Saturday, July 28, 2007

Living in the Past

After seeing it listed in both Gilbert and Jaime's Top 15 albums of all time list (see my own Top 10 list in my analysis of Love & Rockets #23), I finally decided to get Elvis Presley - The Sun Sessions on CD. Now, for me to come out and say this is outstanding is kind of like encouraging everyone to rush out and watch Citizen Kane. These Sam Phillips-produced early sessions from '54-'55 are widely proclaimed as the birth of modern rock 'n' roll, so of course they're good. You don't need me to tell you that. What surprised me about this CD is that early in his career, Elvis sounded a lot more like Johnny Cash than I ever would have imagined. Not in his singing voice, which is quintessentially Elvis and much higher and smoother than Cash's, but in the clunky, rhytmic guitar and overall sound. I don't know, this might be a stretch, but from the first time I heard the opening bars of "That's Alright Mama," I had the feeling that I'd heard this before. There were also a couple of songs which I had heard other artists do ("Tomorrow Night" is beautifully covered by Patty Griffin on 1000 Kisses, and "Just Because" is covered by Jorma Kaukonen on Blue Country Heart, both great albums worth downloading), but I never realized they were Elvis covers.

In this day and age, where all that matters is the new (just on ESPN this morning, the anchors were having a meaningless debate about "who's now," Derek Jeter or LeBron James, whatever that means), I've recently found more and more pleasure in rooting through the treasure chests of the past. While I've written quite a bit about my joys of rediscovering classic comics (right now I'm working my way through Sandman Mystery Theater and George Perez's classic Wonder Woman run, as well as re-reading Dan Clowes Eightball), I have also been enjoying some old classic TV shows I missed the first time around. Right now we're in the middle of season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a show so widely praised among the comic book geek community, I almost feel ignorant admitting I haven't watched it before now, and Freaks and Geeks, a "brilliant but cancelled" show that I became interested in after seeing the excellent movie Knocked Up by the same creators.

Of course, all of this will likely be put on hold, as we are now less than 3 weeks from the due date. When asked the inevitable "are you ready?" I am inclined to answer honestly - no! I mean, I'm excited, I'm curious, I'm proud and I'm anxious to get started, but ready? I don't know how anyone can ever be ready for such a massive, fundamental, seismic shift in the basic routines of their life. The most I can do at this point (besides continuing to work my way through the baby books rather than the dozens of more enjoyable distractions noted above) is to simply try to remain open to whatever changes are thrust upon me, and not to let stress, exhaustion, confusion and fear dominate. Flexibility and patience are the keys, I think. If that is what is meant by being ready, then yes, I suppose I'm as ready as I am going to be, but I would be lying if I didn't say the whole thing is just too overwhelming to really describe.

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