shortest-day-of-the-year notes

21 Dec 2010
Posted by jim

Well, we've reached the eve of the "shortest day of the year", also known as Winter Solstice. And in the mystical spirit of the day (and birth of a new season), I'd like to make a surprising prediction: The next album probably won't be released as "James Land". You see, a lot has happened since I wrote those songs in the first record.... And with the new tunes I think there's a real difference in sound, influence, and tone.  So it feels right artistically, and solid from a "business" standpoint too.  Anyway, we'll see, but right now it's a definite possibility!

Also, in this seasonal spirit, it seems fitting to give a quick review of a show I saw last Saturday (at the Guthrie Theater) of "A Christmas Carol".  Overall: Very Good!  Scrooge, in his crotchety-ness, is funnier than you're expecting. And it adds some fairly rollicking irish reel-type music (with singing and dancing) during some scenes. (Afterward, i wondered how likely that style of Irish music would have been played in the London of Dickens' time. Btw, if you know, leave a comment below, yo).

I also appreciated that the central transformation of Scrooge (after the 3 ghosts, when he awoke and started changing his life) required less drama to occur than usual  But it was still plenty heartwarming to see.... Also, I must confess to enjoying the British accents on display (and Scrooge is actually played by someone who grew up in England).

I also liked how this new adaptation kept the main spirit of the story in mind.  For me, that is:  1) Xmas is a time for people to think more about looking on the bright side of things.  2) During this time, people should show some extra compassion, and make an extra effort to be kind to others (especially those in greater need).  3) When in the company of others (especially friends & relatives), be sure to have a real "feast" and revel in each other's company....  But overall, for me, the most important line in the show was: ~ Let us not dwell on our troubles, of which we all have some, but instead celebrate our blessings, of which we have many".

So, Merry Christmas, Happy Winter Solstice, Hannukah, Kwanza, and everything else that fits :)