This, That, and the Other Thing

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.

#barenakedladies #nac

A photo posted by Lynn (@lynnturtlehead) on

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:

Midge Ure 2004-10-26

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.

16 thoughts on “This, That, and the Other Thing

  1. was kind of hoping that running into me in the washroom at the concert would have made your blog post… wasn’t it a highlight of the night?! lol!

    and yes, it was a fabulous concert 🙂

    1. OMG, I totally meant to mention that!! It was a definite highlight :). This is what happens when you are interrupted sixteen times while posting by children who can’t find their winter hats, GROWL.

        1. What a Good Boy –> love that song. My favourite is, I think, Call and Answer. They didn’t do that one either, but both those songs I strongly associate with Steven Page’s voice…not sure it’s even possible for them to perform either without him.

  2. mdavis94538

    Nice post, Lynn; this really made me smile.

    And I’ve seen BNL two or three times in concert (first time was at Fed Hall in fall of ’89, which was before we even knew you – did you go?) and their concerts *are* great, *and* hilarious. Good do know they’re still doing the medley.

    1. I WAS there – man, was that before we’d even met? They mentioned at the end of the concert that it was now 27 years they’d been together, and wow, did I ever feel old. Ed Robertson was wearing inspirational leather pants, though, so maybe we’re all not THAT old yet :).

      1. mdavis94538

        I’m pretty sure it was in 1A, right? I didn’t even know Gravypants then (I had noticed her, but definitely hadn’t spoken to her yet) – did you know Sir Monkeypants?

        I still have the T-shirt I bought that night (still in wearable condition, even if the silk-screen logo is somewhat cracked).

        1. Hee! Rock t-shirts, they’re for the ages :).

          I’m pretty sure I went to the concert with Sir Monkeypants and our friend Gord, and it was actually the second time we’d seen them – we’d already seen them once at a tiny pub in Toronto (will have to ask Sir Monkeypants the name of it when he gets home). That would mean it was well past 1A as I didn’t even go to Waterloo until the 1B term. I did some poking around and the Be My Yoko Ono speaker’s corner video is apparently from early 1991 so I’m guessing that concert was in winter 1991 – 2A – or maybe even fall 1991, 2B. Right?

          Or maybe they played there multiple times, and we’re thinking of two different concerts? They definitely weren’t on my radar until after the speaker’s corner video.

          1. mdavis94538

            You must be right – according to Wikipedia the band was still pretty much unknown in the fall of ’89. I’ll have to check with Gravypants – she might remember some details that I’ve forgotten.

  3. I have seen BNL a bunch of times. One of my favourite bands to see live! Brian Wilson is probably my number one song. And this…. “Why do you ALWAYS have to be the team captain?” and I was like, “EXACTLY.”…. made me laugh out loud. I have had the exact same exchange with both girls and Mike countless times!

  4. WAIT WAIT WAIT. The Barenaked Ladies are back together? I am out of the loop. I have loved them since I was in Grade 11 and Gordon came out. LOVE. If I had a million dollars…

    Second, their cover of Lovers in a Dangerous Time is one of my favourite songs ever. Lucky you!!

    1. Steven Page left the band, but the rest of them stayed together and are still together. At the end of the concert they announced it was now 27 years of Barenaked Ladies. EEP.

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