A Holly Jolly Christmas

It’s getting very close to a time when there may be music up for The Cottonwood Shivers. I’m aiming for a release in January… then hopefully more after that. It’s exciting :)

I recently reopened the can of digital worms known as Instagram. It wasn’t as painful as I’d expected. It’s been more or less two years since I’ve used it. I’ve changed a lot in that time. So has the world. It’s easier to see through things now than it was then. Al and I watched the documentary “Stutz” recently, about the psychiatrist Phil Stutz. Jonah Hill, a client of his, interviews him and asks questions throughout the documentary. One interaction that stuck with me was Jonah saying (paraphrasing) “I always felt like people who were famous and successful were somehow exempt from the problems I had”, which prompts Phil to start laughing. It’s maybe the only time he really laughs in the film.

Christmas lights are up everywhere. And where we are—out in the tundra—it really feels like the north pole. We had a festive evening last night listening to Christmas songs—“Jingle Bell Rock”, “White Christmas”, “A Holly Jolly Christmas” etc. Then I suggested listening to some from my homeland. We put on some carols, sung by the young boys of the Worcester Cathedral Choir. Within minutes we were both sitting solemnly, ruminating on days gone by. They are incredibly beautiful, but infused with such rich sadness. I made the comment that while in America you have “Frosty The Snowman” and “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, we in England have a dirge. As we listened to one of my favourites—“In The Bleak Midwinter”—the word ‘funereal’ came to mind. And this is for the birth of Jesus Christ! Strangely, there is no equivalent music for Easter.

I’ve never lived in a place where the seasons are so pronounced, and have such an effect on the way people live. Right now it’s 6pm, it’s pitch black outside and has been for an hour already, and it’s 10ºF (-12ºC). People really do hibernate. For some reason it kind of suits me. I always liked staying inside growing up, and now I get an excuse to do just that for 4 months out of the year. Thanks, Minnesota.