Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Don't Go Mistaking Paradise for that Home Across the Road
Rock Turtleneck took an unexpected hiatus May 16 when a freak windstorm caused two giant oak trees to destroy much of my suburban New York home. Miraculously no one was hurt, even though my wife and three children were in the now-nonexistent living room when the trees hit.
No one got hurt. We have insurance. Everything can be replaced. Those are the important things. Soon we will be in a very nice rental home owned by a very nice family, and will not return to our true abode for a good eight months or so.
It would be tempting to begin transitioning Rock Turtleneck into a home improvement blog, but fear not. There is rocking to be done, and rock we will.
That said, here are five songs that have helped me get through these traumatic few weeks. And if, God help you, your abode should be destroyed by a freakish act of Mother Nature, visit Rock Turtleneck immediately and print out this post. The following songs may be a source of comfort and or inspiration.
Wilco, “Sky Blue Sky.” Wilco's new CD was released the day before my house was hit, and it has served as an unofficial, much-needed soundtrack. As he seemed to anticipate 9/11 on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Jeff Tweedy’s lyrics for the title track are also eerily prescient to my family’s situation:
With a sky blue sky
This rotten time
Wouldn’t seem so bad to me now
Oh, I didn’t die
I should be satisfied
That's good enough for now
Wings, “Mull of Kyntyre.” Our house is not a mist-covered Scottish retreat, but a cape cod about two miles from the train station. Yet I feel as never before Sir Paul’s sense of longing to return to the homestead in this beautiful bagpipe-infused Wings ballad. It’s aging remarkably well. And you can get it and lots of other cheeky Macca bits on the Wingspan compilation.
Frank Black, “My Life’s in Storage.” Losing your home teaches you many things. One is how weird it is to live without knowing where any of your stuff is, but how much of it you really don’t need. Anyway, even though I don’t know what crap is in which box, I still miss it. This fine song hails from Frank Black's countrified CD Honeycomb, which ironically is now – you guessed it – in storage.
Led Zeppelin, “Misty Mountain Hop.” Not about house destruction or home repair in any literal sense. But the Hammer of the Gods took our home down, and if anything can bring it up it’s the mighty spirit of Zeppelin, exemplified in this flower-power fairy tale from ZoSo/Zep IV/Runes album/Untitled.
Bob Dylan, “The Ballad of Frankie Lee & Judas Priest.” “If you see your neighbor carryin’ something, help him with his load,” goes the final stanza of this John Wesley Harding yarn, “And don’t go mistaking paradise for that home across the road.” Right again, Bob. In the past three weeks, my friends and neighbors have cooked us meals, given us clothes, held our hands, given us shelter from the storm and helped us with our load, and it’s made all the difference in the world.