Saturday, 5 January 2019

Leaving out the whistles and bells

This Twelfth Night, I look at a string of blue Tardises shining against the curtain, and our tree, gradually decorated by our daughters in the week leading up to Christmas.
The presents underneath have gradually disappeared; we opened the last gifts this evening.

Tomorrow, as was our tradition before leaving Victoria, and is becoming so again, a couple of long-time friends will come to dinner and help us put away the tree for another year. We may leave up the other lights until Candlemas.

This evening, enjoying the quiet glow for one last time, I stumbled across an old favourite song, by a group that takes its name from one of my favourite movies. The song is about another blue light, a canary-shaped nightlight which is and isn't your friend, and muses about a lighthouse, its ancient ancestor.

I'm your only friend
I'm not your only friend
But I'm a little glowing friend
But really I'm not actually your friend
But I am...

Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch,
Who watches over you,
Make a little birdhouse in your soul.
Not to put too fine a point on it,
Say I'm the only bee in your bonnet.
Make a little birdhouse in your soul.

I have a secret to tell
From my electrical well.
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells,
So the room must listen to me,
Filibuster vigilantly.
My name is "blue canary", one note spelled l-i-t-e.
My story's infinite;
Like the Longines Symphonette, it doesn't rest.

There's a picture opposite me
Of my primitive ancestry,
Which stood on rocky shores and kept the beaches shipwreck free.
Though I respect that a lot,
I'd be fired if that were my job,
After killing Jason off and countless screaming Argonauts.
Bluebird of friendliness,
Like guardian angels, it's always near.

(And while you're at it,
Keep the nightlight on inside the
Birdhouse in your soul.)

There wasn't a readily available internet when this song was first popular, and in checking a few details, I discovered a cover in an equally quirky television series of the aughts, Pushing Daisies. This fan video captures a few seconds of it, along with a number of other old favourites sung by Kristin Chenoweth, who played a smitten pie-shop proprietor named Olive Snook in the show. Her singing partner for "Birdhouse in Your Soul" is none other than Ellen Greene, the original Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. (Their eye-patched driver is Swoosie Kurtz.)

"Candle on the Water", which we hear briefly later in the fan-vid, also has strong memories for me. Maybe I'll tell you about it sometime. Maybe I already have...

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