Tag Archives: Tom Waits

Kooky Christmas #16: “Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis” by Tom Waits

Today’s edition of Kooky Christmas comes to us thanks to a reminder from Uncle Crappy. He posted the below video on his site last Christmas, and the two of us discussed the song yesterday on Twitter. Great minds….

#16: “Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis” by Tom Waits

Maybe you’re one of those people who doesn’t like Tom Waits — finds him grating, affected, caustic, vocally lame, too hard to listen to. “Out there.” It’s OK. Everybody’s different, it’s all good. That’s cool.

Actually, it’s not cool. It’s not even OK.

Well, it’s not awful. You’re not hurting anyone physically or anything. But Tom Waits puts together words and music, and sounds and images — but for me, mostly words — in ways that capture life as we understand it. He’s amazing.

If you don’t feel the same way I do about his work, you and I can still be friends and all. But I’m always going to be sad for you, for what you’re missing.

Anyway, here’s this song Tom Waits wrote years ago, for the album Blue Valentine. The song doesn’t mention Christmas once outside the title; the holiday it mentions in the lyrics is Valentine’s Day. Yet it gives a nice picture of that feeling one has on Christmas Day, thinking back on those we’ve known and lost, past loves, past lives.

Look. Do you have 2 minutes and forty seconds? Not even three minutes, less than that. Watch the first two minutes and forty seconds of this video, and you’ll see and hear the core of what I like about Tom Waits’s music and performance. There’s more I like beyond this (and I’ll bore you with that another day), but for now, just spend two minutes and forty seconds on this video.

“Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis” by Tom Waits

There. That was it. Thanks.

Uncle Crappy suggests that a fan might do well to check out the live performance of this song from a performance at the State Theatre, in Sydney, Australia, on May 2, 1979. The studio version is good too of course, and the album has “Wrong Side of the Road” and “Whistling Past the Graveyard,” and “Romeo Is Bleeding,” all of which will make your life richer.

Tomorrow: Christmas, surfside.

Colder than a ticket-taker’s smile

A Plurk conversation today:

Stevi Deter on KUOW, they actually said the forecast for today was “relentless rain”.

Cynthia says more media should offer emotional weather reports. The rain, the rain, my god! the rain.

plord says must now listen to Tom Waits: http://www.oldielyrics.com/lyrics/tom_waits/emotional_weather_report.html

Excellent thought. But why just listen when you can also watch?

Tom Waits’ True Confessions

Over at the NPR website, they’ve got Tom Waits interviewing Tom Waits:

I must admit, before meeting Tom, I had heard so many rumors and so
much gossip that I was afraid. Frankly, his gambling debts, his animal
magnetism, coupled with his disregard for the feelings of others… His
elaborate gun collection, his mad shopping sprees, the face lifts, the
ski trips, the drug busts and the hundreds of rooms in his home. The
tax shelters, the public urination…I was nervous to meet the real man
himself. Baggage and all. But I found him to be gentle, intelligent,
open, bright, helpful, humorous, brave, audacious, loquacious, clean,
and reverent. A Boy Scout, really (and a giant of a man). Join me now
for a rare glimpse into the heart of Tom Waits. Remove your shoes and
no smoking, please.

(Link via Coudal.)

Working on the railroad


Today at my parents’ house, all of us watching the TV. A segment came on about someone and his miniature railroad, which features some unusual elements. One was a house on fire, tiny firefighters trying everlastingly to put it out.

“I love that,” I said. “If I had a miniature railroad, I’d have a burning house, and a car accident, all stuff like that.”

“I want to have a miniature railroad where everything is from a Tom Waits song,” my brother said. “You know, there’d be a Heartattack Street that intersects with Vine Street.”

“And a doughnut shop at 9th and Hennepin, with doughnuts all named after prostitutes,” I said.

“The corner where Small Change got shot,” he said. “With his own 38.”

His imaginary miniature railroad was so awesome, much better than mine. A red barn where there had been a murder, and a woman drinking alone in her room. A house where someone was building something, where the tire swing had been taken down. And on the highway going out of town, a series of Burma Shave signs. It was perfect.