Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Dancing Around the Blueberry Patch

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.

Who knows?


fgfdsg said...

Now if you could only recreate my sister performing 'far out' Interpretative Dance ala Kate Bush around the lounge room in her 'Happy Hippo' nightie to the (admittedly rather gorgeous) song as I fought the urge to flip the record speed onto 78, because watching her dance at that speed would have been much funnier.

blue girl said...

Groovy idea, Jeddie. Can't wait to hear it. You and I must be the same-ish age.

Kevin Wolf said...

The impact of that song on me was not so profound but it was there nonetheless.

Every October in Catholic grade school we had a "feast day" for the Monsignor who had founded the school. He loved music, especially show tunes (especially Fiddler On the Roof - go figure). Every year, every grade would learn a song and we'd all get together and perform.

[insert many awful childhood memories of the sort only Simon does justice to]

Anyhoo: One year we did "The Colonel Bogey March," another year "Suppertime" from You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, and another - you guessed it - "Up, Up and Away."

After hearing this song on the radio 23,896 times and rehearsing it in school another 5,324 times it's a wonder that I actually still like it.

That's due either to the 20 years afterward I managed to avoid hearing it or to the Marty Paich arrangement. The man was a nzqqk.

glue birl said...

Hey Jeddie. Just had a thought. The other day "One Less Bell To Answer" came on the radio. If you ever want to get together and do that one, I'm all for it.

Man, I nailed it. When I got to the part about frying one less egg -- it brought a tear.

Bill said...

Pierre Menard, performer of Fifth Dimension hits.

TRH said...

"I'd like to nominate Simon for some kind of MacArthur Prize for Utterly Fucking Brilliant Idea-Mongering."

Make it the "MacArthur Park Prize", & I'll co-sponsor it.

Looking forward to your new version of 'up up & away.'