Monday, 29 January 2007

Reminiscing ... Dreamgirls and Dad

Last Friday, I treated myself to a movie. I do that quite often, and I've decided I really enjoy my Friday nights out at the movies! (Maybe I've turned into a popcorn junkie?) I saw DREAMGIRLS and thoroughly enjoyed a nice walk down memory lane. I was a big fan of Diana Ross and the Supremes back in the 1960s. My Dad and I both used to enjoy watching them on the Ed Sullivan Show, and I'm sure I owned every single "45" they ever put out. (Remember "Love Child"? "I Hear a Symphony"? Remember portable record players and "45s"?) Although Beyonce and friends didn't sing any of those tunes, the musical style, wardrobes, and their evolving hairstyles were enough to bring back pleasant memories. And for the record, Beyonce Knowles sounded pretty darned good, and young Jennifer Hudson has a real powerhouse voice!

That movie made me think ... once when Diana Ross and the Supremes were on Ed Sullivan, Diana's false eyelashes started coming unglued over one eye. Being the 1960s, they were some considerably long and thick false eyelashes -- not at all 'natural' looking. She never misses a note or a choreographed move during the song, and even managed to have a conversation with the host of that "really really big show" then walk confidently off the stage without letting on a single thing was amiss. I remember thinking to myself, NOW THAT'S A REAL LADY! My God! Why on earth would I equate false eyelashes falling off with being a real lady????? (Okay, I was maybe 11 years old ...)

And that recollection made me recall how my Dad never missed the Ed Sullivan Show (or the Red Skelton Show, or the Carol Burnett Show ... we moved into town in 1963 and got our very first television set that winter). Sometimes Dad and I had serious disagreements over which acts Ed Sullivan booked were really talented and which acts were duds. Although I adored the Supremes, that was the decade I was seriously discovering "Country & Western" music (Buck Owens, Sonny James, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Skeeter Davis ...) thanks to Radio KGA from Spokane, Washington -- 1510 on the AM dial -- and my new portable transistor radio in its green vinyl case. That obviously affected my judgment some. When the four British lads (shown on the left) appeared on Ed Sullivan for the first time in 1964, my elderly Dad watched and listened to them very intently, and proclaimed "THOSE FOUR BOYS WILL GO FAR -- MARK MY WORDS!" At the time, I laughed right out loud and replied they sounded like totally untalented amateurs and WHAT WAS WITH THAT ANNOYING "YAH YAH YAH" crap every second line in their lyrics??? Well! I didn't have to turn 30 before learning dear old Dad was indeed a wise man!

And that recollection reminds me that my Dad had amazingly eclectic tastes when it came to music. Or perhaps he was just amazingly tolerant. It's something that always amused me, considering he was born in the 1890s. He happily listened to everyone from Wilf Carter yodelling to Bessie Smith belting out the blues, and don't forget the weekly Canadian Tommy Hunter Show -- especially the closing gospel song -- as well as that Canadian Pig and Whistle (a musical variety show set in an English/Irish-style Pub), and he always enjoyed scoping out new musicians. He even had the patience to listen to the likes of Gary Pucket and the Union Gap, Janis Joplin, and Tiny Tim tip-toeing through the tulip beds with his irritating ukelele without bellowing "turn that gawdawful crap down!"! I think the only musician I ever heard him say anything seriously negative about was Frank Sinatra ... and that was directed at the man ("bloody mafia hoodlum!") and not at his musical talent. I consider myself to have fairly eclectic tastes in music today, but I am not as open to new musical experiences as my Dad was. If I don't really like it, I'm not listening to it, and you can't make me!

Dad and I did agree Burton Cummings and the Guess Who were "great stars-in-the-making" when they played on Let's Go on CBC TV (but we disagreed on Anne Murray -- I wanted to strangle that frickin' SnowBird!). Every Saturday evening these days when I listen to Randy Bachman's VINYL TAP on CBC Radio, I recall coming home from school and sitting down in front of the TV with my Dad to watch Let's Go before Dad started cooking supper. I wonder how many teenagers were that lucky?

Okay, now y'all know what an exciting life I lead ... I take myself to a movie on Fridays, I listen to CBC Radio on Saturdays ... I might as well confess CBC Radio is usually the highlight of my Sundays as well. (Don't you listen to Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Cafe on Sunday afternoons???)

So last Sunday afternoon -- after the Vinyl Cafe --I wondered down to my favourite local book store + coffee shop for a wee break, and discovered a bargain books table. Yes! Books on sale! The only thing more exciting is yarn or fabric on sale! I picked up Timothy Taylor's "Stanley Park" for $7.99. I'm only a few pages into it (as I'm trying to write two seperate term paper proposals / outlines this week), but so far its quite fascinating. It starts with a trendy young Vancouver chef cooking and eating (illegally) a wild duck with his eccentric anthropologist father who happens to be living in Vancouver's famous Stanley Park in order to study homeless people, then nips back in time to the young chef's European training. I can't wait to see where its going to go from there!

What's that? Knitting, you ask? I finished both of the sleeves of my braided cable, bell-sleeved V-neck cardi ... and promptly discovered they were TOO SMALL! How annoying! Yes, I did a swatch and checked my tension before beginning, but I must have been more relaxed swatching than actually knitting the sleeves. So FROG IT! (I'll start the sleeves again when I quit growling at myself.) And Gryphon? Tomato? No significant progress to report this week. No aprons to report yet either. Maybe next time.


Ginny said...

Ahhh! Darn blogger, now that's its the new version it never lets me sign in and I've lost my comment. Here it is again...

What a WONDERFUL post. It brought back a lot of memories for me too, though mine are a little later (early-mid 70's. We watched all those shows too, including Tommy Hunter.

Yes, I do listen to Stuart McLean... I have to know what goes on with Dave and Morley. My problem is that I just never know when in airs.. I usually find it while I'm in the car driving one of the kids around.

LDF said...

You can listen to Stuart McLean and THE VINYL CAFE on CBC (Radio One, I think) between 12 noon and 1 pm.

Did you happen to catch Dave and Morley's Christmas 2006? It was even funnier than "Dave Cooks The Turkey"!

Ginny said...

Is that the one where they raise the turkey and it becomes a pet?

Thank you so much for the study tips! I did nothing yesterday, I just didn't feel up to it. Everyone in our household is sick with that horrible cold.

LDF said...

You're welcome - hope there was something useful there.

Hey, did you know you can listen to previously aired VINYL CAFE programs at ?
You have to sign up (its free), but once you do that, you can find DAVE COOKS THE TURKEY, and all sorts of other Stuart McLean goodies -- including CHRISTMAS AT THE TURLINGTON'S 2006 -- and listen to them from the comfort of your computer.

Let me know what you think about DAVE COOKS THE TURKEY, ok?