Tuesday, October 19, 2004

buckets of rain

It's the perfect kind of day for Bob Dylan... I got all these buckets comin' out of my ears. Yes, indeed. The first appreciable rainfall of the season is upon us, and it is wonderful. But I do have one question... just what is the purpose of umbrellas anyway? This is a serious question. Up until about three years ago, I refused to carry an umbrella. Then I sold out to the man and had to acknowledge the fact that recently drowned rat is maybe not the most professional look in the world. Still, I hold that umbrellas are more trouble than they're worth. I suppose if you have perfectly coiffed hair, an umbrella might come in handy. Might being the operative word- most of the time around here, when it rains, there is a mischevous gust that comes with the droplets, and wind usually wins in a battle with the umbrella. Besides protecting one's hair and face, an umbrella does very little. On the other hand, in New York, one must use an umbrella. Why? Self-defense. No, no, I'm not talking about crime. It seems everyone uses an umbrella in New York. On an already crowded sidewalk, the presence of umbrellas that are clutched so that they are close to the head, is dangerous for the innocent bystander. I've taken it near the eye on more than one occasion when I was silly enough not to have my own umbrella. In New York, an umbrella is like a forcefield that you use to plow your way through the masses.

As for me, I am prone to childish behavior around the rain. I was one of those kids who delighted in puddle jumping. Even now, when it's raining like it is today, I have this inclination to jump into puddles rather than stepping around them. Instead of huddling close to my umbrella as if to cower away from the rain, I am drawn to the idea of tossing the umbrella aside and just meeting the onslaught head on. The rain can make me pensive when I am watching it from indoors, but when I am out in a rainstorm, I can't see the point in resisting.

Why did Bob Dylan have to go and lose his mind? Artists have an interesting trajectory in that sense. It reminds me a little of the commonly held notion that mathematicians reach their pinnacle before the age of 30. It also reminds me of an essay I read once by Nick Hornby; he theorizes that happiness is the ruination of some artists. You can read it better than I could explain it here. Only Hornby could get away with this:
It sounds harsh, I know, but if you are currently romantically involved with someone with a real talent — especially a talent for songwriting — then do us all a favour and dump them. There might be a Heartbreaker — or a Blood On The Tracks or a Layla — in it for all of us. Thanks.

I was going to list off a number of bad songs about the rain, but I decided to have a positive attitude instead and name some of my favorites:
  • Buckets of Rain- Dylan
  • A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall- Dylan
  • Singin' in the Rain- Gene Kelly- silly, but fun... however, I sadly have not been able to listen to this song lately without getting a visual of Austin Powers tapping his way through puddles.
  • Just a little rain- Malvina Washington- this is a truly underrated song, and was once performed beautifully by Lili Taylor in DogFight, a truly underrated movie.
  • Pennies from heaven- Billie Holiday (YMMV wrt artist)
  • Purple rain- Prince... yes, I did admit that.
  • Raindrops keep falling on my head- featured in two great movies, including Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid (which has one of the all-time greatest endings).
  • Red Rain- Peter Gabriel
  • Why does it always rain on me- Travis- if you buy the single to this song, you get the added benefit of an inspired cover of Hit me, baby, one more time.
  • Shadows in the Rain- Sting- back when I liked Sting: "Woke up in my clothes again this morning, don't know exactly where I am, I should heed my doctor's warning, he does the best with me he can"
  • Here comes the rain again- The Eurythmics
  • Rain Shower- Olu Dara... luscious... has to be heard to be believed.

I could probably go on all day. If the rain ceases to amuse me tomorrow, I will make a list of songs that blaspheme the rain.

And I just have to add a good old hearty screw you to the Boston Red Sox. I refuse to be sucked into your web of terror.

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