24 November 2008

Diversionary Wheels‏

Recent weeks have furnished so many separate incidents of recollection from the distant past, I wonder if I should not fear that I am lapsing into senility.

Driving into Boston Sunday morning, I tuned in to a station unusual for me. Bad Christmas music drove me to a safe haven, you might say; a couple of the presets on the car radio began playing (bad, bad) Christmas music about the beginning of November . . . so those dials are dead to us now (as Zero Mostel might have said).

Apparently in the middle of an interview (I had tuned in), so I was enjoying the puzzle of Who is the interviewee?

I thought I recognized the name (Greg Hawkes) as the member of a band from ‘that sensitive time’, when I was fresh out of high school (The Cars). [ True fact, and about as trivial as trivia can get: I was working at a Burger King in Pequannock, New Jersey when I first heard The Cars. ]

This is a weekly show dedicated to The Beatles, and so Greg was asked if he had seen them, back in 1964. His father had taken him to the concert at the Baltimore Civic Center in September, on condition that young Greg would agree to another year of piano lessons. His phrasing in the interview was a little coyly conspiratorial — ‘blackmail’ was the word. But since Greg wound up eventually participating in a Grammy-winning band, and on a debut album which went platinum (I speak casually here, I haven’t done the research, but I hope I am no great distance from the facts), it seems in hindsight like a win/win situation.

Now, a Thanks to the InterNet Moment: on the radio itself, I caught perhaps the last two minutes of Greg Hawkes’s conversation in the interview. I wanted to check the interview, because I was unsure I remembered the word “blackmail” aright (not a word one wants to misattribute) . . . so I went to the radio’s web-page, and listened to the podcast.

And listening to this, I in effect ‘rewound’ the radio to the occasion for the interview, which is Greg’s new album of ukelele arrangements (I am not making this up) of 15 songs by The Beatles. So . . . thence it was not much more than a mouse-click to go to Greg’s site, and a youtube video of “Eleanor Rigby” . . . and a tasteful arrangement it has indeed proven to be.

Separately: the first time I heard the phrase “HD radio” on the air, honestly, I thought it was a joke. But of course, most of the programming on television being so visually non-rich, I'm inclined to think even HD TV cosmically amusing.

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