Some Thoughts on Christmas and other music, plus a Depressingly Familiar Tale from England (posted 12/12/22)

Today I’ll get to the good stuff first, and the political stuff last.

On Saturday my better half and I went to our charming local theatre and saw a live version of A Christmas Carol that was very good.  The theatre is located in an impressive old downtown structure built in 1911, in an age before the weirdos took over and insisted that all public buildings must be ugly and vaguely Soviet brutalist in style. 

One moment I especially enjoyed came before the play started.  A recorded announcement included the usual info – thanks to our local sponsors, check us out online, turn off your cell phone – plus one jarring sentence: “Masks are recommended but not required.”

I assume that this was recorded a while ago, because the free state of Florida canceled the lockdowns and mandatory masks way over a year ago.  On the other hand, I’m in a lefty college town – when you look at the north central Florida map on election night, we’re the only blue spot in a sea of red – and I wouldn’t put it past the local elite to try to hang on to their anti-scientific power-play for as long as they could.

The heartening part was that people in the audience started looking around at each other and shrugging their shoulders.  NOBODY in the building was wearing a mask, and everyone had a similar expression on their faces: “What?  Is anybody still doing that?”      

Not around here they’re not, and God bless us, every one!

As I usually do this time of year, I’ll recommend some Christmas (and other) music, for those of you who are interested. 

I’ll start with one I thought of after watching the uber-cool CO playing guitar on a short video last week.  It’s a request for his six-string take on “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.”  

As far as I know, he doesn’t have one.  But he’s obviously got chops, and as the son he never had, this is what I want for Christmas!  So consider this an entreaty to get all of CO nation to pester the founder of the feast until he grants my Christmas wish!

While he’s working on that, I’ve got a brief list of other less-commonly-heard versions of traditional Christmas songs: 

The multi-talented and multiple-instrument-playing oddball Sufjan Stevens has eccentric but great versions of some standards, including “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” “O Come O Come Emmanuel,” and “Once in Royal David’s City.”

But I particularly like his take on three more rarely heard (at least by me) traditional carols:  

“Lo How a Rose ‘ere Blooming” – somehow adding a banjo to a German carol written in the 16th century just works.

“I Saw Three Ships” – adding sleighbells and a snare drum to this late 17th century English carol?  Why not.

“Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella” – this 17th century French carol sounds like it was always intended to be sung through a bad phone connection, accompanied by a faint acoustic guitar.

For a more traditional take on “O Come O Come Emmanuel” and “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus,” try the Missouri roots music family group the Petersens, featuring three lovely daughters and a banjo, violin and mandolin, the way God intended. 

On the other hand, if you’re already sick of Christmas music, I’ve got one last recommendation that couldn’t be farther afield.

Regular readers may remember that a while ago I recommended Billy Strings, a baby-faced bluegrass guitar savant, and sharp-eyed songwriter.  His song “Dust in a Baggie” – look for the version he recorded on a couch in somebody’s den – is amazing.

If you liked that one, and if country roots music is in your wheelhouse, you should check out Colter Wall.   Though he’s been around for a while, I just stumbled across him this past week.

I first heard a song called “Sleeping on the Blacktop,” listening to it with the only graphic being an album cover with a rough-hewn drawing of a coyote with a cigarette in his mouth.  The album title is “Imaginary Appalachia.”  I was in. 

The guy’s got a baritone deeper than Johnny Cash, and he sounds like he could be a 70-something chain-smoking whiskey drinker.  His lyrics are gritty and evocative, and even moreso when delivered in that voice.

Next I found another one from the same album, a ballad about the singer’s dead love, called “Caroline.”  He sings the chorus with someone named Belle Plain, which is as tender as “Blacktop” was rough: “Caroline oh Caroline/I’ll be home just at any old time/The grave in the garden won’t be satisfied/’til your name’s next to mine.”

But the next one is the one that sold me, and I’d recommend that if any of this sounds good to you, try that one first.  It’s a murder ballad called, “Kate McCannon,” and you’ve got to watch the video version  from the “Original 16 Brewery Sessions.”

It’s just him standing with a guitar, and behind him is a kick bass drum, which I’d never seen used that way before.  He’s got a pedal under his right boot heel, and he uses it to drive a drum beat that’s intermittent, but really powerful.  His guitar sounds almost like the strings are too loose somehow, and he makes great use of vacillating between very quiet strumming and forceful hammering away.

Shockingly, he’s a slender kid in his early 20s, so when that deep voice first comes out, it’s almost off-puttingly weird.  Where did Johnny Cash’s older, rougher-living brother go?

I found the last two lines of the song especially mesmerizing.  The first one reveals why this is a murder ballad, and it’s delivered quietly, with a grimace, followed by the quietest strumming in the song.  But then he starts slapping at the strings, and the tension grows as the playing gets angrier, until he growls out the last line.

And then that base drum starts pounding again.

If you like country/folk/roots music and you like it raw, check this guy out.

Speaking of murder ballads, I wish someone had written one about a British jerk named Ngozi Fulani.  But unfortunately, she’s still alive.

I know, things just got dark.  Merry Christmas, everybody!

We’ve got a huge over-supply of race-baiting narcissists in America, but Fulani is proof that the same goes for England.   (Damian Cullinane, I share your pain!)

Fulani founded a charity called “Sistah Space” that allegedly supports “women of African and Caribbean heritage” who have suffered domestic and sexual abuse. 

Why not support all abuse survivors, regardless of their ethnicity, you might ask? 

Shut up, Karen!

Naturally, Fulani is also a big fan of BLM, as well as the annoying American bi-racial irritant Meghan Markle.  In 2021, Fulani tweeted that “it seems clear that Meghan is a survivor of domestic abuse from her in-laws.” 

Ugh.

At the end of November, Fulani was invited to a reception at Buckingham Palace meant to call attention to violence against women.  During the event, she came across Susan Hussey, an 83-year-old former lady-in-waiting to the queen.

Fulani was dressed in some kind of faux-native garb: a shell-necklace, an animal-print dress, and an elaborate, semi-dreadlock-y hairstyle.  Sussey saw her, saw her exotic name on her name tag, and asked the obvious question, “Where are you from?”

Fulani knew exactly what she meant, because that is a universal ice-breaker question when meeting someone from another land.  Though Fulani is actually British, she sensed the opportunity to create a racial pseudo-offense, and cash in on it. 

So she played a passive-aggressive version of 20 questions, and apparently recorded the conversation, since she claims to be able to report it word for word. 

When Hussey asked where she was from, Fulani said, “Sistah Space.”  Hussey said, “No, where do you come from?”  Fulani said, “We’re based in Hackney.”  Then Hussey said, “No what part of Africa are you from?”

It went on like that for half a dozen more questions, and then Fulani ran to the press and claimed to be traumatized by Hussey’s all-too-typical racism.  And the press over there must be a pack of dishonest lefties like our MSM, because they immediately took her non-story and raised hell until her innocent octogenarian victim was forced to resign her position. 

This is so disgusting, because it is so plainly a racial arsonist gaslighting.  Fulani was born in London in 1961, to immigrants from Barbados, who named her, “Marlene Headley.”

But if she had come to the palace wearing regular Western clothing and a nametag reading “Marlene Headley,” Susan Hussey would have said, “Oh hello, Marlene.  What do you think of Manchester United’s chances this year?”

Or whatever Brits normally talk about.

But no.  Marlene has to call herself “Ngozi” and dress up like a Nigerian princess, and then wait for a well-meaning senior citizen to take the bait.

Her ploy is obvious, and anyone could do it.  For example, I’m half-German.

Rather than going to a reception dressed in a tuxedo and looking like a run-of-the-mill, ruggedly handsome elderly white guy, I could steer into the German skid and wear a monocle, a WWI-style pickelhaube helmet, and lederhosen, carrying a beer stein as big as my head, with a name tag reading, “Wilhelm Von Gausleiter III.” 

And then when someone asked why I looked like I just came through a time portal from Octoberfest in 1916, I could puff myself up and yell, “What kind of question is that, you racist schwein-hund?!”

And then run to the press, demand reparations, and open a charity taking donations to fight the rampant hun-o-phobia that has been haunting my victimized people for generations.

Of course Fulani is now playing the traumatized martyr, announcing that her “charity” has been forced to pause operations because of all the trauma, and her paralyzing fear that a sweet octogenarian may burst in, slam her up against a wall, and try to get a straight answer to a simple question out of her sorry arse.

To which one can only say, “I wish!”

And also, “Bah, humbug!”

Fetterman/Ngozi “Marlene” Headley-Scrooge 2024!

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