I have spent a fair amount of time over the years advising newcomers to Second Life. The big three questions are, of course, "So what do you do here?" "How do I make money?" and "Where can I do the sex?" but not far behind is often the question of where one can go to meet people. Often I ask them what their interests are, and advise them to seek out related activities, where they may well find like-minded people and a community to join.
Meanwhile, over in Real Life, I've had no social life to speak of. It occurred to me that perhaps, just perhaps, that advice might have some applicability in this more mundane world. So, with a fair amount of apprehension, I RSVPed for a ukulele meetup.
Which was promptly cancelled, the landlord of the space they used having decided that he'd rather not host a bunch of ukulele players after all. But they found a new space in time for the next one, two weeks later, which was this past Friday night. And... well, it turned out to be a lot of fun! The skill levels varied widely, both on the ukulele and singing fronts, and the atmosphere was unconditionally supportive. I'll definitely be back.
I'd found myself in a quandary, the day before, trying to figure out what music to bring with me. I knew this installment was billed as being holiday-centric, but Chanukah is so last month, and nobody wants to hear "I Had a Little Dreidel" any more than I'd want to play it. I considered my minor-key version of Jingle Bells, but my friend Chris's reaction via IM—"A Jingle dirge!"—had me feeling apprehensive about that idea. (To me, it's equal parts heartwarming and funny, but that's the musical background I come from...)
I was in the shower, running a bit late, when it hit me that I could do my favorite new Christmas song of the year. Which was also a Christmas song I was kinda "meh" about last year. Except that it's not really the same song.
I should back up.
Last year, my favorite Portland-based geek-folk group consisting of two sisters, The Doubleclicks, released a Christmas EP, titled Christmas Ain't About Me. The title track was cute, but forgettable.
During the ensuing months, they took it into the shop. The lyrics stayed; the melody was entirely changed. Pathos was added. And the real-life older sister took over the vocals. It was completely transformative, and the result is my favorite track on their newest album, Lasers and Feelings.
So after showering, while getting dressed, I spent about ten minutes quickly downloading and printing the lyrics, running to my Casio keyboard to figure out the chords, verifying them on the uke, and scribbling them down. And then off to the City I went. And... it didn't suck. I mean, there was a hiccup at the beginning when I was working out what register to sing in, I was gender-swapping the pronouns on the fly and bobbled one, and it turned out I'd transcribed one chord change two words early, but the audience was forgiving. A couple of people asked me where it was from, and one ended up downloading it from iTunes on the spot. So that was good.
Here's the thing: minor flubs or not, that public performance was the first time I'd ever played the song the whole way through, and I stuck the landing. I don't think I could have managed that a year ago. (Or would have even considered attempting it.)
Anyway. Here's the song:
Also, here's the Doubleclicks version. Needless to say, it's way better.