Last Night I Dreamed

Last night I dreamed

That I won a Grammy
It was presented to me
By Debbie Harry
I ran up on stage in my tux
I gulped and I said, “Aw, shucks.”
“I’d like to thank my producer,
and Jesus Christ.”
The audience gave me
A standing ovation
I shed tears of joy
I shed tears of elation
Behind the podium there
Debbie grabbed my derriere
And I’d like to thank my producer
And Jesus Christ.
I took my Grammy, and Debbie
And I walked off stage
We made the cover of Cashbox
And the Random Notes Page
In the weeks that followed
Things went fine for me
An Oscar, a Tony, and an Emmy
Bo Derek and Barbara Mandrell
Meryl Streep and Tammy Terell
A Pulitzer and a Nobel
Five gold and one bronze as well
And I’d like to thank my producer
And Jesus Christ.
(Congratulations to Loudon Wainwright III, for finally winning that elusive Grammy.)

Missing You, or Where The Girls Aren’t

Well, Knox was apparently moving (will she still be “Knox” if not in Knoxville?), Freem had a baby (and a tea party) and Darcy chose this inopportune moment to selfishly go on a cruise. To, like, New Zealand or something. She’ll probably come back with a kiwi for a boyfriend and an Austrian accident.

Without Ruth Anne dropping the occasional pun grenade, it’d be a tomb in here. (And I should note that Knox has stopped by and Freem is still tweeting a bit at odd hours.) Troop just finished (what he hopes is his last) tax season. And otherwise I’ve probably just not been very interesting.

But I got to thinking about the Loudon Wainwright, easily one of my favorite singer-songwriters, who wrote this song back when he was on M*A*S*H for the absent nurses:

And I wonder if they miss us,
Now wouldn’t that be funny?
Now that we’re without them
We can hardly stand ourselves.

But my fondness for the ol’ Loudo has always struck me as odd, in that the guy’s life has been almost at the opposite end of the circle from me. He’s always been a ladies man, incredibly devoted to his mother but unable to keep a relationship together, whose kids have, shall we say, mixed feelings about him.

The trajectory of his life (as the listener can ascertain it, which is–one hopes–dramatized) has followed a sort of predictably sad path from cocky, angry, snarky young man to doubting middle-aged divorcee, to old man contemplating his fate.

And perhaps the appeal is in that trajectory. Despite writing very specific songs that no one else can sing (and reducing his commercial viability as a songwriter thereby), they do speak to certain universal truths.

And I see now that Althouse is talking about sad songs, which fits in with this message, sitting on my laptop for the past 6 hours. Loudon has written some of the most profoundly touching music about his parents since their deaths, and I was thinking about this song, “Missing You”, which I believe is actually about his mother:

He don’t stay out any more
No more staying out past four
Most nights he turns in ‘round ten
He’s way too tired to pretend

Sure you might find him up at three
But if he is, it’s just to pee
Some nights he’s awake till two
That’s just because he’s missing you
Just lying there and missing you

He don’t sleep late any more
Up like a farmer half-past four
When that sleepy sun comes up
He’s halfway through his second cup

And his day’s work is done ’round two
That’s when he starts in missing you
Quarter-to-three it’s time to nap
He always says “No nap, I’m crap.”
His motto is: No nap, I’m crap.

Guess he’s just set in his ways
He does the same damn things most days
Seven twenty-fours a week
With lots of down-time so to speak

He hardly glances at a clock
Since his routine is carved in rock
Man’s a machine what can he do?
Just keep on going missing you
Keep right on going missing you

His teeth fall out, so does his hair
But in his dreams you’re always there
A jewel in his unconscious mind
A miracle, a precious find

But in the end he’s all alone
He wakes up and his jewel is gone
There’s a heaven and he knows it’s true
He’s stuck on earth just missing you
And it’s hell on just missing you
Back where he started missing you

And here’s a wan waif singing it a capella.

Harder Day on the Planet

In Loudon Wainwright’s song Hard Day on the Planet, he ends his litany of planetary problems with ways in which he is well off:

I got clothes on my back
And shoes on my feet
A roof over my head
And something to eat

My kids are all healthy
And my folks are alive
You know, it’s amazing, but sometimes
I think I’ll survive

I first heard the song in early ‘90s–it seems to have been written about the time Bush threw up on the Japanese Prime Minsiter (the dollar went down/and the President’s sick), when Wainwright was about 45. Over the years, I’ve heard him play it:

My kids are all healthy
And my mom’s still alive

And the latest time I’ve heard it:

My kids are all healthy
And Bob Hope’s still alive

(Haven’t heard it recently, obviously.) I’ve been listening to LW3’s music so long that I’m finally starting to catch up with it.

A Guilty Conscience And A Broken Heart

I went to the morgue today to see you,
I knew you’d end up there right from the start,
The coroner he told me,
You died of natural causes,
A guilty conscience and a broken heart.

The irony of Loudon Wainwright III writing and singing this is beyond compare. I guess he can play someone other than himself. (This is from the “Undeclared” DVD extras.)

Watch.

Here’s a noisy version from his latest tour, which also includes him singing Peter Blegvad’s “Daughter”.