I'd like to nominate Simon for some kind of MacArthur Prize for Utterly Fucking Brilliant Idea-Mongering. I swear to God, I just came inside, this beautiful spring evening, from dancing around the blueberry-patch, gleefully rubbing my hands together and twitching Bacchically from sheer delight from the complex ideas that Simon's stupendously stunning mention of "Up, Up and Away" has incurred in my occasionally fertile cranium.
Here is what I propose: I shall set myself a task.
I propose to replicate perfectly, without a single note missing, the Fifth Dimension's arrangement (by way of Al Casey and string arranger Marty Paich) of Jimmy Webb's "Up, Up and Away (in My Beautiful Balloon)." Absolutely note-for-note.
Why on earth would I pursue such an apparently delusionary idea? Why should such a quixotic mission -- I admit cheerfully, a deeply silly idea on the face of it -- give me such a sense of giddy glee?
Because once I was a ten-year-old boy. That's why.
I pined, I feared, I yearned. And the musical soundtrack to that pining, fearing and yearning, was that exact song. "Up, Up and Away." I cannot possibly express to you in ordinary conversational terms how profoundly that idiotic, fluffy song affected my ten-year-old cerebellum. All I can tell you is that it did.
But, my thinking goes, were I were able to focus my thinking on precisely the effect that precisely that song and precisely that arrangement exerted on my childhood brain, I might be able to explore the relationship between Music and Emotion.
There may be, if you approach it very quietly and with breath held, a book in it.
This may very well be the core question of Life Its Ownself.