Friday, September 27, 2002

Tanya Tucker on 8-Track

I went record-shopping last night, the first time I've allowed myself in a record-store since the Great Shopping Fast was instituted in June, and I went just a little wild. I was seeking three very specific CDs, and ended up buying two out of three specific CDs, one nearly-what-I-wanted-but-not-quite CD, six unexpected-but-desirable-and-on-sale CDs (four of which were in a criminally low-priced box set), six videos (three used, three clearance-priced), four pornographic magazines, and an ice-cream-cone. I kept it all under $200, but that's still rather more than I had intended... I mean, all I wanted was three CDs so I could perform in the Galaxy Girls' "That 70s Show" this weekend.

See, I can never do the easy thing... and in a 70s show, the Easy Thing is disco. And yet, occasional lapses of dignity aside, Miss Marlénè just isn't the rock-n-roll type. And then, I have to avoid truly recognizeable and idiosyncratic performers, great 70s divas like Liza and Barbra and Bette, because they are Gay Icons and you really have to come up with an impersonation as well as a lip-synch... a task of which I am incapable. So that left me with a very narrow field of music.

I eventually decided on at least one Showtune, and then tried to remember what my favorite song in the 70s was. The Showtune was, as one might expect, "What I Did for Love" from A Chorus Line, and the only Favorite Song I could think of, which hadn't already been claimed by someone else in the show, was "Delta Dawn." As any queen worth her salt knows, the stage version of "What I Did for Love" starts a solo but ends as a production number; the film version, however, is pure solo... though not as good. And then, with "Delta Dawn," though I was mostly familiar with the Tanya Tucker version, I discovered that it had also been recorded in the 70s by both Helen Reddy and Bette Midler.

So what I was after, when I went shopping last night, was the film soundtrack to A Chorus Line and one each of Helen Reddy and Tanya Tucker singing "Delta Dawn." And I did find Helen and Tanya, but only the Broadway cast of A Chorus Line... I think the film soundtrack is out of print. Once I got home and wrestled the CDs out of their wrappers (why, oh why are CDs wrapped so damned tight?) and listened to all the tracks, I decided that I could carry off the extra voices in "What I Did for Love" after all, and also decided that neither version of "Delta Dawn" was even remotely playable... fortunately, the Helen Reddy album was chock-a-block with dated and performable tunes, and I'm leaning toward "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from Jesus Christ, Superstar (depsite my ambivalence about that musical in particular and Andrew Lloyd-Weber in general, the song is sung by the character of Mary Magdalene... and the name "Marlénè," as you may or may not know, is a Frenchified contraction of the Italian "Maria-Magdalena," or Mary Madgalene).

In case you were wondering, the other CDs I got were: The Peggy Lee Story, a boxed set of four CDs with a book, which seems to contain every piece of music she recorded between 1945 and 1955 (and cost only $19.98); Judy Garland, The Best of the Capitol Years, a two-CDs-in-one-case compilation extracted from the larger 6-album set of all of Judy's Capitol recordings; and the soundtrack to the film Charlie's Angels (which has great music... in fact, I quite enjoyed the film as well). The films I bought were: The Queen of the Damned (about which I once wrote a long and fascinating blog post, which then deleted itself when I hit the wrong button, depriving posterity of my riveting thoughts on this visually and acoustically exquisite but textually deplorable film), Murder by Death (another Maggie Smith triumph and one of my favorite films), and The Age of Innocence, all used; new, but priced at $4.95 each, I got Wigstock, The Movie (which I haven't seen yet, bad queen!), Europa, Europa (which I've also not seen, but I know it will be terribly depressing... yet it stars an incredibly cute boy), and A Chorus Line (of course I can find the video but not the soundtrack). The porn magazines were the current issues of Freshmen, Blueboy, and In Touch, as well as the Adam Male special edition The Films of George Duroy. The ice-cream cone was mango.

But none of that is the point of this blog... it's all just detail. Wearysome detail, some might say.

The point was that the Tanya Tucker CD was the exact same album that we found on 8-track in the glove compartment of the beige 1974 Chevy Nova that my mother bought used for some ridiculously low sum of money. My sister and I would always pop the cartridge in and sing along to the songs whenever we went anywhere in Mother's car (which was named Blondie — another weird tick I inherited from her, the naming of cars)... and yet I haven't heard most of those songs in the last twenty-five years. Listening to that CD brought back those few happy times that I remember (and in my childhood, the sparsity of really happy times makes each one that much more poignant). I've always loved road trips, and that album brought it all back to me... being a kid, having no idea what a dreadful driver our mother was and how much our lives were in danger as we sat on the broad bench-like front seat (no seatbelts, of course), Slurpees in hand, with the windows open and the road unfurling before us, singing along to "Delta Dawn," "What's Your Mama's Name," "I Believe the South Will Rise Again," and "Will You Lay With Me (in a Field of Stone)." I'm not a real big one for nostalgia, but I tell you the feeling I got when listening to that album last night was very nice. Sort of warm and mushy and happy.

"Marlénè Manners getting all mushy over a second-rate country album? Dommage! Is that a pig I just saw flying by, and whatever is that icy breeze coming from under the ground?"

So anyway, I'm dragging out this blog because I have yet another tedious repetitive task ahead of me, and I am avoiding it. It's another envelope-stuffing, but this time it's an election, which is rather complicated. First you have to stamp the office's address in the return-address area of seven hundred #10 envelopes; then you have to stamp that same address in the mailing address area of seven hundred #9 envelopes (self-inking stamps don't take much strength, but the task results almost immediately in repetitive stress fatigue); then you have to print two sets of address labels for the entire membership, one for mailing, one for return mail with a signature line on it; then you have to make seven hundred copies of Ballot Instructions and run them through the antique folding machine (and which most of the members — teachers and librarians, mind you — will totally ignore) and 240 copies of the Ballot itself which have to be separated on the tiny paper-cutter (three ballots to a page, with extras); then you have to place all the labels on all of the prestamped envelopes, carefully keeping each set in alphabetical order; then you have to place the #9 envelopes into their corresponding #10 envelopes along with a copy of the Ballot, a copy of the Ballot Instructions (which they will mostly ignore), and a #6 envelope in which to place the ballot (to ensure secrecy), then seal the #10 envelopes. Then you have to run all seven hundred pieces through the postage meter, which will probably jam at least twice and run out of ribbon once. Then you have to schlepp all the metered pieces to the mailbox. Then wait for the ten-percent voter response for an uncontested election of a single seat on the Executive Council to come trickling in over the next two weeks, and wish you were dead.

Today, the guy who is running uncontested for this single seat on the Executive Council (someone who is already on the Executive Council, but in a less influential seat... which means that after this election, I get to run an election for the seat he is abandoning... which, along with my general dislike of this man, makes him the current #1-with-a-bullet on the Marlénè Manners Shitlist), called me up to find out where we are on the election. I told him that we'd been unusually busy this week and are terribly understaffed, and that I hoped to get the ballot out on Monday afternoon. "I'll expect it then," he replied, evenly and conversationally, "and if it's not out by then, I'll bring it up at the Executive Council meeting." Another line rang, so I ended the first call to answer the second, and then went about my usual morning business of reading blogs and drinking coffee while Outlook Express downloaded my daily dose of cartoon porn from my erotic-art-&-porn-cartoons Yahoo Group. About an hour later, it hit me...

Wait a minute... did he just threaten me? Did he just threaten to complain about my job performance to the Executive Council if I didn't finish this idiotic task by Monday? Oh, I don't think so!

So if I was avoiding the task out of dread of boredom before, I now have an even better reason... I want to hear him bring this up at the Executive Council Meeting and see how he carries himself. He'll probably bring up the guidelines in our Constitution about running elections. The Boss-Lady, who is president of the Council, will point out to him that we are egregiously understaffed and that he is more than welcome to volunteer his time to envelope-stuffing in the office if he wants things done in a timely manner; he will reply that this is what we pay the Staff for in the first place, and then this man and the President (who hate each other) will get into a glorious dogfight without anybody getting anywhere.

But I'm going to be better than that. I'll be the bigger man (which won't be difficult, since he's Napoleon-sized in both ego and stature) and do my own job. I'll do it in my own time, despite his threats and without indulging my desire to spite him... as soon as possible but without any undue haste.

Threaten me? The nerve of some people!

Well, anyway, I'd better get along to the next part of the day... it's time to eat lunch, and I'm just famished! Then maybe I'll stuff some envelopes. Or just listen to Helen Reddy and Tanya Tucker and reminisce about the 70s. Whichever.

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