Saturday, December 4, 2010

Rockin' Chistmas – In the Old Fashioned Way

My first and best dance partner is my big Sister. We'd dance at the Sunnybrae Park dances, at the City Workers Picnic, or in the kitchen.  
Wherever there was a good jive beat and a shortage of boys who could or wanted to dance, I was there.  This would make me very popular with the girls later on. Not so much with the boys - well, some boys.
She taught me how to Jive and Mash Potato. And I'd show her the latest moves I picked up on Top Ten Plus, a local TV dance show modelled after American Bandstand.

These were two of our favourite early Christmas rock 'n roll classics. 
So move the chesterfield and salt the floor,
We're gonna dance around the tree until a quarter to four!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Glee : 'Baby It's Cold Outside" [FULL VIDEO] Chris Colfer and Darren Cri...

Love the song! The video is rather chaste for a "seduction" duet but, hey - this is prime time network TV.
Maybe next year, they'll even get to snuggle?

I'm Beginning to See the (Christmas) Light

I love lights; footlights, spotlights and especially Christmas lights!

Perhaps it's because it gets so dark so early now. The sooner the lights go up on the storefronts and street-scapes, the better.  

Montréal is quite beautiful this time of year. My favourite spots are McGill around Ste-Catherine. and Old Montreal.

My earliest memories of Christmas lights are those old ones that heated the home nearly as efficiently as a space heater.  They would come out of a box in a tangled mess. 

I would sit on the floor in front of my Grandfather and hold one end while he, under the propulsion of a stream of blasphemies, magically manipulated the ball into a string. Then the task of testing each and every bulb began and would continue almost into New Years.  My only recourse to avoid insanity was to sing a long to the Christmas standards on the radio. 

This bulb testing project demanded a lot of attention. If you missed one or forgot where you were on the string, you'd have to go all the way back to the beginning and start again. My singing was seen as a distraction and a occasional cuff to the head would refocus me to the task at hand - well at least until the next Brenda Lee song came on.

Sitting in this position in front of my Grandfather wasn't uncommon in our home. My Grandfather came from a hunting and fishing tradition.  I 'd sit in front of him holding the two hind legs of a recently deceased rabbit as he pulled the skin away and over it's head.

The absolute worst was when he went eel spearing.  There would be a potato sack of squirming eels next to his feet. He'd pull one out, still very much alive, stick a couple of forks….(In the spirit of the holidays, I'll leave the rest to your imagination.)

Back to Christmas lights and my song selection for the day.  Can we see a house fully encased in lights and not think of Griswold and "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation"?

Although I have been likened to "Griswold" on several occasions - especially by my kids – I could never hold a light bulb to "Clark Griswold" who, next to the reformed Ebenezer Scrooge, burns the torch of Christmas spirit the brightest.  The movie is a must-see every Christmas.

Although I love Mavis Staples' "Christmas Vacation" theme song, the song from the movie that brings me to tears each time I see it is Ray Charles' "The Spirit of Christmas".

What's your favourite Christmas movie?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas - Winter Wonderland

It will come to no surprise to my friends and family when I confess that I'm a bit of a Christmas fairy.  I love the lights, the sentimentality and the music - especially the music.

I've had some really rotten Christmases, some where I pulled down the blinds and pretended that it was just another day. But to ignore Christmas is to rip a page out of your history and put it through a shredder.  No amount of scotch tape will ever fix it. At best, all you will remember are the holes and creases.

Yes, there's stress, lots of it - presents, travelling, dinners, family obligations etc.  And it can truly suck.  But that isn't the Holiday's problem.  It's ours.  

I've had wonderful Christmases as well. When I was a kid, Christmas was magic.  I'd stare into the Christmas tree (which was being slowly baked by strings of lights that were definitely not "green")  until I was being burnt by the lights and scratched by the angel hair. That never mattered. I transported myself into its branches and played with the reindeer, bird and angel ornaments. 

Come December, ordinary transformed into magical at home and school.  Teachers smiled more. Strangers offered candy (Hmmm?). The scent of cakes and cookies baking as well as a fresh cut fir tree filled the house.  In the kitchen, the  annual poutine rapéee assembly line was in full production.  On TV, Perry Como and Bing Crosby provided the soundtrack and Rudolf - well, who couldn't identify with Rudolf.

On the many occasions when seasonal joviality overflowed into Moosehead fuelled fighting, I would go outside into the snowy night and wander about the quiet street, sliding on gutter rinks or just sitting in a snow bank, looking up and letting the snowflakes fall on my eyelids. And I'd sing "Winter Wonderland" to an imaginary TV audience. 

It's those memories of where I wanted to be and not where I was, that I try to revive each Christmas. 

So this month, I'm going to post Christmas songs that mean a lot to me.  It's impossible to choose the "best" as that depends on my particular mood that day and whether I feel jazzy or traditional.  For instance, I have forty eights versions of Winter Wonderland. So I'll post whichever appeals to me at the moment or holds the most vivid memories for me.

Feel free to comment or suggest your own favourites. Christmas is very personal thing - it really only exists in our  imagination.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It Ain't Over 'til it's Over - World AIDS Day 2010

About Dom Agius - Dom Agius is a photographer whose way with words frequently leads his images to unexpected places. He has been published by New Holland, Yatzer, The Pandorian and Time Out as well as Pridelife, Polari and Bond magazines. His work has been exhibited and sold in Zagreb, Rijeka, Melbourne and his hometown London. He is one third of electropop act Furiku who released their debut album Like A Freak in 2010. 

We are Bold.
We are Brave.
We are Stubborn and we are Strong.
We have been Red, Hot and Blue.
We are, on occasion,  All the Colours of the Rainbow.
We have too often been forgotten or mislaid as Invisible
But, my dear, Please Understand
We Are Everywhere and we are Not Going Away. 
You can talk of Genetics and Lifestyle Choices
While we are busy Living.
We will Work.
We will Dance. We will Love and Kiss, Laugh, Lust and Learn.
We will not be Unheard.
Sometimes we are Battered and Bruised but we will 
Be Beaten.
We Are. 

Remember those we lost to AIDS and respect those who continue to live with it. 
The fight isn't over.

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