Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Set List


The kid in the image above, littler e., who is a little older now, kept us on a tight schedule yesterday on Christmas Eve Eve.

First, there was the shopping with her sister Bigger E.

I was just starting. They were just finishing.

The shopping I mean.

We began on 4th Ave where we always do. Zulu, as was Quintessence before it, is still the anchor for me. The Candy Aisle is the place for them. And we all dig the magazine store just off Arbutus that is still there despite the fact that all the high end and shiny maternity shops are now mutating into designer Toddler palaces.

Or some such thing.

We ended up out at UBC where the kids went crazy in our old friend Allan's dollar store while I went into the empire of evil cheap tech stuff store around the corner to get a hard drive to fit all the junk we now have on the household's big fat Mac that holds about a billion times more bits and bytes than the machine I wrote my entire thesis on.

And you know what?

I was more amazed by, and liked that little SE way, way better.

If that makes any post-Apple 2e sense at all.

The shopping finally came to a close at the campus bookstore where we went bonkers on the back of an old gift card I found at the bottom of an office drawer the other day. It was almost as if we were in a gameshow, running around grabbing as much stuff as possible before the buzzer went off.

We then rushed over to Oakridge (although 'rushed' is not quite the right word for it given that I made the big, big mistake of taking 41st Avenue through Kerrisdale) to drop off Bigger E. so that she could go busking with her friend N.

I then took littler e. home so that she could start wrapping, grabbed my outside guitar (see headstock in image above), and took fullest advantage of my two free hours by heading off to the beach with the Whackadoodle - which was fine because the beach was absolutely empty (which meant I could yell my head off as much as I wanted) and it was only a little rainy.

Dinner was at 6:30, and it was done and over with quickly because littler e. insisted that Bigger E. and I had to be done rehearsing and assembling our holiday set-list by 9:00pm because that was the time that watching of 'A Christmas Story' absolutely, positively had to begin.


To back up for moment, you should know that Bigger E busked for less than three hours yesterday afternoon.

And in that time she and her friend made (get this!) one hundred and fifteen dollars.


There is a little scene in one of our family busking videos from a couple of years ago where a young kid approached us at Trout Lake and asked if he could join us. I gave the kid the outside guitar (see both the Lake and the headstock, again, in the image above). He then played 'Falling Slowly' and Bigger E. sang while I exhorted them to keep going because 'they didn't need me anymore'.

Which, based on all kinds of things, including the busking haul from yesterday afternoon, is really and literally true in all the right musical senses.

And if I didn't know that already, it became crystal clear to me as Bigger E. and I worked on our set list last night.

Don't get me wrong; it was really, really fun, but I was barely hanging on as she used unleashed her voice, her phrasing, and her chops on that little 4 stringed thing of hers to whoosh on by me in a rush of power and song.

All of which means that folks are going to be really amazed over on the Island next week.

And so, without further ado, and in no particular order, here is that list:

-Blue Christmas
-Blue Suede Shoes
-Falling Slowly
-One Great City
-Christmas Waltz
-Here Comes Santa Santa Claus (insert D.Sedaris excerpt here)
-Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
-Happy Christmas

-Baby It's Cold Outside
-Fogtown/Hit The Road Jack (while exiting stage, living room and/or porch)

The image of littler e. at top comes from our most popular family busking video in which we do 'The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out Of Denton' by that genius John Darnielle....The image of the smile comes from the 1:58 mark...
Bigger E. starting to go Indie, for real, is presaged in this one at the 2:00 mark....
Now, back to 'A Christmas Story'....If Ralphie pinned all his hopes and dreams on that air rifle, I probably pinned my most recent ones on that goddamned outside guitar. Both have since paid off in spades I reckon.
The cursing of the guitar is, of course, a Springsteen reference wherein (in my imagination at least) a Darren McGavin-like Dad tells him to turn down the 'goddamned guitar' as he works on his hopes and dreams endlessly in his bedroom and the sound drifts down to the kitchen via the heat vent....And, for the record, my Mom still thinks he of the hopes and dreams sings like a man with a mouthful of marbles unlike, say, her Elvis.



West End Bob said...

Aww, damn! I was hopin' there would be a vid of the Set List Practice Session!

Maybe the Real Thing when ya'll get back from The Island is in order ? ? ? ?

RossK said...

Is that a pre-order Bob?

Because if it is, I'm pretty sure we can deliver!

(although C. may be muttering something to the effect of 'don't encourage him')

And, now that I think of it....Some might think that the outside guitar is more like the Dad's lamp than Ralphie's rifle.

Oh boy.


West End Bob said...

Yeah - Pre-order!

(Sorry, C!) . . . .

Bill said...

Hey Ross

Just want to let you know how much I appreciate your insights - political and your adventures - musical and family etc. I always look forward to your blog, your commenters here and also your comments on other blogs I follow.

All the best in the New Year, it willl be interesting I am sure for all of us. Merry Christmas to you and your family.


RossK said...


Consider it done!

(and no credit card no. nor evil PayFrenemy Acct isrequired)


Thanks Bill.

Much appreciated.

Truth be told, I tried to quit the political stuff awhile ago because, as an amateur (ie. my heart really is on my sleeve here) it was starting to get me all grouchy pretty much all the time. In fact, I started snapping at some long time commenters back around about the time of the last federal election.

So, I went completely the other way and just posted up more personal stuff.

Hopefully, I've found a bit of a happy medium recently.

All the best to you and yours - and thanks again for the kudos - stuff like that means a heckuva lot.


Beijing York said...

Merry Christmas and best wishes to you and your family, Ross.

Love, love, LOVE "Falling Slowly". Nice to see it on your set list.

RossK said...

Thanks BY!

All the best to you and yours too.

Truth be told, it was Hansard in Once (and his and Mic Christopher's history with the real thing) that inspired the entire family busking thing.

And, I'd be lying if I said it wasn't fun to have something grab me in middle age the way inspiring things grabbed me when I was a kid.


Chris said...

Aw. Anyone who has given the world two beautiful, musical, smiley kids will always be forgiven the occasional grump.
So will anyone who reminds us almost daily that we are human beings, and citizens, and all in this together, and that "taxpayer" and "consumer" are really not identities.
Which reminds me, how the heck could this have fallen off your Christmas playlist:

Ho ho ho.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Ross and Family. Love the family doins. Will have to take in a session this year of your family busking. Been there and done that years ago.


PS Happy New Year one and all.

Danneau said...

A lovely post, and so much in the spirit that should drive not only this season, but all seasons. I went out to play with friends the other day down in the basement of JA's deepest Beaver Creek redoubt and loved it. It's different from busking, we rarely have an audience and we play amplified stuff, but it's great, though we are terribly amateurish. Jade and Joshua are down Island with Nana and Papa and I won't see them until late next week, but it's good to know they're having fun and wallowing in family doings, that Dad has this coming week off. I really love the family stuff, all the music and the political stuff as well. My mother, an activist for most of her 93 years, was very clear on the need to not get too caught up in how messed up things are, but to look for balance in those good aspects that make life in my personal circle so good. Sounds like you're there, a good thing. I, too, despite conjugal cautions, will encourage you to spread the joy of your busking.

RossK said...

Thanks very, very much Chris--

I was just worried that I was starting to lose my sense of humour about it all.

And as for the Billy....We're on it!

(so, is the 3pm sailing the last run out of Vanbudabi?)


Anytime my friend....I think the fine folks in the Lotuslandian bloggodome may have a palooza brewing.

And all the best to you and yours also!

Damn it all Danneau--

That is one of finest comments ever around here (and, given that this is now officially a dinosaur blog, we're at about number 14,000 just so you know).

And just so you know, you had me when you unleased your crummy camera comment.

We will be playing inside too with my brother in our parents basement. He is the real guitar player in the family.


RossK said...

And why am I typing at 6:45am on Christmas morning?

Because my whole freakin' family is still sleepin'.

Kids today....

I mean....I'm just about ready to get up and start hollerin' for them to .....'Get ON my lawn!'