Well, it’s the Easter long weekend but I’m a bit thrown – since starting to get interested in, and following, the festivals that align themselves with nature’s calendar, my Ostara happened three weeks ago and I wrote about it here: The Vernal Equinox, Nina Simone and Feeling Good.
Time to spend time with friends and family then, or out in the garden (pictures above) getting it ready for spring/summer. Oh no, that’s right, over the last 15 months whenever I’ve had time off work all I do is spend even more time blogging, researching future blog posts or reading/commenting on the other blogs I follow. I’m starting to think I’m “addicted” – Are any of you similarly afflicted and is it really “a thing”?
Hello – My name is Alyson, and I’m addicted to blogging
I have recognised that this has been an issue for some time now but whenever I try and have a break I end up losing my resolve and start re-posting older stuff. You tell everyone you’re going to be absent for a while, but then make a fool of yourself by popping up again soon after. Anyway, the garden is in great need of some tender loving care as I think is Mr WIAA, as he has had to spend an awful lot of time watching television on his own of late. My American Odyssey In Song is well underway so I can pick that up at any time now. I have the next state almost in the bag and once we’re out of New England it will start to get really interesting. (So many songs about Delaware… NOT!)
In view of this admission I’m going to cheat a bit today by borrowing from last Easter’s post which was from my newbie days so it didn’t get seen by many. It was about the song MacArthur Park written by Jimmy Webb back in 1967. Over the last year I have discovered that Jimmy Webb is a bit of a god in the song-writing world and there’s even a song that proves it (Jimmy Webb is God by The Boo Radleys).
Here is that post from last year:
Tried to think of a song that relates to Easter, but could only think of Easter Parade from the 1948 film of the same name which cannot really be considered a track from my years (I’m not quite that old) and not really a pop song at all but one from the golden age of MGM musicals.
When you do think of other songs that have religious connotations (from Life of Brian, Jesus Christ Superstar) there is the capacity to cause offence and that’s not what this blog is about. So, back to letting the old brainbox come up with something subliminally and that turned out to be MacArthur Park. Not entirely sure how that happened but I think it’s because there’s a park involved and at this time of year, in Scotland anyway, the parks are all waking up from their winter slumber and are full of crocuses and daffodils. Easter is a time of rebirth and eggs are a symbol of fertility. Also, the bizarre line in MacArthur Park about the cake being left out in the rain probably made me think of Simnel cake, traditional at this time of year.
The song MacArthur Park, written and composed by Jimmy Webb, was first recorded by Richard Harris in 1968 but my favourite version is the one by Donna Summer from 1978. She was the undisputed Queen of Disco in the ’70s, and 1978 was the year I reached the age of 18 and could legitimately go dancing in the various licensed venues where I lived (although in those days this was not heavily policed and pretty much everyone over 16 was allowed in). This was rural Scotland however and we certainly didn’t have anything resembling Studio 54 but the local hoteliers manned up and kitted out their function suites with glitter balls, strobe lights and if you were very lucky, those flashing tiled floors as seen in Saturday Night Fever. The DJs were often local teenagers who’d had the foresight (or parents with foresight) to invest in the equipment and records needed to hire out their services. A nice little sideline before returning to school on the Monday.
MacArthur Park by Donna Summer:
I have always liked this song although its flowery lyrics are definitely not for everyone and it was not until looking into it a bit more for this post, that I came to understand that the whole “cake left out in the rain” line, was a metaphor for lost love and the end of a relationship. Nearly 40 years on and it now makes sense although back in the day a most unusual song to have been given the full-blown disco treatment. Although I now understand the lyrics a bit more, I do think the whole cake metaphor was perhaps just taken that little bit too far.
As for Donna Summer, it was when she happened to be in Germany performing in the musical Hair that she had a fortuitous meeting with the producer Giorgio Moroder. Yet again we have a chance encounter that went on to have great significance, this time for the future of electronic dance music or Disco.
Poor Donna died quite young in 2012 at the age of 63 but she has left a great legacy, as the defining female voice of the disco era and also because of her influence on the dance music that was to follow by artists such as Madonna and Beyoncé. Thank you Donna for many happy memories on the dance-floor.
So, “What’s It All About?” – Be careful out there and if you start seeing signs that you are becoming addicted to blogging, take steps. Is there a twelve-step programme I wonder for those afflicted? Whatever, I have spent a little too much time of late in this wonderful place so maybe time to redress the balance, for one weekend at least.
Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it. For the rest of you, the holiday is a great opportunity to spend time with the family and get outdoors. There will always be time to write that next blog post another day but why oh why is it always just so hard to drag yourself away?
MacArthur Park Lyrics
(Song by Jimmy Webb)
Spring was never waiting for us dear
It ran one step ahead
As we followed in the dance
MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
’cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
I recall the yellow cotton dress
Foaming like a wave
On the ground beneath your knees
The birds like tender babies in your hands
And the old men playing Chinese checkers by the trees
17 thoughts on “Jimmy Webb, “MacArthur Park” and Are You Also, Addicted to Blogging?”
I think I am probably addicted, but blogging is the one thing I have left that is purely my own, that I do only for me and not for anyone else. It’s how I relax and unwind mentally, and it allows me to indulge my passion for music and speak to like-minded addicts. Blogging is my group therapy and you guys are my fellow addicts. How else could I discuss the wonder of leaving a cake out in the rain with someone who understands?
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I must admit you were the person I thought of most when I wrote this as you have been very productive of late with posts that must be very time-consuming – I didn’t want to think that you were having panic attacks trying to fit too much into your day just for our amusement. If you do it as a relaxation tool after a stressful day thats a good thing though and happy to part of the group therapy! Personally I’m finding that I spend way too many hours in front of a computer screen (all day at work, Mr WIAA’s business when I get home and now the blogging) so not too healthy and I’m often up until 2am in the morning, but still wake up at the normal time – not good.
Oh well, will try and redress the balance a bit but my old hobbies which involved doing crafts, gardening, reading etc have definitely been on hiatus of late which would I think be a better way to unwind after a day in front of a computer screen. Will try to control the addiction a bit but it is, once you become part of a little group, damn good fun so won’t be easy. Enjoy the Easter break with Mrs Rol and that little boy of yours.
I’d go along with that. For me a great stress buster and you get to know interesting people with similar views. I enjoy our wee community
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If, like Rol, you use it as a stress buster then that’s a good thing – As I said above however my kind of blog posts involve doing quite a bit of research and although I love writing them, they take up most of my free time nowadays. Definitely lost touch with real-life friends since doing this but replaced them with you guys who often, as you say, share similar views (although I have absolutely no idea who the bands are that you write about sometimes – finding myself in the music blogosphere was a complete accident!). Will have to work on my addiction but not easy.
Enjoy the Easter break.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve lost the discipline for writing that I used to have and so I tend to regard music blogs with something approaching awe. You folk are an oasis of fascinating musical knowledge and I respect your bravery in putting your thoughts on the electronic page for the world to see. Now I’ve got that off my chest, I’ll just wish you all a Happy Easter.
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Oh but you haven’t grown older, you’ve turned into Chuckie of late it seems! Can’t imagine that I do anything that approaches awe but somehow this is the easiest place in the world to share your thoughts – When I shared them with my friends on Facebook they were met with tumbleweed moments. It’s ok to share funny cat videos and pictures of your latest holidays but nothing any more insightful apparently.
Happy Easter to you too.
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Sadly, your remarks about Facebook are spot on. I find that any posts about music tend to be from my fellow old fartz getting all nostalgic over the 60’s/early 70’s, but anything more recent is met with your “tumbleweed moments”. My love for Chuckie Finster stems from getting hooked on the original TV series and my eldest sister bringing me a fab Chuckie doll when I was in hospital over Christmas 1979. I’ve only ever been given one other soft toy and that was last Christmas when my niece wowed me with a “Bill The Cat”. If you don’t know who that is, hunt for an image of that name – or the cartoon strip “Bloom County” and see why I’m a huge fan. 😉
Just checked out that cat – he’s definitely not Disney!
I agree with all above – as in Rol’s case, this is something that is purely my own and I really need that, and as CC says it’s good getting to know people with similar views. My circumstances are different to yours too Alyson, in that I’m not surrounded by other people all day and I do a job which allows my mind to roam quite a lot of the time, so I spend a lot of time sitting there working away alone with all these thoughts playing around in my head with nowhere else to go and so blogging is a much valued outlet. Also a much valued inlet! So I think it’s actually quite healthy! However, and especially with what you write and the amount that goes in to your posts, I do think you could look at more as a creative and enriching hobby than an addiction.. It’s not that different from, say, getting hooked on writing a novel – sharpening up writing skills, using your imagination, doing the necessary research, etc… plus you get the interaction too… yes you might spend a lot of time doing it but there is something to show at the end of it as well as the fun of the process itself, and the process itself is not mindless. Indeed, not to be done at the expense of other important things and people in life, so I know a balance has to be maintained, but certainly not one of the worst ways to direct some brain power and communicate with people who understand!
And re. leaving a cake out in the rain, that line has always bugged me. It might be a metaphor but I still think it could have been something other than a cake. Like the washing… or a pair of wellies…. something feasible… I mean,what was the cake doing outside in the first place?
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Hope you realise I wasn’t complaining, it’s just that I enjoy it all so damn much that I am finding it has become my one and only hobby! Maybe after working with numbers for the last 35 years, it’s great to do something much more wordy and combines my love of music, film, photography, geography, aphabetising and cataloguing – the whole nine yards. Not many hobbies that do that. However, and this has come up before, I do worry about not doing as much walking and exercising as pre-blogging days. Will try to do better.
As for your situation, working from home, I can totally understand how it gives you just the right outlet (and inlet) for the various thoughts that go round the old noddle in a day. A very healthy thing to do. I see from your archives as well that most of you have been doing this for an awful long time so thanks for being so welcoming when I popped up out-of-the-blue last year.
As for the cake out in the rain, it all actually happened in real life apparently. Jimmy always went to that park with his girlfriend (who then went on to marry the cousin of Linda Ronstadt) and often there were birthday parties held there where once the cake obviously got rained upon. Makes sense when you find out the story behind it but you are right, in this country it would be more likely to be the washing etc
Beyond it being a true story, a cake in the rain is better than washing etc. because it allows Jimmy to extend the metaphor about the icing melting, evoking the idea of tears, mascara running etc., then extend it further with “I’ll never have that recipe again” which suggests both something unique that he’s put a lot of effort into and also something that can’t be easily replaced…unlike a pair of wellies. 🙂
Of course the cake out in the rain is a better metaphor than washing etc but you don’t see many bakery products covered in icing sitting around any of the parks we go to in the UK so it still sounds a bit, well silly, to our ears. I did listen to Donna’s version a couple of times again yesterday and when she sings about the “green melted icing” and “the recipe that can never be replaced” she does a really good job of evoking the sadness that comes from the loss of the relationship but I still stick to my feeling that in this case Jimmy’s cake/icing metaphor was just a bit too silly for most listeners who want the lyrics to their break-up songs to be a little less abstract. But hey, what do I know!
Hope you’ve had a nice Easter weekend so far – Did you go to any parks where there were cakes sitting out in the rain?!
I leave a little piece of cake in every park I visit.
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PS Hope you enjoy the rest of this Easter break too!
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Yep, three days off for me next week so looking forward to it. Enjoy your Easter too.
I started this blogging lark by purely posting YouTube videos I liked, purely for my own entertainment. Later, I began adding a little waffle here and there until, for a while, I felt capable of writing reasonably lengthy posts that actually held together. Somewhere along the line I lost that ability and currently struggle to come up with a paragraph’s worth of understandable nonsense to go along with my tune of choice. To paraphrase the great John Cooper Clarke, I blame the old enemy on the wrist. Time – or lack of it. I’m in absolute awe of all my blogging chums and get huge enjoyment from reading the wide variety of posts that are produced. I’ve often toyed with the idea of ‘doing a George’ and giving up on my own blog to give me more time to fully enjoy everyone else’s – but I guess that I too am addicted!
Funnily enough, I picked up a copy of Richard Harris’s LP from a carboot sale recently. ‘MacArthur Park’ really is an extraordinary song.
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I don’t know if addicted is the word but I definitely can’t stay away for long and once you want to follow other blogs, and reply to comments, it becomes a very compelling and interactive pastime. Time is the problem however and something has to give and in my case it’s other hobbies, exercise and real-life friends. More than compensated by finding myself in this wonderful world however.
I wouldn’t have guessed that you have any problem with the writing part at all as your posts are excellent and well put together. If I don’t always leave a comment it’s because, as you may have guessed, I just haven’t been able to keep up with lesser known artists at all so have to stick with my template of telling a story, and sharing a song by someone pretty much everyone will have heard of.
Yes “extraordinary” is definitely one word for it and even Jimmy Webb fans I suspect raised a few eyebrows at that one!