Holiday, anyone?

“If we took a holiday
Took some time to celebrate
Come on, let’s celebrate
Just one day out of life
It would be, it would be so nice

You can turn this world around
And bring back all of those happy days
Put your troubles down
It’s time to celebrate”

(from “Holiday,” by Lisa Stevens, Curtis Hudson)

If there was ever a time to take a holiday, it’s now, am I right?

The glorious summer we enjoyed seems long gone (though I haven’t put away the furniture from the summer porch yet). The weather is cold, and the forecast calls for more of that. I’ve moved to indoor cycling on the Zwift app with the turbo trainer, though I still hope to get some more outdoor riding in before the snow is really here to stay.

Then there’s the archaic practice of setting our clocks back one hour next weekend, ending daylight savings time. (Further complicating this, the clocks of our families in England and Wales fall back one hour this weekend, so until most of North America’s time changes next weekend, our usual six-hour difference from the UK will be… I don’t know… Five hours? Seven? Ugh. I’ll figure it out. Or not. It’s only a week.) The only perceptible benefit of the spring and fall time changes is that strange satisfaction I have for a while after re-setting all the clocks, knowing all they all click over to the next minute at the same second. I know; it’s strange, like I said.

And, of course, we’re looking at a long, cold winter with uncertainty about the restrictions we’ll be living with as the pandemic continues, while the world holds its collective breath in hope of the successful release and global distribution of a vaccine.

The recording artist Madonna, born in Michigan, USA, as Madonna Louise Ciccone, moved to New York in 1978 to become a modern dancer. She danced, played in bands and rocketed to stardom with her first, self-titled album in 1983. She later acted in several films, further solidifying her popularity.

I recall Madonna as having a special kind of power and appeal in the sassy confidence she had, and how she proudly celebrated her uniqueness and style. As her career and life went on, she became more controversial, but to me, she started off as a beacon of joy and hope for my generation.

In recent posts about other 1980s songs (check out the one on “Worlds Away” for a mention of some), I’ve reminisced about the music I heard in nightclubs, hanging out with friends, sometimes even getting up the courage to ask women to dance. When the higher-register synthesizer riff joined the first chords of electric piano and electronic drum in the dark club amid multicoloured lights, I remember people leaping from their seats and crowding the dance floor to “Holiday,” the synthetic, post-disco third single from Madonna. (“Lucky Star” and “Borderline” were other hits from the album.)

The song feels like a guilty pleasure, a blast from the past. It’s like a fond recollection of fun times for me as a 23-year-old who had made it through a rough break-up and was finally gaining confidence. I had a good-paying railway office job and was getting to be okay with and even enjoying being solo, though I also enjoyed times with new friends (aka friends 2.0) and was finding general contentment in life. That feeling is something that has grown as I age, have shed many responsibilities (e.g., working), am more accepting of myself, and have time to devote to the things that matter… even though some of that, like visiting with family and close friends, is limited because of COVID-19 (though enabled somewhat by online platforms). I would never want to return to life in my 20s, but I do have some good memories of that time in life.

I loved listening to the song and still do. I used to crank it up in my car back in those days: a 1980 Ford Mustang with a cassette player and a graphic equalizer/power booster. The latter added 25 watts to each of the left and right channels… it was loud, and along with the many live shows I attended before being mindful about hearing protection, probably contributed to a mild case of tinnitus.

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy. Crank it up, and maybe ask someone to dance…

Here’s the audio for the song from Madonna’s official YouTube channel:  

And here’s Madonna and her band performing an extended version of the song to an audience of over 89,000 in the John F. Kennedy Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA on July 13, 1985, the day a concert was occurring simultaneously at Wembley Stadium in London, England to a crowd of 72,000. The event was organized by Bob Geldolf (formerly of The Boomtown Rats) and Midge Ure (then of Ultravox), under the umbrella of Live Aid, an initiative to benefit the victims of Ethiopian famine. Similar concerts were held around the world, including in Canada.

I think it was that year that my parents, siblings/partners and I decided not to exchange Christmas gifts among the adults, with the idea of donating that money to the cause.

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