Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Go West

And so this is Christmas. Well, it's really Advent, but Christmas stuff is getting in full gear, including younger daughter's school's "holiday concert" which, of course, has nothing to do with either Christmas or Advent, since we have a mix of Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and non-practising types. Fair enough.

(Actually, what really used to amuse me was the situation at the public elementary elder and younger daughter attended which featured a holiday concert and un soir de Noël for the French Immersion students which invited involvement from the English Stream French classes. The former was scrupulously secular, and the latter blithely consisted of carols, presumably because it was somehow politically correct to warble Christian ditties in French.)

Younger daughter was all set to perform Macavity from Cats, as she did TS Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats for her poetry project earlier in the fall. However, yesterday at the bus stop, she struggled for the words - a sure sign that something is desperately important to her - and announced she wanted to do something "Christmassy" instead.

I dropped her off at her voice teacher's apartment where it was decided that "White Christmas" might work. Despite the "C" word, it's a very secular song. I hurried off down to Lees Station to waylay a bus, pondering what people perceive as Christmas music today.

When, for example, did "My Favourite Things" become a Christmas song? Sure, it mentions "silv'ry white winters" and "brown paper packages", but those things happen without Christmas, and besides, The Sound of Music is set in the summer. With Nazis.

"Jingle Bells" is often described as a Christmas carol. It's a) not a carol; b) not about Christmas. Same deal for "Winter Wonderland", "Sleigh Ride" and "Jingle Bell Rock". Check the lyrics. They're songs about winter. You could sing them in February. "Baby, It's Cold Outside"??? C'mon, people!

Then, of course, there's "Santa Baby". Okay, Christmas is involved. But still, it's not a carol. And Marilyn Monroe never recorded it. I've got nothing against these ditties, y'understand, I just think they're radically mis-categorized.

I gazed out the bus window, wrapped up in these thoughts and only vaguely aware of the salmon-coloured sunset. Wait a minute. The sun sets in the west....

I suddenly realized I was barreling west along the Queensway. Our house is to the northeast of downtown Ottawa, nowhere near the Queensway. I had absent-mindedly boarded a 101 Bayshore bus. After a second's disoriented panic, I noted that the automated voice had called out "Catherine/O'Connor" and hastily made my way to the exit. From there, I scurried another block west to Bank Street, and peered into the glare of the headlights in search of a #1 bus home, while Elton John's "Rocket Man" played on CBC Radio Two in my earbuds. (Also not a Christmas song, despite the bit about Mars being cold as hell.)

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time...♪

It wasn't, really; I got home a few minutes before the Resident Fan Boy and younger daughter....

Too bad younger daughter has opted out of Macavity. I think her version would have been dynamite, although probably minus the swivels and wiggling you'll see in the DVD version:

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