Thursday, March 13, 2014

Just Don't Think About It

Three days after God's Zamboni did its thing on the landscape I'm 15 minutes late leaving for work. A light dusting of snow has added camouflage to the layer of ice I am walking on. About 5 minutes in the thought that I haven't fallen during a walk to work all winter pushes past David Gilmour's guitar and into my head. And my next thought is that whenever I have one of those personal streak revealing discoveries, it all goes wrong shortly after.  

I haven't missed the fairway all day, followed shortly by a beautiful banana shaped shot that finds the deepest part of a river on the edge of the next fairway.

I haven't had a flat all ssssssssssssssummer.

One hundred yards from the front door and that thought had left my conscious brain and went right over to the section that controls the mobility department. Down I went, fortunately landing on my hands and knees but in front of three guys out for their morning smoke. David Gilmour in the headphones drowned out any snickers but I could feel the eyes on me.  

This must be what separates the true 'ice in the veins' athletes from the rest of us. That and a heaping dose of physical abilities and dedication.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Walking Back In Time

It's March break 1975 and I'm in the back seat of the family sedan heading for Minneapolis. I've scraped together enough $US to buy the latest Led Zeppelin release, the two album "Physical Graffiti". It wasn't available in Thunder Bay yet, in those days you couldn't just hook up to the internet and be playing the tunes on your phone five minutes later. You had to buy the vinyl record or cassette tape, an actual physical item that you could look at, touch and wear out from repeated play on a turntable with an old needle. Thirty nine years seems like a million years ago and so much has changed in music.

What hasn't changed is how that music still brings back memories. I remember hearing "Kashmir" from that back seat as we got closer to Minneapolis where the radio stations got more current. Radio stations here in Thunder Bay rarely played Led Zep and anything over the standard three and a half minutes was a no no. My ears strained to listen to the eight plus minute long song from the album I had my heart set on. Listening to music on a mid 70's AM car radio from the back seat was like eating filet with a burnt tongue. You know it's good but you just can't feel it. Written while driving through the Sahara in Morocco the song clearly exhibits the mid-eastern influences that vocalist/lyricist Robert Plant was into at the time. Multi-millionaire rockers can travel wherever they wish and much like Beatle George Harrison's delving into everything Indian, Plant's exposure to other cultures found its way into his music. Judged by many as the best song the band ever recorded, it appears on many lists of the best rock tunes ever.

Yesterday as I was walking home a live version of "Kashmir" from Page and Plant's "No Quarter" disc was playing from my phone through my wireless bluetooth headphones. New technology, same still old music. This 1994 album was one of many near reunions for the band, principals Plant and Jimi Page were in, John Bonham had passed and John Paul Jones wasn't invited, miffed and the stumbling block for any future reunion.  Much of the disc was recorded live in Morocco with a full orchestra from Egypt. This live version of "Kashmir" clocks in at over twelve minutes so it got me more than halfway home. The recording features the local flavour and instruments of the orchestra along with Plant's unique vocal style and Page's distinctive guitar riffs soaring in from behind a wall of strings and a variety of tribal percussion. Very moving stuff for an old time Led Zep fan and after listening to local radio all day I welcome the walk home when I get to pick the tunes.

Youtube video of KASHMIR from No Quarter