Friday, December 28, 2018

Un-Sainted Nicks: Christmas At The Airport

Nick Lowe: Christmas At The Airport

I’m sort of doctrinaire about the creeping expansion of holidays. I’ve accepted President’s Day in lieu of Lincoln and Washington’s Birthdays but reject the concept of “Presidents’ Month,” which seems to be the creation of car companies. Seeing Halloween candy in the stores in August is wrong. Christmas decorating and the like should start after Thanksgiving, and your decorations should be stored away not too long after New Year’s Day. And although I am happy to listen to holiday music in December, after the gifts are opened, it is basically time to move back to secular tunes.

But Un-Sainted Nicks is our holiday theme, so I’m going to ask you to disregard my guidelines, and listen to one more Christmas song, the amusing, original “Christmas At The Airport” by Nick Lowe.

If any musical Nick should be considered for sainthood, I’d suggest that Mr. Lowe could be the one. He’s already performed a number of miracles—writing “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding,” which has been magically transformed into an Elvis Costello song, producing, among other things, said Costello’s first five albums and Graham Parker’s first three, being part of Rockpile, whose best work was released without their name on the albums, and still became legendary, and having a late-career transmogrification into a pop crooner. And if that isn’t enough, his first, incredible, solo album was named Jesus of Cool. At least in England, originally.

“Christmas At The Airport” was inspired by Lowe’s experience, waiting in an airport in Geneva, nursing a hangover from a long night drinking with Mavis Staples’ staff and band—not the American treasure herself, as Lowe is quick to declare. He thought that a jaunty pop song about someone snowed into the airport at the holidays would be interesting. You can hear him discuss this story here.

The video for the song, above, is also a gift. It tells the story of an elf’s thwarted attempts to get to the North Pole in time for Christmas, and includes most of the typical indignities that air travelers must endure, including the forced removal of shoes, having your bags rifled through, and sitting on the floor to charge your phone, along with a few particular to magical creatures. But it ends with the promise of an airport romance. And a snowman being decapitated.

Although the animation styles (and studios) are different, the video reminded me of Bojack Horseman, which as you may know, I love. Not only does the video include humans with elves, snowmen, and what may or not be human/animal hybrids, the airport stores have amusing names that would not be out of place in Bojack’s Hollywoo, such as Snakes For Your Plane Petshop, or Downward Spinal Massage.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Un-Sainted Nicks: Bonnie Raitt's Nick of Time

purchase [Nick of Time]

Well ... here's a new word for you that you probably won't ever need, but if you were to remember to pull it out at the right time, it might impress someone.
hypocorism: a nickname that shows affection that can include both major alterations to the original (calling your sweetie "possum") or abbreviating Nicholas to "Nick". Ever wonder if they called Khrushchev "Niki"?

A search of the Intertubes will provide the dedicated researcher with lists of musicians with the first name Nick, and a deeper search can call up others that have some form of Nick somewhere in their full names, and that's all well and good. And then there are songs or albums that incorporate those four letters in that order somewhere within, as in <Nick of Time>.

If you have followed my posts over the years, you already know my lasting affinity for Ms Bonnie Raitt. About Raitt, I've posted, Seuras has posted, Darius has posted ...

Nick of Time was her 10th album and it includes a number of collaborators you'd be likely to recognize in their various roles. Among the better known:
Herbie Hancock
Michael Landau
Don Was (who also produced)
David Crosby
Graham Nash
It's a pretty long list of credits, and you might well know more of them than those I chose to list from my own limited experience.

The album got a ton of awards: Grammy's Album of the Year, inclusion in Rolling Stone's 500 greatest, but for some reason, never in my list of favorite Raitt works (I think that'd be <Give It Up>).

Although John Hiatt doesn't play on the album, one of his songs is included, and I choose that, in part because I included a Hiatt song back in out Spring <Steps & Stairs> theme

So ... this, partly for the purpose of comparisons of sorts: Hiatt in different hands sounds like this ...?