Saturday, February 12, 2011

Marshall McLuhan Where Are You When We Need You?

As I watched the events unfold these past 18 days in Egypt, I kept hearing that social networking was the tool that was used for rallying the people, Without twitter and Facebook, this would not have occurred.

Wow,. What does this mean for the future? Once again, I think I need Marshall McLuhan to explain it to me.

Is this the beginning of the end of tyrannical dictators? Or, as I sadly suspect, a lesson learned by those tyrants. Stamp out social protest quick and with a heavy hand. I fear we are going to see a bit of each going forward. In the end, we shall see where the chips finally fall.

Still, Mr. Gandhi and Dr. King must be smiling to see another shining example of non-violent revolution.

When John Lennon wrote Revolution (1968), the song was inspired by a war protest that occurred in London which, like many anti-war protests had turned violent. His original lyrics were:

You say you want a revolution
Well you know
We’d all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well you know
We'd all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out
Don't you know it's gonna be alright

During studio sessions for the White Album, Lennon changed the “count me out” to “count me out, in”, making the song ambiguous as was his feelings at the time. This was 1968, and while Lennon suggests that he was definitely anti-war by then, he was not so sure about being anti-establishment.

We all know that he later became very firm in his anti-establishment convictions, and probably wrote one of the greatest anti-establishment songs of all time, re-recorded by Green Day for the John Lennon tribute album, and a statement about the many places in the world where we are experiencing war and genocide.

Congratulations Egyptian people. Good luck in shaping your country to what you want it to be. Your ancient civilization gave the world many amazing achievements from construction to mathematics to medicine. Perhaps your new civilization will also make its mark on the world forever. You're certainly off to a good start.

In the meantime, here’s Steve Martin, or should I say King Tut..

Thursday, February 3, 2011

If You Really Want to Hear the Oldies, Go With the Impersonators.

It’s February, and like everyone else, my mind turns to Valentines Day. In my 35+ years of marriage, I’ve had some good ideas, and some not so good ideas. Some of my best have been concert tickets for My Love and I to go see a performer that she loves, but me, not so much. For example, one year I got tickets for Bon Jovi. True, of the 50,000 at the Air Canada Centre, there were only a handful of us guys, but The Beauty loved it, and I loved Bon Jovi giving props to Frank Sinatra at least. Don't believe me, watch Bon Jovi in Giants Stadium and when they pan the crowd, you tell me if you see any guys there.

So, this year I started looking to see who’s coming to town. I struck out. The closest I got was a maybe for Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks who come to town on April 2, 2011 after already playing venues in Florida, Atlanta, New York, Connecticut, Boston, and Montreal. We saw Rod Stewart in Toronto in the 80’s, and he was great. But, then I got to thinking about this Great American songbook stuff and worried that I would have to hear that. And, what about Stevie Nicks? I loved her when she and Lindsay Buckingham fronted Fleetwood Mac, but, as a solo artist, not so much.

All of this reminded me of my friend Allan whose theory is, it doesn’t make sense to go see those old artist anymore when the impersonators are better, and don’t have to modify the song to fit their declining vocal ranges. Of course! What was I thinking? For many years, I had to go to Vegas on business, and whenever The Beauty could join me, we always took in an impersonator show. Every show had an Elvis, who was always great. And, we also saw an Elton, a Garth, a Michael Jackson, a Rod Stewart, The Beatles, a Cher, a Neil Diamond, and countless others. Great, great, great, and great. Allan was right, again.

Nevertheless, it is Valentines Day, and, I do need to come with something to make My Love’s heart sing (always a good thing). So, I hadn’t yet dismissed the idea of Rod/Stevie until I got an email from my N.J. Cousin inviting me to listen to The Diamond perform Little Darling, with the email claiming that they still had it. No they don’t. You be the judge, here are The Diamonds doing Little Darling in the 21st Century.....

And, here they are doing the song when they could still hit those high notes and those low notes.

If you’re still not convinced that those “old” groups may not have the range anymore, here is a Rod Stewart impersonator doing Maggie May

And, here’s Rod Stewart doing it himself in the 21st Century...

O.k., tell me the truth, who’s better at Rod Stewart, the impersonator, or the old guy who can’t quite hit the notes.

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P.S. - Just because we're all getting older doesn't mean I still don't love you Stevie/Rod/Elton, etc. "You're in My Heart, You're in My Soul"