Tag: Scrubs

Day 999: Buh-Bye, So Long and Hallelujah

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It’s a completely valid question.

For the past 50 or so days I have been fielding one question more often than most: what am I going to do for Day 1000? Will the final kilograph reflect upon the 999 that came before, like some extended clip show of my greatest guffaws and most aww-rending moments? Will I spend my final entry in closing-credits mode, thanking those who have made this all possible and put up with my considerable dearth of free time over the last 2 years and almost 9 months?

In short… no. While my original intent was to meander down that self-serving footpath for my final article, I decided that I would only do so if I could cite the Wikipedia page that had been created about me – as it turns out, that doesn’t exist yet.

In order to figure out my final missive, I felt I should turn to the moulder of my wisdom, the sage oracle who has helped to shape my morality, my perception, and even my understanding of the world: television. I have experienced the highs and lows of series finales – certainly at least one of them could illuminate the road to a poignant, entertaining, and (most of all) worthy coda to this monstrous undertaking.

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My first option is the beloved trope of bringing back a classic character for the finale. In my case I could introduce a surprise cameo by Yoko Ono, Craig David, Mary Nissenson, or if I really want to stretch to my roots, Phineas Gage. I could style the entire piece in a blend of haiku, musical theatre and secret code (did anyone ever figure that one out?). It sounds trite and cliché, but that’s always a place to start, isn’t it? Read more…

Day 188: Snipping Along In Perfect Harmony

Sure, this may be the music that your grandparents used to roll their eyes at when their parents would play it on the ol’ Victrola. It might sound antiquated and kitchy to modern ears, but that’s simply an unfair generational bias. Some of the most well-crafted songwriting has gone into creating and perfecting the genre of music known as barbershop.

Also, science. This is music with heaps o’ science.

It may come as a surprise to some of you that barbershop music actually started in barbershops. I don’t know why this would surprise anyone; why the hell else would they call it that? The point is, barbershops were once cool. My barber (okay, “hairstylist”. I feel so ashamed) plays Lite hits by artists like Jason Mraz and Coldplay. Fine if you want background music that nobody will really remember, but you stick four singing guys in straw hats into any coiffery in this country, and business will soar. It’s time to reclaim the salon, people.

In the 19th century, African Americans in the US (and any history of any good music from the past 150 years will begin with the phrase ‘African Americans in the US’) liked to amuse themselves while waiting their turn at the local barbershop. They’d harmonize spirituals and popular songs, blending together in polyphonic harmony. Somehow Whitey got an earful of this, and after donning brimmed hats and striped suits, they made barbershop one of the most popular genres of music up until the jazz of the 1920s bumped it aside.

The hats were optional. The dorky suits were not.

You can scour Youtube and find weeks’ worth of a cappella renditions of popular songs. Sometimes a brilliantly-performed voices-only cover can make a masterpiece out of the most horrific musical monstrosity (special thanks to Berklee College’s Pitch Slapped for proving my point). But a cappella is not necessarily barbershop.

Read more…