Tenth straight Christmas entirely alone. Difficult. Ran 5000 stairs yesterday before dawn while listening to the complete Nutcracker (1986 Mackerras/LSO version). So very different from the Christmas mornings I used to love so much and the Christmas mornings I want to have now. The view from the bottom was thus:
Then walked six miles in the rain in an empty Boston, listening to the Tallis Scholars' final edition in their series of Josquin masses and Sgt. Pepper outtakes.
Ran 3000 stairs today.
Wrote a number of letters, some of which I didn't want to write, but when there is no choice there is no choice.
Listened to a Christmas episode of the podcast Uncanny, as well as one about M.R. James' "The Story of an Disappearance and an Appearance," which I also reread.
Read most of the remainder of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Watched Frosty, Rudolph, and A Christmas Story. Rudolph is obviously about gays and African Americans. Note when Clarice's father spits out his vitriol that he won't let his daughter associate with a red-nosed reindeer. He means a Black. It's plain. It could be out of In the Heat of the Night. He's that offended by color. A progressive special, truly. Really, though, watch that scene--he's so close to saying the n-word. The delivery, the cadence.
On Christmas I saw a post somewhere from a woman who said she had been in recovery for two-and-a-half years and people often think negatively of people in recovery. I think no matter what is going on with you you try and help someone a little so I just sent her a note that said, "Happy Christmas. A couple friendly words. First: congrats on the 2.5 years. Secondly: no reasonable person will judge you for dealing with something needing dealing with. And anyone who does isn't worth your time or energy. Stay strong and have a great 2022."
Listened to the 1950 radio version from Christmas day of The Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland, and the first two hours of the thirteen-hour 1981 BBC radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings and the five-part Yours, Truly, Johnny Dollar Christmas episode, "The Nick Shurn Matter." Watched 1947's Christmas Eve and 1932's The Mummy.
Worked on Same Band You've Never Known: An Alternative Musical History of the Beatles and Glue God: Essays for Repairing a Broken Self. If I work hard this week I can be done with this book. What I'm doing right now is making everything as straight-ahead as possible. I'm removing qualifiers and wrinkles. Going A to B. Smart and forceful. It's going to be deep enough and powerful enough and all of that, so I'm just simplifying where I can simplify. I removed three or four paragraphs from the first page of the book, connected the opening paragraph more directly with where everything is going. As I went along, the book became shorter, but then I added parts, and it ended up becoming longer. One part has a direct reference to the title, which hadn't been mentioned before, and was one reason why I had been thinking about changing it, though I won't now.
The Same Band work pertained to the first and second takes of "A Day in the Life."
Came up with a new short story idea. Also decided what I'm going to do with The Root of the Chord: Writings on Jazz's Essential Power and Artistry. Could finish it this week as well or in the next couple depending on what else I do.
Listened to Dylan Thomas's recording of "A Child's Christmas in Wales" and Boston Camerata's Sing We Noel.
Updated the News and On air sections of the site. There's a lot of work to be done to get this site updated, across almost all of it. I started counting missing film links yesterday and there were about 100 before I stopped.
Came up with several ideas for pitches in 2022. Someone dropped off food, which I appreciated. Today marks 2002 days, or 286 weeks, without a drink.
Listened to Led Zeppelin IV, which I'm just going to refer to as that. I know I have been critical of Zeppelin in the past, but that is a stunning work of art. Also listened to the Grateful Dead's Workingman's Dead and Skull Fuck. And the Stones' "Still a Fool," a Muddy Waters cover from the Beggars Banquet sessions, many times.
Went to a cafe to watch the second half of the Patriots game, read the very fine Murder for Pleasure, and listen to Little Walter's complete Chess sessions. Mac Jones is not the long-term answer at the quarterback position. He doesn't have the arm strength. They caught teams at the right team with injuries and COVID and they managed him the best they could to get him to manage the game, but it's not going to work. There is no zip on anything. The ball just hangs up there and floats through the air. He throws in this loop on almost every pass. Hope I'm wrong, but I was wincing at the screen.
I was supposed to go to the ballet but got out of the shower and printed out the ticket to see that it was for the day before. Then I was supposed to go to Revels and took the train out to Harvard and stood outside of Sanders Theatre, waiting for the doors to open, wondering why no one was there, only to realize they were having it in Watertown this year so I trudged home.