Thursday, May 14, 2009

Karaoke and the song I didn't sing

Last night as my mother's day "doing," I went to karaoke with Holly, Marty and Brett. Holly goes every week. Brett goes sometimes. Here's a video of Marty. Holly had gone off to take a phone call from her boss at the flower shop. The first table of people are Cindy, Antoine, Nick, Ian and Josh, and then at my table Ashlee and Brett.

I had planned to sing Circle Game and Queen of the Silver Dollar. They didn't have either one. Holly and I did "Color My World," by Petula Clark. I was doing verses and harmony. Holly did the chorus. We also did "I Won't Say I'm In Love," from Hercules. I did "the chorus" and Holly did Megara. Holly also did LDN by Lily Allen, and I don't know what else. After the official end of the karaoke time when there was hardly anyone there anymore, the guy put on "Jizz in My Pants" and "I'm on a Boat." Holly was on the stage with Josh and Nick for the first one, and Marty was big into the second one.

I had been thinking of doing "Circle Game" because Marty's twenty years old, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it might not be so appropriate. Joni Mitchell was writing from not having raised her daughter, and thinking fairly negatively and theoretically about having a twenty year old. I have a really happy twenty year old. So I was thinking about the lyrics:

Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a butterfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on a carousel of time
We can't return, we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round in the circle game.

Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like "When you're older" must appease him
And promises of "someday" make his dreams...

Sixteen Springs and sixteen Summers gone now
Cartwheels turn to car wheels through the town
And they tell him "Take your time, it won't be long now
'Til you drag your feet to slow the circles down."

So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through.

I've liked that song since the summer of 1971, after my first year of college, when I listened to Joni Mitchell every day, at my mom's house on McCurdy Road in Española. I was melancholy and young and angsty and it was a great soundtrack for that. (I wouldn't recommend it to a lonely 17 year old angry with her parents nowadays, at all.)

So thinking of Marty, and looking at the song, the only thing that's like Marty about it is "the boy is twenty." That and that he can ice skate, but we're in Albuquerque, not Sasketoon or Toronto, so skating is inside a skating rink. Marty wasn't sad or afraid as a child, we didn't say "when you grow up" to him, we didn't try to hold him back and he didn't create grand dreams to look forward to. So it's okay that I didn't sing it.

(To be fair to New Mexico, there are outdoor skating rinks in a canyon in Los Alamos, and in Kit Carson Park in Taos. I skated with my dad at the Los Alamos rink later that same Joni Mitchell year.)


Katy said...

There is an outdoor skating rink in Cloudcroft too. Sounds like a fun Mothers day outing.

singingfamily said...

We sing this song regularly with the folk chorale. It is not on youtube but here are the kids singing Dar Williams The Babysitter Song which is equally endearing.

Sandra Dodd said...'s a working link to that. We wouldn't have known of that song but the Sorooshians gave us a copy of Dar Williams doing it. What a wonderful song.

singingfamily said...

thanks Sandra! My daughters are the little blond in the front with her rain boots on and the first little soloist:) We are hoping to sing with Dar for our 10th anniversary!