Saturday, January 30, 2010

Book Quiz and Jimmy Webb's MacArthur Park

Does anyone else at home who feels they need to be tortured, turn on the telly and watch, book quiz on BBC4 and subsequently get as frustrated as me? That show has officially usurped "University Challenge" as the programme that will make even those who are very well read feel like grovelling, befuddled borderline illiterates. I got half a question right the other week.

I have been thinking about MacArthur Park, the song by Jimmy Webb, and why I seem to be the only one who understands the lyrics and does not think they are either strange nor delusional. Don't you people UNDERSTAND? It is about actively losing a time, a place and feeling in your living soul and spirit and knowing it can never be repeated, replaced or recaptured!

The icing and the cake, it is green because a park is (mostly) green. The cake is all the lovely hopes, just forgotten, hosed on, outside in the rain. The beautiful Dracena Park I grew up across the street from once had a few wild sections; gnarled tress, little green meadows, older swings and jungle gyms. This was a residential park but still quite big given the small city we lived in. Just lovely it was. A place where you'd see pelicans and cats having tea with wee little dogs in waist coats while nearby, magic fairies paint Easter eggs with old man bunny and family.

Then, one shiny spring day, I run there to play and it's all been gentrified to something out of an architect's cardboard mock up. Trees chopped down, sod rolled neatly everywhere, faux stone paths landscaped like a hotel entrance and bogus new sand lot-total, utter rip off. The park had melted, someone had stomped on the cake and there was no way to get the recipe again. And yes, there are new dreams but why are the lyrics so freaky to some people? Please explain if you don't "get" the song.

Here is a semi-demo version by Webb himself"

Richard Harris' definitive cover

And, because this is the internet, someone creative actually baked a cake and left it out in the rain and then ATE IT! (FF to 3:45)



Blogger aquaseven said...

Sorry to keep popping in here like an unexpected jackie-in-the-box. Amazing cake Amanda...your sad park story resonates deeply, and I agree with you on the song, it is a naturally sorrowful, one.

However, though Richard Harris is one of my favorite actors, his notorious vocal interpretation of it, strikes some people like nails on a chalk board.

6:36 PM  
Blogger par.nordstrom said...

Bravooo ! Congrats to a beaut piece of prose writin , Amanda ! Yer creatin a style all yer own & invariably manage to find ´le mot juste ´. Betcha ole man Hemingway nods & smiles in his heaven ...// Gotta luv dat part abt yer childhood park, such a fine blend of da seductive & da sorrowful , just like da description of Paradise Lost HAS to be . /

Thanx for includin sideburnsy stuff wid ole fave Richard Harris , but as I remember it , Peter Sellers really made da ultimate(; version of MacArthur Park , or am I gettin senile here...Maybe I need to return to my childhood park ?

7:39 AM  
Blogger Lucy said...

Your childhood park description brought to mind: "Where do the Children Play?" ......

Yes. If only there were a way to "bottle a moment." (that brings yet another song to mind....)

I think recorded songs ARE time bottles. That and certain smells. Thank God for them.

Time's a gift we must learn not to waste.

p.s. I LOVE the demo, especially. The piano and scenery are both GORGEOUS beyond words.

8:22 PM  
Blogger Amanda and SuperAmanda™ said...

Always nice to see you aqua7!

Lucy, so true. Pete's scoop albums made me an unabashed lover of the demo.

9:58 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home