GETTING MORE TALE #702: If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out
Summer is gone — it flew by. We’ve said goodbye to our loved one. Now it’s time to pick up the pieces, and also to try and get back to whatever “normal” is going to be now. Time to write. Not everything was bad. Lots of tears, but some laughs too.
We stayed in a lot of hotels but I think my favourite is the last one we used, the Fairfield in Brampton. We had a nice two room suite with a desk that I could use for writing. I wrote the last instalment of Getting More Tale (#701: Amazon You Bastards) at that desk at the Fairfield. It was a really sweet spot! Good wi-fi too. We ordered Chinese food from one of Jen’s favourite places, and her cousins came over to visit.
Another hotel (I think the Edward in Toronto) had the most amazing shower I’ve ever experienced. It had an overhead jet, three more on the vertical, and one of those hand-held shower heads. You could combine them too. It had enough settings that you could easily lose half an hour in there.
Having a good stay in a hotel requires several key things. Add your own to my list:
- Music. Usually in three forms. I) Mp3 player. II) Flash drive(s) for car. III) Laptop.
- Headphones for said laptop. This is both for music and Netflix. I forgot the headphones on the Labour Day weekend. I waited at a shitty Canadian Tire store in Toronto to find and buy a $30 pair. Worth it though.
- Books. I brought a Transformers graphic novel and a Rock Candy magazine given to me by Superdekes.
- Enough clothes. I came short on this one twice this summer.
- Whatever personal hygiene products you require.
My fuck, are those hotel air conditioners loud.
Kiss is good comfort music. At the Fairfield I spun Unmasked again, for what was probably the third time this week. Uncle Meat’s words resonated in my head: “You’re wrong on Unmasked“. I listened, I enjoyed, I sang along. Do I like this album? I must. It’s certainly problematic, with a lot of outside writing diluting the sauce. But it also had an increased Ace Frehley participation factor. Uncle Meat ranked it 4.5/5 steaks, I gave it 3.5/5 stars. I might have to finally revise it again to 4/5 stars. The jury will be back soon.
Back to my previous point though: Kiss is good comfort music. Many of those albums are time machines. I can be 13 or 14 years old again, and very clearly so. Most Kiss albums remind me of summer, but it’s not all just nostalgia. Nostalgia alone is hollow. You can’t listen to a song forever just because of nostalgia. Whether you want to admit it or not, Kiss had the goods. Barely enough goods, but they had ’em and they also had a style. Today we say songs are “Kiss-like”, usually referring to the classic Kiss sound of 1974 to 1977. Ace Frehley had an identifiable sound from day one. He patented his own fretboard moves. That’s why when Bob Kulick came aboard to play ghost guitars on Alive II, he was instructed to “make it sound like something Ace would play.” As for Paul Stanley, there is no slagging the man’s voice in his prime. He was the goddamn Phantom of the Opera fer fucksakes. Kiss’ weaknesses are fairly obvious now that we know who really played what on what, but their strengths should also be clear to us.
I needed Kiss this summer. Kiss helped. That’s the bottom line. If air drumming a little bit to “Anything for My Baby” takes my mind away to somewhere good for three minutes, then proceed.
I also had a re-connection with Cat Stevens late this summer. I’m not sure why, but when “Mum” was sick in the hospital towards the end, I kept hearing one song in my head: “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” from the Harold and Maude soundtrack. I don’t remember ever watching that movie with Mum, or even hearing that song around her. I just had a very sudden, profound connection of that song with her when she was sick.
Maybe she was trying to tell me something.
Well, if you want to sing out, sing out,
And if you want to be free, be free,
‘Cause there’s a million things to be,
You know that there are.
It’s a message she might have wanted me to know?
Well, if you want to say yes, say yes,
And if you want to say no, say no,
‘Cause there’s a million ways to go,
You know that there are.
Whatever the connection in my head, I felt strongly enough about it to mix in with the songs we used for the visitation. And it made me smile, and tear up at the same time.
Cat Stevens wrote some pretty good songs, didn’t he?
Here I am in my late 40s now, and I’m still learning new things about what music does. Stronger than ever, I say again: it’s in my blood!