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Entry date: 1-9-24 – Survive or Be Eaten (the Bet) – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

The first day back was pretty good and blissfully uneventful. The students were a tad wild, but that was expected. It reaffirmed two key things for me, though.


The first of these was that I was very happy to see them. The feeling is not dissimilar to that of having a co-worker (or group of co-workers) you really like and are happy to see them after an extended break. Not that I was super glad to see every single one of them, of course, but it was good to see them.

 

It’s a lot easier to forgive ten-year-olds than adults. That might be where it is different than just having co-workers. With adults, it’s a heck of a lot easier to write them off. You can also fire them. I don’t miss having to do that.

 

The second thing that was reaffirming for me is that, for the most part, my students like each other. The only one who was taking any grief was the Cocaine Baby. He was getting on a few of the other boy’s nerves by midday and I had to remind folks to be respectful.

 

Speaking of the Cocaine Baby, he told me that his father took he and his little brother to the strip in Vegas for New Years Eve. It brought up some very sad images in my head. I have to assume that he was babysitting his little brother while Dad was out partying it up. I hope I’m wrong, but I bet I am not.

 

On the whole, though, he had a pretty good day (for him). That could be another reason my day was pretty easy. We’ll see what today brings.

 

 

*****

 

When Friday got home it was almost 3AM. If she hadn’t turned on the living room light after dropping her keys, she wouldn’t have seen the two envelopes on the floor. One she had been expecting and one she had not.

 

The envelope containing the call sheet for the next day was expected. Bill Bender must’ve dropped it off on his way home much earlier in the evening. Friday had become a big fan of his during the production. A little bleary-eyed after the evening at Dirk’s, Friday tore open the letter-sized envelope and looked over the next day’s call sheet.

 

Friday’s name was not on it but there was another piece of paper attached to the call sheet with a paper clip. It read:

 

Friday!

Enjoy a day off.

See you soon,

BB

PS…You’re the best part of this dumb movie.

 

The “BB” was written in big, loopy letters and it always made Friday smile to see the initials. She thought maybe she should invite Bill out for drinks and see if she could find out anything about Jennifer Dunkirk or what kind of a guy Vince Trantella was in Bill’s eyes. She decided to ask him out to dinner the next time she saw him.

 

The other envelope was clearly a greeting card, and it was addressed to “Nurse Beautiful.”

 

Aidan, Friday thought, as she brushed her long red hair back behind her ears and delicately opened the envelope. The card had a picture of a single red rose on it. Friday opened the card, and the inside was blank except for a small smiley face. She was sure she was right, but would Aidan do that? He had told her he was going to be spending a little time with the script and going to bed early.

 

It was not going to keep her up, though. Friday was cashed and only needed her bed.

 

***** 

 

Today’s record is a fairly new one for me. I’ve been aware of The The for some time now, but mostly by name and the association with Johnny Marr of The Smiths. Several months ago, “This Is the Day” was on an 80s mix that Spotify curated for me and it just struck me as a wonderful song.


For most of October and November I made a point of playing the song pretty regularly in the morning as my students are filing in for the day. I’ve even noticed a few of them bopping their heads a little to it. “This Is the Day” is just a few minutes of happiness and feeling good.

 

I’ve always been a sucker for a good, groovy song like this. I’m guessing that they probably played it very once in a while at Tommy’s back in the day and I’m sure that friends of mine were fans, too. It takes me back to a time when so much music was new to me and exciting.

 

A few weeks ago, though, I began to dig deeper and finally listened to Soul Mining, the album that “This Is the Day” was released on in September of 1983. When I wrapped my brain around that fact, it twisted my melon, man (If you get that reference, I love you). It twisted hard because it made me realize I could have been enjoying the whole thing for the last forty years. 4-0.

 

Oh, well. You can’t cry over spilled music. What I’ve come to learn is that Soul Mining is really good and there is a lot more The The for me to discover outside of the stuff with Johnny Marr on it. Main The’er, Matt Johnson, is a heck of a songwriter. I love the way he puts music together.

 

It doesn’t sound the same, but there is something about The The that reminds me of another great pop-song writing one-man (sort of) band, World Party. I wonder if Matt Johnson and Karl Wallinger have ever considered collaborating. It might bring about the apocalypse or it might be amazing.

 

Anyway, Soul Mining is a lot more than “This Is the Day,” although I am still inclined to think it’s the best song on it. Johnson is really great about adding in a bunch of cool sound layers and the accordion on “This Is the Day” is pretty darn sublime. It makes me think of the film, Local Hero, which is a favorite of mine. Both came out in 1983, too.

 

One of the coolest things about the record is that each of the seven songs has a life of its own. There is a really cool post-punk meets the best things about early 80s new wave going on here. I guess it makes sense as many of the true greats of the early 80s new wave scene got their start as post-punk acts.

 

I’d love to know if Johnson was a fan of Thompson Twins. I love the bass line for “Uncertain Smile” but a good chunk of it is super close to the bass line of “If You Were Here.” That song came out about six months before Soul Mining, so who knows? “Uncertain Smile” has a fantastic part where Jools Holland (something I learned yesterday) does the piano and it just slays.


One of the coolest things about finding a new record that you really like, regardless of when it came out, is that it is a gift that just keeps unwrapping itself for you if you are willing to listen.

 

Soul Mining is a super solid record. I will definitely be listening more.

 

*****

 

This has been the 750th post.


See you tomorrow.



Sometimes you have to

tear things down and sort them out

to see clearly

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