The best guitar solo in the world ever, plus Santa-related musings

20 12 2010

I was reading a friend’s blog post about Santa Claus this morning, and something occurred to me: how do families that live in condos or apartments without fireplaces deal with the whole Santa situation? If there is no chimney, Santa can’t climb down the chimney, can he?

Maybe you have to refine the Santa scenario for environments such as this. Perhaps Santa parks his reindeer in a visitors’ parking spot – while being sure to obtain a parking pass – then slips a twenty to the concierge and goes up the service elevator with his sackful of gifts. Of course, being Santa, he has a master key to every apartment in the world, and can noiselessly unlock deadbolts – so he can quietly sneak in and fill the children’s stockings with wonderful things without waking anybody up, then sneak out again, remembering to double-lock the door on his way out. Hey, it could work.

I don’t recall ever believing in Santa Claus. Part of this was because my parents preferred the rational to the fanciful, but part of it was because our family lived in a bungalow without a fireplace or chimney. On Christmas Eve, my sisters and I would tie our stockings to the banister by the front door. When we woke up on Christmas morning, we were instructed to go into one room and wait there until 7:00; only then could we come out and see what goodies had arrived for us. No one explicitly said anything, but we assumed that Mom and Dad were loading up the stockings, not Santa. I still recall being tense with excitement anyway: what neat stuff was I going to get?

It may be due to the way my brain works, but, after all these years, I still don’t quite understand the fuss about Santa Claus. It’s as if most people see Santa Claus and Christmas as equivalent concepts or something. I’ve never quite gotten it. For me, the best part of Christmas is that the regular routine is put aside for a bit, and you have time to kick back and relax. That, and the days are starting to get longer (which happens starting on the 22nd). Plus, there’s usually lots of turkey to eat, and plenty of yummy turnip (that’s an inside joke, in case any of my family ever reads this).

On a totally different topic: I was thinking this morning about what song contains the greatest guitar solo ever. I can think of two obvious candidates. One is Robert Fripp’s solo on Brian Eno’s “Baby’s On Fire”:

This is the only time I think I’ve ever heard feedback used as melody. The noise and the notes go together. It’s awesome.

My other candidate is Yo La Tengo’s “Little Honda”, where the guitar solo consists of one note played over and over again:

Why bother playing other notes when you’ve found the right one already?

By the way, “Little Honda” was originally written and performed by the Beach Boys, and was covered by The Hondells in 1965. Here is a video of The Hondells performing it on “Shindig”:

Watching this video makes me very happy.




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