I would like to think that I could whip up a nice, juicy list of things that I desperately want for myself this year. “I would like to” being the operative word as it has proven to be a struggle. Here goes:
Opika Pende, Africa at 78 RPM Dust-To-Digital Records
This set looks amazing, there is no other way for me to put it. 100 recordings from 1909 to the mid 60s coming out of Africa is appealing in its own right. The fact that these are on 78s only adds to the mystique and intrigue of the set. Sometimes in our modern world it feels easy to forget the parallel nature of the globe. I know it was a film, but the movie The Wild Bunch was set in 1913, one year before World War I. To me this fictional concept is one that casts some of these recordings, in fact any global 78s, into a differing light. Could you hear a 78 from 1927 and can you think about the different styles of music in vogue in that period? In the USA and in Africa? Africa is so often, sadly, a dark spot in our global map; you never hear success stories in the news about the continent. So for this set to shed light onto these recorded treasures of sound is something that really draws me towards the set. It isn’t just this set on Dust-To-Digital that appeals to me; the label recently released a 5-CD box set devoted to the epically drunk, epically talented guitar player John Fahey. You can’t go wrong with a set titled Your Past Comes Back To Haunt You. Frankly, I want everything on the label: Goodnight Babylon, How Low Can You Go, Melodi Tuvi, Victrola Favorites, Take Me To The Water, Excavated Shellac Strings, Classic & Obscure 78s from the Thai Countryside, and Baby How Can It Be. All these releases call to me, begging to be bought en masse and housed in my home.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
When I wrote about the Xbox 360 game Mass Effect my initial draft included a lengthy history of my own love of the Legend of Zelda series. As I’ve played Zelda on the NES, SNES, N64, GameCube, and Wii; the latest installment is not so much an item I want as it is an item I NEED to get. One of the first games I got for my Wii in early 2007 when I woke up at 7am on a Sunday and drove to the Target on S. Airport road (“You’re crazy,” my wife said when I told her. I can barely remember the days of my life before our son was born) was Twilight Princess. But before actually getting my Wii I had been given the title for the GameCube and had played and beat it before even trying the Wii. Skyward Sword is the first series title made exclusively for the Wii, apparently taking full advantage of the game’s abilities. And as the game appears to be coming as the Wii is slowing down this fits the pattern for my love of these games, as they are being released as swan songs for a beloved platform.
I wouldn’t mind spending a long weekend in NYC, visiting the MOMA, Guggenheim, and MET to fill my brain with beauty, history, and mystery to sustain me when all feels bleak. A return trip to LA, to revisit the LACMA, visit the MOCA, and spend a day back at the Getty Center. Or a two-month, all-expenses-paid trip to Maui if only to spend the days drunk on Kava watching the humpback whales and rainbows from the beach.
I’d like to lose 60 lbs, run a 5K in under 30 minutes, and be able to run more than 25 miles per week.
So that’s it. Boring eh? I’m looking at my Amazon.com wish list for more things to jazz this up with. All reissues. Beach Boys – Smile Sessions; the George Harrison/Ravi Shankar Collaboration box set; titles from the recent Apple Records reissue program; discs to finish my collections of Elvis Costello, Harmonia, and the Beatles; Gordon Ramsay DVDs; Blue Note Jazz reissues before they disappear; books about cooking, books about the band Genesis; and that’s about it. The items on my wish list date back to April 15 2007, two weeks before Jack was born. Back when time was rich and empty and the idea of filling the time with music, books and films was something that was second nature.
See that is the thing, the biggest thing I want (apart from a whole new wardrobe of clothes that actually FIT) is the ability to have more free time. Or at most a better ability to use my time wisely and efficiently. I want the ability to stay awake until eleven PM and the ability to wake up at 5am with no grogginess, no struggle. I want my stress to be efficiently channeled into exercise and I want the time and the ability to stay awake to be able to exercise. I also want a scratch-off lottery ticket to put $25,000 in my pocket and account so that I may chip down some of my more persistent bills. And I could pay for my children’s preschool experience (which will cost $7,600 by the time it finishes up in early June) without feeling like I should resort to eating straw and trying to make my own soda our of fermented pantry items.
Today (4 December 2011) I walked around downtown Traverse City with my daughter, looking for cinnamon rolls. I couldn’t remember the last time I walked around downtown and really looked at what types of stores were around. Lots of cool places were passed by and looked into; the dank, dark, rainy morning let me see into the stores. It was then that I realized that I don’t have evenings anymore, only days. When the light sets in the West so too does my day, so does all our days. This realization, that by living around interesting things yet being unaware of them, blind to them, or not having the time to visit them, really stung me.
Honestly, I don’t know which is more foolish of me to want. Physical items or their absence replaced by the void they would create by not being a part of my life?
Ho ho ho.
Mike Vincent is a teacher, dreamer, grouch, and runner. He lives in northern Michigan and his favorite Beatle is George Harrison.