Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Older Than My Old Man Now
EDITORIAL NOTES: If anyone has been waiting for me to answer an email for more than three or four days, it is probably to do with spam filters at your end.
I have been getting a lot of returns of sent mail lately and my email provider tells me they are not blocking it. Sorry, but I've spent all the time I possibly can on this problem now.
It's been awhile since I last received a submission for Where Elders Blog, but there is now a new one from Karen Zaun Kennedy which you can see here. And here are instructions for submitting your own blogging/computer space.
Peter Tibbles usually handles the music around this blog on Sundays, but I'm taking on this new album from Loudon Wainwright III, Older Than My Old Man Now, because it is entirely concerned with getting old.
The album interests me not so much for the music - although that's part of it, of course – but for my curiosity about how an artist who is a contemporary of mine, approaches “my” subject.
The answer is, with a lot of melancholy, mixed feelings and woe for everything that has gone wrong in his 65 years. It is deeply – and often literally - autobiographical, these 16 songs, wherein Wainwright covers family, marriage, divorce, kids, health, sex, regret, guilt, mortality, death and just plain getting old.
And he does it all with some sadness, a good deal of humor and an occasional bit of wisdom. The title tune, Older Than My Old Man Now, begins with a reading of words about his own life written by Wainwright's father, a respected columnist and editor at Life magazine.
There is a second recital of Loudon Wainwright, Jr.'s writing on his own a aging as the introduction to The Days That We Die.
Among the singers who accompany Wainwright on various tunes are all four of his kids, a current and a former wife and Ramblin' Jack Elliott who takes opposing verses on a lovely song, Double Lifetime.
Not all is serious and melancholy. My Meds is what you would expect – a humorous litany of the long list of prescription drugs some people our age are stuck with keeping track of.
And I Remember Sex is a duet with Dame Edna Everage (Barry Humphries) that is labeled “explicit.” Actually, the lyrics are both true and funny. Here's a sample:
I remember sex. That thing we used to do
Where you'd lay down and usually I'd lie on top of you
Sometimes you'd lie on top of me. We tried that out a bit
But it didn't work as well, I guess something just didn't fit
I remember sex. We had it at night
A few times in the morning and then after we would fight
And on special occasions when we'd had too much to drink
Once in a Morris Minor, a convertible, I think
Although no one would call me a fan of Loudon Wainwright III, I've enjoyed him from time to time over the years and I think he's done a nice a job here with a large number of the kinds of things we ruminate on as we reach the upper decades of life.
He has a darker view of his life and old age than I do but then, he's been writing autobiographical songs for nearly half a century so undoubtedly has better reminders of past events than I can dredge up.
The album is available in all the usual places. At Amazon, the CD costs (currently) about US$13. You can download it as MP3s for only US$8.99 (or 99 cents per song) and with that you'll get an extra that is not on the disc, No Tomorrow.
I don't know for how long it will last, but as of yesterday afternoon, you can stream the entire album at the New Yorker website.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lyn Burnstine: The Blue Schwinn Bicycle