song like "Every Rose has it's Thorn" by Poison.  That's usually what songs like this end up like: Terrible.  But JKS can do it of course without pretension, keeping the heart in every line.  It's something I strive to do and feel I have done on one or two occasional.

One of the songs on my second album is about a dear friend that died of complications of addiction and mental illness.  From the time we were young I always thought to myself that she never had a chance at life.  When she died, I really wanted to write a song for her.  She was also a musician.  My mother taught us both piano when we were young.  Even as she was dying, she was still playing my mother's songs.  Music was still her light.  But I am always so careful when broaching this subject in writing.    Her life had been such a tragedy that I did not want to write her a sad song.  That would just add insult to injury.  I wanted to write her a happy, pop song.  One she would really enjoy, that would make her smile.  With that intention in mind, I wrote a song for her called Februaries which starts out very poppy and ends in lullaby of sorts.  I suspect she'd like it.   I kinda feel weird sharing my music here as this is about Winnipeg and the Weakerthans - but I will place a link below in case you want to hear this song along with Hospital Vespers.

Gosh, that was a side bar.

So of course honor of Hospital Vespers I did pick up a "quick pick with the plus" and like the song - it was "futile."  The result: absolutely nothing.  Not one single number!  Stu, you owe me $6. ;)

You can listen to Hospital Vespers here:

Doctors play your dosage like a card trick
Scrabbled down the hallways yelling "Yatzee"
I brought books on Harper in the Arctic
Something called "The Politics of Lonely"
A toothbrush and Quick Pick with a plus
You tried not to roll your sunken eyes

And said "Hey can you help me? I can't reach it"
Pointed to the camera in the ceiling
I climbed up, blocked it so they couldn't see
Turned to find you out of bed and kneeling
Before the nurses came took you away
I stood there on a chair and watched you pray

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