Majic 100 here in town has gone to an all-Christmas music, all the time format, as of this past weekend. Needless to say it’s now the exclusive radio station of choice in my minivan. Go ahead, bring on five different versions of Sleigh Ride per day – I LOVE IT.
On the weekend I was driving around with the Little Miss in the backseat, and we were having a Christmas music sing-a-long, and she said the most brilliant thing ever: “Taylor Swift should make a Christmas song.” YES SHE SHOULD. Alert the squad! And give that girl a Nobel Prize!
Last night I heard the Barenaked Ladies’ cover of Do They Know It’s Christmas, and that made me think about Midge Ure. But before we get into that, let me sidetrack to say I actually, quite last minute and by surprise, got to see the Barenaked Ladies themselves in concert at the NAC on Saturday night. My friend Lucky Sevens ended up with an extra ticket and she asked me if I’d like to go, and I said, “SWEET.”
And yes, it was super sweet – SUCH a good show. They played just the right mix of old hits and new stuff and if you know them at all, you know they are truly hilarious live. At the end they did a megamix of current pop hits that included Shake It Off, Uptown Funk, and Let It Go from Frozen, so it was basically the Best. Concert. Ever.
PLUS, the opening act was Alan Doyle, ex-lead singer of Great Big Sea, who was performing with his new band The Beautiful Gypsies, and their music was super fun and catchy. Alan and his band were invited on stage for a few collaborations with the Barenaked Ladies as well and it was musical magic. Both my most favourite moment and my least favourite moment came during their combined cover of “Lovers in a Dangerous Time,” originally by Bruce Cockburn. I hate that song for repeating, over and over, my least favourite word in the English language (lover), and YET it has the two most beautiful lines in song ever written, these:
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight
You gotta kick at the darkness ’til it bleeds daylight
See? SUCH good and bad together in one song, I hardly know what to do with myself.
Anyway, back to Do They Know It’s Christmas. Most people associate that song with Bob Geldof (actually: SIR Bob Geldolf), and there’s no doubt that his powers of persuasion and enthusiasm for the project made it happen. It was his idea and he got everyone together and greased the wheels and was the public face of the project.
But it wouldn’t have happened without Midge Ure. He was the lead singer of Ultravox, and basically the silent partner for the whole deal. He co-wrote the song (some say – wrote most of it), stepped in to actually produce it when the original producer fell through, and spent the whole day (and most of the night) wrangling talent in the studio, coming up with a bridge, and cutting the track together. This is him:
I like to think of Bob as the ideas man, and Midge as the make-it-happen man. All big projects, I think, take both types. Someone to think big, to have a vision of the finished product, to believe it can be done. Someone else to make lists and check off lists and handle the details and actually see it through.
I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I’m a details man. The one who plans it all out and who methodically takes the group from A to B. The one who, when someone else says, “Hey, you know what would be nice? If we all got together at the cottage this summer,” goes about putting together an email list and a meals schedule and finds a weekend when it all work. I never seem to think of these things but when they come up, I make it happen.
The other day was World Trivia Night (not one of our best showings, but not our worst, either) and I was leaving for it ridiculously early, and the kids wanted to know why I was leaving so early and I told them I like to get there first because I’m the team captain. And then Gal Smiley said, “Why do you ALWAYS have to be the team captain?” and I was like, “EXACTLY.”
But I don’t mind, really. I’m happy to be a Midge Ure, even if it’s the less flashy role, even if I don’t get to be knighted. I will check off my lists and know that it was a job well done. I will have a good time and feel the thrill of a plan well executed and be grateful not to be the centre of attention. I will stand behind the big ideas people who will continue to think that their big ideas happened by magic and handshakes and intense conversations at 3 a.m., and not by someone dropping by the Superstore at 10 a.m. to make sure that there are enough paper cups and napkins to go around.
Me and Midge, we got it figured out.