The Song: "Mr. Blue Sky," Electric Light Orchestra. Words & music by Jeff Lynne. Track 3 of Strange Magic: The Best of Electric Light Orchestra, 1995.
How/when acquired: Purchased CD, c. 2003
This song originally appeared on the 1977 album Out of the Blue, as the last of a four-song suite called "Concerto for a Rainy Day," side three of a 2-LP set. (I've never owned Out of the Blue, a mystery since I have coveted it from the first time I listened to it, at my friend Adrienne's house sometime in 1978. Did I mention I have a birthday coming up?) The Delgados made a great cover of this song, which you can listen to here.
Anyway, this song is a like an emotional "Get out of jail free" card for me, to be rationed carefully during the winter months when things get a little dark around here. It's never failed yet, but I don't want to overuse it, in case it wears out. It always reminds me, when I need reminding, that the world is pretty great and people can be both kind and funny if you just let yourself see them.
Tuesday night was the 10th annual Brewer's Dinner at The Liberal Cup, central Maine's finest (well, only) brewpub and my hangout of choice. The Brewer's Dinner is a six-course meal that pairs food with beers brewed at the Cup, introduced by brewmaster/owner Geoff Houghton. I'd never been able to go before, so was especially grateful when my friend Richard included me when buying tickets for this year.
It was a magic evening, and exactly the sort of thing I hoped for/fantasized about when I made the move from big city to small town. The Liberal Cup seats about 80 people. Of those 80 on Tuesday night, I knew at least ten, and my dinner companions knew most of the other 70. The food was ridiculously good: beer-cheese soup, chicken-pistachio pate with sauce verte over microgreens, wort-braised pork belly on a bed of toasted barley, roast duck with smoked mashed potatoes, and a coffee/stout float with chocolate creme brulee in a brioche for dessert. (There was also a fish course. I don't eat fish, but people seemed to like it.) I did not drink all of the six half-pints I was served; I had to drive home, and there was a limit to how much I could consume. But it was a true feast, in great company, and that's about the best life offers.
The great danger of depression — and I say this not because I am depressed (at the moment, I'm not), but because the latest posts have all seemed to deal with this subject — is the cycle of isolation. Humans are inconvenient and annoying and loud and kind of gross sometimes, but they can also be loving and kind and endlessly amusing. Sometimes all you need is just to get out there and meet some. Paradoxically, sometimes it's easier to do that in a small town.