Did you do enough this week? It’s the question I always face on Friday. After this week I believe I will spend Friday with a glass of bourbon listening to Al Bowlly, but that has nothing to do with any particular amount of labor. It’s the news. It’s as if the old adage “No news is good news” has been redefined: absolutely nothing that is news is good. Of course that’s just what you get from soaking in the briny sea of information all day, but there’s so much nightmarish stuff abroad you expect the next beheading video will show a gush of spiders coming out of the victim’s neck.
Daughter expressed normal, rational worries about Ebola, which I tried to put down, although I had no answer for why we are letting planes from the hot zone fly to America. When you leave from Liberia you have to fill out a questionnaire that asks if you have been in contact with anyone who has Ebola, which is like using sheets of tissue paper as a shield against intercontinental ballistic missiles.
This is how it starts, she said. Because nightmare lore based on stupid “Zombie Apocalypse” nonsense has implanted in kids’ minds the same thing we got in “Omega Man.” A few people coughing in the streets; news reports that ran the panic-gamut (they start as an item related by the Network News Anchor, then they break into regular programming - something that always made your bowels loosen as a kid - and then it’s round-the-clock coverage, until the news anchor is muttering end-of-the-world sentiments prefaced by “I do not know if anyone can hear me.”) And then it’s empty streets with cars parked at odd angles and newspapers blowing around.
The woman in whose apartment the infected man stayed is unhappy that she cannot leave, telling the local media “Who wants to be locked up?” I see her point, but it’s probably trumped by asking who wants to experience auto-exsanguination from every personal aperture.
So yes, All Bowlly. And Ray Noble. I’m not a big fan of 30s music; often too much tuba-bloobing and quaint Li’l Rascals sentimentality, but a minute into this when the piano kicks in, it gains personality. And then Al, of course. Al was perfect.
Al was a heartthrob crooner who sometimes wept when he sang. His career hit a stumble when he started to lose his voice, of all things; he’d been in the US for a while and returned home to the UK to recuperate, only to find that the record-buying public had moved on to other things. He got his voice back, started to rebuild his career, and was killed when a German bomb blew out the door of his bedroom and brained him.
The Pupdate for this week:
He is content to sit on the bench and watch the world go by, or smell the world go by, as long as I don't leave him there alone for too long. If I go in the house he notes my moves without bounding up the steps to demand he come inside for the sole purpose of tracking in wet pawprints for 45 seconds while I get something I need outside.
I'd gotten used to a dog that let me be, and didn't follow me around all the time panting whatcha doin? whatcha doin? I was prepared for a puppy that was glued to my side all day. Scout is relaxed about these things. When he wants to play he comes up to my office and bats me on the leg with a paw. Otherwise he is content for us to hang around the den until it's time for hunting. (Also known as "the walk.")
Construction update, to remind you that the future will be delivered on time, and probably no one will be wearing masks for the 2016 opening: this is the new stadium. The picture does not do justice to the dimensions of the structure. It is enormous. And there's no way to make sense of what it is right now; it's like they're assembling a T-Rex robot.
Still surprised by how quickly it's going up. I mean, it hasn't been that long since they approved the project. It's almost as if they not only had the thing completely designed in advance, but had placed a few orders for some things they miiiight need down the road - like that yellow crane, one of the largest in the world. They had to bring in cranes to construct the crane.
Today in October Products: a rather obvious and uninteresting example.
You know it's good for you and genuine because there is a barn. You also know if you're a bit compulsive about things being properly arranged if you feel the need to move all the stuff in the green pane a few pixels to the right.
Does that bother you now? Good. Bothers me every time I see it.
Something new for the month: Gunsmoke cues.
The "Gunsmoke" theme was one of the best in old radio, and it took ten minutes to write. It was written the day the first show was broadcast.
It was written by Rex Koury, and there was a good reason he could knock it out so quickly. Panic might have had something to do with it; he'd intended to get up early and write it, and he overslept. But as John Dunning's compendium of OTR explains, Koury "wrote his interior music first" - the bridges, the connective tissue. When he had those to his satisfaction, he "would develop the theme that pulled it together." I imagine that once he had the first ten notes, the rest fell nicely into place. It's wide-open, has horsey clip-clops, cowboy strummin', and a a grown-up quality that all the other western themes heretofore lacked. You could imagine Marshall Dillon himself nodding along, enjoying it - as much as a man could enjoy anything in such a lonely job.
Here's a bit more from the end of the show.
The Longer Theme.
Most the early cues were simple things, scored for geetar and something else suitably Western. In the later years they used a larger orchestra, and rewrote the main theme's motif again, and again, and again.
The Major Version.
The Worried Version.
Worried - then triumphant!And then, back from the break, worried again.
More next week. There are more permutations of the theme than I ever noticed. Possibly because I wasn't paying attention.
And now, the weekly selection of music cues extracted from "The Couple Next Door." And if you haven't seen it yet, the new website honoring its creator is here, complete with an utterly charming biography by her daughter.
CND Cue #476 Possibly the most generic uptempo music ever penned, and believe me, the competition is stiff.
CND Cue #477 Let's calm things down with the most generic medium-tempo music ever penned!