There are no blues that cannot be cured by Keeping Up Appearances

hyacinth-bucket-in-keeping-up-appearances

Monday rears its head again.

Poor Monday: You get such a bad rap, except when it’s a Holiday Monday, then everybody suddenly loves you… cautiously. Because a Holiday Monday is like a Sunday, and Sunday is half good (the morning), half preparation for Monday. But I digress.

When I have a case of the blues (Monday’s or otherwise), a sure cure is to pop in a few episodes of Keeping Up Appearances. Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bou-kay) is my spirit animal. I wish I had half the energy she devotes to social climbing and proving she is above watching Channel 4 like some common middle-class bore for my own goals in life. I wish I was as oblivious to critics as she is. And, let’s be honest, I wish I had such a devoted and obedient husband—to drive me around, of course!

Hyacinth, you are a star!

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Manics, Manics – Strike 2

There are musicians and bands I have loved forever (or so it seems) and whose career I keep following even if the quality is not always there.
Depeche Mode is on that list—when was the last time that DM put out a solid album, from beginning to end? My guess is Songs of Faith and Devotion. 1993. Tori Amos is also on that list. I love Tori, but someone, somewhere needs to tell her to wrap it up and leave the fillers out.
Yet, I buy everything they produce. I just do. Good or bad, there are a part of me.

There are musicians and bands who used to have me obsessed (I’m looking at you, Radiohead) and lost me completely along the way. I know In Rainbows is supposed to be brilliant, but man did it leave me completely cold. Oh, I tried. I tried so damn hard. Remembering how I kept track of all of the band’s live interviews and new videos. I have 2 VHS tapes filled with those. Excerpts cut just at the right moment. That takes skills, man. Not to mention the pile of b-sides and that Japanese Itch album that cost a bundle, especially on my minimum wage salary at the time. Now, ask me what Radiohead is up to, I don’t have the faintest idea. It’s almost a shameful secret, but there it is.

There are musicians and bands with whom I have had a brief flirtation: Colin James, James, Talib Kweli, and many more—too many to name, really. It lasted a short while, it was intense, and it left me with lovely memories. I wish them well, but I’ve moved on. Sorry. No hard feelings.

And then, there are the musicians and bands I will love eternally, not because I’ve loved them for so long, but because they still deliver. Every time. The Roots, DJ Shadow, Conor Oberst, Mike Patton (in all the projects I can follow—solo, Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantômas, Tomahawk—I am convinced that man does not sleep), and the Manics.

The Manics deliver every time. Even on weaker albums (Lifeblood will come to mind if you’re a fan), there are still enough gems to leave you satisfied. There are so many things to love about the Manics. The fantastic lyrics. Case in point:

I know I believe in nothing, but it is my nothing.

Or:

Don’t be evil, just be corporate

And fool the world with your own importance

Portray your tedium for the world to see

Your own movie star and it’s for free

I have yet to study Futurology‘s lyrics in full, but already spotted these killer lines:

Look up to the skies—avoid the casual litter
Running from the pitiful nihilism
The misguided tweets, the sad facebooking
Cheapness surrounds me, but I’m not looking

The catchy hooks—I love that the Manics just go with the inspiration. Sometimes, it’s pure rock and roll, other times, it’s unapologetic pop. The Manics are made up of nostalgia and longing, but always fascinated/scared by the future.

Kind of like me.