Edmund Fitzgerald

The Edmund Fitzgerald

My first encounter with Gor­don Lightfoot’s clas­sic song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzger­ald” was actu­al­ly read­ing the lyrics pub­lished as a poem in a high-school Eng­lish read­er. (I had a sim­i­lar expe­ri­ence with Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence”, though I think I’d prob­a­bly heard that one on the radio, my dad being an afi­ciona­do of the ’60s sta­tion KY58.)

So for Throw­back Thurs­day, please, enjoy this tale of human woe and the sink­ing of a mas­sive freighter in a storm on (spoil­er alert!) Lake Supe­ri­or.

Head­er image from Wiki­me­dia Com­mons, CC-Attri­bu­tion-Share­alike, orig­i­nal­ly by Green­mars.

Bad Times at the El Royale

Still from Bad Times at the El Royale

Final­ly, last night, I watched Bad Times at the El Royale. Back when I first saw the trail­er, I thought it was an Evans movie for sure, but it end­ed up play­ing at the mul­ti­plex down the street instead, for all of two weeks. I man­aged to miss it. Now I regret not see­ing it on the big screen.

El Royale takes place at a hotel in Lake Tahoe, on the bor­der between Neva­da and Cal­i­for­nia. The bor­der lit­er­al­ly bisects the hotel. Rooms on the Cal­i­for­nia side are $1 more per night.

The movie opens with a priest, a singer, and a vac­u­um-clean­er sales­man try­ing to check in, one love­ly after­noon in 1969, but the clerk is nowhere to be found. Once they do track him down, a fourth guest appears, and she’s got some bag­gage. Well, they all have bag­gage, but the fourth woman appears to have kid­napped some­one.

Of course, this is a noir-ish thriller, and no one—not even the venue—is who they seem to be.

I quite enjoyed El Royale. It felt a lot like a Quentin Taran­ti­no movie, but it was writ­ten and direct­ed by Drew God­dard. God­dard man­aged to take all the good things about a QT movie—colours, music, sud­den vio­lent twists—and dis­card the end­less solil­o­quies. It real­ly makes for a tight, nasty thriller, and it’s just the thing I was look­ing for.

If you like vio­lence, secrets, thun­der­storms, ’60s music, and vio­lence, it might be just what you’re look­ing for too.

Head­er image from The Movie DB.

Le tournesol

A song, from my French immer­sion school­ing, about sun­flow­ers. (Every time I see a field of sun­flow­ers, this song comes to me.)

Le tour­nesol, le tour­nesol
n’a pas besoin d’une bous­sole
ni d’arc-en-ciel, ni d’arc-en-ciel
pour se tourn­er vers le soleil

In Eng­lish:

The sun­flower, the sun­flower
has no need of a com­pass
nor of a rain­bow, nor of a rain­bow,
to turn its face to the sun

One thing I didn’t remem­ber from ele­men­tary school music ses­sions in the library at École Lau­ri­er: that bassline.

Compare & contrast

One of my all-time favourite Christ­mas car­ols is “Ça Berg­ers”. (Most of my favourite car­ols are French, since I came up in a French immer­sion school. It makes it hard to find them, liv­ing as I do in a pre­dom­i­nant­ly Eng­lish part of Man­i­to­ba. Oh well.)

Every year I look it up on YouTube. The first year, there was one ver­sion, not a great one. It sound­ed like it’d been record­ed in a high-school gym onto cas­sette, and prob­a­bly was.

This year: There are plen­ty of choic­es. Here are a cou­ple for you. (Well, for me.)

The choral version

The death metal version

(with altered lyrics, natch)

Which do you pre­fer?

Snoopy’s Christmas

For those that didn’t care for yesterday’s Giger delights, I offer this.

When I was a kid, we had this song (along with the oth­er two Snoopy vs. the Red Baron tunes, and a bunch of Roy­al Guards­men songs on the B-side) on an LP with a pink card­board sleeve. I must have come pret­ty close to wear­ing the record out over the years.

I actu­al­ly still have the record (thanks, Mom!) but a) I don’t have a record play­er and b) it’s pret­ty bad­ly warped now, so  the last time I tried to lis­ten to it, it sped up and slowed down to a degree com­pa­ra­ble to the songs they play on Lip Sync Bat­tle.

Fun fact: As a kid I assumed the sound effect on the line “The Baron then offered / A hol­i­day toast” was a toast­er pop­ping out toast. Now I know it’s a cham­pagne cork. Ah, youth.

Fun times Friday

Here, have a ridicu­lous­ly toe-tap­py ear­worm:

When I went to see Les Clay­pool when he played Win­nipeg, I was pret­ty thrilled when he opened with this lit­tle dit­ty. It’s long been a favourite of mine. I hope you enjoy it too.

Music Monday: Sol Invictus

I’m not sure if Music Mon­day is a thing, or if Chad­wick is just try­ing to make it a thing, but either way here’s my response (riposte?) to his Queen post.

Faith No More put out a new album ear­li­er this year, their first release in 18 years. Because I’m old, I bought the CD. Here’s a live ver­sion of the first track, “Sol Invic­tus” (which is also the title of the album). It’s a qui­et med­i­ta­tion on the loss of faith.

I believe in some­thing, I think — for some rea­son that line real­ly gets me.

Also, for those look­ing for some­thing a bit loud­er and more aggres­sive, well, the new album has you cov­ered, too.

Here’s “Super­hero”, the sec­ond track:


Hadn’t heard this one in a while

- 1 -
De bon matin j’ai ren­con­tré le train
De trois grands rois qui allaient en voy­age
De bon matin j’ai ren­con­tré le train
De trois grands rois dessus le grand chemin.

Venaient d’abord les gardes du corps
Des gens armés avec trente petits pages
Venaient d’abord les gardes du corps
Des gens armés dessus leur jus­tau­corps

- 2 -
Puis sur un char doré de toutes parts
On voit trois rois mod­estes comme d’anges
Puis sur un char doré de toutes parts
Trois rois debout par­mi les éten­dards.

L’étoile luit et les rois con­duit
Par longs chemins devant une pau­vre étable
L’étoile luit et les rois con­duit
Par longs chemins devant l’humble réduit.

- 3 -
Au Fils de Dieu qui naquit en ce lieu
Ils vien­nent tous présen­ter leurs hom­mages
Au Fils de Dieu qui naquit en ce lieu
Ils vien­nent tous présen­ter leurs doux voeux.

De beaux présents: or, myrrhe et encens
Ils vont offrir au Maître tant admirable
De beaux présents: or, myrrhe et encens
Ils vont offrir au bien­heureux Enfant.

On the way home from Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tions, we* were lis­ten­ing to CBC. They played a French Christ­mas con­cert, fea­tur­ing “Le marche des rois” (above), as well as my favourite car­ol in either lan­guage, “Ça berg­ers, assem­blons-nous”.

Hope every­one had a mer­ry Christ­mas.

* Well, one of us was lis­ten­ing, and one of us was sleep­ing.