Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Conversations with Josh #247

Another Sunday fortnight, another meal with Josh. We were back at the Grand Hotel this time. I ordered fried rice with beef and got a vegetarian fried rice instead. Damn. Then I discovered they’re putting a 15 percent surcharge on the meals these days, and today I’m paying (we take it in turns). Double damn! Anyway, for some reason Josh was reminiscing about the console games he used to play in his youth. One called Snoopy Tennis seemed to stand out in his memory. He did some research and apparently original copies are worth some money now. We shared some old games we used to like playing. For me, it was a game called Zany Golf, and Bards Tale 2, both on my old Amiga. They’re definite nostalgia magnets.

Back at Josh’s place on the porch, we discussed the quandary of Josh communicating with that woman he used to be in love with. He still wants to contact her, but now the magnitude of it is starting to hit and he doesn’t know how to do it without coming off like a stalker. I suggest the direct approach, on Facebook. He warms to the idea. We then talk about how crap are Melbourne audiences at live gigs. Josh agrees, saying when he saw The Strokes at the Palais they wondered if the crowd were enjoying the gig, they were so quiet. Welcome to our crap Melbourne audience, Strokes, I say. Josh then mentioned they were supported by Kings of Leon on their first tour. I was envious. After last fortnight’s strike out with the Smiths, Josh admitted he liked a couple of their songs. How Soon Is Now and There Is a Light That Never Goes Out he grudgingly assented to.  Said he’ll give them another go. He then talked about the four gigs his old band, The Going Away Party, did before they broke up. At least two were well attended and went off respectably. I asked why they broke up, and it turned out one member, Drew, got a good job offer in Adelaide to teach Ethics at a university. All the members had degrees, including Josh. A Brainy band. 

Continued with my a/b analysis of Smile by the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson solo. This was the Wonderful/Song For Children/Father of the Man/Surf’s Up sequence in the middle of the album. I can’t really split the difference between Brian’s and the BB’s versions of Wonderful. They’re both, well, wonderful. The change definitely comes with the next section. The Boy’s version of Song For Children and Father of the Man is missing something – namely, the lyrics, and as such it sounds unfinished. There’s just the occasional chiming ‘Child’ line and that’s it. Brian’s version adds the lyrics, and the multi-part Child bits sound fantastic. This is an easy pass for Brian. Also, Brian’s added proper segues between songs here, especially between Wonderful and Children’s Song, whereas the Boys version just fades it out. Surf’s Up is so great no matter which version you listen to. What an astounding, ethereal, breathtaking song! I’ll give the points to the BB’s version though, simply because there’s a certain sameyness in Brian’s version where all the main vocals are his (but he does get help on the high bits of the ‘Domino’ line). In fact, obvious observation, that’s the only weakness of Brian’s version of the album: him on all lead vocals, whereas the BB’s have six vocalists for a richer experience. But on Surf’s Up he nails one part the other version doesn’t. On ‘a broken man too tough to cry’ he punches that word tough and it sounds great, so effective. I wonder, can I insert that bit into the Boys’ version and make it work for the big Smile a/b rebuild? I also like how his version ends with the word child, instead of the fadeout of the original.

Listened to a Ralph McTell compilation in the car. He’s one of my favourite British singer songwriters. Everyone knows him for Streets Of London, but there’s so much more. I was especially enjoying his song Let Me Fight, Or Let Me Fall, a terrific break up song with some nice metaphors, and a great melody, when I stopped for a walk. After visiting Josh I sometimes stop at this place near my home where there’s a circular raised path that goes around a tree-filled swamp. It’s actually a nice place to walk. There’s a kind of observation deck at one spot and I like to stop there and look out over the swamp and mull over my life and where I’m at. So many times I had stopped here at so many different points in my life, good and bad. This time I’d have to say it’s good, real good. I’m very happy with my life. Have a nice job, steady money, stable relationships. If I’m honest there’s just one piece missing. Can you guess what it is? I’m not sure if it was the Ralph song, which was still running through my head, or where I was or my mood, but all this inspired a song of my own. I write songs from time to time, you know. I’m calling it The Missing Piece. I got some lines down that may or may not end up in the final product.

  • Is it found right here on Earth,
  • Or is it sent by God above?
  • I never saw it in the box,
  • The missing piece is…


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