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MUSIC + MIXTAPES

November 20, 2012

Or yes, you can score "Majorly Incompatible" in the Music category and still manage to have a relationship.  So here are a few fairly random riffs on music and how it's mixed into my life with Gayle.

Yes, I made Gayle a mixtape.  Before I really figured out what I wanted to be going on.  We actually still have it, stashed on top of a CD shelf, although I don't think it's because Gayle's attached to it.  I just pulled it out and dusted it off (see photo for contents). Things I discovered:  the one song I was sure was positive I'd put on it ("Electric Blue" by Icehouse) is not and the first song Gayle remembered when I asked her about it was PIL's "This Is Not A Love Song." Also, I'm pretty sure at the time I put together the tape, middle schoolers understood "Desperate But Not Serious" better than I did.

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 The not a relationship I had been tangled in the year before was a musical trap, starting with frequent drunken dueting to (cue slink away in embarassment music) Meatloaf's "Paradise By The Dashboard Light."  Looking at Gayle's mixtape, I put that one on there.  I'd like to take it off.  

 Gayle and I have never really clicked musically. I am perfectly happy when a Donna Summer song comes on and I have room to dance (first choice:  "This Time I Know It's For Real").  Gayle maintains that disco is evil and now she has an entire Warehouse 13 episode to support that hypothesis.  

 I'll be singing something and say, "I really like those lyrics" and Gayle's response will be "what lyrics?*" Apparently, the time and thought and feeling a songwriter puts into the words doesn't register with her.  So those conversations don't happen.  

Growing up Gayle's favorite group was The Police, but not the later albums.  She was also a Ramones and Madness fan.  I leaned European, brunettes (Sheena Easton, Pat Benatar, Whitney Houston) and New Wave, skipping over punk.  We have a token Police cd in the car, Regatta De Blanc.  Most of the car cds have been acquired by me for singing along to while driving around.  Currently, that's three Joan Jett cds, one Florence  + The Machine and the Pitch Perfect soundtrack, which is actually that rarest of things, a mutual musical favorite.  Haven't had a non holiday one of those for the car since Gayle acquired a Gilmore Girls soundtrack.

 Gayle gets upset when I mention that Xanadu is my favorite Gene Kelly movie**  Apparently, the correct answer to that question is An American In Paris, because that has music by George Gershwin, not John Farrar and ELO.

 Information about musical training:  Gayle is amazing, took serious lessons and has played clarinet and saxophone since elementary school.  She has also added recorder, acoustic and electric guitar and keyboard skills to her repertoire.  One year, to give a Scottish feel to As You Like It***, she attempted bagpipes, but we don't really bring that up, unless our friend Beth, who played the bodhran that summer, is teasing her.   My musical training:  I occasionally practiced the baritone for two years in middle school (it was the only thing I could get a sound out of) and taught myself to play the harmonica freshman year in college so I could sit with a hat and play after hours while I was being a lobby security monitor.  I now have a small collection of musical instruments that I use when I feel the urge to pound out a beat (yes, even my acoustic guitar playing tends more toward percussion.  Natural drummer here, obviously.) 

 While we were living in Chicago, my favorite radio station was WJJD, which played "oldies."  Did I mention the Fred Astaire thing**?  And Cole Porter. And Ella Fitzgerald.  And Dinah Washington. And Sammy Davis, Jr.   And So there we were on a steamy hot Chicago afternoon, listening to the radio and wonder of wonders, we won tickets to see Rosemary Clooney.  We were the only people to show up at the WJJD booth at Ravania who didn't look retired from something or liked a well aged professor.  Clooney in person and up close was amazing and charming and a great storyteller.   

 So now we skip to the next concert Gayle agreed to attend with me that didn't involve a band we knew someone in:  Joan Jett and The Blackhearts in September of 2011.  We have skipped, I believe, 21 years.  Concerts I attended in the Clooney-Jett interim:  Meatloaf (sorry), kd lang, New Order and/or Depeche Mode (with little brother), Indigo Girls.  Concerts Gayle attended:  none.

 Since that first Joan Jett concert, I half dragged Gayle to see Girl In A Coma open for a band we didn't stay for (after which she started listening to their cds more than I did), couldn't convince her to see The Dolllyrots (turns out Harrisburg has a serious crime problem) and we managed another Joan Jett concert over the summer as a needed break from Shakespeare.

 So, musical compatibility = work in progress aka probably not going to happen for more than a moment. We did recently discover that we have both always liked Berlin's "Metro."  I still can't guess whether Gayle will like a song we hear on the radio (unless it's the kind of song I feel compelled to play over and over;  those are never really her type) and nearly anything with a dance beat still works for me.  

 I did recently make Gayle a mix CD for the car.  It was a compilation of songs from Blackheart Records mixtapes, leaving off the Joan Jett and Girl In A Coma songs she's heard me listen to too often aka "Crimson and Clover,"  "A.C.D.C.", "Smart."  It turned out to be a mix much more in sync with her tastes than my first attempt.  But guessing right about music isn't what got me here.  Making the effort is.

!GAylecar654034929

 *possibly paraphrased

**I'm much more a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers fan.

***For Theatre Under The Trees, the touring Summer Shakespeare program I founded and direct.  Gayle does the music for it.  Click on the Shakespeare category for more info.

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