Pearl Jam

The Great Beyond

The Great Beyond

From before Twitler took office, I have felt that he would get us all killed. Today we dropped a massive bomb on Afghanistan, apparently, and are making threats to North Korea. So it seemed like maybe I should not keep holding on to my memorial service playlist but that the time is right to share it. After all, if we’re going to have World War III, I may as well make sure this is out there.

However, the caveat is not all of these songs are available online in the versions that I would actually like to use and it varies between Spotify and YouTube which ones had to be substituted. For that reason, I’m running down the list below. I also can’t help the visuals on some of these videos, which is why I prefer an audio only experience for this, but life could be short so I’m over it. YouTube above, Spotify below.

The Great Beyond
1. Angelika Suspended – Poi Dog Pondering (Spotify has the preferred version)
2. Just Breathe – Pearl Jam
3. If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out – Cat Stevens (here the YouTube is worth it for the Harold and Maude clips since that’s key to its selection)
4. Belong – R.E.M.
5. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi – Radiohead (Spotify for the studio version, though I like the Scotch Mist version fine, it’s not the “right” one)
6. Treefingers – Radiohead (optional – serves as a transition but could also be cut or used as music while people are milling about before things get started)
7. Blood of Eden – Peter Gabriel (YouTube is the correct version from Until the End of the World)
8. Calling All Angels – Jane Siberry with k.d.lang
9. Heaven – Talking Heads
10. Wendell Gee – R.E.M.
11. Untitled – R.E.M.
12. This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) – Talking Heads

While there are a lot of songs that you might think I would have on a playlist for my memorial service, this is meant to be something you can actually play for assembled grieving friends and family and not bum people out too much. It shouldn’t make people feel worse. At the same time, sometimes it’s good to cry and let it out. The idea is that this should be in place of any hymns or prayers since I am not religious, though there are some songs that gesture toward that, after all I have a number of church-going family members, including my aunt the nun.

In the days to come I’ll take each one as a separate post with more details but for now I’ll let it speak for itself.

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Given to Fly

Pearl Jam – Given to Fly

I first saw this video a couple of years ago but came to think about it again recently when someone tweeted a link to an article about sign language interpreters at concerts. I also thought about it because I’ve noticed that I hear a low buzz in my ears when there isn’t any other noise around and I wonder if all those years of loud concert-going has finally caught up with me.

My grandfather was quite hard of hearing because he was a track coach and he was always firing a starter’s pistol just above his ear. Then my grandmother started to lose her hearing (she always said it was because she had to shout at him so he could hear her but I don’t think that’s quite how it works). She did not take it well and she groused and complained constantly about having to wear her hearing aids. Every time she did she would tell us, “don’t lose your hearing, it’s terrible” and I would always answer, “it’s too late, Grandma, I’ve been to too many loud rock concerts.”

When I graduated from college I didn’t have a job lined up or any ideas about what I might want to do with my life. I worked at a record store for a while and tried to figure out my next move. For a couple of months I got the idea in my head that I should become a geography teacher at a deaf school and tried to teach myself sign language. It didn’t take long for me to realize that was not going to pan out and fixed my sights instead on the much more employable field of film preservation. That turned out to be not nearly as far-fetched as at least my mother thought and I wound up working in D.C. in the photographic archive at one of the museums that’s a part of the Smithsonian Institution.

Washington, D.C. is home to Gallaudet University and at one point we had an intern from there working in our office. She taught us sign language for a couple of useful, everyday things, but the only two I can still remember are the signs for shower and coffee break.

I am such a believer in the powerful role music can play in people’s lives and I’m so glad to see articles and videos like this because I’ve always thought that not being able to hear the notes shouldn’t mean that people lose out on the whole experience. To me, listening to music is something that involves your whole body and I hope that no matter what happens to my hearing, I can still go to a show and be moved.