Friday, December 10, 2010

Moody Blues -- "Nights in White Satin" (1967)

Breath deep the gathering gloom
Watch lights fade from every room
Bedsitter people look back and lament
Another day's useless penny is spent

Impassioned lovers wrestle as one 
Lonely man cries for love and has none
New mother picks up and suckles her son
Senior citizens wish they were young

Coldhearted orb that rules the night
Removes the colors from our sight
Red is gray and yellow, white
But we decide which is right 
And which is an illusion

I am in a rotten mood tonight, and I'm going to take it out on the Moody Blues.  (Of course, they couldn't care less.)

As you may know, the 1967 Moody Blues album, Days of Future Passed, ends with a dramatic reading of the above lines by keyboardist Mike Pinder.  (Drummer Graeme Edge wrote the lines.) 

That album was another one that just about everyone I knew in college owned, and I heard it a lot during those years.  The only rational explanation for its popularity is either stupidity or drugs.  (There was a lot of both of those going around when I was in college.  How else do you explain Cheech and Chong, for example?)

I've titled this post "Nights in White Satin" because there was no separate track listing for these lines on the original LP.  On later compilation albums, this part of that song is listed as a separate track, and titled "Late Lament."

Whether you consider it part of "Nights in White Satin" or as a separate track with the title "Late Lament," it is perhaps the biggest load of crap ever recorded.  

(As a free bonus, here's the most famous scene from "Five Easy Pieces" -- what a great movie.)

These lines are nonsense.  They are an embarrassment.  Every single one of you who took these lines seriously -- and please note I'm saying "you" and not "us" because I swear to you this crap never fooled me -- should hang your head in shame.

My sophomore-year roommate had this record, and whenever this part came on, he would stand up and mouth the words dramatically, like he was Sir Laurence Olivier doing Hamlet or Othello or whatever -- "Breathe deep," etc., etc., etc. 

He was insufferably annoying, as all my other friends told me he would be -- I should have listened.  I should have known the first time I saw him do his little dramatic reading of these lines.

Lines like "New mother picks up and suckles her son/Senior citizens wish they were young" are just banal.  But what are we to make of this gibberish?

Red is gray, and yellow [is] white
But we decide which is right 
And which is an illusion

You've got to be kidding me.  

So why am I in such a bad mood?  Glad you asked.  (What's that you say?  You didn't ask?  I DON'T CARE.  Just shut up and listen!)

It started at work today.  I spent all day dealing with annoying clients and other lawyers.  I would have said "annoying lawyers," but lawyers are always annoying so that would have been redundant.  Now that I think of it, clients are always annoying, too, so "annoying clients" is equally redundant.

This man is my professional role model:

If the practice of law did not involve clients and other lawyers, it would be a great profession.  But it almost always does involve clients and other lawyers.  So it SUCKS! 

After work, I had been assigned to referee a girls' high-school varsity basketball game.  I usually enjoy refereeing, but my hot French girlfriend had said earlier in the week that she might be available for dinner that night, so I told her I had a game but would happily cancel it. 

But she said not to do that because her work assignment might go late, and she might be too tired to go out to dinner, and then I would have given back my refereeing assignment for no reason.  This is typical.  We talk a lot about going out, but almost never do.  (Admittedly, the fact that I am married has something to do with that.)

Of course, her job ended earlier than expected, and she was all happy and full of energy and probably would have been wonderful company and very nice to me -- although you can never count on that, believe me -- but by the time I knew all that, it was too late to bail out of my basketball assignment.  (If you call up an hour before a game and say you can't do it, you better be in the emergency room or jail -- do that a couple of times, and you might never get another game assignment.)

So I went to the game, and it was just horrible.  The game was between two very small private schools, and you have never seen uglier basketball in your life.  My daughters' middle-school team would have easily beaten either of these teams.

Tuesday I refereed a game involving a DC Catholic girls' school that takes basketball quite seriously -- their team is ranked #15 in the whole DMV (that stands for DC and suburban Maryland and Virginia) and I can't even imagine how badly that team would have beaten either of the teams in my game tonight.   

The score was 12-2 midway through the 2nd quarter, and only 12-7 at the half.  Of course, the coaches and parents were yelling at my refereeing partner and I like this train wreck of a game was our fault. 

These complaints about our non-calls inspired my partner to start calling everything -- I think we had a stretch once with traveling calls on five consecutive possessions.  (I was afraid one of the girls he kept calling traveling on was going to burst out in tears -- after he whistled her a few times, she was absolutely paralyzed with fear whenever she touched the ball.)

Naturally, the only successful 3-point attempt in the entire game came with one second left, and sent the game into overtime.  No one could score in the first overtime period, so we had to play a second overtime.  Madre de Dios, it was awful.  Although not as awful as watching my roommate mouth the words to that Moody Blues song.

The good news is that my youngest child -- who made his high-school varsity team as a sophomore -- has his first game tomorrow.  And I may have a business trip to New York City this weekend, in which case I can see a very talented jazz pianist/singer I have blogged about before (and will blog about again), who just happens to be playing there this weekend -- and I might even persuade my hot French girlfriend to go with me, since she introduced me to this singer (whom she loves) and might decide that its worth putting up with me for the weekend to hear her perform.

Of course, my son probably won't play much (if at all) -- and his team's opponent is one of the area's traditional powers who will no doubt crush them.  And the French girlfriend will no doubt back out at the last minute (after I have bought tickets to hear the singer) and I will end up in just as pissy a mood tomorrow night as I was tonight.  

Welcome to my world, boys and girls.  The main message I'm hearing these days is "You'll suck on it and you'll like it."  Red is gray, and yellow, white.  But we decide which is right -- and which is an illusion!  Capisce?
This is being written after my nightly glass of Barefoot merlot ($10.99 a magnum and worth every penny) -- doctor's orders, of course -- which usually puts me in a wonderful mood.

I read the other day that the Courtney Cox character in "Cougar Town" (which I've never seen) also limits herself to one glass of red wine each day.  But she has a 44-ounce wineglass!  Anyone know where can I buy one of those bad boys?

Paris Hilton with big-ass wine glass
Here's the song:


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