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Letters From Home

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musical musings


I ordered a classic CD by Umm Khaltum (or Oum Kaltoum–transliterating Arabic into English is an inexact science at best) from an Amazon Marketplace store the other day.   It arrived today.   I had been wanting to hear what she sounded like for a long time.   I still remember reading about how three million people went berserk at her funeral.

Arabic music is an acquired taste for Westerners, but I can definitely see why people were so in love with her voice.   I’ll have to listen to the CD again through headphones sometime when I can really sit and pay attention to it.

The accounts of her funeral mentioned that she was famous for singing quarter-tones better than anyone.   We don’t, apparently, have those in westernized music, as a general rule.   That led me to wonder whose recording of the song “These Days” I used to listen to when I was a disk jockey (remembering the line “These days I sit on cornerstones, and count the time in quarter-tones to tell”).   I thought it was by Tom Rush, but apparently not.

I liked being a disk jockey.   I just wish I hadn’t done my best work in the years when it was perfectly acceptable to say “We’re not hiring women for that job.”   I did a lot better (doing alternative-rock shows on public radio) than a lot of the men who had jobs in commercial radio in that area and at that time, but nobody wanted women on the air except as news people.   I was offered a job as a news person at one of the commercial stations, through the good graces of someone I knew there, but I turned it down because they wouldn’t agree to try me as a disk jockey.   One of my good friends accepted the news job, and they kept her just long enough for the ratings to come out and laid her off.   So I felt that I’d made the right decision, but who knows?   Water under the bridge.

Wouldn’t it be neat if we could review our lives and change one thing at a time and see how life would have been if that had happened to begin with?   And then choose the life to live that turned out best?

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Author: infmom

Otherwise known as Infamous Mom.

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