FW: Burgess

Today’s freewrite is based on the Burgess reading, “The Boss in Common” from our text (p. 158). I asked everyone to find a piece of music that they can connect with personally, that reminds them of a family member. I had to really think about this. But not for long. by the time I had logged into the blog, I had my song in mind. Brian Eno’s “Baby’s On Fire”

when I was a kid, my oldest brother used to play this song, nonstop. It’s a pretty creepy song–the opening lyrics set you up:

Baby’s on fire
Better throw her in the water
Look at her laughing
Like a heifer to the slaughter

if that isn’t enough to scare the living hell out of any little kid, I don’t know what is. So not only are the lyrics disturbing, but Eno sings them with a high pitch screeching. When my brother would play this song, he would chase me all over our house and try to catch me. When he did, it was head first into the nearest toilet. I knew when I heard those first few opening bars, I better run or I was gonna get it and get it good.

When I moved away at 18 to go to college, my brother sent me my first care package. It was a great box full of fantastic stuff from home: food from the area (I was in art school in the south so anything from the far-away north was welcome) and books to sink my teeth into. He also made me a mix tape.

I remember opening that box after a full day in the studio, home late and exhausted. I popped the tape in and sure enough, the first few bars of “Baby’s On Fire” came whining through my little 80s-era boom box. At 18, away from home and feeling homesick, my first response wasn’t one of nostalgia but a response that made me run like hell. I was certain that my brother was hiding somewhere close and if I didn’t run, I would be taking a swan dive into the closest commode.

you know, just finding the video on the computer here in the lab, the minute I played the first few seconds, I realized that I instantly made a check for the door. I was so certain my brother would come out of nowhere to direct me to the nearest bathroom. The last thing I want in the middle of the workday is a swirly.


4 thoughts on “FW: Burgess

  1. When I was a little girl, my dad used to play this game with my brothers and I- he’d lay in the middle of the floor on his stomach and reach out and try and grab our ankles as we ran around, and we’d have to escape. Whenever we played this game he’d always have “Ring the Alarm” by some reggae artist playing in the background. To this day, that song makes me…not scared, but like, nervous and sort of jumpy, like any second somebody is gunna reach out and grab my ankles and not let me go. There was also another time he’d play it: my grandmother lives on a really old dirt road, there are like three houses on it, but he’d drive us over there in his Saab and let us out at the bottom of the road, and we’d run all the way to my grandma’s house and he’d blast the song as he drove after us. That’s a happy memory for me, so when I hear the song I have weird mixed feelings about it, I think about Black Saabs and dirt roads and suddenly become very protective of my feet. 😛

  2. Richard Jarrett says:

    A song that has stuck with me ever since the first time I listened to it was Morning Dew by the Grateful Dead. My back story to this is somewhat confusing. I had never really even listened to any of the Grateful Dead until my cousin approached me last winter. He told me that for the past year, he had been traveling around the country, following a cover band of theirs called Dark Star Orchestra. He also told me that I had to go to a show with him for his birthday because it would mean a lot to him. So, I agreed.

    When I got home for Christmas break, I really wasn’t looking forward to spending the evening with a bunch of hippies. But then it all started to unfold. I got to the venue, and immediately noticed how nice all the people were. This set up a good vibe that allowed me to enjoy the rest of my evening. Soon the music started. Being a musician myself, I have always been able to appreciate musical talent, but this music felt like more than just people showing how good they are. The people on stage looked like Gods, with mastered skills on their respective instruments.

    They opened the second set with ‘Morning Dew’. It is hard for me to explain the rest, because I have never gotten another feeling since the feeling I got when hearing them play the famous Dead song. It felt like real life ecstasy, even though I had not done the drug that night. An intense rush of happiness began to flow through my bloodstream.

    Since then, I have never been able to get that feeling back. The scene was amazing. A hundred or so happy people all dancing together, laughing happily. I hope that I can get this back when I attend my next show, which will be the night before Thanksgiving.

  3. Ashley says:

    My dad was never home much when I was a kid. Being a practicing anesthesiologist always working at some major hospital, as well as a professor at a medical school, we considered ourselves lucky if he was home on Sundays at all–and even then, he usually went into the “lab” for a few hours to “feed the cells” (Jargon that I still don’t understand to this day, though I’ve been repeating it since I was a toddler…something to do with his research in neuroscience, no doubt.)

    So my sister and I were very used to entertaining ourselves. Mom was too busy running the house; Dad was too busy working. But on those rare Sunday afternoons that dad WAS home, we would always troop down to the basement to play and give Mom a few hours’ break from the nonstop chatter and interruption.

    He was big on “creativity”–funny considering that he’s not that creative himself, being a strictly math/science guy. I distinctly remember my PlaySchool kitchen; I would play “restaurant” and ask him to order things and he would deliberatelyask for items I did not have among my plastic cut-n-serve food set. I used to get so aggravated with him and say, “Dad, just order off the menu!” but he would make me create some odd conglogmoration of hamburger with frosting, while teaching me life skills such as “the customer is always right” (I suspect this is why I never went into waitressing or retail)

    He loved classical music, so the entire time there would be something orchestral or piano-based playing in the background. To this day, I cannot hear Tchaikofsky’s Piano concerto in B-Flat Minor without thinking of those Sunday afternoons playing in the basement. I started playing piano when I was 7 and Dad uesd to leap up from the couch and turn the music up and say, “Listen, Ashley. Hear this? Someday I want you to play this for me!” At that point I was barely able to play a chord, so I used to say, “Sure, whatever.”

    He moved out when I was 12; I stopped playing piano actively when I got to college, 10 years after I started. I haven’t learned that Concerto yet but I haven’t given up. Mom just moved to a smaller house and wanted to get rid of my piano but I raised all holy hell–she kept it. I’m going to learn it–and someday I’m going to play it for him.

  4. I can relate with you on this post. When I was a little girl we used to summer on Block Island in Rhode Island. One rainy day my sister and I spend the day in town with some island friends. She had to go to the bathroom; the only public bathroom at the time was down at the ferry docks. We all denied going with her, so she head off alone. I snuck behind her and followed her all the way down to the loading docks to the bathroom. I decided it would be funny to scare her, so I hid behind a wall by the exit of the bathroom. Soon enough, Kate walked out of the nearly empty bathroom; I jumped out in front of her, screaming “YOU FORGOT TO WASH YOUR HANDS!!” She had a look of panic on her face. After the panic left her face I saw a sudden bust of rage in her eyes, and I began to run as fast as I could. She chased me all around Block Island’s very quaint downtown area. Finally I found my mom and dad and little sisters in a store and grabbed onto my mother’s legs as all little girls tend to do. I still find scaring my older sister, Kate, to be the funniest thing. Now I know to run right after I do so. Every time weather it is hiding behind a door in the kitchen, or popping out from behind a bush when she comes home at night, I am sure to have an escape root. Kate was studying in Spain, my parents and I surprised her with a visit. I decided for old time sake to hide in the room she was living in, behind her bed. She walked into the room, I jumped out screaming, “YOU FORGOT TO WASH YOUR HANDS!!” For the first seconds after I yelled it, I saw fear in her eyes, followed with a hug and tears. For the first few seconds after I scared her I looked right at the door, as if to run away, but once I saw the look in her eyes soften I knew I would be soon forgiven. I know the fear and memories that force you to run. That feeling right before you bolt for the door.

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