Send Me Postcards from LA

One of the funniest tricks anyone pulled on me is when, one day about 8 years ago, I retrieved a postcard from my mailbox at home. It was a night shot of Los Angeles similar to this one.

Los Angeles at night

All that was written on the back was, “Doing just fine! With Love Forevermore, Rachel.”

The trouble was, I didn’t know a Rachel in LA. In fact, the only Rachel I knew was very much safe at home here in Halifax. Weeks went by and I never figured out who Rachel was, until one day I got a call from Lindsey, a woman I had worked with but had since gone to graduate school in Toronto. Sadly, I don’t remember if she’s the one who’d given me that Joshua Kadison cassette, but I do recall how we both loved his rich, sultry voice and his songs, especially Picture Postcards from LA (mp3, 5.5MB, 4:34).

It turns out Lindsey had a friend who visited LA. So, in reference to the above song we both loved so much, she gave her friend my home address and explicit instructions about what to write on a postcard from LA. The friend’s name wasn’t even Rachel.

That song still gets to me — the idea of how we all have dreams but sometimes are too chickenshit to take the plunge and realize those dreams. I often had that feeling 8 years ago, so that song truly resonated for me. Today I feel that, although I’m not always “out there” as I should, I’ve generally overcome the fears and inertia. And to an extent, Lindsey’s little trick — arranging to have Rachel’s postcard from LA finally arriving — may have contributed to my forging ahead. She and her partner Shafik always believed in me, and expressing that belief is the greatest tonic friends can give each other. But perhaps the greatest reason why this song still gets to me is that, as I remember Lindsey and Shafik, I realize I’ve lost touch with them and I miss them.

Young in the ’80s: Ever So Lonely

MonsoonWhen I was in my early 20s, still living in Moncton, my friend Sara and I would go absolutely nuts when the DJ at the Kacho would play this song by an obscure group about whom we knew nothing but its name: Monsoon (see at amazon.com). Listening to this song today brings back good memories even though at the time, Moncton was the last place where I wanted to be. Anyway, it’s pretty amazing considering it dates back to the middle of the 1980s.

Ever So Lonely (mp3, 6.0MB, 6:17)

Meanwhile, remember my confession about techno a few weeks back? Well, the following piece is not quite the genre I was referring to, but I defy you to walk away not cheery after listening to it.

Dreamed of You (mp3, 3.5MB, 3:39)

Or try this for a pick-me-up (note: huge file, but worth the wait). It’s the only techno tune I ever heard played in clubs in Halifax, and that was five years ago!

Life in a Northern Town (techno) (mp3, 12.2MB, 8:28)

And I think that the following piece is absolutely brilliant!

The Beauty of a Witch (mp3, 3.2MB, 3:20)

Startling contrasts of genres that really work: in the case of Monsoon, electronic and Hindi; in the case of the Witch, medieval and rock.